By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
"I see you got your marketing rap down," I comment. "Still, I'm impressed. This spot's starting to get live now, and on a Tuesday, near midnight."
"That's the thing," says Robinson, who I later learn played a little football for my alma mater, the North Carolina Tar Heels, before transferring to ASU. "You've got to remember, most of these people have to get up at 6 or 7 in the morning."
"Get up for what?" queries the Jettster as if hard of hearing.
"It's called 'a job,'" I stress, making the quotation sign with my fingers. "A concept you're evidently unfamiliar with."
"You know what you're unfamiliar with, Kreme?" she asks me. "How to treat a woman. But you'd have to get close to one first. I'm getting another drink!"
Next is bumpin' now, and most of the sugar is brown sugar, but there's some caramel and white chocolate in the candy bowl, too, and I'm scoping it all from this raised area off to the side. Fashen's droppin' everything from David Banner to the Jackson 5, and folks are feelin' it. That's when I spy this Big Pun-lookin' dood standing on one of the banquettes against the wall, suckin' on a bottle of Moët. Says he's DJ Sosa, and that he's got a gig spinning for dolla-ballerinas at Pantera Show Club, and as Pantera's manager Dante is right beside him, I tend to believe him. Though Dante later tells me Sosa's real handle is DJ CNC, so go figure.
"You ever get friendly with any of them strippers over there?" I inquire of Sosa/CNC.
"I get friendly with all the females, you know what I'm sayin'? I'm one of the hottest DJs in the fuckin' city," he brags.
"I hear ya, playboy, but you sure that ain't the Mo talkin'?" I grin, then start looking at the heavy gold chain with a fat ornament 'round his neck. "Nice midget you got hanging from your necklace. What is that?"
"It's 11 karats, white gold," he shines. "Ran me about $17K."
"I need me one of these for the hood of my Impala," I crack. I'm prolly about to get stomped into oblivion when the Jettster appears out of nowhere.
"Take a look at this, Kreme," she insists, poking the digital camera under my peepers.
"Holy headcheese, those are two of the largest lung warts I've ever seen," I gasp, studying the pic.
"I told her I was with New Timesand she flashed me," swears Jett. "Too bad she has a 'butter face.' You know, everything's hot, but her face."
We decide to investigate the patio, and before you can say "birth control," the Jettster's in the corner cozying up to buff MC Mic Wyld, who reminds me of a tanned Mark Wahlberg. The Wyld One slips me a copy of his CD Shut Up and Listen while he's romancing the J-girl, and soon I'm chatting with Steve Valenzuela and his wife, Miki. Valenzuela's a local record producer, and he and his honey came up from their home in south Phoenix after leaving their kid with the sitter.
"Check out this CD," he says, slipping a case-less one into the front pocket of my shirt. "Local stuff. You'll like it. It's a compilation of the dopest guys in AZ. They toured with Eminem, Ludacris, Nas. I produce a lot of shit on there, but there are six MCs and two producers on it."
"Name me some names," I say.
"The guys from Bionic Jive? I know them. Emerg was on the cover of the 2004 New Times Best of Phoenix," I state. "Met them way back at the Blunt Club."
"You wanna hear some new shit from Emerg?" he asks.
"Sure, but here?"
Valenzuela whips out his Verizon Treo, one of those handheld Blackberry-type things that can do about everything but wash your car, hooks up some earplugs and hands one to me. I listen to a track the V-man calls "Southwest Division, Posse Cut," and I have to admit, it sounds pretty tight. Valenzuela says they should hit stores with a CD sometime in 2006.
Over in the corner, Jett's on Mic Wyld like she's found her baby's daddy-to-be, so I give up trying to get her back on the clock, and just keep talking to Stevie V.
"It's hard out here because the AZ scene doesn't support its own talent, like they do down South," complains Valenzuela. "I've never tried to make it happen out here before, but I'm going to give it my best shot. It ain't all about the money. It's about putting AZ on the map and making a hit record. That's all I want to do."