The Realer Music Group
July 10, 2012
Bull City’s Running with the Realer Music Group
Interview by Lamont Lilly
Several hours prior to their live performance at the album release party of Tab-One & Sunshine J’s Madflowridiculous, I sat down with Durham’s The Realer Music Group (RMG), a local Hip Hop gem just beginning to find their own shine. They were highly anticipating their short hike for the evening to Kings Barcade in Raleigh. We decided on soul food and met at JC’s Kitchen at the corner of Fayetteville and Main Street for late lunch. Honestly, I think we did more eating than talking, more laughing than deep thought. What could we say? The fried fish, candied yams, mac & cheese, cabbage and cornbread felt more like a reunion than an interview. Read along as we talk Hip Hop in the Bull City.
Lamont Lilly: So I’ve heard the single, “Armed & Dangerous.” It’s pretty tight. I’ve seen you all on YouTube and out in the underground circuit, but who is the Realer Music Group? And how did you all come together?
RMG: The Realer Music Group is really one whole of several pieces: the Wreck-N-Crew, Jacobi, Lil Bob and Free Agent Jasun. Two of us met at Jack Sprat in Chapel Hill. We were there in competition with one another, battling. Two of us met at North Carolina Central University, right here in Durham. As independent artists we were already listening to each other’s music, actually kind of fans of each other. Out of mutual respect, we all knew we wanted to do something together. So we decided to form an alliance. One of us came from a different crew due to artistic differences. The fitting was perfect. And there you have it, the Realer Music Group.
Lamont Lilly: How long have you all been honing your craft together as a unit, as the Realer Music Group?
RMG: A year and a half, almost two years now, and still grinding. Time flies. You really can’t keep up with it.
Lamont Lilly: I wanted to ask about the single, “Armed & Dangerous.” There’s so many layers in this song – love and energy, politics and college, even ego. I really appreciated the youthful realism and authenticity. Where does this particular mix of content come from?
RMG: Pretty much it comes from our experiences. We all went to college, or had some taste of college life, and have all experienced different walks. The industry has tried to belittle the intelligence of this generation with the kind of music it’s putting out. We knew better than that. We’re different individuals with like morals, but we’re still our own person. The different sounds you hear come from our different walks of life. That’s where that comes from.
Lamont Lilly: You all represent Durham (NC) pretty hard. What is it about the Bull City that makes you feel such pride and connection?
RMG: Durham is a beautiful place to be. The community is all love. This city helped to grow us up. It’s what most of know as home, or the heart. We want to make the sound of Durham in our music. Almost like when you hear Durham, you think of our sound. Just like the food here in JC’s Kitchen, the soul is good.
Lamont Lilly: How do you all define Hip Hop? And what does it mean as a working collective?
RMG: Hip Hop is everything. I know it’s cliché but it really is the culture: our language, our dress, our hair. It raised us. Hip Hop changed the world. Music is really Black people’s religion – our generation’s religion. It changed the world in bridging ethnicities, in bringing people and all genres together. With Hip Hop you have to ask yourself, “Who is this next man beside me?” That can be trendsetting and very influential. That’s important.
Lamont Lilly: Where does the Realer Music Group want to go with Hip Hop? Where do you all want to go with the art, with the sound and message?
RMG: We want to be innovation, do things no one else has ever done and crank it up a little, whether it’s Durham or internationally speaking. Ultimately, we want to do music for life, as a career. It would be nice to pay a bill or two. I go to work every day writing songs, all along thinking, this is what I should be doing for a living. We wake up doing music. It’s a genuine love. We don’t do it for money. We’ll take the money, but that’s not why we do it. Hip Hop isn’t a gimmick, or at least it’s not supposed to be. It’s love. The goal now is to touch people, just like we’re sitting here.
Lamont Lilly: So what’s next for the Realer Music Group? What types of projects are in the works?
RMG: We’re currently working on a compilation project for the Realer Music Group called 72 and 10. It’s our statement of greatness just like Michael Jordan and the Bulls did it in ‘96. It’s a soundtrack that commemorates a great season, except in Hip Hop. The Wreck-N-Crew’s new project is called Alcohol & Music II. This time we got more serious and really in-depth on the evils of alcohol. 72 and 10 is due out mid fall of 2012, while Alcohol & Music II is scheduled to be released shortly afterwards. One of us [Free Agent Jasun] is even working on an R&B/Soul album. There’s no compromising the creativity.
Lamont Lilly: Quite a few cats are creating good Hip Hop in Raleigh-Durham. Major labels are actually signing artists from here now. What makes the Realer Music Group so different from the rest of its Carolinian colleagues?
RMG: We’re big on researching the craft. You have to know where you came from. If you like something, study it, learn it. That’s when you incorporate it into what you’re doing. That’s what makes our sound stand out. Collectivity. Truth be told, I’m really a late bloomer. I didn’t start listening to Hip Hop until the 7th grade; prior to that it was Pop, R&B, Gospel and even Rock. All of that comes out in the music. That’s the foundation that makes our sound.
Much thanks to the Realer Music Group for their convo before the show. It’s always an honor to hear from artists who live their craft. You can reach them via Twitter @RealerMusic_NC. Oh, and much thanks to JC’s Kitchen for providing some of the best soul food in Raleigh-Durham. Black is Beautiful! Much peace to Hip Hop. – @LamontLilly
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