Cover Stories

Words by: Le’Deana Brown Photos by: Colli Media

What do you feel like is going to be different this time around? What are you bringing to your music this time that you didn’t before, or is there a new flavor you’ve grown into? What’s going to be different this time is that I’m a full-time rapper now. I ain’t one foot in and one foot out. I’ve been blessed with so many chances. I’ve gotten everything I feel like I can get out of the streets as far as reputation, as far as money, as far as anything you can think of with what the streets bring. Even pain. Right now, I feel like I’m up and can quit with my winnings. And I can look in the mirror and be proud of myself. It’s like poker. When you’re up so much it’s sweet and you know you can win so much more, but I’d rather just quit instead taking that one more chance. I ain’t ever did anything foul to my people. Everyone that I grew up with, if they aren’t around me it’s something they did. I can look in the mirror every day and my son looks up to me. So right now I’d rather just put everything to this music. I’m happy with the person I am.
How did becoming a father change your mentality? I wouldn’t even necessarily say it changed my mentality because I’ve done it before. I had raised a little girl forever when I was a teenager. I ended up getting a blood test and she ended up not being mine, but I was in fatherhood at a young age. I was always there for her. I have a son now so my bond with him is everything. It’s fun watching him grow and learn. I get the chance to create something. It’s a blessing. 


Let’s talk about your single “Punisher.” Are you speaking to your real life attitude about life and things? No doubt, most definitely. “Punisher” came from a movie called Punisher. When they took his family from him he annihilated everything! He was unstoppable. That’s kind of the concept that the song means. When I say, “Turn me up and turn me to the punisher”, he was unstoppable. Couldn’t nobody stop him. When someone turns me up, that’s the level I’d take it to.

What’s on the horizon? Well right now, I just want to check a bag. I’m doing a lot of shows. Me and one of my brothers, Poodie, dropped a mixtape. It’s out on the internet right now. Wherever you can purchase music at. It’s called “Ghetto Ties” and its’ going crazy on the streets. My biggest focus is “Punisher” right now. I kind of knew “Punisher” was going to take off like that but it did more than I expected. It has almost 500,000 views on Youtube and it doesn’t even have a video. So, I think that’s one of my biggest records. The crazy thing is it doesn’t even have a chorus on it. I think it’s just catchy and it’s a lot of people favorite song. So, I’m going to give them what they want. I want to see what it really does with a machine behind it. I do have a project I’m working on, it’s called “Guilty by Association.” I think that’s going to be raw.

 What does it mean to be guilty by association? Guilty by association means no matter how innocent you are or how true your side is, when you’re affiliate with a group of people or know a certain person, you are automatically guilty. They say, “You are innocent until proven guilty,” but that ain’t true. They treat us like we are guilty until proven innocent. Right now, I’ve been going through so many ups and downs and fighting so many cases I don’t have anything to do with. Just from me knowing people and my affiliations with people make me a target. I’ve been having a target on my back since I came home from my last situation. They label me as a notorious person. I could get locked up for j-walking. They are going to put me on the news and flash me as a notorious Grundy member locked up for j-walking. It could be anything and they are going to blow it up like that just because of who I’m affiliated with.

Friendship is against the law almost? It’s kind of like it’s built to break a family. I’ve been knowing these people since we were kids. This ain’t just people I’ve met in the streets or nothing. We’ve struggled together.That’s what they do, their whole process is to break people, break friends up. They play all types of games. They play the snitch game, the friend turning on you game. Any way that they can try to destroy a relationship with a group that’s so powerful. Whether it’s good or bad, they are going to try to put an end to it, and that’s kind of what’s going on right now.

Tell me about the Mob Family. I know they want to frame it as a gang. They make it like a gang but it’s really not. The Mob Family done became so powerful making moves in the music and my big brother Rick, he seen my vision. We kind of put our visions together and he believed in me. He seen where I was goin and I kind of feel like they seen him having an exit. So, they tried they best to make him look like everything besides a good person, besides a good father, besides a positive individual. The Mob Family music movement is definitely gonna live forever.

When did things transition from the MGG to Mob Family record label? Nut gave me a lot of game on a lot of things. He’s a business man and a father. So, a lot of things that was going on as far as in the streets he really didn’t want to be a part of that. He had a lot of positive things goin on. I was young, I was still in the streets. I just wanted to create something my people could be a part of. I feel like Mob Family was the perfect branch off. Nut kind of showed me how to run my own business and run my own record label. So, it was definitely a plus. With the game that I got, and the game he taught me, it was easy for me to start my own thing. I’m MGG forever. I actually got it tatted on my arm. A lot of things I look back on, stuff that bro taught me and showed me. I was hard headed about a lot of stuff, sometimes I wish I listened to bro about a lot of stuff, but it kind of made me who I am today.


Why do you think your music is affected by beef? In my city I know all the hustlers, I know all the strippers, I know everybody. I never really had bad blood with people. It be the people I be around that have beef and it leaves me to patch everything up. When people lose they life and stuff like that it’s hard to patch beef up. A lot of people really love me, and I know that, but they chose to stay away from me because of who I’m affiliated wit. I remember I had a sho and it wasn’t fat. I spent so much money as far as promotion and stuff and I kind of lost on it. I knew what it was about, it wasn’t that people didn’t mess wit me or love my music. They didn’t want to bump into my people or they didn’t wanna ruin what I had worked so hard for. So, it was understandable, but like a discouraging thing. People know me personally, before the rap, before anything. They know me and got a genuine love for me and its vice versa. But when it’s beef on, a lot of people get out the way. A lot of people tend to put the blame on you because they feel like you know somethin. It don’t matter if you know somethin or not, they still gone treat you like you know somethin. Cause it’s like in the street life, a lot of people are snakes. You surrounded by so many snakes. A lot of people don’t wanna get snuck. A lot of people don’t want you to get the ups on them. Just because you love somebody don’t mean that you gone let your guard down and be vulnerable and become a victim. And I understand that. So, that’s the thing that kind of affects my music a lot, I probably got more people that wanna see me win than I got that wanna see me lose. It’s just they can’t really support me like that because of what’s goin on. I still feel the love though. I don’t feel no way to nobody that don’t come to my shows, or that just don’t come around no more. I know they still buy my music and still support me from a distance. So, I understand.

Tell me your definition of the word “real” and who is referred to in the saying “free the real” not by name, but by character traits. Honestly, real ain’t even got a definition. I think real is just you being yourself and not trying to impress anyone. Just being real with yourself. Some people put too much emphasis on what real is. Some people do so many things to try and impress the next person when they’re really being fake to themselves. I think real is just being real with yourself and understanding yourself. Everyone ain’t got to be a gangster and everyone ain’t got to be a hustler. I think everyone needs to understand you being yourself and quit trying to be something else to fit in with the next person or doing something just because the next person is doing it. Whatever you are comfortable with, I feel like that’s what real is. When we say, “Free the real” we are talking about people that lost their lives behind somebody that told on them. We ain’t talking about no pedophiles, rats, or dead beats. We are talking about people that were really standing on something. I feel like it’s for everyone that’s doing time for trying to feed their family or protecting what’s theirs. It’s really too many people to just single out and put their name on it, so I feel like “free the real.”


COVER STORY: Lil E, Guilty By Association

association, butler, cover, e, eric, fam, family, free, ghetto, guilty, indiana, indianapolis, lil, lile, mgg, midwest, mob, naptown, punisher, real, state, ties, vs I’ve been blessed with so many chances. I’ve gotten everything I feel like I can get out of the streets as far as reputation, as far as money, as far as anything you can think of with what the streets bring. Even pain. Right now, I feel like I’m up and can quit with my winnings. And I can look in the mirror and be proud of myself. It’s like poker. When you’re up so much it’s sweet and you know you can win so much more, but I’d rather just quit instead taking that one more chance. Keep reading 2

words and photos by: Le’Deana Brown

Tell me about the location where we had your photo shoot and why it is significant to you. Did you grow up in Lamplighter Apartments by Roselawn Park? I grew up in a house right on 38th an Emerson right behind the gas station. Roselawn and Lamplighter is where all my friends were from. I went to [school] #83 on 42nd and Emerson. This is a true story, which it seems weird now that I think about it but back then it was normal, I was in first grade and I used to walk from 38th and Emerson to 42nd and Emerson to get to school by myself. Then after school I would walk back home. That’s how I met all the kids from Lamplighter. A lot of my firsts were over there, like my first time smoking weed was in that hallway. My first time doing a sexual act was in that building. It was crazy because it was like my first crack house. It was always something coming back to that building. A lot of special stuff happened to me there. That building was where I first met Yap too. As far as the building, 5060, that was my best friend Lo Low’s building.

How did you and Lo Low become best friends? In first grade I had the new Tim Hardaways with the staps and peace signs and the colorful bottoms. Lo Low walked up on me and said “Give me them shoes!” and I was like “I ain’t giving you nothing!” and we got cool after that. He tried to rob me in first grade! He was a bully! After that he was like my big brother. I was real skinny and I wasn’t the best fighter. I would go though but I would probably lose. Any problem anybody had with me they had to deal with him too. I was on the basketball route and he was thuggin in elementary school. I said I was going to the NBA and he was like “You better get this sack! Let’s get this money.” He had a car by the end of 6th grade. He looked at me like his square buddy up until a situation went on where one of his older buddies ended up telling on him. Dude went to court and testified and everything and I didn’t say anything. He beat the case anyway. We ended up both being in and out of jail and barely ever on the streets at the same time. The last time I talked to him I told him he should go see the girl that had been holding him down while he was away. I wish I didn’t tell him to go over there because he went there that night and that’s where he died at.

These things that happened to you growing up, did it shape your mentality about certain things like the strong anti-snitching message you preach? The anti-snitching thing I don’t even know where I got it from I just knew it was wrong from a little kid. No one really installed that in me, there ain’t no gangsters in my family. I just always knew. If you were to line three of us up out of my friends you would have thought that I would be the one telling, the basketball dude. Then a lot of stuff I’m not ashamed to say I learned from movies. Like in Juice, how they tried to turn them all against each other, these types of things really happen.

Did your mother know what was going on and that you were spending every day in Lamplighter? Yeah. I didn’t have a big brother so I would come home and tell my mother stuff. This is how I learned not to tell her everything. I’d come home dirty and stuff and tell her I just got into a fight with such and such. She would get upset and put me in the car and take me down there. That was so embarrassing. I wasn’t telling her so she could defend me I was telling her to let her know I survived! Everyone was older than me, so at first I was scared and crying. We would get in our little scuffle and work it out. Later she used to hear stuff but didn’t really trip about it. She was more supportive of whatever route I decided to take.

You went from wanting to be a basketball star to trapping. When did the rap come into play and how do they relate? I could rap as a kid. I’d do freestyles and all that. I don’t ever want to hear people say rap doesn’t influence [our daily lives]. It really does influence things and people just like movies. I try to put the morals and values in my music and lead by example. I advise people not to get into the street life, but if they out here I try to tell them you have to have morals and values if you are.

How did you develop your style and how did people respond when you introduced your newest talent? I used to freestyle at school and stuff but didn’t write my first rap until I was 15 on house arrest. I didn’t have anything else to do so I was just listening to instrumentals and wrote my first rap. My uncle had some DJ equipment, and on my pass out I went over there and recorded it to Nas “If I Ruled the World” beat. We recorded it on a tape and I was playing it for everybody. They said it wasn’t regular and they liked it. I liked how the New York rappers flowed and used metaphors, but I also like the west coast gangster rap and the beats from down south. I was trying to find a way to combine all three.

DT-Farrelli-leak-standingAs far as Bird in A Drought 2, the title of your mixtape, you considered it as the city being in a drought and you’re the bird? Yeah, more musically, or in rap period. It was a lot of rappers, but no one was really rapping like this.
I’ve always been heavy on lyricism. I wanted to make something people could jam to and play all the way through from beginning to end. I just found a way over the years to combine jams with lyricism. That makes The Bird in the Drought unique. That’s why I originally named it that it was like I was the original and unique one. It also made the title relatable, most people know what that means. [The streets] thinking one thing when I say that. They can understand the concept I came with too.

Your style seems like you are into story telling. How do you decide which stories you want to share? Whatever stories aren’t too incriminating I will share. Whatever you can’t be prosecuted for, I’ll share it.

When you say that the stories you are telling are chosen based off which ones are least incriminating, do you ever have people that approach you and wonder if you were talking about them? Nope not that I can recall. No guys ever reached out to me. It’s really like my story and people I met along the way may have influenced me or a story they told me. Maybe sometimes it could be a mistake someone else made that I learned from and I know I don’t want to make that same mistake. It’s all kind of stuff, that I may have seen or went through. A female may ask who I was talking about in a song. Usually when I do a song about a female, I’ll combine like three or four females I know in one verse. My single “Slow” with Kittii Red and Playbwoi is like that. I wrote the hook that Playbwoi is singing and it’s about someone who has stood with you through good and bad times, ups and downs. You know, never really looked down on you or left you.

What’s the most influential story that you are telling that’s had an influence on your life? When I talk about being in jail and facing life, then getting a second chance in life. That’s probably had the most influence on me, I don’t take anything for granted. I cherish every day. I got a little better discipline now. I don’t always have to be out and about all the time. I don’t be bored and just roaming. I’m cool with sitting in the house doing nothing, because that’s another day free. You will never catch me saying I’m bored. I know what real boredom is. Sitting in a cell all day is real boredom. I try to put myself in certain situations because I don’t want to have no encounters with law enforcement. If I know it’s a chance that a house might get ran in then I’m not about to just be sitting over there and kicking it.

The people that are still away, do you look out for them? Yeah. Even if I’m not involved in their day to day life I gotta get their feedback. They love the CD. They feel like I’m speaking for them. They know I’ve been right there beside them and they feel like I’m speaking for them Even if I didn’t send no pictures this month, I still dropped my CD. I’m their voice.

Listen to Bird in A Drought 2 now on



COVER STORY: DT Farrelli, Bird in A Drought

5x, bird, drought, DT, farrelli, indiana, kittii, lamplighter, naptown, playbwoi, rapper, red, roselawn, slow, yourself I don’t ever want to hear people say rap doesn’t influence [our daily lives]. It really does influence things and people just like movies. I try to put the morals and values in my music and lead by example. I advise people not to get into the street life, but if they out here I try to tell them you have to have morals and values if you are. Keep reading 0


By: Le’Deana Brown

Your name has preceded you from sports, to music, to things that have happened in the streets in the city… Dumes has been a household name for a long time as far as the streets. I took it to the basketball world, now I’m bringing it to music, just trying to keep It alive. I was kind of prepped for the lights. As far as being under scrutiny and being a ball player and things of that nature. It was a great prep for this existence.

What was it like being away but knowing your music was moving despite the situation? It was different because I would see a lot of individuals come through either in the county or in prison and they knew my music. I knew that people kind of knew of the buzz, but I didn’t know how extreme or to the extent that it was. People would tell me over the phone, the buzz is crazy, the buzz is crazy but it’s hard to believe something you can’t see.

Do people still ask you about sports? Yeah they do that was majority of what they asked about if it wasn’t the music. They would be like, “aw that’s the IU guy.” I still get that question.

What prompted the changing of lanes? It seems like you were raised in it, you were going for it, you were all in and it stopped. The music came about years ago. My freshmen year in college a close friend of mine told me I should pursue it, so I kept pursuing it. The basketball never really stopped, but it slowed in a way. When I couldn’t get a job after going through 3-4 agents I kind of trickled back into the streets. Once the streets came, the music just kind of compounded with it. My music displays a lot of the stories I’ve been through.

Your music is kind of personal and you are touching on things that have happened in your life, and the lives of the people around you. Facts right? I’m not one of the guys that speaks on something and never seen it or never done it or boasts and brags on something, that’s not a part of my character. A lot of my music is based on the vulnerability of my life.

There are several references in your music referencing some kind of beef or situation that people have seen lived out on TV or at events. What makes you feel like you want to talk about that in your music? I speak on things in my music because it’s my life. I don’t want to give people a façade. I would rather speak on factual things than non-factual things. I don’t fear nothing but Allah, so anything that comes with it or behind it, I’m prepared for it.

The video for your remix to “Hot Nigga” that was the last video you got to do with your brother Dominique in it right? How did things change from there? It’s been hard for me, it’s like being in a little paddle boat trying to row and going up stream. It’s been hard. He was someone who was close and dear to my heart. I lost him to gun violence. I’m taking it in stride and that was definitely the last time I got to be with him.

Was there a moment that made you realize people were really rocking with your music? I had a moment to when of my close friends leaked one of my songs in Sunset Strip Club, and I specifically told him not to. He did it anyway, and the DJ was just like “Where is this guy at? I want him, I want to play this record,” and they kept playing it. I was like, “Wow, they really like my music!” That was one of the defining moments of my musical career.

Now you can’t go to the club without hearing the song “Reign!” Tell us about your single “Solid” featuring Lil E and Kevin Gates. It really just defines who I am as a person and what I’ve been through. Other people that have been through similar situations should know about it. If you get yourself into a mess, don’t cop out by throwing someone else under the bus. You have to take responsibility and be accountable for your actions. Solid was a definite must for me to do and I’m glad it came out when it came out.

Was it important for you to make sure the people you chose to put on the song with you were solid enough to talk about being solid? Of course, it matches up to a T. I couldn’t have made that song with halfway guys or horrible guys. It wouldn’t have made sense. Nobody would have loved it, nobody would have liked it. Nobody probably even would have played it. It was a beautiful chance meeting Kevin Gates through DJ Reddy Rock. The rest was history, it was magic. Since the song matched up from a-z I think that’s what makes the song what it is. People know me that don’t even know what I look like. They be like, “Man that’s you that sing that Solid song?”

Speaking of solid, you have some solid women in your life. What was it like growing up with such strong women as a part of the force that raised you? They taught me and showed me a lot of love. Being with the women and the people in my life built my character. To be the man that I’m supposed to be, take care of my responsibilities and things of that nature. It’s pretty much implanted in my DNA. The good set of twin women that you are speaking about, are impeccable with just being human beings.

They were the ones that gave you the advice about being safe and dangerous? My mother’s always told me to always keep myself safe, but you never let anyone walk all over you. Always keep yourself from situations you don’t gotta be in. My mother was the one who showed me everything to defend myself. My father went to prison when I was 11 or 12 years old. That’s why I was raised by my mother.

What’s next for Dbo? Be on the lookout for a feature with Bun B, a feature with Scarface, and many more artists to come. My welcome home party is February 25th. It’s going to be one of the most anticipated parties of the year, you won’t want to miss it. My album is called Deliberation. It’s based on what I went through in 2013 with my attempted murder case. It basically just gives you an outline of me. There’s been a lot of situations, from my brother getting killed to my growth as a person and artist. I feel like it’s a coming out party to the world.


Cover Story: DBo's Reign

33, basketball, dbo, deliberation, family, indiana, mfc, money, new, reign, rockstar, rsf, university Keep reading 1


billy, chs, crown, hfbt, hill, kenwood, lil, love, loyalty, section Crown Hill Section is all of our neighborhoods unifying. In the inner city we’ve never had a movement. It’s always been the westside and Haughville having their movement and the far eastside having their movement. We all knew each other from the streets, but in the midst of that a lot of us are good musicians. Crown Hill Section is bringing the music to the forefront and trying to leave all the street stuff behind and getting together as a unit with guys I’ve been knowing their entire life. My main focus is unity right now. Without unity a lot of things are not going to happen. We’re stronger when we’re together. Love & Loyalty. Keep reading 0