The Set List

The Set List
By Brian Washburn
The hip hop world is busting out. Kanye West is being nominated for several Grammys every year, Outkast has flourished through mainstream radio and Lil’ Wayne continues to be the most dominant force in music. The robust world of hip hop looks like it is about to bring attention to our own backyard. Four-piece hip hop act SoundChild Crew has racked up several Southern Entertainment Awards (including Indie Hip Hop Artist of the Year last year and nine more nominations for the ’09 awards), a distribution deal in Houston (from the people who did Lil’ Flip and Mike Jones) and been featured on MTV’s Pimp My Ride. But this looks like only the beginning for these Arkansas natives.
“We started in ’97 and went at it real tough over the years getting contact lists and being licensed to MTV. We’ve done a lot of mix tapes and those have put us in position be to heard in several different states,” said SoundChild Crew member B. Reign.
The mix tapes the hip hop group have been featured on also includes work from the likes of Wayne and Jeezy (and can be found on iTunes). SoundChild Crew are currently in the studio working on their full length release, which should be out in 2009.
“We currently have 70 songs and we have put our heart [into this album],” said Crew member Mista Geech. Though 70 tracks seems like a lot of tracks to lay down, what’s really unusual about SoundChild Crew is their writing process.
“We don’t use notepads anymore. We used to but we perfected it and did mental calisthenics, as we like to call them. We just get in our separate zones and zone out to the music and let it play over and over to get it done,” Mista Geech said. “We work real hard to perfect our craft.”
Their writing process also reflects the sound of their music, which has reached a worldwide audience including DJ Ames in the United Kingdom.
“Each track makes you feel a different way. We don’t just stick to one thing, we have a large catalog that can touch any person. As hip hop lovers and a group, that’s what we try to stick to: to reach every fan,” said member Blue Tantrum.
Reaching every fan has not been hard for the group, whose fourth member Wes Low was out of town and could not make it to the interview.
SoundChild Crew embraced the digital music phenomenon known as the internet early on and they haven’t looked back. The group has launched their own YouTube page titled OLTV (One Life Productions Television), which features live performances, road and studio footage and music videos. The group will even release an OLTV DVD at the end of this year, which will be available through their Web site and at shows. But with the way the hip hop world and more specifically the music industry, is changing, SoundChild Crew sees no reason to change their game plan.
“We’ve talked to a few record labels, but it’s nothing we want to do right now. If we’re doing this good independent, then why do we need a label?” B. Reign said.
“We got in the digital music age early, back when we didn’t have finances and couldn’t do as many shows,” Blu said. “The internet let us reach out to where we couldn’t physically go and we have grown as the [digital music] market has grown.”
Fans from coast to coast are listening to the Crew’s unique blend of lyrical, and intricate southern hip hop, as they describe their sound. But while garnering awards and reaching fans worldwide amazes the group, their real goal is to continue to be a credit to hip hop.
“We love hip hop, and our music is a reflection of our passion,” Mista Geech said. “Be prepared [in 2009] for some artistic and creative work.”
“We will adapt to wherever hip hop goes,” Blu said.
Although hip hop’s domination of the music industry does not seem to be backing down, it might have to make a pit stop in Arkansas to pick up the Crew.
SoundChild Crew will play Jerzees off Dickson Street after the Razorbacks homecoming game against Tulsa on Nov. 1, so check out hip hop’s next big thing.
Final Thought: While hip hop has been dominating the airwaves and music sales, another music genre has shot up there as well: the no-talent, PR tween bands. And yes, I am talking about the likes of Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers. While these two music acts might possess a bit of music talent through their voices, they seem to be nothing more than well-marketed, well-publicized, well-imaged no talents. By the way does anybody know where I can get their publicists’ number?

Categories: LIVE! In NWA