Vawn: Making U.G.L.Y. Cool

Jevon Sims is far from a rapper. His spirit wouldn’t let him claim such an uncompromising title. The born and reared ATLien remains steadfast to his jack-of-a-trades persona. Able to give the public the whole package, the man also known as Vawn, has taken hard earned lesson learned in Adamsville and is applying them to […]

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Jevon Sims is far from a rapper. His

spirit wouldn’t let him claim such an uncompromising title. The born

and reared ATLien remains steadfast to his jack-of-a-trades persona.

Able to give the public the whole package, the man also known as Vawn, has taken hard earned lesson learned in Adamsville and is applying them to hip-hop.


music the backbone in Vawn’s life, this future superstar admitted to

being a hardcore R&B fan, first! Influences ranging from Donnie

Hathaway to Sam Cooke helped fuel his creative penmanship to writing

for acts like Ginuwine, B2K, Xscape, Avant and Mya. His impeccable

business acumen has allowed him to go from artist development, pulling

the Black star power out of your favorite BET mainstays, to realizing

his own destiny as a force of his own.


securing a management deal with Tricky Stewart (producer for Rihanna’s

“Umbrella”) and building with partners Eugene Smoke and Jeff Woods

(SmoakWood), Vawn songs are a reflection of his commercial appeal

matched with his inspirational demeanor. The lead single, “Hollyhood” with Jazze Pha is a fire-starter in the clubs and with tracks such as “Ain’t Running Away” and “Please Don’t Stop” as follow-ups… the future is bright for Vawn.

presents Vawn; he’s not your average rapper. In this interview, he

discusses why God’s love is U.G.L.Y., speaks on how you can still be

inspirational and commercial and says three things that a true baler

should have if he says that he’s such. You’ve worked with a lot of people before you got behind the mic. Who all have you’ve worked with?

Vawn: I have worked with people like Jermaine Dupri, Jagged Edge, Avant, Xscape, B2K, Mya and Ginuwine… just to name a few. What have you learned from working with them?


I learned a lot from all of them. With Jermaine, I just saw how hard he

works to make his business flourish. He built his team from the ground

up and it’s just amazing to see how is work ethic is. Avant… wow… I

learned how to be humble. He’s one of the most humble people out there.

We got a really good friendship and I’ve learned a lot from him. He’s a

hardworking guy. Even when he doesn’t have time to give to his fans, he

tries to make time.

The team that supports you is always major. You have a manager who

produced Rihanna’s new single and another wrote the song?


My manager, Tricky Stewart, produced the song for Rihanna [“Umbrella”].

The whole Red Zone family is hot right now. They’re doing their thing.

In addition to being my manager, he’s produced records for Britney

Spears and plenty of others. He’s been in the game for sixteen years.

One of our key people, his name is Dream, he wrote the song, too. So,

the team is on point. He’s the next hottest writer and he’s really

going to do his thing. How does having those connections help you in this industry?


Well, one thing that makes it better is that some doors open faster for

you. The people who I’m close to are very educated in the music game.

So, it makes you have to step your game up. The Red Zone building has a

lot of people who are connected to one another. Jazze Pha is in the

building and we have all these works that come out of this place… 1410!

Everybody comes through this building and we’ll get involved in some

friendly competition.

Now, with the artist’s that you’ve written for, what’s one downside to

giving up your own personal talent to someone else?


Nothing really… it wasn’t really rap music that I was writing. It was

R&B. But I was also doing artist development and I’ve learned a lot

from it. Now, it would hurt if you were a singer and you gave up a

great number one hit. But in my situation, most of the stuff that I

written wasn’t for me, so it was cool. The greatest thing about working

about different people is understanding people’s work ethic. That’s why

Jay-Z, Beyoncé and people like that are on top. Their work ethic is

extreme. You can just see how hard they work for the success they got. “Hollyhood” is a strong single featuring Jazze Pha. How did the song come about?


I was entertaining my peers and sometimes that’s a lot harder than just

doing a crowd. Jazze Pha played me a bunch of beats and there was just

this one beat. He said that nobody wanted it. I called my friend

Jasper, he writes for a lot of people and he came in and we just

started vibing. The rest is history. It was great. We just finished the

video for it. The concept is kind of like, Coming To America, so I can’t wait for people to see it. I know that hasn’t launched, yet, but what will the site focus on?


I’m out on tour with Bow Wow, right now and my brother Mike set up a

site for the kids to be a part of the street team. They get to do

promotion and I send them gift cards and other exclusive materials. I’m

giving them an autographed quote book of things that I believe in and

what I say. You have to build your dreams up! You have to get people to

believe in what you’re trying to do. I have 400 people signed up

already. The word of mouth is out there. Shout out to my Hollyhoodlumz

out there! You buy the hood pass and you get all the free stuff.

You have a lot of good business practices and a strong team around you,

what’s been the hardest thing about the grind?


The hardest thing about it is trying to get people to believe in what I

believe in. I have a saying that I say to myself. I say, “Make a small

buzz and all the bees will flock to your comb.” People always like to

have something to say about someone. The only person that can hold you

back is yourself. Sometimes it gets hard to knock those walls down

trying to get people grasp. But there are only 1% leaders in this world

and the rest are followers. Everyday, all day, I dream and think, I eat

and work out and think about what I want to be and how I want to do it.

Whenever I stop, I feel lazy. I have a team around me that has the same

intensity. They have the same mentality, the same focus as me. But

that’s the hard part; to get people hype enough to where they want to

get on the same page. In addition to writing for other people, you also wrote an inspirational book called, The True Hollyhood Story. Can you talk about it?


It’s about me and the essence of everything that I’ve been through. I

don’t glorify the things that other people do, but I’m trying to give

something tangible that people can relate to. It’s hard to provide for

your family, so for me, that’s what I talk about. I want to show people

the good times, the bad times and the arguments that went into my life.

It’s all just a testimony. I’m a rapper, but spirituality is about

everything. As long as you pray about it, you can get it. I have two

programs. One is called “U.G.L.Y.” [Understanding God Loves You] and

the other one is called “I’m Safe.” It stands for “I’m Stopping AIDS

From Expanding.” We’re trying to inspire people to be the best that

they can be. That’s what Hollyhood stands for. Just because I’ve done

all these things, I’m still thinking big. When the lights were off at

my apartment, which is a true story, for about two months, my

imagination was my TV! What geared you to write such a motivation piece of literature for [target audience]…?


It’s definitely in there. Let me tell you why. I can relate all the way

from the hood to Mid-America. I can relate from the kids to the grown

folks. For the adults, I’m saying stop being content with anything.

Time is everything. It’s about having freedom. You have one life to

live and as people you have to live it. If you dream it and talk about

it, then do it! At the end of the day it’s been a road; been a

struggle, but people will be able to see it. You’ll see this upcoming

documentary and I want people to be inspired. That’s all I can give to

the world. That’s all I can ask for. “Ain’t Running Away”

has a strong hook. It sounds like something that champions ride out to.

Who produced the song and how was that studio session like?


It was incredible. God put his beam on me for that. This producer by

the name of Nastee cooked it up. He’s signed to CTE; shout out to all

them… Jeezy, I see you! Rock City, they’re some friends of mine, hopped

on the track to do the hook. I heard it all together and I thought that

the song was crazy. The concept was ill, but I wanted to flip it. I

still wanted to say that I ain’t running away, but let’s dig deeper.

So, when Rock City was about to do the bridge, I told him to do a

ghetto “We Are The World,” type of vibe and he made it an aggressive

track. By the time they [the listener] figured it out, they realize the

strength within the song. By all means, it’s the truth, it’s absolutely

the truth. The 1st verse is about not growing up with a father. The 2nd

verse is saying that it doesn’t matter if he [the father] wasn’t there.

Sometimes, it’s the mother’s fault. They can use the kid as a tool. So,

I’m not blaming anybody. I’m just saying in the song that my time as a

man is now and I’m speaking from the bottom of my heart. I’m trying to

change the tree. I’m not saying that any man is a bad father, but for

me, I don’t care if you cut my legs off, I’m going to make sure that my

son shines. If you’re a man, a true man, then you’re son is going to

follow suit. But if you raised a male, he’s going to be a male. I’m

trying to come outside the boundaries with something different. I am

not trying to preach to anybody, but you didn’t even think about it

happening in the song. But when you listen to it for a second time and

really listen to it, the message pulls you and it gets you.

Its message speaks to those who have no fear but, can a man be a strong

individual without having to make a name for themselves in the streets?


A man is a man who can stand in the mirror and stay in his lane. You

have to be spiritually grounded to know how it is. You have to really,

really understand what it means to be successful. There are a lot of

people who have money who aren’t successful. I think that it’s funny,

back in the day we had all types of rap. We had Public Enemy, Wu-Tang,

Run-DMC, Kurtis Blow… everybody had their lane. People could enjoy

their type of rap music. Now today, it’s only one way. You’re a thug, a

gangsta. You’ve killed somebody or been shot. I’m not trying to be the

best rapper, I just entertain and I want people to know what’s going

down. In the same way, I’m not perfect. Don’t praise me, just praise

God. I don’t care what you’ve done, I just want people to wake up and

realize things. You don’t have to be like everyone else in order to be


With rap music coming under so much fire lately and you being an artist

who has an inspirational tone, does your message of motivation ever get

conflicted with what the streets would want to hear?


Put it this way… in my music, it is what the streets want to hear. I

got some fun songs; I got some songs about being a G. My inspirational

tone is in my interviews, in my personality. I have a song about how I

beat up the block. Rick Ross is on the song, yet his views are

different than mines. I’m not saying my spiritual tone is me, but it’s

in certain things in my music. There are three things that an artist

should do and it should fit into each other. In order to be successful

in music, your songs should be on fire. Then, you should try to be more

visually exciting than your music. Last, you should have something to

say in your interview that is relevant and informative. That’s where my

tone came from. Everything that I’ve seen, I’ve written about. I write

about what people like to do, I write about what I’ve done. The way

that I put it in is inspiration but most people wouldn’t even get it.

I’m going to shoot the pictures because people don’t read, but they’ll

look at pictures. In order to affect people, you got to be in. What I

mean by that is that I can’t just come in and change your diet. Yeah,

it may be a little cleaner than Jeezy’s, but if you’re not interested

then you won’t eat it. So, I’d have to advertise and gain that

interested. But I guarantee if you come to my restaurant, you’ll dig my

food. How does that conflict or that battle between secular and spiritual affect something like “U.G.L.Y.”…?


It depends on how you look at it. You have to look at it as an entity.

I wear different hats. Hell, let take me out of the discussion. With

Jeezy or Ludacris, they do something catchy, but it has nothing to do

with the fact that they give back to the community. Even Nino Brown

gave back. There’s a double standard, but I don’t know if in the music

game, you can wear multiple hats and put them in the same sentence.

You’ll still have your contradictions, which will give people a lot to

say, but you’re still a man. Regardless of the hats that you wear,

you’re already born into sin. Let the contradictions begin, because

after that I get to be on television and get a chance to speak on those

things! That’s what I say about rapping; music is music! Don’t just

blame it on rappers, because when someone does clean raps, no one talks

about that. “Please Don’t Stop” is another track that caught my attention. What was your worst moment with a lady?


Ah, bruh, let me think… What was worst date…? I’m a picky dude. I had

a blind date when I was younger. My brother hooked me up with this cute

girl. Her attitude sucked and she smoked so much cigarettes! It was

disgusting. I would say in the whole course of the date, she had to

have smoked three packs of cigarettes. It was ridiculous. She got drunk

and she threw up in the house. We took care of her like gentlemen, but

I think that that was my worst date. She threw up in my car too! “Let Me See Dat”

is a song for the ballers. With freshness close to Godliness [laughs],

what are three things that every man who says got money should have?


You’d have to have a bank account, for one [laughs]. It’s easy to say

regular stuff like a car, house and women, but I’m trying to think

above that. I would have to say a bank account, a stable environment

for your family and loved ones and a roof over everyone’s head. But

“Let Me See Dat” was aimed at the dudes who act like they get money.

They’re the ones who say they got money wrapped around money, but all

the really got is a hundred wrapped around a bundle of ones. I got a

dude, right now, who has a Mercedes key ring and doesn’t have a

Mercedes. He’s never owned one. But it [the song] sounds like a party

joint. That’s my thing to get you involved. That’s what makes my music

good. The beat jams, you know?! In music, I’m trying to put in comedy.

A lot of this stuff can be too serious. I just want to make people feel

good. Why can’t it make you feel like you want to wash your car and

stunt? I’m from the hood, but I got flavor and I want people to

understand. I got love from the neighborhood and I told them thank you

because I wouldn’t have been able to do all that I am doing now. Thank

you to for doing this interview. I appreciate all that. I

can walk anywhere in the hood and get love because I show love. With a healthy buzz, a strong future and a dream to achieve, what’s next for Vawn?


I’m trying to make this record number one. Shout out to my business

partners Eugene Smoke and Jeff Woods. Together we’re trying to make

“Hollyhood” a number one record. The hardest thing to pick is a wife

and a business partner. Until then, I’m trying to diversify. I want to

be able to do a lot of things in my career. This [music] is my love. I

had to slow down somewhat because I didn’t want my acting career to go

faster than my rapping career. So, I’m striving to be the newest number

one artist of the year. I may fall short, but I’m going to give 250

million percent to get it. I’m going to strive for that this year and

push to be a people person, continue to glorify God and to make sure

that I balance it out and give a different flavor to music. My music is

hood, but it’s not me over some beats just talking about the same thing

over and over again.

Vawn’s website is

Vawn’s Myspace Page is