Beyond Reality
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Beyond Reality

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Hip Hop R&B

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Aug
05
Beyond Reality @ Genesse Park

Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA

Jul
07
Beyond Reality @ Chop Suey

Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA

Jun
23
Beyond Reality @ Artopia

Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA

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Music

Press


Up next was Beyond Reality, the duo of MC Kylea and her son, who looked to be around six or seven years old. “This is my hype man,” she told the crowd before busting into some supremely confident true school verses. The kid was fully on point, backing her up on choruses and shining with unabashed charisma. The pair pulled off a short, high-energy set like seasoned vets.

- Line Out/Stranger - JONATHAN ZWICKE


It's hard to find decent show reviews of Beyond Reality, Seattle's only (we think) mom/son hip-hop duo, and there may be a good reason why. We don't imagine Upendo "Upi" Selassie plays many late-night shows, since there's school—elementary school— to get to in the a.m. Along with his skillful MC Kylea, the drummer man whips up soulful positivity while expertly crafted hip-hop rhymes and rhythms play on.


- Seattle Weekly


Hiphop Family

It is nothing less than astonishing that the man who produced one of the loudest, boldest, most masculine hiphop CDs to come out of Seattle is the same man who produced one of the most tender, soulful, feminine CDs to come out of Seattle. BeanOne is the primary musical mind behind Beyond Reality's A Souls Journey. Beyond Reality is the city's top female rapper and has held that position since the mid-'90s. Her skills make no room for mistakes. She knows what she wants to say and how to say it with little waste and detours. Be it the state of hiphop, the state of the black family, the state of black culture, the state of the 206—all themes that dominate A Souls Journey—Beyond gets to the point quickly and efficiently. The CD features vocals from local soul queens Choklate and Felicia Loud, and the track that rises high above the rest is "A Souls Journey," which is inspired by the funk and mood of Stax Records. The song takes the form of a journey through Beyond Reality's life—her birth, her childhood, the birth of her children, the death of close family members. It is a testimony of where she comes from and where she stands at this moment in her life. The CD will not rock a party (for that, go to Dyme Def) but it does provide an excellent portrait of a woman who is in love with the art of hiphop. - Charles Mudede


Many rappers mention their moms in their music. Tributes are made on liner notes. Sometimes they buy them houses and cars.

But Upendo "Upe" Selassie Moore does them one better: He performs with his mom.

Since he's only 8, his mom towers above him right now.

Upe (rhymes with hoop) is the hype man/backup vocal singer for Beyond Reality, and the only child of Erika Kylea White. Known in local music circles as Kylea, the 37-year-old godmother of Seattle hip-hop can be counted as a peer in the strong female MC tradition of Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Salt-n-Pepa.

Upe was born into the life, not only through his mama, who performed throughout her pregnancy, but also through his pops, Johnathan Moore, another local hip-hop pioneer, known as Wordsayer, who performed with Source of Labor.

As a second-generation performer, Upe has hip-hop in his blood.

That may be why, at 18 months old, he was already drumming. Not just pounding madly, but with rhythm, in distinct patterns. He couldn't sit still at restaurants, grabbing chopsticks and tapping a beat that entered his head and wouldn't let him go.

He's been on stage with his mother since he was 4, coming a long way from the shy little guy who hid behind his mother's legs during his first performance. He has already played onstage with Grammy-winning group The Roots, who are friends of his parents. Questlove, the group's drummer, made everyone in the band ease off so the crowd could see that the little prince was really doing the work. Maktub's drummer recently gave Upe a drum set for Christmas. And Erykah Badu became a fast fan once she heard his sticks.

His biggest fans, of course, are Mom and Dad. The cover of Beyond Reality's first full-length CD, "A Souls Journey," is an artistic rendering of a photograph taken of White when she was pregnant with Upe, her fingers clasped in an embrace with Moore.

"Upendo is one of my favorite subjects to talk about. Really he is," said Tanisha Brandon-Felder, who taught Upe in first and second grades at Orca Elementary School. "His name means love (in Swahili), and when I had to share a story about the most unique name I've come across in my childbirth class, his was the first to come to my mind. I have never met a person that so embodies the meaning of his name. This little boy is truly filled with love. Everyone around him can feel it."

When it came time for the teacher to advance him to third grade, she almost cried.

"I have been able to see his good days and his hard days, and I have seen his growth. I always tell him, 'Don't forget me when you become a big star,' because there is no doubt in my mind that is what he will be. Whatever path he chooses to take he will be a star."

Little big man

Don't think all this attention makes Upe big in the head.

"I've learned to be grateful for the things I have," he said. "I've learned to acknowledge the fact I get a lot of things in life."

He's also still an 8-year-old. One minute he's thoughtful and sitting, the next he's jumping out of his seat, practicing layups -- without the basketball -- on the living-room light fixture. Or he's grabbing your hand, dragging you into his room so he can show you his video iPod and his playlists, which include Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Busta Rhymes and Rick James. Or he's jamming on his drums, hands flying as he sits under a Run-DMC action figure and a photo of Miles Davis. Or he's goofing on the computer on some beats laid down by one of his two other bands. Or he's doing the Carlton from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" as he lip-syncs to Snoop Dogg.

"He may be talented, but he's still a kid," said White, laughing as her spirited progeny fielded phone conversations and text messages from his friends and cousins -- as likely to be business for the young producer as social calls.

But, always, he's polite and friendly.

"He is in my dance class after school on Mondays," said Upe's third-grade teacher, Phi-Ho Le. "He plays the drum and has a rhythm going on in his head at all times. He can also be a challenge since he can't sit still and loves to talk, but that is why he is in an alternative school. He is creative and very friendly, a treasure in many ways."

White's strong family roots -- she's the youngest of seven children, born and raised in the Central Area -- has helped keep her own family grounded. Music is a family affair for White, who frequently refers to the 206 and her local roots in her songs. Aaron "ab" Benson -- Upe's cousin -- recently joined Beyond Reality as the group's DJ.

"These are the people who make up who I am," White said. "We always say we bring the living room to the stage."

Her living room in a Belltown apartment, where Upe has lived his entire life, is simple. There's a TV with DVD sets of "In Living Color" and Richard Pryor shows leaning against the base; there's an Xbox; hundreds of records (oh, the vinyl!); and finally there are pictures, lots and lots of pictures of Upe. - Athima Chansanchai


Yo! I'm gonna have to watch my language, because there are children present, but this album is off the MF-in' hook! We've been talking about the Northwest Territory of the United States and it's up-and-coming hip-hop scene for some time now. And if there's one city that seems to stand out from the rest, it would have to be Seattle, Washington. I've personally come across a countless number of dope hip-hop groups from this city recently, so much that I'm considering spending my next vacation out there just going to local shows.

But if I had to pick out just one show to see in the Seattle scene, it would undoubtedly be a group called Beyond Reality. This crew consists of MC Kylea, her circa-4-year-old son and hype-man Upe, and her nephew AB on tables. The lyrics are positive and conscious, the beats fun, soulful and bumping, and the overall vibe simply feel-good. I can just imagine this family rocking it on stage in an old-school b-boy / b-girl street party-ish fashion, with break circles, nodding heads and satisfied smiles as far as the eye could see. Just another reason to check out Seattle and it's impressive hip-hop scene.

Beyond Reality's first full-length album "A Souls Journey" is a highly creative and passionate project that gave me a feeling of happiness and relaxation the entire way through. There's something indescribably soothing about Kylea's voice, annunciation and flow that just kept jumping out at me and making me rewind track after track to listen again. It's that type of album you throw in on a warm summer day, open up the windows to let that cool breeze through, and bump out the top of the speakers for everyone walking by on the streets to hear. One of the more eye-opening underground releases of the year thus far.

From their own words, the point of this music is to "see beyond reality, something larger than you." And that comes through loud and clear in "A Souls Journey" by creating a vibe that is simultaneously boisterous and humble; old-school and brand new; positive and conscious. This album is reminiscent of the true essence of hip-hop ... that thing which made me fall in love with it in the first place. I highly recommend checking it out, and definitely recommend trying to get to a show if you're ever in the Seattle area. I know I will. Peace. - Hip Hop Linguistics


The reality of Hip-Hop, whether underground or mainstream is that Hip-hop is a male dominated medium of expression. Despite the struggle against gender biases in all walks of life, including all artistic media, women are putting in the work to fix that discrepancy. Constantly producing refreshing new sounds that remain true to the culture, Kylea of Beyond Reality proves that intense lyrics and dope beats aren't just for the fellas.

Combining the skills of a true lyricist and the energy of a B-girl simply put 'Soul's Journey' knocks. Coupling Kylea's rhyming skills with hard hitting beats by Bean One and Kuddie, 'Soul's Journey' is a "time machine" back to the very roots of Hip-hop. To a time when Hip-Hop had a message of positivity served along side dope beats. Beyond Reality serves up track after track of pure gold. 'Soul's Journey' is a timeless piece of music. The listener is treated to a nostalgic journey into the old school, with the element of the unknown that comes from today's new school approach.

Collaborating with heavyweights, Vitamin D, Bean One, Choklate, Felecia Loud, and Chali 2na, 90% of the tracks are meant to be danced to. Laced with knowledge 'Soul's Journey' is uplifting music meant to capture the listener's mind, body and soul. While traveling with Kylea through her life, she let's the listener's know right off the bat she's grown, "ya'll just grown out here with some baby teeth, I'm just grown rocking over the beat..." A truer statement I doubt you'll find. Approaching this album with a monumental level of maturity that can only be found in the elders of this culture, 'Soul's Journey' touches some massive topics, like America's stolen legacy, homelessness, the prison industry, and payola just to name a few.

It's hard to have a favorite song cause they all bang in one way or another. The whole album is full of a soulful passion emphasized by Kylea's immaculate delivery. If forced to choose I would pick "la Fronz". It touches on the pay-to-play, encourages you to believe in your self and more importantly "get your backs up off the wall!" Not to mention the talented Lil Upe, spits some pretty hot licks and just about stole the whole song with one verse. Produced by Bean One the track is infectious, you can't listen without moving to the beat. Although the same can be said of most of the tracks.

Another favorite, the albums title track "Soul's Journey" featuring Felecia Loud. It's the cliff notes of Kylea's life, an innovative autobiography soulfully laid along side Felecia Loud's vocals. This song gives the listener an inside look at who Kylea is and how she came to be so fresh. "Always been myself and always will be. Always had my own style that makes me....me." You will be hard pressed to find another like Kylea of Beyond Reality, or an album as innovative as "Soul's Journey".

True to the culture, this album is a must have. Anyone who has a soft spot for the old school, hot beats, or soulful lyrics this is an album for you. - Zulu 206


Discography

Relax – Sharpshooters (1995)

Herbal Recipe – Strange Voices (1997)

Word Sound Power- Jasiri Compilation (1997)
- SOLBR
- Revival
- Big Bear
- 333
- Whatever
- I Reality
- ABC’s
- Say U Do

Classic Elements (1998)
- Aunt Anna

Stolen Lives- Source of Labor (2000)
- Wondertwin

Love Will Visit – Darrius Willrich (2003)
- Your Love

A Souls Journey (2007)

Photos

Bio

What started out as two best friends from High school writing and rocking the mic has turned into the first mother and son duo sharing our stories through the form of Hip Hop / Soul music. Kylea is a true emcee reel to real not a pro tool cut and pastes your verse but breath control flow until it's right! The live show is where the fun continues Upendo is a true b boy at 8 years old he's been on the stage for 6 years he started drumming at 18 mos! Backing his mom up has tightened his skills on the mic. We do not rock (perform) over our pre-recorded vocals we rock our vocals live! "Take it back to the days before the video ruled" We created an album with the listener in mind you can hear and appreciate the music without having a visual as to who it is but can feel how authentic it is from start to finish. Kylea expresses from the heart creating stories that uplift from the spirit while capturing the mind body and soul of the listener. To describe our music best it is breastfeed music not formula feed music! If you are ready for something refreshing and new then look no further we're here.