Justus is a Phoenix-based rapper and founder of Cut Throat Logic Records. He moved here in 1993 and considers the Valley his home. “My kids were born here and I'll be buried here,” he said. At age 10, Justus performed a DC Talk song during a talent show at a church camp and knew that music was his calling. He wrote raps for 10 years and “pretty much sucked” until a dear friend taught him to refine his rhythm and rhyme. When he's not hitting the stage or marketing a new act for Cut Throat Logic, he's writing new songs, but if you'll ask him, he'll say “I just run the label.”
What's Crackin' Azilla? This is your boy Justus coming to you live and direct from the Heart of the Phoenix. I just want to thank Phoenix New Times for allowing me to break down what is going on in our exploding underground scene -- not from the eyes of a journalist, but the eyes and ears of an artist who lives this scene every day. My goal is going to be to cover events around the Valley as well as recent releases from the many different hip-hop, rap, and gangster rap groups in town.
To kick it all off, I'm going to give you my review on the Rick Ross with Flo-Rida show last weekend at the Celebrity Theatre with special guests Cut Throat Logic, Kavy and Big Five Gangstaz.
The show opened with Rawkus Recording Artist Kavy and Cut Throat Logic. It was 8:30 p.m. so there were only a few hundred people in the venue, but the energy and response was hella high. The crowd showed love by throwing their hands up and supporting Kavy as he rocked the mic with tremendous skill.
Meanwhile I tossed promo CDs to the sections of the crowd showing the most love. At least until Kavy got me up on stage to do a version of my song “AZ's Up” together.
Next was the infamous Big Five Gangstaz. Front man is an MC/rapper by the name of “Big Mosses.” Big Five Gangsta'z have been around for over 15 years in AZ. Representing West Phoenix, 1-5 Hustla Gang is most def a strong staple in AZ hip hop. Moe and the Big Five Gangstaz rocked that mother fucka with a G swagger that was well respected. And in true Big 5 fashion the soldiers on stage made it rain with real money, making the crowd go nuts for dollar bills. It was exciting to watch.
While the openers were good, between sets the show sucked. There was no DJ. It was boring to say the least. Good thing there were a couple fine girls to pass time with.
Eventually Flo-Rida hit the stage. Flo-Rida's single "Low" was the only record anyone seemed to be playing about six months ago. The man came on stage with a new school swagger and performed a decent set that lasted about 40 minutes at the most. When he finally performed "Low," he brought out all the ladies from the crowd and backstage to shake their asses. It was cool for one song but they stayed on stage the remainder of the show, became bored, stopped dancing and started choppin' on the side. Lame!
Next up was the big boss Rick Ross. The Carol City Cartel Boss broke into America in 2006 with “Hustlin,” every hustler's anthem. The song is a smash hotter then a meth lab in Sunnyslope. Ross has released two records that have done well on the Billboard, but his performance was only so-so. I mean the dude must be pushing an easy 400 pounds. He walked on stage blowin' smoke with his vocal tracks playing in support, with DJ Sam Sneed on the turntables hyping his lyrics as well. Ross even let the overdub play his hooks for him. He walked the stage at a snail's pace and could barely keep his breath for that. The man was sweating so bad I thought he was going to pass out, but the crowd didn't care. This mother came out to a roar from the people and when he went through his catalog they loved it. Despite the slow movement on stage and lack of real energy, his beats smashed and lyrics rang loud and clear.
The latest buzz on the streets regarding Rick Ross is that the whole shit is fugazi! Recent pictures of Rick Ross (born William Roberts) are floating all over the net with him and a correctional officer dancing with an ugly, middle-aged white lady. This rapper is notorious for bragging about being a cartel boss and saying things like "I made a million last year moving weight." Right.
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We knew the man could write dope songs but now it appears he may be a really great character actor who has stolen the identity of the now famous "Freeway Ricky Ross," a cocaine dealer who is serving life for selling crack in the '80s and '90s.
Although there was a lot of behind-the-scenes drama going on, I have to give props to Alycia Klein over at the Celebrity Theatre. This woman runs the show there and has gone to bat for me on two separate occasions due to miscommunication between bookers, promoters, and production managers. She is stand up and has Triple OG status in the music industry.
Also honorable mention goes to Phoenix's own DJ MeniONe for saving the day and lending Flo-Rida and Rick Ross his mixer so the show could go on.
Well, that was what Saturday night looked like on my end, people.