Boyz N Da Hood: Gangsta, Gangsta

    Three years ago, Russell “Block” Spencer, the CEO of Block Entertainment, came up with the idea of creating a rap group to help fill a void he felt was missing in rap music.        “I felt like the music at the time was watered down.  There wasn’t any trace of that gangsta sound,” says […]

    Three years ago, Russell “Block” Spencer, the CEO of Block Entertainment, came up with the idea of creating a rap group to help fill a void he felt was missing in rap music.        “I felt like the music at the time was watered down.  There wasn’t any trace of that gangsta sound,” says Block.  “I just wanted to put out what I felt was missing.  People must have felt just like me because everyone started responding real quickly.  We started the company and put out some music ….then Diddy started working with us….and then you know the rest.”        The rest is that Boyz N Da Hood, composed of Young Jeezy, Big Gee, Jody Breeze, and Duke, went on to produce a gold-selling album and bring Bad Boy Records back into the limelight.  Then, after gaining such quick success,  Young Jeezy seemingly broke free from the group with his own hit single.  Within a few months, it appeared that the group had been pushed aside and the plan set out by Block had gone awry.  According to Block, this couldn’t be further from the truth.        “Jeezy was signed to a one album contract.  He was never supposed to stay in the group.  Boyz N Da Hood was made so that the group members could switch in and out.  I originally had established artist like T.I. and Lil’ Wayne in mind for the group but I decided to work with individuals that were up and coming.  These would be individuals that already had a movement behind them but hadn’t crossed over yet.”        With Young Jeezy having already released a second successful solo album, Block now focuses on putting out another Boyz N Da Hood album with Jeezy’s replacement, Gorilla Zoe – a rapper who’s got a white-hot buzz as of late. So how did Gorilla Zoe hook up with the group?Gorilla Zoe:  Block heard me on a mixtape.  I‘ve been in Atlanta doing my thing for a while and my name just popped  With that said, what element does each one of you bring to the group?Jody Breeze: On the album I just play my role.  I’m the young gunner.  Gee brings that gutter s**t.  That “I’m about to fall off the face of the earth and I’m only hanging on by a thread” s**t. Duke bring that early ‘90s s**t.  Zoe is a soldier.  Gorilla Zoe:  I’m bringing the hood s**t. I’m representing East Point, and I’m bringing that to the album.  Big Gee:  Each one of us brings something different but, with time, the roles have changed.  I was the O.G.,  Jody Breeze was the young, wild cat.  Jeezy was the money-getting cat.  Duke was the soldier. I mean the roles have changed with me now that we’ve become a company. My first thing is making sure that Boyz N Da Hood is making the right type of records. The fans love our music because of the way it makes them feel.  It’s more that just the gangsta music……it’s the beats, the hooks, it’s the whole sound that makes everything come  What’s going to be the difference between the debut album and Back Up N Da Chevy?Big Gee:  For one, we have a new member. We have good chemistry with Gorilla Zoe so that’s not gonna be a problem. We’re sticking with the same formula.  We’re not gonna try to drive in another lane because we don’t expect to just jump out there and become a household name. We know how we get down so we expect that some people will ride with us and some people won’t. We try to stay in the same lane with the gangsta, gutter, southern Hip-Hop music. Plus, I think we show a little bit of growth on this album….it’s not all just shoot ‘em up, bang-bang type lyrics. We added a little more diversity.Jody Breeze:  The vibe on this album is pretty much the same but we’ve matured.  We’ve  Any features on the album?Big Duke:  A big one is Ice Cube.  I mean, he and Block were working on a movie and things just came together. It’s big to have someone from N.W.A. ‘cause that’s the type of movement that we  Now when you guys first came out, your CEO, Block, was creating a group in response to what he felt was a watered down climate in rap music. What are your takes on the climate of rap music today?Big Gee:  Music is forever gonna change and take a turn. When I hear people talk about Hip-Hop being dead….I don’t know. What I do know is that this rap music ain’t going anywhere. As long as people can relate to the music, it’s gonna continue to do what it do. I mean, when they make movies they don’t just make one type of movie. There are Westerns, Love Stories……  People just want to hear different things. People are having fun again with club music. I know some people might think it sounds stupid but people just like the music. When you’re in the club, you aren’t listening for lyrics.  You’re trying to just feel the bass. Feel the music. You’re not trying to hear a message in the music.  What did you guys think of fans saying that Boyz ‘N Da Hood were breaking up after Young Jeezy left the group?Gorilla Zoe: I respect and appreciate everything that Jeezy’s done. I’m not trying to take anything away from him. He does his thing and I do my thing. I mean…I’m just honored to be in the position I am.  I’m a fan of Boyz N Da Hood and the movement that they’ve created. I just want to continue on with it and get it out to the fans.Big Gee:  Well, we always knew that people were going to look at it like that. I mean, the outside world doesn’t know your business. Ice Cube left N.W.A. but he never signed a contract with the group. The outside world doesn’t always know your business. We try to explain it the best we can, but there is only so much you can do. Jeezy signed a one-album contract.  It was supposed to work this way. He’s on to the next stage and I wish him the best of luck.Jody Breeze: I personally didn’t know that when the group first started. It is what it is…it’s some industry s**t. I didn’t know he was only signed to a one-album deal. I didn’t know they was doing deals like that.  Now that I know, ain’t nothing to do but roll with  When is everyone’s solo album due in stores?Big Gee:  I really haven’t set a date for mine. I got to work on getting my name out there and developing my own situation. I’m trying to branch out and do some other stuff in television and film.Gorilla Zoe: My album, Welcome to the Zoo, is supposed to come out right after the Boyz N Da Hood album.Big Duke:  I’m still working on my album right now.  It should be out sometime next year.Jody Breeze:  My album, A Day in the Life, will be out right after the Boyz N Da Hood album.  Jody, A lot of fans have been waiting on your album but it keeps getting pushed back–Jody Breeze:  I could be affected by my album getting pushed back but I make sure to stay busy. I grind all the time. I’m always doing shows. I’m always doing mixtapes. I’m always recording. When you do this s**t, you got to make business your first priority. When I first came into the game, business wasn’t my first priority. You have to deal with so much stuff with these labels.  Right now I feel like going independent. I’m putting an album out right after the Boyz N Da Hood….might be independent….might be with a label. I don’t want to predict the future but I would like to do independent because you get to see more of your money. What have you learned from being in Boyz N Da Hood?Jody Breeze:  Patience. Obedience. Playing your part. Being in a group with so many different personalities….I can’t even describe it. I can understand what N.W.A. went through. I can understand what TLC went through. Any group….all of them go through the same things because everybody got their opinion. You just got to make the best of the situation.