2006 Client Roster: Switch (NYC)

Interview: Switch (Brooklyn)
By Kandis Knight

“Ladies Keep Ya’ Legs Closed” -Switch

On a whim, I decided to catch a flight out of ATL for a little rest and relaxation. I was going to visit one of my favorite females in the music industry.

A few hours later, relaxing in a rooftop Jacuzzi in Manhattan, I decided it was time to formally interview the lady I am betting will be very big in 2008.

As she sipped her pricey Bordeaux from pricey crystal she was elegant like a swan, all while she carefully tucked her legs neatly under her body so she could sit erect, like a stalking lioness.

“It’s hard to not get distracted by the money, negative energy from people and remain prayerful, I am epic in character and with my music, I am the rose that grew from a rock,” she calmly explains, as she swirls her wine in rapid circles while gazing up at the stars.

Welcome to Switch’s world. She is called the “BK Empress” for a good reason.

In 2000, Nicole “Switch” Harding was a young ambitious female emcee hustling her way into the music industry in Brooklyn, NY.

“I went to high school with Inga Marchand a.k.a. Foxy Brown. I was real popular in High School, people know me. My first foot in the game was in 2000, in front of thousands I opened up for Foxy Brown, Capone, Nore and the Lox at the Audubon Theater (the historic theatre where Malcolm X was murdered) in NYC,” explains the 5’9” (no typo) exotic Amazonian beauty who is holding down a Modeling contract with T-Pain’s company DreamStar Talent in Atlanta, GA.

“I know I was scared to death like before that I never did open mics or showcases,” she explains in her thick BK accent.

“I was fresh outta’ BK and my first show was with DJ Kay Slay on the wheels. I felt like I had on cement boots, I actually froze up I can’t lie,” she lets her bun down and her long straight hair plunges to her chest, she glides across the water and up the ladder.

Later that evening, during Sushi at some swanky Uptown joint, Switch dawning a stunning Gucci gown under a fur coat tells more.

Her stage fright did not last long and she emerged to do what she was born to do. “I believe I was destined to meet Kay Slay that night. We are such good friends to this day, call it fate.”

Switch had no other choice but to shock and awe the crowd. “I totally transformed into this beast I was hyping the crowd and I got a great response. Kay Slay later told me, “I thought you were an R & B singer when you first walked out because you’re a pretty girl”, he liked the shock value I guess,” she laughs.

“After performing I handed him my demo as I passed it to him he said all I needed to know, “If I feel it I’ll call you right away if I don’t you will not hear from me deal?”

Switch was positive she would get a call back so she waited. Exactly eight hours later. Switch looked at her watch and picked up the phone Kay Slay was on the other end. “Yo you’re hot!” The following week, Switch’s freestyle premiered on Kay Slay’s mix tape.

“I screamed like Michael Jackson. I was jumping around acting crazy I’m sure when he reads this he is going to be surprised because I totally played it cool,” she laughs.

Kay Slay kept his word to Switch. “The first Kay Slay joint I was on was hosted by 50 Cent, I thought, bingo, I have officially made my introduction to the game. At the time 50 Cent was tearing up New York. Before Eminem and Dr. Dre tapped him on the shoulder.”

As we headed for the nightclub later that night, Switch told me how close she and Kay Slay had become through the years. Switch refers to him as her mentor. “Kay is one of the realest djs I’ve ever met. He has always showed me love and included me on things to network and meet different people. I will never forget one time he was like it is no problem putting you in the right circle but it’s up to you to network and build relationships on ya’ own.”

Switch seemed to have taken Kay’s advice because her Blackberry reads like a “who is who” of the entertainment industry from film, television, fashion to music, her networking skills are to be admired. I have met

Switch has also been featured in a few Kay Slay videos. “I’m actually in the Kay Slay video with Three 6 Mafia “Who Give A Fuck Where You From” I’m all through out that joint.”

As we jumped out of our limo to make an entrance at the club, Switch began listing off the mix cds she has been featured on as I tried to take notes in my Blackberry. Switch is a regular on many Kay Slay mix cds some were hosted by many notable emcees such as, Nas and Busta Rhymes.

Switch even had the honor of being on Kay Slay’s “The Drama Hour” on NYC’s Hot 97.

“Girl, I remember the competitive spirit was heavy the night of “The Drama Hour” taping,” she recalled as we strutted to our booth.

“It was so every chick for themselves but over all it was fun I met a ton of people and got respect from everyone was like “Yo Switch is hot she gotta’ keep it going.” I got to hit the booth with Remy Ma, Lady Luck, Amil, Glaze Ny, and DJ Lazy K and Funkmaster Flex. Many music industry heavy hitters were in the building. People got to see me shine that day.”

Since that day her star has shined brightly in the New York underground scene however she has struggled to complete a debut album until this year.

“It is very hard for a female to make it in the music industry, especially if you refuse to fuck your way to the top.”

Or maybe since she is so Petey Greene-ish her time is only now ripe?

“I feel like from day one up until this very minute I’m always misunderstood. People say “Oh she’s pretty she might be easy, oh she’s from Brownsville she’s a thug, oh she’s a female rapper so she’s hard to work with. These are just a few examples of things I go through on a daily basis on top of that, my business was so not right I was clueless to how the industry works, I didn’t have proper representation like I do now.”

Regardless of the obstacles she has had to encounter, Switch is expanding her stock daily. She has hosted two New York television shows, NYC Underground and Video City. She is also a radio personality for the Chris and Chris Show (produced by Hot 97 Executive Producers), by the way, you can also get your Switch fix and peep Switchy’s modeling skills featured in the new Straight Stunting Magazine and check out Switch’s You Tube channel, where you can watch as the pilot for her reality based-entertainment talk show Switch on The Scene which is being developed for a major network.

Just like the Notorious B.I.G., Switch was raised in a half Jamaican, half Brooklyn household so her swagger is 100% organic Switch promises to fill a void in the industry she may very well become the face of the lucrative Carribean hip-hop generation.

“Growing up my family was like the black Brady Bunch minus three kids we were raised on Bob Marley and Buju Banton. My parents are from Jamaica, but I was born in Brooklyn. Hello Brooklyn!” she shouts and pumps her fist in the air. “My city is birth place, without my city there would be no hip hop!” she taunts as she orders all the stuff on the appetizer menu, the waitress knows her by first name. “Anything else hot mama?” she asks Switch.

Switch replies, “A fucking Oscar and a Grammy!” We all laugh.
Like any true BK born hustle-ress Switchy is always quick to talk business. “Currently I’m working on my first official album due out May 2008 it is called MISS UNDERSTOOD I also have more mixtapes due out February 2008 and an EP done waiting for an angel investor, holla at me! I’m feeling like I’m in the best position of my life I have amazing people around me who are working with me to build this empire. I am going to work harder and smarter and not let things or people distract me like before. I am coming, consider me competition,” she slides out of her fur.

Switch is an emcee who also has great vocals and she sings. You can check out her versatility on her new album which will consist of fourteen tracks, and intro and some skits. “It’s going to be the story of my life. I do know for my first effort this album will change my life and allow the many layers of Switch to shine through as always.”

Miss Understood will also feature some Reggae anthems for the new music generation.

In the future Switch wants to work with everyone from Dr. Dre to Scott Storch. Currently she is working with producer Hassan Shareef who produced Boss Bitch (has also produced for Benzino, Ghostface Killah and Karl Thomas). “Actually I am going to link up with Chris Styles. Chris produced Amusement Park for 50 Cent,” she laughs then she turns smug.

“I hate the politics of the music business. The hesitancy people have when it comes to working with a female artist. I have had an A & R tell me that people are reluctant to work with female rappers because we cost to much to market and we don’t want to spend that kind of money but they will invest in dudes who they kind of know wont generate any sort of interest or R.O.I.

Switch also takes a great interest in the hip-hop industry as a whole. “Right now hip-hop is in a messy state. Vets don’t want to usher in new artists. An old vet will be out for ten to twelve years and refuse to let go of the mic or to mentor others who look for that mentor type. I can tell the fame and fortune is a drug that some just can’t get off.”

On top of everything she does in the entertainment industry Switch is the quintessential business woman, did I forget to mention she is the CEO of her own record label called M.OB.A.N. Entertainment? Switch is also a sales manager for a finance magazine, a licensed Real Estate Agent, a licensed Phlebotomist and EKG Technician. She represents everything today’s black woman should be.

“I love to travel, cook, shop and invest in stocks and real estate when the time permits,” she perks up and looks at her watch. “I’ll be right back mami”.

As a man brings a mic over to our table, Switch stands to her feet. She didn’t even tell me she was performing. That says something, Switch’s is always going to shock us. I also must also add this is one lady who sure knows how to party. She jumps on the stage, the crowd cheers.

As the sun was rising over New York, our adventure was coming to an end. But not before we got back to her place to cook a little soul food breakfast.

Over turkey sausage, grits, scrambled organic eggs and Mimosas, we get to the heart of the matter. Switch switches to an early morning reflective mood after we do a few yoga vinyasas together.

“I have survived a lot more than the average female rapper running around these streets both personally and professionally and I can’t wait to make it official with the release of this album. I’m always about making music for the masses for all the misunderstood souls who can relate all around the world.”

Yes she is always thinking big.

For more information visit www.myspace.com/switchbk

Switch’s Music Industry Survival Tips

1. It’s important to find that life changing outlet who will believe in you and your product and make that major move whether it be cracking your single to radio or helping you to secure a recording contract.

2. Never ever mix business with pleasure. No one in this industry is your friend.

3. No one gives a fuck about you the person they only care about your product.

4. Be driven by the non believers. Closed doors should make you work harder. Not curl up in a little ball.

5. It is not what you earn it is what you save that counts.

6. Watch you’re the people you surround yourself with. You got to keep people around you who want you to win everyday separate yourself from the ones who don’t. Simple.

7. And for my ladies keep ya’ legs closed!

2006 Client Roster: Musab (Rhymesayers Entertainment)

Published in The Pulse of The Twin Cities
by Kandis Knight

On a cold rainy evening I ventured to the cozy home of Musab, Rhymesayer's "Smoothest Brotha' Number One." Over the course of three hours we relaxed, watched a basketball game and had a little local rap talk. As I entered Musab’s pristine, decked out South Minneapolis condo, I couldn't help but notice the walls, a smooth maroon color befitting Musab's smooth laid back character.

I took a seat on a plush couch, with a big fluffy pillow and enjoyed my beverage and the game in the background. Musab eased up next to me and became an open book. At 14, Musab converted to Islam. “I don't like to involve my religion in my music,” claims Musab, 28. “They’re two different things. That’s my personal life. My music is entertainment. I don't take myself too serious as an artist. I'm only human, I'm not trying to change your life, I'm trying to entertain you. If you want to change your life read that Koran down there, that’s how I look at it."

Nowadays, Musab seems to live a peaceful and positive life. “I coach my son's basketball team, I’m training my kids in sports, I’m making Salaat (Muslim prayer) everyday. I'm fasting right now, it's Ramadan. I live better than some, worse than others,” he readily admits.

Musab’s life wasn’t always as serene as it is today, it was only after witnessing lots of crime and violence that Musab decided to pursue music. "I went through a lot of dramatic situations with my life," he claims. Glancing to the floor, Musab pauses and then continues, "I lost a cousin, he was killed. We were roommates he got killed in our apartment in St. Paul. I was 19 when I decided I wanted to go into music seriously. I always rapped since I was in fourth grade, I got into music to keep me out of trouble."

After graduating from The City Inc., a Minneapolis Alternative School, Musab attended Music Tech as something to do. "I went to Music Tech for about six months. I liked it enough, it was just that I felt like I didn't need it." Although he didn’t excel academically we all know from his lyrical track record that Musab is no doubt an intellectual. "I'm a genius. I took the test so I can say that. I didn't like school, I used to skip school and go read books at the Library. Some of my favorite books were ‘Pimp’ by Iceberg Slim and ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X.’

These books gave me hope."Maybe it’s Musab’s superior intellect that helps him craft his insane rhymes, but he also has a formula for that. "My song writing routine is very organized, I'll show you.” He dashes off and comes back with stacks of notebooks. "There is a science to making songs up. I write in bars. See, this is the song I did called ‘I Got Problems’—you know, the song I did with D. Tekh. You were there when we recorded it."

I nod and smile, remembering the "female bashing" hook but deciding not to comment. Like a kid in a candy store, he flips through pages and pages of lyrics. "I wrote it, I titled it, it was written in bars, so therefore I know how long I want the verse to be and my hooks are in back (of the note book). Usually I write the hook first when I'm just sitting around. I like my hooks to be like how I talk kinda like I'm saying something and it’s catchy. I’m very organized.I got stacks of notebooks. That’s how you got to be when you’re making music. Writing a song is an art to me.

"When it comes to production, Musab only likes working with the best producers. "Of course my man Ant, D. Tekh of course, locally not that many cause most of the producers I mess with are like national cats. I mess with Ant, D. Tekh, I like Big Jess from the Unknown Prophets. My man Brother Ali whenever he cranks something out for me overall though I think the state lacks in production."

It’s no surprise Musab even has a routine he runs through before going on stage to perform. "’I'm the greatest,’ that’s what I say, that’s what I repeat before going on stage." Musab’s prolific musical output is nearly as immense as his stacks of notebooks. "I have hundreds of songs that are recorded but unreleased. Some of them I don't like, some are for my own personal listening. I won't release everything because I want to be known as a certain type of artist. That's just the business, you got to uphold your little image to sell records. People have to relate to you and grasp on to what you're saying. Therefore you won't hear Snoop Dogg do something that Dead Prez does. But he won't do that because it's not his job. He's selling hot dogs, they’re selling hamburgers. You know what I'm saying?"

He continues, as I recline in the lazy boy. "That’s how I feel about my thing. So I record a lot of songs about a lot of things, but that doesn't mean I want everybody to hear it all." So what’s on the horizon for this wildly creative Minneapolis emcee? We can all expect something from Musab coming summer 2004. "I'm recording an album right now called What's The Skinney? it’s going to be like ‘Playboy Mansion-ish.’ If that’s not enough to spark your curiosity I don't know what else can. There aren’t that many ‘Playboy Mansion-ish’ albums coming out of Minneapolis and I can't wait to see how it comes together.”

Musab's image has always been adored locally. When describing his public persona, Musab stares off into space and leans far back into the couch, the image of a silk robe clearly forming in his mind’s eye. "I'm the black Hugh Hef," he says smiling. "Yeah, I'm a different type of Hip-Hop then Slug but as far as how we do our music, we got the same format. We’re two different people. You know what I'm saying? So of course we’re going to have a different sound."

As far as national comparisons go, Musab is quick to respond, "I'm more edgy than 50 Cent I believe. I'm more like an underground Snoop and I don't do my music to sell eight million records. I do it because I love the art. I'll do other things to get rich that triangle into my music. If I can be critically acclaimed musically, I'm happy."

Musab is clearheaded when it comes to laying out his aspirations. "I'm going after Snoop's fan base. Snoop has put himself into a good position because he is doing what he was doing when he first came out but now everybody buys him. He is a household name. Even white kid's grandparents know who Snoop Dogg is, when I get there I will be cool."

Despite having many friends around town, Musab still feels he’s misunderstood by the majority of the local Hip-Hop scene. "People think I'm a chauvinist, insensitive and heartless because of my lyrics,” claims Musab. “I'm not the first person to talk like I do. I talk about pimping and people seem surprised sometimes. But when these same people see 50 Cent doing it and they see it on television they’re singing along."

I have to agree with him on that note because despite my own feminist belief system, 50 Cent can be appealing in his own pimped out way. Musab is indeed no different, he wields a unique charm and is extremely polite and respectful. "I'm a male feminist,” says Musab. “I love women. I respect people. I think society is very contradictory, though. Some women want you to treat them like they’re a nun, but they act like a whore. I'm going to call you what you are. Some women call themselves bitches. Lil' Kim ain't offended."

I don't know if he heard my thoughts, but he interrupted them nonetheless. "I like bitches,” continues Musab. “They’re just feisty women to me and I don't say bitch out of hate I say it out of love. That’s the kind of woman I like. I like Lil' Kim, I like Pamela Anderson, I like Carmen Electra. I don't want nothing to do with a square women. There’s nothing she can do for me."

Musab is entitled to his views, so I decide to let the sexual politics battle rest and change the subject. I give him a look he won't forget and we switch gears. "My favorite television show is Howard Stern,” admits Musab. “I look up to Howard. I’m very Howard Stern-ish." I tilt my head and try to imagine the similarities. "I love porn. I’m a porno connoisseur. I write all of my music to porn. It’s a known fact that sex sparks creativity. It’s primal. Everything a man does is for a woman. Every job, every attempt to look good, every haircut, everything is to get a woman and take care of her and have good sex.

It’s simple like that."By this point in our conversation Musab’s way with words almost has me convinced he’s in the right, but I still can't believe all the strange twists our talk has taken. Musab is clearly a strong-willed individual, and I’m still a fan regardless of any different personal convictions, his music makes my hips swirl.

As Musab said in the beginning, he’s an entertainer, so I decide to allow his comments to entertain rather than annoy. "My advice to new talent—first of all—never fuck with me. Second, make the best music you can and be honest with yourself. Be your best critic. Artists tend to get caught up in their own little world thinking they’re better than they are a lot of times and it’s easy to do.

Don't be scared to hate your own song. That’s the problem with Hip-Hop now a days, people take it too seriously. It's music man, it’s entertainment. I want to be Sammy Davis Junior, I want to be Frank Sinatra."

Musab performs at the Cabooze on Wed., Nov. 19, with Kool Keith, DAPO, Doom Tree, EPL and Snakebird. 8:30 p.m. $15. 18+. 917 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls. 612-338-6425.

2006 Client Roster: Nukki Andrews

Artist Biography: Nukki Andrews
By Kandis Knight

There is no denying, Nukki Andrews, is the rapping black Marilyn Monroe, with more attitude but all the class. Her style is described by many as “classy hood” however unlike other femcees, Nukki is a classically trained singer and often sings the vocals on her own tracks.

Nukki started singing and performing in the Church when she was four-years-old winning talent shows and showcases across the country. As her art began to blossom, her mother enrolled her in the Emerson Visual Performing Arts School in Gary, Indiana.

From an industry perspective, Nukki offers fans the best of both worlds. “She is what you would have if Mary J. Blige and Trina became the same artist,” explains Atlanta super producer Darin “Super Power” Baker. Super Power produced four tracks for Nukki and continues to work closely with her project.

This Scorpio admits she struggled with fitting in while growing up, “I knew I was ahead of my time, music has always been my refuge, through music I feel connected,” says the headstrong diva.

Nukki’s distinct taste in music stems from the musical palatte of her youth which included lots of Prince, Chaka Khan, Michael Jackson, and gospel. You can hear it in the masterful way she delivers every phrase.

Although the road has been very rough, Nukki has been performing for over ten years and is focused more than ever as she finalizes her album and prepares to bring her music to the people. “I am just me. I say exactly how I feel, and I try to make sure the song has meaning. I talk about everyday life experiences, dealing with guys, being a woman, paying bills, partying, giving thanks and being grateful, and even being ungrateful.”

Nukki is an extremely driven artist who is proven, strong and determined. Her gritty natured style is honest to her experience. Nukki endured a very difficult life from running away from being a pregnant, teenaged runaway to having her mother and a close friend murdered. Nukki is filled with experiences and has never been afraid to write about it.

Confident on the stage and in business, Nukki is the definition of bossy. Among current female artists who Nukki would share the stage with is Shawnna. “Shawnna, she from the hood, she from the Midwest, she from the crib, its a few ladies I like, we all doing our thang.”
“I have a message. I am so blessed to be here but God has spared my life many times but I wouldn’t regret anything I have been through or who I am.”

Nukki will be releasing her mix CD, Volume 1 Nukki Andrews in February 2007. Volume 1 Nukki Andrews will feature six original songs with her first complete studio album to follow in winter 2007 on Upgrade Music, Inc.

Three years ago/ I told my daughter I’d never quit/bitch so you betta spit/everythang they come up wit/run up in/hit you from ya neck to ya tippy toes/pretty hoes/don’t get their hands dirty but I’m different tho’.
-Nu Nukki, by Nukki Andrews

For more information please visit: http://www.myspace.com/nukkiannfansofficialpage

2006 Client Roster: Dap Rugget Fashion

Dap Rugget
Published in Grip Magazine
By Kandis Knight

If you find yourself rocking the simple white tee, jeans and sneakers five days out of the week, it’s time to upgrade playa!

Prep swag is synonymous with some of the best dressers in the music industry like Andre 3000, Farnsworth Bentley, Bobby Valentino and Jazze Pha all clients of Atlanta based fashion house, Dap Rugget. “Prep swag is not a passing fad, it is a lifestyle with deep traditions,” according to the fabulously preppy CEO of Dap Rugget, Cedric King.

Prep style stems from European aristocrats in the 1930’s. However, King has expanded the meaning of “prep” for the contemporary fashion connoisseur.

Prep Swag Musts:

Be Prep-ared. King has revolutionized the concept of “prep”. Prep came from the term “prepatory school” and was used to describe the garb affluent kids would rock. But to Dap Rugget, the term “prep” is all about being prepared. Preps are people who stay prepared the good life, for wealth and power by being image conscious to the point that even your argyle socks must make a statement.

Cashmere is a must. Your cashmere sweater or vest should be Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers or Dap Rugget of course. To preps, a “handed down” cashmere sweater has more prestige than a three hundred dollar throw back jersey. If you can’t afford cashmere, try worsted wool. Nevertheless cashmere is the staple of a true preps wardrobe no doubt.

Color is very important. To preps, being able to assemble your color palette in layers that “pop” is an art form. For example: start with a pink polo, then layer it with a plaid shirt that has pink accents, to make your colors pop. The plaid shirt may compliment other aspects of the pink. A true prep really understands how to put together color combinations that work.

Also, keep the seasons in mind. When it is turning fall, bright yellow colors and earth tones are hot. Add heavy trousers with a light blue camel hair blazer and some type of oxford shirt and your bold statement is made.

Quality is more important than quantity. Quality is more important to preps than quantity. Most preps get their polos and cashmeres handed down from their preppy fathers and grandfathers, with careful care the items maintain their esteem. When talking about quality cottons to preps, it is all about thread count. Pima cotton, comb cottons and mercerized cotton are prep favorites. It’s all about how the cotton is loomed and knitted.

Swagger. Your prep swagger will take you along way. It is important to understand how to put a bow tie with crazy patterns together with a gigham check, a polka dot bow tie and a pair of poplan trousers or jeans. Add the tetron sneakers and maybe a web belt or a braided belt and you are in the game!

2006 Client Roster: Atlanta Black Chamber of Commerce


Contact:         Kandis Knight

                       Director of Public Relations

Atlanta Metropolitan Area Black Chamber of Commerce Presents:
“Building Wealth by Building Awareness”
Second Tuesdays Business Luncheon Series
at The Buckhead Sheraton

Atlanta, GA ­– Starting November 14th, 2006 business owners will have the opportunity to network and learn from some of the best and brightest business owners and entrepreneurs in Atlanta.

The Atlanta Metro Area Black Chamber of Commerce is pleased to present the Building Wealth By Building Awareness Luncheon Series at the Buckhead Sheraton located at 3405 Lenox Road NE Atlanta, Georgia 30326.  This event takes place at 11:45 p.m.   The cost lunch is $10.00 per person. This event will feature information, business support and networking opportunities that your business can not afford to miss.

The Building Wealth By Building Awareness business luncheon series features two speakers each month addressing a specific theme. November’s theme is Business Solutions.  Edward Gardner, a long time real estate agent and investment guru, will speak about building wealth by investing in real estate.  Gardner’s company, HLB Solutions provides full service real estate investing services for Atlanta area investors.

Speaking about the top ten principles of guerilla marketing is Kandis Knight.  Knight’s company, LuCreative Group, headquartered in Minneapolis, MN is responsible for establishing a multitude of Midwest companies through her marketing tactics and for blazing a trail for young entrepreneurs in the fields of music and entertainment.

The mission of the Atlanta Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce (AMBCC) is to serve as an advocate for the creation and growth of profitable and competitive black-owned entities. The AMABCC is committed to providing quality educational and training programs that emphasize economic development, ownership, and wealth building practices.

For more information:

Edward Gardner, Fulton County Lead 678-663-****
Kandis Knight, Director of Public Relations, 770-882-****
Sheraton Buckhead, 404-261-****

2006 Client Roster: Mental Case

Contact: Kandis Knight
LuCreative Group PR

Smacks Records Fledgling Artist Mental Case:
New Jersey's Got A New Voice

Newark, NJ ­–Your new favorite rapper, Smacks Records' bold new artist Mental Case, recently got heads buzzing following his appearance on the The All Out Show hosted by Lord Sear and Rude Jude on Shade 45 (Eminem’s Sirius Satellite station). During the segment Hate it or Love It, Mental Case debuted his new single "Flashback" (video available on Youtube.com) from his new album titled I Go Hard (to be released June 2007).

“The response was overwhelming, nine out of ten callers loved the song. In today’s fickle hip-hop climate, that speaks volumes, the song has a dope segment that sounds like some dope Teena Marie stuff,” explains Smacks Records CEO and veteran hip-hop artist, Dj and producer, Mr. Len (Company Flow).

Industry insiders agree Mental Case has been diligently building a buzz for a couple years now. Most notably, in 2006, Mental Case became an undefeated contestant on Fight Klub (the most fierce emcee competition in the United States) and he has been busy in the studio working along side Mr.Len, Akai Pros, and Sam Scarfo.

"Mental Case is bringing a street freestyle and real powerful lyrics, not like alot of emcees who be rhyming using hypothetical words. He is real, new, clear and his voice is very distinctive," said Lord Sear (www.myspace.com/thedrunkmix).

Like a box of fluorescent color crayons, Mr. Len has collected a vibrant cadre of musical personalities to form the Smacks label. “I want to make sure that people from New Jersey were being represented in the right way. From gangsta music to backpack, we represent all that is here, hopefully with this Mental Case project, fans will realize sky is the limit for Smacks Records.”

While Smacks Records calls New Jersey home, their cyber home base, Dummysmacks.com, is where it all goes down. “Our fan base is more music enthusiasts, versus underground heads. They are way more open minded and savvy when it comes to buying their music. They want the total package they respect the fact that nothing about the music we put out is contrived. We are not trying to appeal to any audience because we are only into making music that we like. Honest music.”

For sale now on dummysmacks.com cop the following projects to make your cd collection complete:

Kice of Course “New Experience” debut album ,
The Dix "The Art of Picking Up Women", Prince Paul Project
Bullymouth Debut EP "Back To School"
Mr. Len Presents Smacks Records New Songs from Murs, Jean Grae, Mental Case, Kice of Course, Bullymouth

2006 Client Roster: Nikki Millions

Artist Biography: Nikki Millions (Massachusetts)
By Kandis Knight

Nikki Millions a.k.a. Richie V. was born and raised in Dorchester Massachusetts. Million’s music career started when he was 14 years-old. “I grew up listening to Scarface and Tupac,” explains the driven 25 year-old emcee. “I also grew up listening to the oldies station with my pops. The Temptations, The Ojays, Otis Redding.”

In 1998, Millions made a name for himself when he landed a coveted spot on the Hook Masters Mix Tape hosted by Tony Lopes. Million’s style has been described by one music industry insider as having a “street gritty feel that is mixed in with the right amount of thought provoking urban philosophy.”

In 2006, Millions was signed to Pentagon/Panama Strip Records. “I heard his music and I thought, I could combine north and south hip-hop together with this artist,” said Shawn Simon, Million’s visionary manager.

Millions is currently working hard on his debut album called Diary of Destruction, featuring collaborations with Gietnam Vetz, Icy Squad, and two features with Vicious of UGK Records. With heavy hitting talent like that, one must employ a carefully skilled production team so Tony Lopes (Boston), hooked up with Pistal P (Louisiana), Spitty Mic (Boston) and Lingo (Rhode Island) to put a golden seal on the Diary of Destruction project.

In the future, Millions desires to work with producers such as Dr. Dre, 9th Wonder and Swizz Beatz.

To many people Millions is more than just rapper. “People know me in my community. I used to work for Cityyear. My mission was to teach kids about HIV and AIDS Prevention.”

In addition to going all around the city talking to kids HIV/AIDS, Millions used to be the guy who jumped off 7 block wide water gun fights with his sons in their Boston neighborhood.

On New Year’s Day 2007, look for Millions’s new mix cd to drop (untitled). “I got all of this animosity out on the mix cd because the album is really civilized. I didn’t want the streets to think I got soft. Other emcees are not talking about anything,” describes Millions. “They are rappers, I am a poet.”

For more information and tour schedule: http://www.nikkimillions.com/

2006 Client Roster: Kice

Interview: KICE (New Jersey)
By Kandis Knight

“My producer, Mr. Len (Company Flow), never took my vision away. If I say I thought about this. . .this and this, he never made me change my mind.”

In light of the bad economy, it is not a surprise that many music fans and artists such as New Jersey Hip-Hop phenom, Kice, are tired of “bling-bling” and “shoot em’ up” rap songs. “Rapping about “bling-bling” is like taking the easy road. It is easy to rap about fancy cars and jewelry and get people’s eyes to open wide,” says Kice, who grew up listening to Phil Collins every morning before Church.

So Kice went into the studio with legendary producer, Mr. Len and formulated his latest album, New Experience. “New Experience is about life experiences, different things I have been through. I consider it stepping outside of the norm.”

Kice felt hip-hop’s contemporary messages were missing something. “I made this album because I felt like there was something missing, just real music.”

Although Kice’s musical mentor, Mr. Len is best known in old school indie circles, Kice is definitely a step in the commercial direction. However, Kice’s music, may very well change our perception of what commercial music is and it is about time. “You rarely hear about someone having a bad day in a rap song, but we all have them. I would love to have the finer things, the ideal life but there is the other side of it. Everything isn’t perfect.”

Growing up in Elizabeth, New Jersey can be bad for your health. “I saw The Wire, every night. Drugs, abuse, family members in and out of jail, poverty, only thing is it was just real life.”

For these reasons, “bling-bling” is not Kice’s style. “I don’t knock the “bling-bling rappers” but when you’ve seen what I’ve seen mixed with what I’ve been involved with. It’s different when it’s your family. I had an aunt pass and when I saw her face it affected my music. A cousin pass, shot two times, and that affected my music. That’s the outcome.”

Kice’s lyrics are based on many life experiences he has encountered however sometimes, he just lets it all flow as every true artist has to do at some point.

“My lyrics come from everywhere. It depends on what I went through that week. If I had a bad week nothing will come. My mind would go blank. I used to think I lost it for a minute. I get lost in music a lot.”

Although writing generally comes easily for Kice, he is not immune to writer’s block. “When I have writer’s block. I can ride til’ the tank is damn near empty. My mind gets cluttered and it becomes routine step outside the box and do something different. It makes you get back to where you were.”

Kice is used to working out side of the box, he has no choice, he works along side Mr. Len, a bona fide creative genius who is known for pushing the envelope. “When Mr. Len says he doesn’t want things to be the norm, he is more so saying that on a production side. We are an artist and a producer not wanting to follow. I think that is what makes you an artist. When I do shows he will pull me aside and say “Don’t do what everyone else does.” Mr. Len doesn’t want me to be like everyone else.”

Kice will be the first to tell you about Mr. Len’s dualistic Gemini personality. “Working with Len is hard. Len don’t care about how you think it might be. He is methodical. I thought he was icing everything that I did. I was struggling to get words out I thought I did good and he will say rewrite the whole song. Len taught me a lot, I know now that I don’t have to get my whole point across in one line.”

Sometimes stepping outside of the box even includes diving deeply into foreign territory for Kice. “I zone out and listen to no Hip-Hop for weeks. Sting, Phil Collins, Sade, Cold Play, Maddona and I will go and watch performances.”

If you are looking for that piece of thought provoking riding music, Kice’s As The World Turns is just what you are looking for. Another one of my favorites is the R.I.P. song, inspired by a funeral Kice attended that affected him deeply, he actually shares that pain in this song.

“I don’t care if radio doesn’t accept me. I am happy that I did what I felt. It sure feels good for people to say I was hoping for a miracle and all I thought about was your song. And then they come back later and say, I got my miracle but still all I do is listen to your song.”

WHO IS Mr. Len?
Company Flow

Full Lengths:
Funcrusher , 1995
Funcrusher Plus , Rawkus Records - 1997
Little Johnny from the Hospital , Rawkus Records – 1998

"Patriotism", Soundbombing, Rawkus Records – 1999
"DPA (as seen on TV)", Def Jux Presents Company Flow, Definitive Jux Records - 2001

"End to End Burner", Rawkus Records - 1999

Roosevelt Franklin
Full Length:
Something's Got to Give , Third Earth Music- 2003
Bare Food -2006

Mr. Len
Full Lengths:
Pity the Fool: Experiments in therapy behind the mask of music while handing out dummy smacks , Matador Records - 2001
Class X, A Tribute to Company Flow , Smacks Records – 2004
Mix CDs:
Mr. Len, Rhettmatic, DJ Drez, Hidden Jewels, Polygram – 1999
Mr. Len & Bobbito, Kick A Dope Verse/Scratches For Your Anal Crevice, 1999
Mr. Len, Vibe With The Crowd Live from Club Harlem (Japan), 2000
Mr. Len, Oven Roasted Beats, Room Service/7 Heads - 2003
Production/Album Appearances:
Armand Van Helden, "Rock Da Spot", 2 Future 4 U, Armed Records - 1999
Roger Sanchez, "Buffalo Gals Stampede [S-Man's Spicy Buffalo Wings Dub]" Maximum House & Garage, EMI Int'l - 1999
Bill Laswell/Material, "This Morning" feat. Juggaknots, Intonarumori, Palm Pictures Audio -
The Masterminds, " The Fast Way", Live From Area 51: The Extraterrestrial Project , Exodus Entertainment - 1999
Twigy, Seven Dimensions Remix LP (Japanese Release), 2000
MC Paul Barman, "School Anthem", It's Very Stimulating, Wordsound - 2000
DJ Krush "Vison Of Art" feat. Company Flow/Scratches by Mr. Len, Zen, Red Int / Red Ink -
Princess Superstar, "Trouble", Is, Rapster - 2002
Jean Grae, "What Would I Do" and "Knock", Attack of the Attacking Things, Third Earth Music - 2002
Prince Paul, "Ralph Nader" skit, Politics of the Business, Razor & Tie - 2003
Indelible MCs (El-P, J-Treds, Juggaknots), "Weight", Lyricist Lounge Vol. 1, Priority Records - 1999, Re-released 2004
Jedi Mind Tricks, "Words from Mr. Len 1 & 2", Violent By Design, Landspeed - 2000, Re-released 2004
Mass Influence, "Analyze" (Single), Boulevard/Nonstop - 2000
Various Artists, "Hip Hop for Respect" (Single), Rawkus Records - 2000
Murs, "Take Yo Ass to the Store" (Single), Smacks Records - 2003
Mr. Dead feat. Sayyid (Anti-Pop), "Dynamic Tension" (Single) 2005