Making Traks

Sham Daugherty and Alonzo Lee Jr., the Trak Starz, aim to make St. Louis the center of the hip-hop universe

Daugherty breaks off to take a call from his dad, who's worried about the price of a truck his mom wants to buy. "It's $22,000 -- get the damn truck!" Daugherty advises. Then later: "We've got plenty of money coming in, too much money. $35,000 for one beat tomorrow."

After hanging up, he makes a call to order a brush guard for his Hummer.

He's "just real tight with my money," Daugherty explains -- clearly referring more to whom he lets handle it than how he spends it. "I have an accountant, and then just my mom and myself, so other people don't lord over it."

Fast trak: Sham Daugherty and Alonzo Lee Jr. are ready to make hip-hop history.
Jennifer Silverberg
Fast trak: Sham Daugherty and Alonzo Lee Jr. are ready to make hip-hop history.
Hook hunting: Sham Daugherty and Alonzo Lee Jr. ply 
their craft in the Trak Starz' Lafayette Square loft 
studio.
Jennifer Silverberg
Hook hunting: Sham Daugherty and Alonzo Lee Jr. ply their craft in the Trak Starz' Lafayette Square loft studio.

He switches music, to the remixed, unedited version of "Splash Waterfalls." A lusty female voice begs Ludacris to Fuck...me. Room service finally arrives: soup, potatoes, a can of Welch's strawberry soda. While Daugherty chows, Hanna philosophizes about how crazy LA girls are.

"One time a girl here asked if I had any coke," he recounts. "I went to the fridge because I thought she wanted a soda. I brought it back and she said, 'Thanks anyway.'"

"It's serious business out here," seconds Daugherty, who, like Lee, is unmarried. "In St. Louis they're just girls, not big Hollywood actresses."

"Girls out here ignore you unless you're driving a Benz and shit," Roberts adds.

At home things are much less complicated, Daugherty says. "I had girls before, but now it's a whole 'nother level of easiness." Having uncharacteristically slipped into playa mode, he describes how he casts off girls who don't interest him: "I learned how to fast-talk. When people call, I tell 'em I'm in a meeting, that I'll call 'em back."

Finally, well after two, it's time for the day to get started. Lee meets the group outside and hands the valet the slip for the Sequoia. They stare out at the blooming trees lining La Cienega Boulevard, drizzle and smog obscuring Beverly Hills' famous gild. The Starz seem unimpressed with what California has to offer -- by all accounts they didn't leave their hotel rooms last night.

"Me, Zo and Chingy all have experience knowing what that lifestyle's like," Daugherty says of the stereotypical bitches-and-blunts image. "But it's a bunch of hype, and it's overrated to me when somebody gets caught up in the 'big bad superstar, on top of the world' type of attitude. Me, Chingy and Zo are real humble -- we don't ever feel like we've 'made it.' We're always pressing for the next day."

"We could have come to California with bottles of Hennessy and women running around, but we're about business," Lee insists. "A lot of people don't know this, but the music industry is really about 80 percent business and 20 percent entertainment and having fun. If you're not handling your business, that's the beginning of the end for me."

The valet arrives with the Sequoia and off the Starz go. Handling their business.

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