The Local Section Pt.2: The Usual Suspects

muncie sign

There are so many artists in Muncie, it’s almost unfair to even try to mention them all. Most of my knowledge of the city comes from experiences that I have had with the MCs, Producers and DJs. In the previous installment, I mentioned a number of artists who had released either Tape or CD albums and mixtapes over that last 20 years. Being that so many Muncie artists put in work, I had to divide it up into eras. Keep in mind, there is no official timeline to these events or releases. With that being said, let’s try to pick up where we left off…

I established 765 Recordings with High Society’s Release in 03. Around 2004, I put together my studio in my house(5 Points), and began working on music with some friends. My cousin T-Mase(Mr. Blue Flame) started managing me, and I started a group I simply called The Otherz, with D.A, Unjus, Mel-Cap, DNA, and singer Jeralyn Scaife. We were later joined by Crosstown Slim, and we recorded The Hood Friendly CD. We also released a mixtape, Heatwave Vol. I, which also featured A Man Called Relik of Mystery School, and TJ Hooks(Mel-One) among others. After those projects I released my first solo album Thinking Out Loud in 2007. High Society became Small Wonders in 2008 and a few years later we dropped our debut Playability.

Rah, Dub and Mc/Producer Jig formed the Drunk Bunch, they would go on to put a number of CDs on the street. They created a buzz throughout the city, and Da Bunch became a movement and gained respect as MCs.  Mr Prez, Black and Ya Boy Rilla were known as Da Blunted. They dropped a couple of mixtapes on their label CottonMouff Records, including Capture The City, where they were joined by TC, who had broken onto the scene with his Dolla Bill produced song Pedal to the Medal. Ya Boy Rilla would go on to form Street Corner Entertainment with Mel Cap and DNA and release 2 projects, Blunts and Beats Volumes I and II. he would also start producing, with credits on Juan the God’s Guilty Until Proven Innocent, and Nell Kayo5’s new album.

U-Kamp Records is a Muncie based label which features Nell Kayo5, who just released his long-awaited album K05/KOI(King of Indiana). Long time 765 Mc, J-Lee dropped his solo projects, Unanimous Decision, DodgeZilla, Infected: No Vaccine and I.L.L. on U-Kamp with producer Whitehead, who has also dropped several solo albums like Born Loser, and also released projects like Siah Soze’s Man on Fire and Juan the God’s Back Like I Never Left. Other U-Kamp projects include Natural’s mixtape Natural Disaster, and AK’s Black on Black Everything mixtape, which features tracks with Allstones and 2 tracks with late local rapper Bill Blast. U-Kamp in conjunction with Travis Records also released Paleface Picasso’s debut album The Truth.

Merc Versus stayed busy, dropping his solo album The Word, and building the super-group Iron Workers Guild which featured various MCs from around the state. They would drop 2 CDs, Behind the Iron Curtain, and March of the Martyrs. These albums were on Merc’s label Invisible Ink, along with Stone Messiah’s Amerikan Idol, my album Donta’s Inferno, A Man Called Relik’s spoken word album NPR, and Merc Versus- Rise of The Sleeping Giant. Invisible Ink also released music from other artists in the state, including Merc’s group Bedlam Brethren with NYC native Hollow Christ.Their album Black Feather Messengers was an underground classic.

People were starting to take local rap serious. You started to frequently hear names like Bay Bay Holiday, Chad B, Taye the Great, BC Bronson, Whitely Cartel, Reek White, Boney Boss, T-Time, S.O.S. Bosman, Grimey Goonz,and Indiana Slick.You would see CDs like B.I.G. FAM and FAB Volume 1 in the streets. The fact that I can name so many artists and still leave some out is only a testament to the pipeline of music that is Muncie Indiana.

The scene was coming together and everyone was having their voice heard in the streets in some form or another. With no true hip hop club or venue dedicated to the music, we were fortunate to have Doc’s Music Hall. Several weekend shows and weekly open mics on Wednesday nights kept the momentum going, as people were starting to come out and support their favorite acts. After that, CenterStage(Columbia Theater) was the best place to see hip hop in the city. Despite not having the support of a radio station, and DJ, the local community of rap artists and producers continued to network and grow.

While I take pride in my memory, and my place in the Muncie Music scene, this is not an official record, some people may be left out, as I may have forgotten a few due to their being so many to remember. In the last installment of this series I will talk about today’s local scene, which is stronger than ever, thanks to the ground work laid by the aforementioned. I will tell you about MCs like Gary Carmike, Hii Def, Grandaddy Purp, PacMan, F.A.M.E., Muncie House of Music, Infinity, Bob Markie, Paleface Picasso and many more. Also where to buy local music and see local shows…

I encourage everyone to Google these artists and visit their respective sites.

Support Local Hip Hop…

 

.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Air Support; One Muncie Radio

One thing that Muncie has always been missing, is an urban radio station that plays hip hop and R&B music. Until the signal switched over from 105.7 to 106.7, WTLC in Indy was our go to station. For years, Muncie residents have had to rely on Indianapolis stations such as the new 93.9 station, and a faint 96.3 signal, to hear anything other than country, rock and roll or top 40 mainstream music. WCRD 91.3 in Ball State plays hip hop and even local music from time to time but doesn’t support the city music scene consistently. This lack of resources is critical to the entertainment atmosphere of an area. It makes it harder to hear new music, stay up on concerts coming your way, and so much more information that radio DJ’s and hosts provide.

The void is now filled with One Muncie Radio now on the air. Through this android app, area listeners now have the option to experience the music they want to hear, as well as the latest local news, and sports. It was long overdue… One Muncie Radio is Muncie and East Central Indiana’s new urban radio destination. The internet based streaming radio station has grown fast, playing a wide variety of Urban music including hip hop and R&B, both old school and new school, with Gospel music on Sundays. They also focus on playing music from local artists, which has been something the Muncie scene has been lacking.

When I first heard of OMR and saw it online I was excited, and after speaking with creator and programming director Tony Mann, I was even more optimistic about the opportunities it could provide for the entire community. It couldn’t have come at a better time, with the independent music scene growing in the area. Local artist Nell Kayo5 and entertainer Neil King Jr., have been working hard to promote the station both on social media and in the streets. Alot of Muncie artists are submitting songs to be played as we speak, so keep your ears open!

Stations like WLBC have been known for going out of their way NOT to play rap music, doing things like playing versions of R&B songs without the rap verse. Even in 2016, where rappers are good enough to be in The White House, but not on good ole 104.1… They even go so far as to take the late, great Left Eye’s verse off of TLC’s smash hit Waterfalls… {smh}Nowadays, through the meteoric rise of rap music, you may here the occasional Kendrick Lamar or B.O.B. feature on pop songs, but for the most part good hip hop and R&B remain a no no. If not for One Muncie Radio, we would all be singing Adele and Taylor Swift in our sleep. I don’t have anything against Flo-Rida or Bruno Mars, but I’m sure we would all like to expand our music catalog beyond the typical commercial hits. The radio is a part of everyday life for most people, most of whom are listening during the morning drive, the work day, and the ride home, as well as while cleaning the house or cooking dinner. With the FREE One Muncie Radio app, the latest and greatest hip hop and R&B music is at your fingertips.

The positive effect One Muncie Radio brings to the culture of the city is tremendous. They will work with local business owners, non-profits, artists and promoters to make sure the community gets word of the event.  It is both difficult and expensive for small businesses to advertise on big stations, even with their so-called reasonable rates. End even if you paid for advertisement, you were not guaranteed to reach your target audience, as they have no incentive to listen to said station because it doesn’t play music and content of their interest. Again, One Muncie Radio is the answer.

With everyone having access to this station via smartphone, tablet, PC, smart TV etc., it makes it more accessible and opens it up to a worldwide audience, as the app is available in the Google Play Store. With this availability, hopefully, ALL Muncie residents, and many more around the world download the app, and make One Muncie Radio their one stop for music.

Listen Now!!!

The Local Section: The Releases PT.1

The hip hop talent in the city of Muncie, Indiana has been thriving since the 80’s when the music and culture spread across the globe. In the 90’s, artists began releasing tapes and CD, and selling them both on the streets and in area record stores. Being involved in the scene since 93, I have heard alot of music from my counter-parts. I will attempt to document as much as I can in this blog. I will leave out a few of my demos as I will touch on those in future posts. Bare with me as I am doing this straight from my memory, with no notes or reference. Strictly Experience!

Going all the way back to the early 90’s when there were the P.R.O.S.(Professional Rappers on they Scene) which features the late local MC Tony Taylor a.k.a. Versatile. They had their cassette Raw Material at Musicland and Karma Records, we then followed suit with my group then called the Warheadz, which consisted of myself with Chris McNeill (Phenomenon) and Merc Versus. Nell Kayo5 was also featured on the title track to the single Combine and Conquer. DJ Dolla Bill Released his mixtape Enemy of the State which featured local rap favorites Rah, Dub, Double Rahn and others. Enemy of the State made alot of noise in the region and exposed a new wave of talent.

The scene was beginning to flourish as local music was being sold at the Muncie branch of Karma Records, where artists could have their music on display for listeners to sample. The Ball State based record store Stevie Rays House of Wax, was both a place to sell music as well as have shows, freestyle battles and sessions. After Stevie Rays closed, a place called FN Music opened and picked up where the House of Wax left off. Muncie artists were being covered in a magazine printed by the Star Press title Jar Magazine. The Warheadz and Mystery School both appeared on the cover and Merc Versus was a columnist for a while. During this time the Muncie Music Scene was covered in a national hip hop publication called BLAZE magazine, as alot of the above material was listed in the article.

The new millineum brought a new wave of music to the town as technology had evolved and all artists had the ability to burn CDs. The Warheadz had the CD, The Pentagon Sessionz, which we spread through the state at a rapid pace from 2000 to 02. Merc Versus and his brother, A Man Called Relik were known as the group Mystery School, also had their CD single High Times, which also featured Nell Kayo5. The momentum was spreading through Delaware county as artists were pushing out projects consistently. Rah of the group Drunk Bunch had dropped his solo album Breath Control, which like Enemy of the State, was produced by DJ Dolla Bill, and featured a list of rappers from Crosstown and Whitley(Muncie Neighborhoods), including MCs, Wiz, and Stixx, as well as vocalists Neil King and Jeralyn Skaife.

Nell Kayo5 stayed busy, as he formed the group Unleashd, with Grenade, Whitehead, and C-Dub of the Drunk Bunch. This group would form the foundation of local label U-Kamp Records. They released their self titled debut around the same time as the Warheadz follow up album 2 Strong to Hold Back was in circulation. The Mystery School album Dark Gospel dropped in this era along with Merc’s Deadbeat Poet-Dawn of the Dead EP. All of these projects were available at Karma Records in Muncie and some even around the state.

As the years progressed, various artists from the area emerged with new music on a regular basis, Ron C and JP were the Southside Clik, and their album along with long time local rapper Chuck’s A Life Less Ordinary album popped up. That album featured songs with Nell Kayo5, Ya Boy Rilla and Paleface Picasso. Nell Kayo5 dropped the Underground & Uncut CD, which featured Yo Gotti and Lil Flip on a song. After the Warheadz seized operations in 2002, our DJ Marcus Norwood and I formed High Society and dropped our album Komplete. Bill Blast, who is another late local MC, came with the Dirty Regime project, which I helped produce. This featured J-Rock and Iron Will and Illijah as well. Muncie Natives Rob Sweets,(brother of Tony Taylor)and Chris Lynch also released CD projects(sorry, I don’t recall the titles) during this era.

These releases are not in chronological order, and only go up to 2004. Anyone I forgot, and I know there are a few, I will cover in Part 2 of The Local Section blog.

Stay Tuned!