The latest release from Ludacris’ Disturbing Tha Peace family — and possibly the second best received after Luda himself — comes by way of Playaz Circle. The duo’s first single, “Duffle Bag Boy” featuring Lil Wayne and produced by M-15, is their first charting hit, debuting at No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 8 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts this week.
But things weren’t always this opportune for the College Park, Ga., natives, who have unquestionably gone through their share of hardships to get to where they are now.
The childhood friends — and former street hustlers — officially teamed up in 1997 when they consciously decided to “make a ‘legal’ hustle, stay out of jail and stay out of the grave,” says Tity Boi, one half of the group. The duo adopted the moniker The Duffle Bag Boys (which means hustler) and went on to record an independent album titled “United We Stand, United We Fall,” which featured Lil Fate, I-20 and others that would later become part of the DTP family as well.
Around the same time, another aspiring rapper moved to their College Park apartment complex and eventually befriended Tity, meeting him through Lil Fate. His name was Chris Bridges, better know today as Ludacris. They began recording music together at Lil Fate’s in-home studio, but, well, fate seemed to have other plans for Tity and Dolla Boy.
Dolla was arrested soon after and sentenced to two years and Tity was shot in the ankle, coincidentally while on his way to meet with Sean “Puffy” Combs to discuss potential business ventures. This brought their careers to a standstill.
Thankfully, Ludacris, who had already started his Disturbing Tha Peace label, immediately reached out and offered Tity a chance to leave the streets for good. “Chris basically sent Chaka Zulu (Co-CEO of DTP) to my house and said, ‘man, let’s do the rap thing for real,” says Tity. Even though his right-hand man, Dolla, was still incarcerated, he accepted the solo offer and joined the DTP family.
But Tity always had his comrade in mind. When he was asked to make a guest appearance on the 2002 DTP gold-selling “Golden Grain” LP, he reached out to both Dolla and Jook, his long-time producer, and collaborated on a song called “From The Playpen to the State Pen.” “Every artist was supposed to do a solo song, but I put Dolla on a song and presented it. I wanted that to be my solo track,” says Tity. “Golden Grain” went on to debut on both the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and Billboard 200 charts.
But again, just as things started to look up for Tity and Dolla, business decisions seemed to place them on the backburner. “I’d do some songs with Dolla and present them to Ludacris and he’d say, ‘man, y’all sound good together.’ And then he’d say to talk to Chaka. But whenever I would go to Chaka, he would say it wasn’t the right time,” says Tity. Still, the two continued to record in hopes of releasing their own material sooner rather than later.
Ten years after joining forces and five years since Tity first signed to DTP, it seems as if the right time has finally arrived. Now calling themselves Playaz Circle (which stands for “Preparing Legal Assets For Years From A To Z”), Tity and Dolla are ready to release their DTP/Universal debut album, “Supply And Demand,” on October 30th. A mass of talented producers worked on the set, including DJ Paul and Juicy J of Three Six Mafia, Jazze Pha, DJ Toomp, Mannie Fresh, Midi Mafia and the Heatmakers, to list a few. Ludacris and Lil Wayne make the only guest appearances.
In spite of everything, Tity and Dolla feel it was worth the wait. “Tity Boy has been down with DTP for five years now, but I don’t care,” says Dolla. “It’s about now, it’s about the climate now. This is our debut, but we’re seasoned at this. Everything happens for a reason.”