TSS Presents Smoking Sessions With Kareem Johnson

05.07.06 11 years ago 11 Comments

Interesting story how we ran across this cat…

One bright Sunday morning, I posted some videos to entertain you all.

Immediately after we recieved a comment & an email convo ensued…

Naw its all good fam. Just didn’t want it to be an issue with BMF knowing that it hasn’t aired yet. You like mafia things right? Ever seen The Godfather? Instead of Luca Brasi, consider this a message saying “John Gotty sleeps with the fishes if you ever post any of the shit I’m affiliated with!”

Thank you for pulling it fam..I hope you understand NOW…

Nah, I’m buggin…that’s only partially true lol.

Turns out my guy here has been one of the coolest folk we’ve encountered while doing this blog shit.

Trust that there was way way more we could’ve posted, some confidential, some equally interesting, but we wanted to keep it short (used very loosely here). Be realistic; we’re not trained professionals nor do we care about alloted space or words…We didn’t edit much because we thought it was a damn good story and we figure you’d wanna read it all in it’s entirety for the most part! Take that! Take that! Take that! – Puffy

Real talk though…my son’s roots run deep in this thing we call hip-hop…

Just sit back, read & enjoy

Smoking Sessions With Kareem Johnson




Kareem Johnson: Yo!… what’s good

TSS: The man of the next hour lol. Nada what’s good w/you my good sir

KJ: Ready to get this poppin lol

TSS: Let’s do this the right way…since most cats don’t know what a video producer is, what role does Kareem Johnson play in the vids we see on the TV screen?

KJ: My role is that after the director writes the concept or his idea for the video my job is to then ask the label or production company what the budget is…then budget the idea/concept out. Once the budget is approved, I proceed to get everything that is in that concept/idea, from the girls, cars, homes, etc

KJ: The director definitely has input but I’m the money man who has to make it happen

TSS: Hmm….so you bring together the people, the place, the set, etc?

KJ: Yes sir…I provided the production in other words….anytime you go on a set…all that you see, I provide

(TSS makes clear indication that Kareem is the one holding Tommy Motolla’s money at the video shoots)

KJ: I basically run the set with the help of a few other dept’s

TSS: Song of the moment for you?

KJ: Wow….you all provide so many lol…

TSS: Ha-ha..glad to hear we’re one of your sources

KJ: Right now…old school Nice & Smooth, the first cd

TSS: Haha…I think we threw that up a few weeks ago. Old school shit right there.

KJ: Yeah…I’m mostly into hip hop from 88-92.

TSS: So when you visit, what genre do you grab most?

KJ: I grab the hip hop and jazz. Like I got Love Supreme yesterday

TSS: Yessir…Coltrane For Lovers is gettin constant spins from me personally…aiight…here’s an easy one…What was the first thing you bought w/your first fat check?

KJ: To be honest…good weed and sneakers…and paid some bills. Gotta be an adult about this

TSS: You’re pretty upfront about your use of weed? So do you stand on the set & blow trees man?

KJ
: Yeah…it’s the norm now a day. We wait till lunch or after we call wrap or I smoke with the artist nah nah…just playin about lunch

TSS
: Funniest artist you’ve been around while blowed?

KJ
: Redman or Biggie…hands down

TSS
: Ha-ha…I can imagine. Was Biggie as funny & charismatic as people say he was? I’ve read a lot of interviews on him and everybody says that. I can only imagine being around that dude & soaking up his aura

KJ
: Yes he was…I was fortunate to do 3 Big videos

TSS
: Which ones?

KJ: “Big Poppa”, “Warning”, “Get Money“…but I ain’t produce. I was electric dept then I was setting lights on sets before I moved up to produce videos; gotta crawl before you walk

TSS
: Word. Worked you way up the ladder as they say. Nothing wrong w/that at all

KJ
: Yes sir, crazy climb though

TSS
: Give us a Biggie moment…cats would love to hear it

KJ
: well…lol…I used to smoke White Owl blunts all the time. One day at lunch me and my man Gerald went out to smoke and we saw Big and Junior Mafia smoking. we joined them and I got passed the blunt. The blunt was smooth and I asked what type of blunt is was & they said Dutch Masters. From then on it was Dutch masters for the kid. BIG had asked me what was my favorite song off his debut cd so I had to tell him “Unbelievable”, which is soooooo a classic…oh yeah… Big’s feet stunk when we did “Big Poppa” video. The part in the video when Puff says “How ya living Biggie Smalls?” in the jacuzzi…well Big’s feet was smelling that room up….he had just taken off his Timbs to get in the jacuzzi…ugh

TSS
: Ha-ha…the man said he was fat & nasty so I guess it’s to be expected

KJ
: Yes sir….he was real cool though, for real!

TSS
: I was watching The Sopranos the other week & they were showing Chrissy gettin free gifts and shit. is free shit really that fuckin available to everyone in the various entertainment industries?

KJ
: Yeah.. I been in one of those rooms with Lil Jon. check out the cd/dvd Part 2. It’s all documented lol

TSS
: Word.

KJ
: You have to be a star to get love like that, but I had a camera to film it all. The VMA’s is where it’s really at with those gifts

TSS
: damnit…this blogging shit better propel me to an industry gig…I want free shit! lol

KJ
: I hope so…I wanted to build with you on that…you guys are very popular amongst my dudes, trust.

TSS: Word, that’s love right there man. But let me ask you, how animated is Lil Jon in reality? We all know the persona & the assumption that he’s just a wild dude but he’s gotta be pretty damn smart

KJ: when the cameras are rolling he’s crazy! But he’s very very smart….very…can’t stress it enough. VERY! I’ve done four videos with him, “Bia Bia”, “Get Low”, “I Don’t Give A…” and “Play No Games”.

TSS: So you got awards around the house and shit? Like, should I plan on coming & stealing a platinum plaque off the walls lol?

KJ
: Yeah man, got a platinum plaque for Kings of Crunk album. Actually a lot of Lil Jon stuff. If you do go out with Jon though, be prepared because he’ll drink ya ass to death. I just moved to Atlanta last year from NY, me and the wife, so I get to see him frequently

TSS:
Okay…you’ve made the move from NYC to ATL. Personally I consider ATL to be like baby NYC really because of all the transplants….

KJ
: Yeah it is…esp. now

TSS
: Biggest differences to you, only one or two, btw the North & the South?…people-wise or customs. don’t mention Waffle House!

KJ
: I went to college here so I see the transformation. But, the music for sure….the music is really different. the shit I would hear on NY’s hot97 I wouldn’t hear down here on hot 107.9

TSS: Snap, crunk or neither?

KJ
: I love all the Southern genres, esp. the snap movement really simple beats and hooks I’m feeling “Yola The Great” right now

TSS: Coming from NYC, you like the music? We hear so many complaints about the South “ruining” hip-hop

KJ
: It depends really. I can tolerate it but its nothing like the sound of real hip hop from the 88-94 era

TSS
: Say word. that’s a no-brainer. I think hip-hop’s a buffet now, where you can choose what you want, when you want and there’s enough for everybody

KJ
: I don’t think you can box music esp. hip hop. I know we want it for “ourselves” but it aint ours anymore..trust!

TSS
: Yeah, I’ve heard various stories from behind the scenes cats relaying that message

KJ
: It’s true!

TSS
: Since you took it there…Your worst (or first) experience with Industry Rule #4080?

KJ
: The politics about just being yourself esp. visually that’s my real experience. I don’t really deal with the music end but I know when it comes to videos these artist sometimes really go overboard with there image being something that they are not esp. new artist. new artist come out the gate pimped out/Phantom’ed out ya know but the viewers don’t know you. I can see if you are Jay-z, Will Smith, Puff, etc…we expect that from them because they are paid but not out the gate on your first single, feel me? Oh yeah…the local rap cats that want the world… I see sad faces when the Phantom has to go back to the dealer lol

TSS
: Ha-ha

KJ
: I had one artist who wanted a Hype Williams type video he only had $25K for the video

TSS
: “well how much is a Hype video gonna cost me, sir?”

KJ
: Way more than 25K…lol

TSS
: lol

KJ
: It depends but over 200K plus those girls are not cheap

TSS
: Son couldn’t even get a 30 sec. Hype commercial sounds like?

KJ
: Those Hype, Lil X, Benny Boom girls cost money

TSS
: Oh man…we were gonna touch the subject of girls but since you mentioned marriage I’ll steer clear lol.

KJ: Naw the wife is cool…she’s in the biz so she knows. My wife is Lil Jon’s executive assistant.
. I did the “Tip Drill” video and Luda’s “Pussy Poppin” video too

TSS
: I’m a savage…I was gonna ask for most degrading acts you’ve seen women pull @ video shoots but WOOOOOHOOOOOOOO…”Tip Drill“? *bows down in praise* Fuck it…end of interview! you win! you’re that dude lol

KJ
: I’m doing another “Tip Drill” type video on may 8

TSS
: When I was a shorty, we had paper visuals…you’re that dude responsible for making BET Uncut what it is for today’s teens lol

KJ
: I know…I’m so sorry

TSS
: Hold on….do you ever feel like “damn, I’m fuckin up the youth”? on a serious note

KJ
: Yes I do

TSS
: I look at your catalog and I see you got some positivity on your rap sheet though, w/Kanye, Little Brother etc

KJ
: For real….I struggle with that all the time. But I have to eat ya know

TSS
: Yeah…you sound like a crack dealer lol …but seriously BET wouldn’t play LB’s shit

KJ
: I know…I was pissed with that one. I spoke to LB recently about it

…I have a 5 yr old daughter and I would hate to see her in videos…I don’t play videos at the house when she is around… I just can’t…like the Shawnna’s “Gimme Some Head” video is so a joke for real….sorry Chaka Zulu… I can’t believe that gets radio and video spins during the day

TSS
: That’s enough for me. I’m pretty much the same way w/my shorty. we barely listen to the radio b/c I don’t want her to pick up anything indirectly. So what albums DO you play for your shorty? Like me & mine, I drilled her with Common’s Be

KJ
: Kidz Bop lol

TSS
: Haha…so you were loving those downloads lol?

KJ
: Yes sir!

TSS
: I knew mofos would

KJ
: Thank you for them…I love it…it saves me gas money not having to go to Best Buy.

TSS
: You were speaking on industry cats sort of knowing about the site. We really didn’t have any indication that people who are actually making the music noticed us at all. How do industry cats feel about the internet, downloading, sideline critics such as ourselves?

KJ: Folks are still gonna go buy like I do. I still buy cds but you provide the out of date music which is more important to me anyway

TSS
: So why do industry people visit sites like ours?

KJ
: Various reasons but it’s the nostalgic music for me. I’m 33 so my folks are all 30 plus so we love the old stuff

TSS: Word. I’ll make a note to drop more old shit. But then the younger cats get mad…”who’s Poor Righteous Teachers?” I’m like “get the fuck outta here man!”

KJ: I feel you …I need both Total cds lol

TSS: I got you ;-) but of course you can always check dallyspersonal, thethrowbacks & triple e….all those sites should hold you down.

KJ: I go there too

TSS: Here’s one lol…which old school artist needs to put the mic down? we’re gonna start callin this question ‘who needs to put the mic down and strap on the chancletas?”

KJ
: Wow I like that lol….Hmm, Will Smith maybe but he’s crazy positive so I can’t dis Will
TSS: Haha…Will got that long paper, he can do what he wants. son could start making his own Kool-Aid & still sell a few million….anybody else?

KJ
: Let’s says old skool artist that neva had it poppin in the first place

TSS
: lol…I hear Coolio is big overseas and dude is like 42

KJ
: Wow… Coolio huh? Well…get money! Overseas is where it’s at I’m told

TSS
: How many bodyguards are on set to stop me from smackin up Mike Jones for his bracelets?

KJ
: About 2 but he got his crew around him too…I did a Mike Jones’ video “Flossin“…hated it

TSS
: Haha… I won’t print that

KJ
: Ok kool but I did hate it…esp the song…ugh!…movin on….

TSS: okay fuck it…printed…peep this, you’re in ATL…you’ve seen’em at Visions prolly…you’ve done videos w/them (and told me to pull one video or the local affiliates would be at my door)…BMF…Black Mafia Family and the whole saga surrounding them….Your thoughts?

KJ
: They are cool folks for real…they just got a lot bad press

TSS
: I’m a stalker. Which restaurant or store, if I hang out there, will I be guaranteed to see you coming out of? Where are you, regular Kareem, bound to found coming out of? the Chinese takeout spot or what? Like “Kareem is always at __________. “?

KJ
: Ok… I got you…as far as the store lets say the lil Arab spot next to my complex where I buy Dutch’s from daily or or the gas station for blunts

TSS
: there we go lol!

(lol…note to readers – Kareem’s daily habits revolve around trees)

TSS: Artist that you think doesn’t get enough shine?

KJ: Um….I would say Lupe but he’s getting his fair shine now

TSS
: Yeah, you know we got love for that kid even though I’m sure he hates us for leaking his album, along w/the rest of the net but Lupe needed an extra push & I hope we gave it to him somehow

KJ
: I love the new Volkswagen commercials where the folks get into a car accident

KJ: and the Neil Armstrong mixtapes too…I love his mixtapes. He is so the bomb. Print that!

TSS
: Haha…that’s a bet.

KJ
: …Another artist I would say is Ghostface…he needs more push for real and another video

TSS
: I miss the whole Wu movement personally

KJ
: Yeah but no solo albums except for the obvious…Ghost and Rae

TSS
: …From the grainy “Method Man” video, to “Triumph” and “It’s Yourz“…those dudes brought a whole different element to the game

KJ: Method Man maybe…and maybe Inspektah Deck

TSS: Give us the heads-up on upcoming projects?

KJ: Just the video on May 8th (directed by Juwan Lee)….”Tip Drill” type video. I can’t reveal the artist at this time though…Busta video (directed by Benny Boom) in NY… awaiting the date now…tv show meetings

TSS
: Wear your vest homie lol.. Busta vids bring the savage outta niggas lol

KJ
: That situation was crazy. Kinda got it fucked up with shooting rap videos in NY due to that

TSS
: Say you were there…no, don’t say that lol…the cops might want to interview you after reading it lol

KJ
: Naw I wasn’t there but since I knew the crew and director I got two calls that night of the video. plus my brother was working on the video. It was crazy I was told esp. on how Yayo rolled up on Swizz

TSS
: So is this a new direction in music beefs…take it to the video set, or was that just a random occurrence?

KJ
: Hell naw! I saw biggie and crew duff a dude out on the set of “get money”

TSS
: lol….So cats been whylin on video sets? you should be taping THAT! you could’ve beat Smack and Beef to the punch and been dumb rich lol

KJ
: Shit is crazy on sets. Shit just happens sometimes.

TSS: My homegirl just emailed me and told me to ask you this “Ask him why BET never play quality videos but got big booty Rhonda shaking her ass in all the videos. Why must I fucking see Ms. New Booty 2398462398746 times before I see “Kick Push” once? SMFH.” I think we touched on it and I told her “I’m interviewing Kareem Johnson, not Bob Johnson.

KJ
: lol

TSS
: …so ignore if you want

KJ
: Naw, let me answer it…the viewers want to see them. This is the struggle I have with those types of videos. The labels also have their input in what videos to play

TSS
: Well, how do you combat it or you simply can’t?

KJ
: You really can’t unless you start your own channel. I try to produce decent videos. Which is I why I produce for creative directors like Coodie, Chike and Ben Mor

TSS
: Who are those dudes? Pardon my ignorance but I’m not familiar.

KJ
: Coodie and Chike did Kanye’s “Through The Wire,” “Two Words” & “Jesus Walks” and both of Leela James’ videos that are on my page and the Mos Def “Ghetto Rock” video

TSS
: Ahhh….aiight, now I’m w/you

KJ
: Ben Mor did the Nas & Quan video also Nas’ “Thief’s Theme“, Juvenile “What’s Happening” that’s on my page

TSS
: Funny thing is…I was most impressed that you worked with Leela James out of all those names & videos I saw on your page. Don’t ask me why but it spoke volumes of your character & direction…openness too

KJ
: Yeah, she is sooooo great! I love her. I was proud to do both her videos. Mos Def too. “Ghetto Rock” sometimes brings an ill feeling to me when I watch it

TSS: Last movie you saw & one or two of your all-time favorite movies?

KJ
: I just saw Saw 2..i loved that shit. My favorite movies would have be “The Incident” with Martin Sheen and “Mo Betta Blues

TSS
: ahh…a Spike Lee joint, proper choice right there….

KJ
: I liked 50’s movie too… just bought it

TSS
: I watched the bootleg. wasn’t impressed.

KJ
: Me too…but cant now!

TSS
: I did enjoy ATL though.

KJ
: I like it from a production standpoint. my boy is in ATL. He plays Brooklyn. I grew up with him

TSS
: Word? He’s a funny cat for sure lol

KJ
: He’s from the Bronx. Big up my man AL. Sometimes…I like the movie “Motives“…that was the shit!

TSS
: Enh…never heard of it but I’ll check for it & add it to my movies to get listaiight gonna wrap it up & this may be our signature question to end interviews…What would you say now to the first female that broke up with you?

KJ
: Ummm….I would be nice to her but also say, “See it! I told you I would produce!

TSS
: Last words for the readers?

KJ
: keep logging on to Smoking Section because you guys provide an ill service to music junkies like me. Big shout out to Coodie & Chike, Decon, and JLD. Much love to my wife and daughter..can’t forget them!…oh and I LOVE MY LIFE…one!

KJ: This weed gave me the munchies…time to eat famoh I’m also a chef in another life

TSS
: Haha word! aiight man…it’s been an honor & a pleasure.

KJ
signed off at 11:57:17 AM.

FOR MORE INFO on Kareem, visit his Mypace Page or to view some his work, go to his bolt video profile . There’s a nice selection of quality vids, some unreleased, including Bleu DaVinci, Jeezy and Fab on “Streets On Lock” and Ja’s “Exodus”.

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