Written by Nicole Counts
A circle is defined as a round plane with no openings. There are no gaps and no holes. Its tight, close, and it is one. This circle, Ground Up, is made up of over thirty different pieces. However, when you look at this circle, you cannot see any of these individual pieces, you see a unified front, a music group, a family.
Ground Up is a music group consisting of three main people; the producer Bij Lincs, and the two MC’s Azar and Malakai. They have created eight mix tapes, the newest being “The Get Down,” which just so happens to be a work of art.
Their music is not just words put to a rhythm; it is a statement. The producer, Bij Lincs, uses his talents to create mixes with hints of jazz, old school hip-hop, and unique sounds that change the image of hip-hop. “13th floor,” a song on their newest mix tape, “The Get Down,” was the first song Bij Lincs wrote. Producing is not just fun for him; it has become his part in creating their genius.
The group met at Temple University freshman year orientation in 2008. Their first experience performing together was in the basement of the house they all formed in. The show was about an hour and a half long with two small speakers and no sub. To say the least, they had no idea what they were doing. Through all of that, people still came out to the party to support them and they had fun. “That’s when we realized we could make money off it,” says Malakai.
Through their eight mix tapes, Bij Lincs says their sixth mix tape, “Girls Who Smoke Cigarettes,” was their most experimental mix tape. A lot of features added onto this album allowed them to work with a diverse group of people. At this point in their career, they got to know musically what they could do. They better understood the business and how the industry works, as well as how to exemplify their personality as a whole.
As far as culture goes, “We’re kind of weird we have our own,” Malakai says. Their entire team, their entire family, includes about thirty people. “They transcend race”, says Azar. Their values are different because of how much culture they embody. They have the opportunity to shift culture in music, not only by their own individual cultures, but also by the combination of genres their tracks’ manifest. By doing so, their music can change the world.
What makes music great is not the rhythm, the lyrics, or the beats. Music is great when you feel it. When music can change the way you feel, when it can speak to you, music becomes something more than a sound. It becomes a way of life. Ground Up is different for their approach, for their mixture of genres, their musical risks, and, most importantly, they are different because of their loyalty to people.
Ground Up’s biggest performance is their annual performance in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Every year they perform for over four hundred people, people that have known their music from their first mix tape to their last. Their dedication to the first people that watched them grow is why their following is so strong. Malakai says, “I could sit here and name a bunch of rappers that people have named before, but my biggest influence is our friends that have helped us. They drive far to check us out and keep us doing it.” Their devotion to their fans and the people they consider family comes through in their lyrics. Bij Lincs says, “Having friends around when laying down a track, they make it really fun. People around us believe in it more than we do.”
“Our catalogue sets us apart from a lot of other artists. We have so much content, people being able to watch us grow, people haven’t forgotten about the first mix tape.” - Malakai
They have opened for prominent artists such as Rick Ross, Gucci Mane, Meek Millz, and Chiddy Bang. Black Star was Malakai’s most exciting act to open for, and the others agree, because of the way they impacted their own group on a musical level. The list continues, however, they are not content just being the opening acts. They hope to move forward and gain success in their careers.
To learn more or download their mix tape click here: http://www.groundupsounds.com/
Photo credit to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ground-Up/177112232322350