#1 Branding Company, Backed By #1 DJ In The South: Goin Hard For Independents.
Attracting some of the most influential artists, producers and DJs in hip hop over the past two decades, the city of Atlanta has become a musical Mecca. Artists as diverse as native Chicago rapper Ludacris, Chattanooga, Tenn.-born R&B sensation Usher all the way to Bessemer, Ala.-raised rapper Gucci Mane, multi-platinum Memphis super producer Jazze Pha and even Mississippi native son and much-respected radio personality Greg Street all migrated to the Peachtree State as a launch pad for superstardom.
Up next to add their names to the long list of Georgia transplants to further put the A-town on the map is four-man collective known as TeamPhlyte. Based in East Atlanta’s infamous Zone 6 and made up of Bobby Groove (Bobby Lester, 21), Dooby (Ronnie Ford, 20), Kewl Kev (Kevin Smith, 20) and 6lack (RicardoValentine, 19), they combine as one unit like the mighty Voltron robot to create an unstoppable superpower.
With the ink still dripping wet on their recent recording deal on multi-platinum entertainer Flo Rida’s International Music Group imprint with management provided by Strong Arm Management, TeamPhlyte is set to take off beyond the stratosphere with their forthcoming street album Filthy Icons and two singles “Dance Shake” and “Throw the Money Up.”
“We call it a filthy lifestyle,” says Kev. “We are all about skinny jeans and fly fashions. We speak for young and the free, the loose, the go-getters, the urban crowd.”
“If you have unity, you can’t help but drive toward that goal,” says Dooby. “We’re all brothers. We bleed together. We’re mud brothers.”
That brotherhood first came about as a skateboarding crew Covington, Ga., some 30 miles East of Atlanta. Kev was born in New York and raised in Miami. 6lack was born in Baltimore and raised in Georgia. Bobby Groove was born and raised in Miami. And Dooby is the only indigenous Georgia boy of the outfit.
“We were just the coolest dudes in high school,” explains Bobby Groove, “and we felt like we had to combine.”
So during the summer of 2009, they took their friendship a step further and began recording music in Bobby’s mother’s garage. With a microphone hanging from the ceiling and mattresses placed against the walls to minimize noise distortion, they put their own verses atop music industry beats and distributed their music through MySpace, Twitter and Facebook.
“We were on some Hustle and Flow stuff,” Dooby explains. “Turn the fan off when you’re about to record, from the dog pissing everywhere. But we made it work and put all our flows and our thoughts together and made it a powerhouse in the garage.”
Before long, they moved from recording in a garage to a professional studio and released their official street album Phlyte Reservation in 2010. Promoting their music via social media and on YouTube.com, the mixtape yielded so many downloads that severs from Bandcamp.com and Hotnewhiphop.com both crashed. Their popularity grew even more with the release of their well-received iTunes debut single “My Sneakers” in 2011.
“We don’t sound like anyone or try to do what anyone does,” explains Bobby. “Our sound is so innovative that once we let the people see it, they feel it.”
Knowing that they had what it takes to make an impact on the music industry, they pooled their resources to travel down to Miami to audition for an executive at Flo Rida’s independent IMG/Strongarm label.
“When we went in to audition, dude was like ‘I don’t want to hear no words. I just wanna see y’all perform,’” Kev recalls. “We smashed it! He was enthused and excited and wanted to take on our project from day one.”
“Our sound varies from R&B to hip hop. We borrow from jazz, rock and pop,” explain 6lack. “We listen to everything and study music down to the core. So some songs might sound pop. Some songs might sound like a local Atlanta song to make people dance. Some songs might be much deeper than that. We mix everything and try to put it into one.” So buckle up and brace yourself as they take off!
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