MP3 Plan: Be - Antiform
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Kurz-Beschreibung von CDbaby: Intelligent, independent hip-hop.
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Born in an isolated Appalachian town, PLAN: BE was the first independent hip-hop group to introduce home-grown hip-hop to an area previously all but devoid of urban influence - the sliver of culturally desolate land wedged between Pennsylvania and the West Virginia panhandle known as Western Maryland. While never forgetting its semi-rural origins, the group has recently moved on to larger realms; calling the inimitable city of Washington, DC its home for the past several years. This multi-talented foursome (the group does all of its own writing, production, recording, mixing, artwork and design, promotion, website design and maintenance, and even operates its own record label) is now bringing its unique flavor to the entire region and to as much of the world as it can reach.
Before becoming an active hip-hop unit, the group members were childhood friends in the small town of Cumberland, Maryland - a place where listening to hip-hop more often meant being confronted than complimented. SKOOCH EMCEE and UNI VS are brothers who first met then next-door neighbors KING THESIS and RHYMIX during elementary school. Back when Rhymix and King Thesis were regular five-finger discount participators at the downtown department store they tended to target Transformers. Skooch targeted younger brother Uni Vs with body blows the way older siblings tend to do. Then, a chance encounter - Skooch and Rhymix draw jet planes together one day in a fourth-grade classroom. At about that time, Skooch had his first hip-hop album, the Beat Street soundtrack, for almost a year.
Eighth grade and Skooch and Rhymix are almost as tight as neighbors Rhymix and King Thesis. Hip-hop bubbles up from a constant presence in the background to a conscious presence in the fore. Rhymix begins making mix tapes. His methods are crude -- it’s a cheap radio/tape deck affair, but it’s the beginning of the beginning. Tenth grade (eighth for Uni Vs), and Skooch has four or five Rhymix mix tapes in his collection. It’s the glory days of the cassette maxi-single -- Rhymix moves on to making remixes of his favorite songs and distributing them to friends.
A unit begins to form as age differences mean less and driver’s licenses are obtained. Hip-hop moves to the center. Rhymix gives up shoplifting, but not before the core of an extensive music collection is formed. Everyone is blowing tons of cash on albums. The days of regularly getting made fun of for being a hip-hop fan in a backward town were ending. By high school’s end, the four-track recorder was discovered. The unit is named, and suddenly a purpose is born.
For years, everything they record is shared only within the group and their circle of friends. Rhymix destroys his first sampler with raw overuse. By the time King Thesis finishes his stint in the army, Skooch in the middle of his at the University of Maryland, Uni Vs is fresh out of high school, and Rhymix waits tables and shares a Washington, DC apartment with Skooch. The unit expands. Every gathering becomes a recording or freestyle session where skills build. Rhymix begins working as a professional DJ and eventually moves to Florida to attend recording school. The four, along with several other friends, form Western Maryland’s first hip-hop group, Midnight :30. They play their first show in 1999. They play their last in 2001.
Somewhere in there Uni Vs moves to Pittsburgh and back. King Thesis moves to Akron. Skooch graduates. The group’s abilities climb to formidable levels. Everyone enters nine-to-five daily drudgery. Then Skooch, King Thesis, Uni Vs, and Rhymix decide to pick up where Midnight: 30 left off, and Plan: Be is born.
Plan: Be now continues, having achieved the next level in musical ability and gathered the experience and knowledge necessary to make the leap to a serious level of recording and performing. The group has been accumulating material for Antiform since early 2001and has developed a distinctive but hard-to-define sound formed around the unique abilities, tastes, and philosophies of the individual group members. A lead vocalist/MC and producer, SKOOCH brings not only passion and intensity to the microphone, but thought-provoking lyrics. UNI VS, also a lead vocalist and a producer, demonstrates a singular talent for lyricism with intellectual content, especially when combined with his own envelope-pushing production. KING THESIS, a lead vocalist whose skill continually astounds, provides a particularly solid and ever-evolving vocal ability and a masterful command of metaphor. RHYMIX, vocalist and DJ/producer, possesses an unparalleled technical expertise and talent for production as well as a simultaneously whimsical and dangerous vocal presence.
Despite the fact Plan: Be are childhood friends and all come from a hip-hop background, they have individually embraced different aspects of the genre and culture. The group’s material reflects the fact that, musically, they are more a tightly bound collection of individuals than an act with a clearly defined sound. They have chosen to embrace this, emphasizing their individual tastes and creating a multifaceted and malleable style rather than a stagnant and unified one. The result is material that continuously defies musical expectations and veers sharply away from ’typical’ hip-hop subject matter.
The group has overcome much to get to this point -- the exciting release of their first album. They have spent years writing, recording, and performing, and have managed to come together for this event over great distances (during the majority of the album’s production, King Thesis worked for a tire manufacturer and attended Kent State University in Akron, Ohio; Skooch Emcee worked as an architect in Washington, DC; Rhymix attended the Full Sail recording arts school in Orlando, Florida; and Uni Vs., after attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, became a graphic designer). They have, as part of Midnight :30, and in recently releasing a limited-release Plan: Be single, CMD (Represent) in their home town, founded the independent hip-hop movement in Western Maryland.
In 2002, Skooch founded a Washington, DC based record label, PRO-GRAVITY RECORDS, for the express purpose of releasing the Plan: Be debut album. This endeavor is completely controlled by the group on all levels, with the members handling not only all of the creative aspects of the release, but also all of the business aspects. Maintaining creative control and keeping their expression pure are two of the group’s prime directives.
2003 and Antiform hits the streets. And just like these words only give the smallest taste of what Plan: Be is, what’s occurred so far only gives a taste of what is to come.
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