Tha Bizness: You Need to Know…from Mistah F.A.B. to 50 Cent

It may seem like the typical rap-braggadocio steez for a production duo to claim they’re the next ones to etch their signature in the A-list production totem pole. However with Sha Money XL backing their beats and 50 Cent dropping their name, Tha Bizness is in a position where such optimism seems warranted. Until two […]


may seem like the typical rap-braggadocio steez for a production duo

to claim they’re the next ones to etch their signature in the A-list

production totem pole. However with Sha Money XL backing their beats

and 50 Cent dropping their name, Tha Bizness is in a position where

such optimism seems warranted.


two years ago, cousins Dow Jones and J Hen were climbing their way through

industry ranks separately, to moderate success and only regional recognition.

But when both of their individual strengths are brought together in

the ever-expanding enterprise that is Tha Bizness, it seems nothing

is out of reach. In the midst of creating opportunities and lining up

a deal for their own promising artist Mistah F.A.B., Tha Bizness are continuing

to span their client list and span as many genres as possible. As they

told, they’re happy to have guidance from some of the

best in the game, and they’re ready to work harder than ever this

year. Get at them. You guys decided

to get together after you both had bad experiences working on your own.

What kind of situations were you facing? 

J Hen: I think for me it was

when I first came out to LA back in 2002. I was working on a couple

of movie projects, Two Can Play That Game and Hairshow, and I think

it was dealing with certain people that just didn’t have the right

grind that I was looking for and the right juice that was needed for

me to get to the next level. I think it was the same for Dow also. He

was trying to get in with different people and make sure his career

was taking off, and we just started talking more about doing things

together. We both had the same hustle, and when we put it together it

just started to work because we were both in the same situation with

the same mind state, going toward the same goal. So that just took it

to a whole other level. 

Dow Jones: The way we look

at it now is like the old saying, “Everything happens for a reason.”

It was funny because we had gotten up and talked a few times, but we

never actually took it to that next level of actually solidifying it

and moving together. But it was through a couple situations that we

reached back together. And s###, ever since then everything has been

good. How did the

deal with Sha Money XL’s Teamwork Music Inc. come to fruition? 

J Hen: I had worked on the

Lloyd Banks album and did “Take A Good Look,” and we always kept

in contact with Sha. Maybe two years later G-Unit started started hitting

us on MySpace to see what we had going on and seeing if we had any tracks

for Hot Rod and Lloyd again. We had already started to establish Tha

Bizness together, and we sent them some tracks. They were like “Whoa,

what are you guys doing? Who’s managing you?” At that time we were

just going strong by ourselves with no management, and [Sha] was like

“Man, I’ve got to get you guys down on my team, I think I can get

you guys in there with 50, I think I can get you in with G-Unit, and

you guys have such a universal sound I don’t think I’ll have any

problem getting your stuff to a lot of big artists.” We started working

with Sha more and more, and we worked a deal out, and he’s just been

going hard for us. What kind of

guidance did you guys get from his as far as taking your reputation

to the next level?  

Dow Jones: With him being in

the situation he’s in, being right there with 50 through the whole

thing, he’s got to see every aspect of the game. After he was working

with Trackmasters and that didn’t really work out, 50 and Sha started

from nothing and turned it into what it is today. Just from him being

around that and the experiences they’ve had being one of the biggest

teams to ever be in the music game, it was a lot of overall knowledge

that way. Like with our “Follow My Lead” record, he told us it was

50’s favorite record and Jimmy Iovine loves it, and just the types

of things that are going to happen after we finally get out there and

get that stamp of approval from one of the game’s biggest artists.

Like “OK, these producers are valid. They don’t just got one hit,

they got a whole bunch of s###.” You guys have

both worked with a variety of artists on the West. Dow how did your

involvement in the mixtape scene out there contribute to the production


Dow Jones: We just always look

at it like everything as a stepping stone. When I was going really hard

with the mixtapes, mixtapes were still relevant. So we just use the

mixtapes and the relationships with the mixtapes to one – get better

relationships with these artists, and two – also get some of the

artists more familiar with the beats. Basically we have a way to put

our own albums out through the mixtapes. Through that we were able to

get with artists like Glasses Malone and our own artist Mistah F.A.B.

It lets us reach different artists and we don’t have to go through

the labels and deal with the A&Rs or anything like that. We can

just get to them like “Here’s some s### for the mixtape,” and

we’ll send them the joints for the mixtape, only to hear back from

them “Man, I don’t even want to use this for the mixtape, I want

this for the album.” So it kind of helps cut some corners in the game

without having a major name out there yet. It’s able to speed up the

process for a little bit. 

J Hen: It also helped because

Dow was getting direct contact with the artist, and sometimes it’s

easier to bypass the A&R. People are understanding his tapes are

valid out there on the West, and artists are like “Let me give you

my number, or my manager’s number.” So now we have a direct connect

not only for the mixtapes but for tracks. When artists started to hear

about the tracks, we’ve already got a relationship from the tapes.

So we took that same hustle as far as, not always bypassing the A&R,

but having that direct contact and relationship with the artist. You two are

the ones responsible for breaking Mistah F.A.B. on a national level. Are

you happy with the buzz he’s generated thus far, battling Royce and


Dow Jones: Yeah, one thing

F.A.B. is he’s an incredible person. He’s rare, because he can do so

much. He came up more as a backpack artist with Sway and Tech and the

Wakeup Show, and then through Mac Dre embracing him and bringing him

into the more into the more hyphy side of the Bay area music along with

Keak Da Sneak. So it’s almost like F.A.B. has two or three different

careers all in one. And then the spotlight from the battle with Royce

showed the country that he can really rap. It’s not just he’s a

gimmick guy that can make a pop t### song and all that, he can really

rap. He takes pride in this whole hustle, and on top of that F.A.B. is

a big character. He steps in the room and lights it up, not matter what’s

going on, he’s got that energy and it’s always a good vibe. People

gravitate to him, so it’s good that we can help him do his thing,

and just by him being him people realize he has that “it” that people

always ask about. He easily has that, and it’s helped gravitate the

movement and us being able to do it on our own, and get it to a point

where Atlantic was able to come by, recognize what we were doing, understand

the movement, let us control it and give us what we need to take him

to the next level. So it’s been a real good look. 

J Hen: So now with Atlantic,

we’re just trying to make sure we can blend the two. The fact that

he does have incredible talent for being a lyricist, but also being

an extraordinary, extravagant hyphy artist. We’re trying to find the

right balance so we can get the perfect records for him to give him

the biggest audience. That is definitely what we’ve been focusing

on now, making sure that they do take him to be a great lyricist but

also make commercial records. It’s good

to hear that you’re getting that support with a new artist. Is that

more exciting for you, trying to break new artists as opposed to just

working with or getting placements with established ones? 

Dow Jones: Definitely. It kind

of goes hand-in-hand because with 50, it was great to work with him

for “Follow My Lead” and also the theme song that we did ABC and

ESPN for College Football this year with 50, Kelly Rowland and Perry

Ferrel. Just from 50, the professionalism, and him just going in and

knocking it out not needing too much guidance, but maybe listening to

a few ideas we have. Then on the other end of the spectrum you have

a F.A.B. or Glasses Malone, where they’re a younger artist in the game

but they still have a knowledge of what needs to be done. They understand

more of us interacting together, and trusting us to be able to give

them what they’re looking for and what they need. So you’re getting

the best of world worlds, and it’s two different experiences. You

can’t lose.  

J Hen: Exactly. It’s kind

of like we’re teachers and students at the same time. It’s great

to be a student working with bigger artists and working underneath some

of the bigger producers we’ve got guidance from. Like has

been kind of a guidance counselor for us, and also working with DJ Toomp.

But then as a teacher, being able to guide a new artist you’re able

to use the lessons learned and things we’ve gone through in our careers

and the industry in general. It really comes full circle, so we take

everything seriously and we always look at everything we’re doing

in that light. You guys are

originally from Seattle, but now work out of Atlanta and LA. Have those

transitions affected the music you’re making, or given you a better

appreciation for what’s out there? 

Dow Jones: You can only learn

so much staying in one place, so for me it’s always been about moving

around and getting in movements. Like when everything was going on in

the Bay, we’d constantly be up there working with E-40 and Mister

F.A.B., Turf Talk and all the other Bay artists, getting to see the whole

movement with our own eyes and getting to see how the music is different.

I think that’s what’s helped mold the sound so well is that from

being all over, you get to take a little bit from each place you’re

at and bring it in to what you’re doing. And also with that knowledge

of just being out there and seeing different things, you get to see

how business is handled differently in different places. So it’s really

about seeing some of the different movements while they’re happening,

and understand why they’re happening, and why certain songs are successful

in certain regions. It’s helped us to be able to add different elements

that we like from wherever, and almost merge that into a new form of

music. It’s adapting everything that’s current using our foundation

of a good, melodic sound, and making it relevant to what’s going on

right now.