12 Questions for Twelve – A revered San Diego artist
Twelve (previously known as 12 Gauge Shotie) is headlining the San Diego Entertainer’s Local Music Alliance Special Hip Hop Edition Play list which is a collaborated effort with Jellyradio.com. The play list features artists from San Diego competing for the coveted winning position and prize package giving them loads of coverage and helping to put the budding local music scene on the map. Tune in Mondays at 8p on Jelly Radio to catch all the artists live in the mix with DJ Play and Miss K. Vote for Twelve here!
If you follow the local hip hop scene, or have friends that do, you have probably heard of Twelve, previously known as 12 Gauge Shotie. Twelve is arguably one of the neighborhood’s most revered rappers. Whether the love for Twelve is for his swagger, hooks, beats or raw lyriscm- we’re not sure, but he’s definitely got the city’s support.
Since 2004 Twelve has been making serious waves in the San Diego scene. Twelve was part of the Mary Jane Junkeez, a trio hailing from San Diego that put out their first album called Operation Gain Green. The CD did exceptionally well, was enjoyed by the community and began to put Twelve on the map. Still, people refer to Twelve as the “solo bolo with a lot to say,” from track number six on the album. The project with his group was nearly six years ago, and since then Twelve has maintained a very active career and growing fan base.
Twelve has worked with everyone from DJ Fingaz from San Diego to The Jacka from the Bay. In 2007, Twelve released The Price of Money album with The Jacka which was a collaboration and featured 12 slappin’ hits, presented by Yze Guyz Entertainment.
The digital distribution and online capabilities that Twelve has provided to his fans, allowing them to connect with his music, has most definitely been something worth noticing. Many local artists lack the ability to properly organize their musical distribution. With his label, Yze Guyz Entertainment, Twelve has really stepped up his professional game — and it’s working.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Twelve, as 2010 stands to be a landmark year and probably his most active yet. With internet searches for music by Twelve surging, and his response with more videos, music and a fresh new website, there’s lots to know about.
Why did you start making music – how did you find out that you could rap?
I’ve been making music since I was 10 years old. I was writing raps, not really recording then but having songs in the arsenal basically. By people’s response I could tell they liked it, I had more people saying ‘yes’ than ‘no’ and it got me started.
Having been in the local scene for several years, what do you think has kept you relevant and arguably one of the most followed local hip hop/rap artists?
I stay relevant because I am in the streets and I really connect with the people by them seeing me and interacting. You know I’m always around and they can see me really making moves. And I’m not afraid to really work with people and help to put on other people in the scene. Just by staying in the community I stay relevant.
On that note, recently D.O.M. was released which you are featured on. As we understand this was an initiative from The Batkave, how did you get involved?
D.O.M had 60 artists, and was created at the Batkave and with my main producers. It is a project for the city, just an effort to get as many artists to work together as possible; with different songs, hooks, DJ’s and producers — basically to all work together on one project.
Twitter buzz in the community surged when people began asking “What is D.O.M,” so can you break the silence?
Yes, it stands for Death of the Mix tapes. We made our own re-mixtape, taking the beats and re-doing them along with the lyrics with different songs that you’ve heard before. We put our own twist with it. Everyone does mix tapes with the beats that sound the same, but we changed the beat a bit so it sounds different. It’s free, you can get it on thechannel12.com.
“Winner”- Twelve ft. Tommy Redding from the Re-mix tapes
For the local artists that look up to you, what advice would you give them?
It’s hard work and dedication. You may have heard it before, but you need to hear it again. Nothing came overnight and everyday you need to keep working towards your goals. If you have a dream, it’s not going to come to you. Reality, you gotta make it happen. You got to get up and keep working towards that goal. Determination.
You will be featured and headlining on the Local Music Alliance hip hop play list for the Entertainer Magazine debuting shortly. Despite a big scene in San Diego what do you think has kept it from blowing up?
It’s the market, we don’t have a big hip hop scene. Because it’s a melting pot of a lot of different races and people, like the Navy and the retired, a lot of people look over us because they don’t know we have talent in our city. San Diego Zoo; there’s a lot of talent out here. Somebody’s going to discover us and it’s going to be soon, or we’re going to make it our own way, like we’ve been doing.
Your new website was just launched, what can people expect from thechannel12.com
Thechannel12.com is a site for underground music only. It’s for everybody that’s trying to get their music out to other people or use it as a source for people to find them, other than YouTube. A place to find hot underground music, I’m just trying to keep helping everyone out that is on the same chase I’m on.
2010 stands to be an exciting year, can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
Well I have my own version of D.O.M, which is M.I.D – which stands for Mix tapes Is Dead, which is Part II. It’s mine but featuring a lot of SD artists as well, and DJ’s. It will be produced by DJ Jam, which is Snoop Dogg’s DJ. A lot of people don’t know that he’s actually from San Diego. And he will be bringing it all night, that’s next month.
As well, I have my upcoming solo project, I haven’t dropped one of those yet. And it’s called That’s how I’m living; we just got work, so there is a lot of music ready.
Will these projects be different from your others? And when will they be released?
I’m always different, that’s what makes me Twelve. So yes, they will be different. Your really are going to see a new side of me, because I will have my solo projects — so it will be all me. Rocking’ by myself , ‘the solo bolo with a lot to say.’
Also, this will be my first solo album, I’ve never put one out before– so look for that.
Who will you be working with on these projects, any specific collaborators you’d like to mention?
I’ve been working with DJ Quik, Too Short, Aaron Hal; these are more experienced music figures. I’ve been getting a lot of game, mentor type thing. They are on my projects and helping me, Passport Music is also coming up. Yze Guyz in demand right now!
Everyone knows that getting signed is only becoming more challenging; are you choosing to keep it completely independent?
I’m going to keep it independent. When I get a deal, and the money’s right – a deal is a deal. As long as you got goals, and with the music industry you can’t expect anything overnight. As long as you’re doing better than you have been doing and seeing progress, you can’t complain. I’ll keep doing me until the deal is presented, and if not, then I’ll just keep going. One day at a time, that’s just how I live my life.
And with the struggle, what keeps you going and motivated?
You gotta have a love for it. There’s a lot of artists that are trying to get it for the money. I just love music, so I’ll do it regardless. Music keeps me going no matter what. It’s all good.
Do you still keep in contact with your band mates from the Mary Jane Junkeez days? May there ever be a reunion in the future?
Yeah. My brother is in the feds, Mickey Defense and has about a year and half left. So time will take itself and you never know what happens. We’re all close still and it could happen [a reunion], more than likely. Look forward to it, I can’t make no promises I can’t keep. But more than likely.
Is there anything you would like to add; and can we let the public announcement run, that it’s no longer 12 Gauge Shotie, it’s just Twelve?
Twelve is more wholesome, household. I got a lot of younger fans, they tell their mom ‘I wanna buy 12 Gauge Shotie’. So now, Twelve, that’s me. I may be something else next month. Call me what you want.
I just want everyone to know that Yze Guyz is a real label. Fly and I are coming out soon! San Diego keep working and I’ll keep repping for it and holding it down. SD Live wire.
Follow @12gaugeshotie on Twitter and check out the free M.I.D. download listed above! You can vote for Twelve or one of your other favorite San Diego artists by clicking here and also get the free play list download.
Catch the play list live in the mix on Jelly Radio (jellyradio.com) Monday at 8p with DJ Play and Miss K hosting the LMA Hip Hop Countdown. Stay tuned for more San Diego coverage with sdentertainer.com