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The Beatdown

Cristophe Cranberri injects a little kung fu hustle into his latest project.

Now, with the new material, a name change finally seemed in order. "When you think about reggae music, you think sunshine," Cranberri says. "We needed a name that was brighter. Platoon 13 is strong, it's bright, it's not harmful, and I don't think it's looked down upon."

While tailoring the act's sound and image seems pretty calculated, Cranberri insists that he's made a concerted effort to keep the music organic. "If somebody in the industry says, 'If you go in this direction, we'd be more than happy to deal with you,' I've got to listen to that," he points out. "I still want to maintain the integrity of the music, but I also have to be a businessman; I would like to make a dollar from doing this. If somebody says, 'Hey, we like a part of your music but not the whole thing,' then, hey, why not give them the part they like, you know, if they're willing to pay for it?"

And they are: Barusch engineered a deal with Perris Records, a Texas-based independent distribution company, to release Platoon 13's debut. "I'm a pretty happy guy right now," Cranberri says. "I did get a check, and it was a nice-sized check. I've never been paid by anybody. That made me say, ŒOkay, I'm doing something right.'"

He hopes to realize that potential with Platoon 13. Already, Cranberri and his new unit are in fighting form.

"It's not how good you fight," he enthuses at the end of our grueling eight-minute workout. "It's how long you fight good."

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