Strong Arm Steady reveals the dark side of the night
By Jasen T. Davis
Artists Mitchy Slick, Phil Da Agony and Krondon make up Strong Arm Steady, an underground hip-hop group forged tough in the streets of South Central. Established in 2003, success has come to the band because of a disciplined work ethic, brilliant talent and rock-hard commitment to the scene and their fans. With their third album, Arms and Hammers, Strong Arm Steady is going to rock us all out in 2011. CULTURE recently got the opportunity to chat with the group.
Strong Arm Steady is often described as an underground hip-hop group that formed as an alternative to the gang-dominated scene. Is this a proper description?
Phil Da Agony: I love it. That’s the description we utilize. We’re new proprietors of L.A. West Coast Southern California culture. We don’t want to be labeled, though, because that can get you pigeonholed.
How would you describe Strong Arm Steady?
PDA: We want you to hear the voices of the survivors. We are progressive people who grew up in a particular street culture, and with our music it’s going to be complex because we want you to feel the different layers.
Mitchy Slick: We all stood out before the band. We all bring a unique perspective. We got more out this experience than your average person, so we show you that viewpoint.
Let’s talk about marijuana. What do you think?
PDA: It’s one of the greatest things God created. We are a [cannabis] smoking band. It’s a big part of who we are. My brothers and I rap when we get high. We smoke it, sell it, grow it, buy it. We are the pioneers in the industry. It’s the tools of the trade. We rap about [cannabis] because it’s a part of the street.
What do you think of the legalization effort?
PDA: I just hope it stays positive and doesn’t end up being taken over by the government and ruined. I think that it’s going to affect the street. I’m not saying I’m an advocate of selling [cannabis], but that’s something the [African American] community is a part of. All of us are pushing for [cannabis] to be legalized.
Did SAS approach Arms & Hammers differently than your previous album, In Search of Stony Jackson?
PDA: The tale of the album is that we all have tools of the trade. It’s your computer, your microphone, your hammer . . . and you use your arm to wield those tools, whatever they might be. It takes a strong arm and a hammer to start a foundation. It was important to name our album based on a concept is that we can all agree with. But a hammer is also a slang term for a gun, so that’s the darkness, the violence. You go through the light, you go through the day and you go through different times. We wanted to point out the night is about the good and the bad. Arms and Hammers is about dealing with that darkness, while In Search of Stony Jackson is about the light. The artwork on the covers of both albums represents that.
What else can we look forward to from Strong Arm Steady?
PDA: The album is coming out on Feb. 22. There is also going to be a mini-movie called Arms and Hammers: The Foundation. That will come out before the album to show a day in the life of L.A. We are going to headline a lot of tours this March and April. We will be going to 20 to 25 cities, and we’ll be touring with Planet Asia, Freddie Biggs, and Self Scientific.
While Strong Arm Steady may currently consist of three members (Krondon, Mitchy Slick and Phil Da Agony), that wasn’t always the case; former Pimp My Ride host-turned-actor Xzibit (who co-founded SAS) used to front the group during live shows. In 2006, however, X-to-the-Z and SAS parted ways. Why? “They went and signed with [Talib Kweli’s] Blacksmith Records, but I just didn’t agree with the terms of the deal, so I left,” Xzibit told UK hip-hop site The Situation shortly after the split. “It was a personal choice; it just wasn’t right for me. You gotta do what you gotta do.”
Top Shelf | Washington
13724 Canyon Rd.
E., Puyallup, 98373
Phone: (541) 389-1043
Owners, Management and Staff
the story behind the name of your access point? The whole thing behind the name
is we just wanted to have a place that lives up to its name and reputation of “Top
Shelf.” With my conditions, I have to consume clean medicine. It has to be
grown properly, flushed properly . . . the whole nine yards. If it isn’t, I can
have extreme allergic reactions to the nutrients and/or pesticides still left
in the flower. It’s just one of those things where I wanted to provide
consistent, quality, proper flowers for both myself and our patients.
Whatdoes your access point offer patients that they can’t find anywhere else?
Here at Top Shelf, we provide a down home, easy feel to the place. Our patient interactions are never
rushed, and all of our patients comment on how comfortable and relaxed they
feel at our shop. We even have male patients that come in and say “Ok, I’m
going to bring my girlfriend/spouse here now, I always go in and check out
these places first to make sure it’s safe. She’ll like this place, I’m bringing
her in.” We hope to offer educational classes/seminars for those who want to
learn more about cultivation, cooking with cannabis and more.
Howhas the cannabis industry changed since you’ve been here? Where would you like
to see it go? I
would like to see us do more of something like Colorado where if you want to be
on the medical side you have to produce your own product. This would eliminate
a lot of the middle men out there, if you want to do this—and you need to know
what you’re doing (e.g. cultivation of cannabis). We would like to see mandatory
testing of all medicinal products on shelves, which is something we feel will
be mandatory soon anyway. We encourage all vendors to have their products
tested if they are going to be consumed by patients. We would also like to see
a fair market price on medical cannabis, and not see medical cannabis taxed out
of affordability for low income patients that need clean, safe and effective
Whatis the most important thing you hope to accomplish in the industry?
Helping people; hoping
to make a positive impact in the lives of the patients that come to our access
point. Also trying to get patients off a lot of these pharmaceuticals that are
so toxic and damaging to our bodies with long term use. Creating natural
remedies daily, offering a safe, alternative pathway to healing for our patients.
Sweet Leaf Illusions | Oregon
Collective Name: Sweet Leaf Illusions
Address: 8434 SE 82nd Ave., Portland, 97266
What’s the story behind the name of your dispensary?
trying to figure out a name that no one else had. We didn’t want to do the same
thing that every other company has done. And so we came up with Sweet Leaf
Illusions, me and Ian, one of our employee budtenders here. And the next thing
we know, after we got our license, four days later, there were a whole bunch of
Sweet Leaf companies. I guess they liked the name too.
How has the cannabis industry changed since you
have been in the business? Where would you like to see it go? I think the testing
companies should be held liable for their testing results. As it is now, if a
patient gets sick on a product that had been tested but still had contaminants,
it is the dispensary that is liable.
What are the biggest challenges you face in this
industry as a dispensary? . . . Biggest joys?
Trusting the testing companies results that are coming out. They are saying that the
product is clean when you know that they haven’t tested for, probably, about 15
other pesticides. I want them to be in compliance, like dispensaries have to be
with the state. And have the state going after them to see that they are doing
their job, so they keep putting it all on the dispensary owner to verify that
the products are clean. Our biggest joy is really just helping the sick people
that come in. I can’t leave the patients I’ve gotten to know.
What is the one thing you want patients to know
about your dispensary? I pretty much quiz all of our vendors to verify that their product is
clean. I only take the few vendors that test and I try to ensure that they are
the cleanest products you can get.
What is the most important thing you hope to
accomplish while in the MJ/MMJ community?
needs to start doing inspections of the testing companies. They should spray
flowers with poisons and send them through (like a control test), to at least
verify that they are in compliance with the state law that the state put in,
that they are supposed to test for all pesticides. They need to find out that
they are not testing for pesticides that we all know have been around for
Available at Point Loma Patients Consumer Cooperative in Point Loma.The Tokyo OG from PLPCC is a real stand out due to its darker green coloring and dark red hairs. The nose is slightly earthy, a
Available at Point Loma Patients Consumer Cooperative in Point Loma.
The Tokyo OG from PLPCC is a real stand out due to its darker green coloring and dark red hairs. The nose is slightly earthy, and very skunky and oily. Its flavor is really earthy and pungent, not at all sweet. Just a few hits provide an instant head change. The effects are not only cerebral though. The body effect provides complete, long lasting relaxation. Tokyo OG is ideal for muscle pain, sleep and appetite stimulation.
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