In real life, the ozone layer above the Earths surface is depleting at a rate so fast scientists agonize that the gradual rise in temperature will eventually upset the planets natural processes. Conversely, Ozone magazine appears to be building at such a rate that it appears on pace to upset Hip-Hops long-standing order.
Through the growth, Ozone has found a fan base that is greeted with frank commentary, groupie confessions, exclusive interviews and has placed a megaphone in front of the Southern states. The publications founder, Julia Beverly, has found herself embroiled in a number of high-profile situations, most notably with Ray Benzino Scott of The Source Magazine. The Orlando, Florida native insists that shes not seeking the controversy that surrounds Ozone, but admits she isnt foolish enough to shun the publicity either. Metaphorically she may be the opposite of the ozone layer, but Ozone magazine has still managed to make it hot for the competition.
Here, Julia Beverly of Ozone magazine kicks it about beef, controversy, groupies and being David to the industrys goliath.
AllHipHop.com: So basically, can you tell people that may not know what Ozone is all about?
Julia Beverly: Well, Ozone is basically a Dirty South rap magazine. Its kind of the Southern equivalent of a XXL or The Source. I feel like we just bring a different perspective to the game.
AllHipHop.com: What made you start the magazine?
Julia Beverly: Well, originally, I was an amateur photographer and I was trying to get into photography. The magazine was actually kind of a way for me to showcase my photography and develop my skill. I started getting into the Hip-Hop scene in Florida, based in Orlando and I started to travel and when I started to see how there was like a bubbling scene in Orlando, then there was a bubbling scene in Tampa and Tallahassee and Jacksonville, but everybody was kinda like disconnected from each other. Were so spread out that we kind of needed that outlet and we werent really getting it from The Source or XXL because they werent there in the South. You know, like theyll write about somebody once they get hot to certain level, but they werent really there on the underground scene.
AllHipHop.com: Whats your approach?
Julia Beverly: Well, me personally, Im a very competitive kind of person. Like anything that I do, Im trying to be number one. I watch what happened with the The Source. I look at the game and basically XXL is probably the number one Hip-Hop magazine, so I throw a little snide comments at them in my editorials and stuff that Im shooting for the top; Im coming to the top. At the same time, I feel like theres room for everybody because you know, everybody has their own niche. Were just going through a growth process because weve actually been out for almost four years, but when we started out, we were very small. And we just grew gradually.
AllHipHop.com: Whats your circulation right now?
Julia Beverly: Right now, were at 75,000.
AllHipHop.com: Right. Your name seems always to be associated with controversy. Was it planned that way?
Julia Beverly: Its not really planned. I mean, I agree with you. I always just seem to be in the middle of something, but I dont really plan it that way. I really just say whats on my mind. A lot of times people say, Oh, its for publicity, you got [something] about the drop. Of course I want people to talk about the magazine, because then theyre gonna check for it. Now, I think one important thing to mention is that most of the controversy comes from my editorials every month, which is a very short column where I just say my opinion.
AllHipHop.com: The situation with Benzino is probably the biggest one
Julia Beverly: If I could plan something that would put my name all over Hot 97, dont you think I would have done it a long time ago? Ive been watching whats been going on with The Source for a long time. With the Benzino thing, you know, I just wrote about some things that I didnt like about The Source, the way that Ive seen things recently. Honestly, like when I was coming up, I kind of looked up to Dave Mays - a white guy that had a successful Hip-Hop business. Im a white female; Im trying to come in the game, trying to start a magazine. I met Dave a couple times. [At the time,] I had a little magazine, wasnt that impressive. I told him, Hey, you know I want to come work for you guys, whats up? And he just kinda blew me off.
So, I got a call like a couple weeks after [print date] from this 917 number, and I picked up, and this guys like, Yeah, this is Dave Mays. F**k you, f**kin b*tch. F**k. F**k. Like, thats all he kept saying over and over and Im confused because Im thinking what is he talking about. And you know, he just kept screaming and I hung up on him. And then I remembered [my editorial]. So, he called me back. I hung up on him. Then Zino called me back after that, and started making all these threats.
About three, four days later, I come in the office and they had left a two voicemails. Benzino had left two voicemails on my office voicemail, so you know, I just recorded it to send it to some DJs. I sent it out to the DJ friend of mine and he forwarded it somebody who forwarded it to somebody else and so the next thing I know like three, four hours later, Im on this conference call with you know, Benzino and Funk Master Flex and pretty much the whole industry. Funk Master Flex had hit me up and said, Hey, I heard that you know, you have some information on Benzino or whatever, you want to put me on the air? So, then I started gettin' calls from the New York Daily News and you know, it was in the New York Times. It was just crazy to me. Once I saw what was happening, you know, I just figured Id just sit back and enjoy the ride and milk it for the publicity that I could get out of it.
AllHipHop.com: We asked him the same question well ask you, too. In hindsight, would you have done anything differently?
Julia Beverly: No. Probably not. I said what was on my mind. You know, I put in too much work and too much money and too much effort every month to put out a magazine for me to censor myself.
AllHipHop.com: Are you concerned with the threats, or your safety?
Julia Beverly: I think man, how do I want to answer this? Give me a minute on that one. I mean, Im not scared because I dont feel like I did anything wrong. Like I think that I think, you know I believe in Karma and all that. I think if you do the right thing and are just true to yourself and you know, I think that you dont have anything to worry about.
AllHipHop.com: Did you ever consider pressing charges or anything?
Julia Beverly: Yeah. I mean a couple people mentioned it to me. At the time, [Dave and Ray] were still at The Source. I didnt want to press charges, and give them paperwork and give them an opportunity to print something and twist it and say, Oh, shes cooperating with the authorities, or shes a snitch or shes that, this or that. And you know, at the end of the day, I dont think it would have really made a difference. I mean, if hes going to do something, hes going to do it regardless of whether theres you know, a restraining order against him or not. I could easily have gotten a restraining order. I have recordings of him threatening me basically on my voicemail, then on the conference call, which he also knew we were being recorded. Hes on AllHipHop, threatening me you know, in your guys interview, so I could easily do that, but, you know, again, I just do what I do and no, Im not really worried about it, you know. I just dont understand why he feels the need to threaten a female with physical violence. Im 125 pounds; Im a white female. So, its not really gangsta to be like, Yeah, I beat up that White b***h. I mean, isnt it?
AllHipHop.com: Now, did the term slut monkey ever strike a nerve?
Julia Beverly: No, I thought it was hilarious, actually. I still laugh you know, whenever I hear that recording. I was doing drops for DJs saying, This is Daisy the slut monkey. I kinda have a sense of humor about everything.
AllHipHop.com: Now, Jeremy Miller is taking on The Source now, but before that, he also has Down magazine. Do you feel that they will be coming an increased threat to your brand going forward?
Julia Beverly: No. I really havent heard anything about them. I mean, Im in the streets enough to know what people are talking about. Im at industry events enough to know what the industry is talking about. I mean, Jeremy, like I dont have any personal issues with Jeremy. He seems like a good guy, but I wasnt impressed with the one issue that I saw. And you know, I dont really see anybody as being a threat to Ozone Magazine, right now.
AllHipHop.com: The most notorious section of the magazine is Groupie Confessions. What spawned that?
Julia Beverly: Most of the groupie confessions, to be honest, are like friend of a friend of a friend kinda thing. Like, Hey, I heard my home girl such and such and such. Theres a reason I do all the interviews on the phone. Like, a lot of times people email me stories and I dont print them because I feel like I need to talk to them to kind of get a feel for if theyre legit or not. You know, Ive gotten emails like, Oh, this guy is just hes so small and hes terrible, and it just sounds like theyre just trying to put him out there. Theyre just trying to hate on him or whatever.
When you look at the Hip-Hop game, everything is because its so heavily male, everything is from a male perspective, especially when you talk about sex. You know, the videos are always going in there with their asses jiggling, you know, rappers talk about sex in their songs. And you know whats funny is, like none of the girls will describe themselves as groupies. It just happened to blow up one year because we had Jay-Z in there, and the New York paper picked up on it and you know, it was all over New York. I mean, if you want get publicity in New York, just talk about Jay-Zs d*ck, I guess.
AllHipHop.com: Does if affect the relationships? With rappers?
Julia Beverly: It hasnt. I mean, theres maybe three rappers I can think of that actually confronted me about it. I just told them straight up, The girl called in and I interviewed her, and it sounded like it was legitimate, so I printed it. We managed to smooth it over or whatever. It hasnt been anything too serious.
AllHipHop.com: Now you seem to have really good relationships with, especially artists down South, do you ever, you know, I dont know, does that ever interfere with you doing your job?
Julia Beverly: To a certain extent, I understand what youre saying, but I think it helps more than it hurts. I have a lot more access to artists than any other publication. Like when you look at The Source or XXL or Vibe, theyre very corporate companies in the sense that they have employees that come in from eight-to-five, and then they go home kind of thing. To me, its 24/7 and 50 percent of the time, were on the road. So the artists just started to see me so much. They would be like they see me in Miami one day, and then they see me in Houston the next day, and then in New York the next week or whatever.
AllHipHop.com: Okay. Do you feel ever overwhelmed? Cause I know you do most of the book yourself
Julia Beverly: I feel overwhelmed 90 percent of the time. But I think I perform better under pressure. If I dont have a deadline, then Ill get lazy. Its good for me because it keeps me on my toes and when we were starting out, I did pretty much do everything for the first couple years, as far as photos and interviews and the layout and the ad sales and that wasnt really by choice; that was more because of lack of funding. But, it really turned out to be a good thing because it helped me to learn every aspect and now that were growing and that we have a little more of a budget, you know, we actually have a staff now a small staff, that Ive been delegating a lot more responsibilities to other people. I just finish the issue and try to take a couple days to just relax and get back into the swing of things.
AllHipHop.com: Whats the next big step?
Julia Beverly: Were working on putting together an award show, actually. Im definitely looking to branch out into other things and other forms of media, I guess.
AllHipHop.com: Are you going to leave Orlando?
Julia Beverly: Thats a good question. I dont know. Were still opening our office in Atlanta, where we still have the office in Orlando, and were going to see how that goes.