By: Keith “1st Prophet” Kennedy

Picture it. Orlando, Florida. August 4-6, 2006. 5,000 Tastemakers or members of the entertainment industry who have the power to dictate trends, gathered for the purpose of networking, learning, acknowledging the best in their field, and to have a good time in peace. What event could harness such power and simultaneously make history? The answer is the 2006 TJ’s DJ’s Tastemakers DJ/Music Conference & 1st Annual Ozone Awards.

The event was sparked on Friday, August 4 with a set of informative panels that covered topics from Producers, DJs, Technology, and the Indie Executives. The panelists represented entertainment’s best and brightest that included Grammy nominated producers such as Cool & Dre (Christina Millian, Fat Joe) and Mr. ColliPark (Ying Yang, B.G., Bubba Sparxxx) along with producers of certified hood classics like Jim Jonsin (Trick Daddy, Pretty Ricky) and The Runners (“Hustlin”).

The panels were also blessed with gold & platinum album award winners such as former No Limit producer, KLC (40 million units sold) and the people who helped put artists in a winning position such as Bryan Leach (signed Lil Jon, Pitbull, & Ying Yang Twins), Vince Phillips (CEO, BME Records), Mike Clarke (VP, SwishaHouse), and most importantly the DJs. Houston’s Brandi Garcia, DJ Wally Sparks, Green Lantern, DJ Nasty, Chuck T, DJ Jelly, and Clinton Sparks banded together to get the conference members familiar with the mindset of a good DJ. Plus, anyone who had a question about utilizing today’s technology to achieve a greater market share could directly ask AOL Radio, MySpace.com, and DigiWaxx.

After the business, Koch Records hosted a suite listening party to highlight their upcoming releases including DJ Unk’s “Walk It Out” and DJ Khaled’s album. Soon after, the Tastemakers migrated towards the pool deck to be thoroughly entertained during the "Welcome To Florida Pool Party & Tastemakers Tasties Fashion Show" hosted by Khao & Stay Fresh. While viewing the latest fashions arranged by Envy Me, Inc. from lines including LRG, Struggle Wear, CakeMixx, and body paint by Rohoun Designs worn by a legion of beautiful models, the Tastemakers were treated to an explosive musical line-up that included Chyna Whyte, Khao, Crime Mob, Young Capone, Daz, and T-Hud.

Next, it was Interscope Records’ time to shine as the Tastemakers eagerly entered Club Cairo for the kick-off party that set a fantastic tone for the weekend. Interscope took full advantage of the Tastemakers attention by dazzling them with a strong line-up that included Rich Boy, Young Buck, Slim Thug, Lloyd Banks, Obie Trice, Jibbs, Hot Rod, & Stat Quo. Meanwhile, the Tastemakers were treated to a little bit of Duval magic as Bigga Rankins, Supastar J.Kwik!, & The Cool Runnings DJ Crew set up shop on the roof. And just when the Tastemakers’ energy began to wane, Crunk Juice popped up on the set and re-invigorated the conference members enough to attend the BME After-After Suite Party until 6am which, to put it simply, was off the chain!

On Saturday, August 5, the Tastemakers started the day well informed with another round of panels. The afternoon’s panels included information in the fields of A&R, Women In The Industry, DJ Crews, Media, and the highly anticipated Artist panel where they told their rise to stardom story. The panelists included A&Rs who have the power to sign including James Eichelberger (Dir of A&R, TVT), Joie Manda (VP of A&R, Asylum), Kawan Prather (Exec A&R, Sony Urban), Shawn Holiday (Sr VP of A&R, Interscope), Mike Caren (VP of A&R, Atlantic), Eric Nicks (VP of A&R, Universal), and Shakir Stewart (VP of A&R, Def Jam). Plus women such as Elora Mason (CEO, E. Mason & Associates) and Wendy Day (orchestrater of No Limit, Cash Money, David Banner, & Eminem deals) spoke about life in the game from a different perspective while the Media featuring Don Diva’s Editor-In-Chief, Cavario Hodges, MTV’s Mixtape Monday’s Rahman Dukes, and N. Ali Early, Grip Magazine’s Editor-In-Chief among other publications taught the proper ways to get ink from the press.

Meanwhile, the DJ Crews with Tony Neal (founder, The Core DJs), Bigga Rankins (founder, Cool Runnings DJs), Fellie Fel (Heavy Hitters), 1st Lady El (founder, The Murda Mamis), and Kaspa (founder, Hittmenn DJs) among other organizations demonstrated how powerful a unit can be. But, the Artist panel commanded the most attention as it overfilled two ballrooms with 1,500+ Tastemakers. Killer Mike, David Banner, Slim Thug, Webbie, and T-Pain were a few of the artists whose tales inspired a new generation of hungry Tastemakers.

Following the panels, Jive, Atlantic, and Asylum Records each hosted suite parties with Deepside, Dre, T-Pain, M.O.S., 8Ball, Lil Peedy, Plies, Willie Joe, and Lil Flip making appearances that brought the house down. Plus, it provided momentum into the Tastemaker Showcase at Firestone. Upcoming sensations such as B.H.I., Tampa Tony, Blak Jak, Raw LT, Randy B., Haitian Fresh, Treal, The Coalition, Lil Ru, Cadillac Don & Jay Money set the stage ablaze with their skills. But, J-Shin stole the show with a surprise live verse by T-Pain on their shared track, “Sent Me An Email.” Plus, Lil Wayne stopped by to say hello and pop a bottle at the after party to prepare for the next day’s event, the Ozone Awards.

Sunday, August 6 began with a scrumptious brunch for the Tastemakers provided by Sony Urban with Lyfe Jennings making an appearance for flavor. Then folks went to get extra clean for the Ozone Awards. Those who arrived at the Bob Carr Auditorium early were fortunate to catch their favorite stars such as funnyman Roland Powell, iceman TV Johnny, producers Cool & Dre, and DJ Toomp (producer, TI, Jovan Dais) walk the Ozone Red Carpet as they entered the sold out venue but not before having the moment frozen by hundreds of media outlets lining the pathway.

The 2,500 Tastemakers who were fortunate to have made it into the sold out Bob Carr Auditorium were treated to a fantastic show. David Banner and Trina were the hosts for the evening that witnessed a UGK reunion show, Ludacris, Shawnna, Young Jeezy, BloodRaw, Slick Pulla, Young Dro, Webbie, Boosie, Trick Daddy, Rick Ross, B.G., Pitbull, DJ Drama, DJ Khalid, Bohagon, Jacki-O, Khia, Paul Wall, Slim Thug, T-Pain, Young Cash, and so many others perform and make appearances. If you missed it, don’t worry, the Ozone Awards were recorded for posterity and rebroadcast. So, check your local listings on MTV Jamz in October and if you can’t wait until then, view the trailer by clicking - OzoneMag.com.

As the weekend concluded with performances by Young Dro, BG, 8Ball & MJG, and others at Firestone during the sold out Ozone Awards After Party, the Tastemakers could be seen rejoicing in a glow of success. The thousands of participating Tastemakers were able to network, learn, and enjoy themselves without the drama that hip-hop events are unfairly generalized with. Now, they look forward to returning to Tallahassee to celebrate the next Tastemakers DJ/Music Conference during Florida A&M University’s Homecoming on October 26 and to the next edition of Ozone Magazine. In fact, if you’d like to read about the 2006 Tastemakers Conference & Ozone Awards while viewing the pictures click - OzoneMag Pics. In the meantime, the Tastemakers will count the days until they can make history again during the 2007 TJ’s DJ’s Tastemakers DJ/Music Conference & 2nd Annual Ozone Awards.


Congratulations to all of the 2006 Ozone Award Winners

Best Rap Album – T.I. - King
Best Rap Artist (Male) - T.I.
Best Rap Artist (Female) - Shawnna
Best R&B Artist (Male) - Chris Brown
Best R&B Artist (Female) - Christina Milian
Best R&B Album - Ne-Yo - In My Own Words
Best Rap Group - Three 6 Mafia
Best Lyricist - Lil Wayne
Breakthrough Artist - Rick Ross
Best Rap Collaboration - DJ Khaled f/ Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Pitbull, Paul Wall, & Fat Joe "Holla At Me"
Best Rap/R&B Collaboration - T-Pain f/ RKelly, Twista, Pimp C, Paul Wall, MJG, & 2 $hort "I'm N Luv Rmx"
No Escape Award - Dem Franchize Boyz "Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It"
Club Banger - Yung Joc "It's Goin Down"
Mixtape Monster - Young Jeezy
Slept On Artist - Webbie
Living Legend Award - UGK
TJ's DJ's Hustler Award - DJ Drama
TJ's DJ's Tastemaker Award (Music/Sound) - Lil Jon
TJ's DJ's Tastemaker Award (Style/Fashion) - Paul Wall & TV Johnny
Best Video - Chamillionaire "Ridin Dirty"
Honorary Southerner - Twista
Best Club DJ - DJ Khaled
Best Radio DJ - Greg Street
Best Mixtape DJ - DJ Drama
Patiently Waiting Texas - Trae
Patiently Waiting Mississippi - Kamikaze
Patiently Waiting Louisiana - Lil Boosie
Patiently Waiting Alabama - Rich Boy
Patiently Waiting Carolinas - Fatboy
Patiently Waiting Tennessee - Yo Gotti
Patiently Waiting Florida - Plies
Patiently Waiting Georgia - Young Dro
Best Producer - Mannie Fresh

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