Blount Harvey
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Blount Harvey

Band Hip Hop R&B


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"Music Box:Blount Harvey"

Music box: Blount Harvey

By Kristin Day

Friday, February 01, 2008

On a typical night of band practice, the brood that is Blount Harvey come to the same house off Evans Street and wait for everyone to slowly show up. Most of them had made it by the time I got there on a Thursday night.

Sitting around the living room in a circle of couches and chairs brought in from other parts of the house, it looked more like the beginnings of a party than band rehearsal.
Contributed photos by Andy Cox
MadShah on keyboards.

"There are nine (in the band) total," said vocalist Lady Bri.

"Well, 10, if you count Q," interjected keyboardist MadShah. "Our percussionist is not currently here."

"And our trumpet player (Jon "Gabrielle" Caison) isn't here," Bri said.

And there could be a number honorably-mentioned members, but we should probably just stick to the band — to keep it simple.

Back in the summer of 2006, MadShah got the idea for a new DJ-based project. He started working with JohnBeez, "virtuoso of the turntable," and the new band soon turned into an instrumental quartet with Caison and guitarist Nigel Cheeks.

"It started off as a four-piece, but then it just snowballed," MadShah said.

MC Rudolph Lyrics started collaborating with the four, then illWill joined on drum, as well as trombonist Pablo Nieves, "Big" Ben Sparrow on tenor sax, followed by Q and Lady Bri.

"Bri was the icing on the cake," MadShah said.

"Icing on the cake; that's a wonderful quote," Bri said. "I think that's beautiful. You should say it a little louder in the tape recorder."

"The sprinkles on top of the icing is Q on percussion," JohnBeez said.

And that would be the only time members genuinely complimented each other. The rest of the conversation was a battle of wits as they hurled kind-hearted insults while repeating of the band's motto, "What would Jesus do?"

"Jesus wouldn't play in Blount Harvey," Bri said. "Jesus wouldn't play 'Slingin' Salami.'"

The band has been in its current lineup for about six months and they just finished recording their first CD, "Live from the Station," featuring nine songs. On Feb. 9, they'll throw a CD-release party at The Corner. Fuzz Jaxx and Big Hop will open.

It's a milestone in their musical and personal relationships. By fate — or whatever — they came together with a wide arrangement of personalities and backgrounds from Puerto Rico to California, New York City and London, and then all the way back to Greenville. And for Rudolph, "Stokestown."

"I am the best MC in eastern North Carolina," Rudolph exclaimed. "I'm talking (including) Raleigh, Durham..."

He then conceded that MC Superstition is the best in the state. "Rudolph Lyrics does not have an ego!"

Rudolph, a former amateur boxer, army vet and self-proclaimed lover of "mature, fluffy women with respect for the dollar," takes most of the heat throughout the interview.

As the most outspoken, however, Lyrics also remains the most mysterious — no one knows any basic facts about him, like his age or where he works.

But when it comes time to jump on stage, practice or write a new song, all the different personalities and talents come together to create an early '90s hip-hop aesthetic mixed with soul.

"We've all got this enthusiasm to create stuff that hasn't been done before," JohnBeez said. "And a lot of times we'll develop new techniques and technologies ..."

Another round of laughs.

"Yeah, the saxophone: Man blows into horn," Sparrow shouted.

Still, writing a song is a different process for them. Whether they start off with a beat from JohnBeez or a melody from MadShah, they have to find a way to incorporate everyone's specific contributions. They say it can be a challenge, but it's always fun.

"We're a fun bunch," JohnBeez said. "We're Blount Harvey."

"Is that the ending quote?" Bri said laughing.

"I think he worked that out in the shower," Nieves concluded.

Contact Kristin Day at 329-9579 or - The Mixer Magazine

"Blount Harvey Spans Genres, Blows MInds."

Blount Harvey spans genres, blows minds.

Michael McAndrew
Staff Writer

From the opening notes of Blount Harvey’s jam, “It’s Love Jill Scott” some things become readily apparent to the listener. The first is the passion and power in the timbre of vocalist Lady Bri’s sweet-as-honey voice; one that favorably drew comparisons from this listener, to Fugee’s songbird Lauren Hill, as well as the venerable ‘Sister Ree,’ otherwise as known as Aretha Franklin.

The second thing one hears is the wide array of genre-spanning music and artists Blount Harvey draws it’s inspiration from. You can’t really stick one label onto Blount Harvey’s eclectic troupe, and doubtless they wouldn’t have it any other way. Their Myspace page makes the claim they sound like “HOT FIYAH,” but this doesn’t come even close to doing the talent of any of the musicians in Blount Harvey justice.

Blount Harvey effortlessly blends elements of the Funk and Soul scenes of the nineteen sixties with the lyrically heavy socially relevant hip-hop of the early nineteen nineties. To this fan, Blount Harvey is almost likely taking a twisted time warp to the past where somehow Eric B & Rakim are performing on Soul Train circa 1973.

Blount Harvey organist Mad Shah had this to say about Blount Harvey’s Rudolph Lyrics flow. “We stress early hip hop, early nineties shit, hip hop with soul. With Rudolph’s lyrics and flow, you can definitely tell he’s into Rakim and KRS-One.”

Rudolph Lyrics lays down the hot you-know-what on tracks like “CrunkTrain,” a hyper-smart, energetic track that flies over an up-tempo beat, cuts by JohnBeez, and some fierce guitar by Nigel Cheeks. Rounding out this frenzied joint is Mad Shah on the organ, John “Gabrielle” Caison playing some really sick trumpet, and ill Will beating his drums like they owe him money.

Blount Harvey rounds out at seven regular members, already a large ensemble of talent, but can count up to four musicians at least in their ‘Honorary Family.’

Says Mad Shah about the Blount Harvey ‘family,’ “When we’re here [in Greenville] we play as a ten piece ensemble. We started off as a four piece, really a DJ based concept. The first day was a guitar, keyboard, and a DJ. Then we added a trumpet. It was really more dance oriented, house beats. We had been working with MC’s and it just snowballed from there. We tried different vocalists, stuck with Lady Bri, and added horns.” And that’s Blount Harvey.

Fans of Hip Hop, Soul, southern roots music, and really any kind of music or awesomeness at all should check out Blount Harvey on February 9th, at The Corner with Fuzz Jaxx and Big Hop at ten p.m. for their CD release party, where Blount Harvey we’ll be releasing a live album, entitled Live at The Station.

Also be sure to catch Blount Harvey at Dr. Unk’s Oasis with Dirty5Thirty on March 1st. Regardless of where you see them, the experience that is Blount Harvey should not be missed, and should be mandatory for any real fan of old-school Hip Hop or Funk.
- The East Carolinian

"Blount Harvey: A Hip-Hop Soul Collective"

Blount Harvey: A Hip Hop Soul Collective

bhgroupsm.jpgBy Paul Roberts

Who: Blount Harvey
The Sound: Hip Hop /Soul
Where: Greenville, NC
The Skinny: The band is hot and with their unique sound, they should be in the game for more than a minute.

How long have you been playing together?

In its current form, Blount Harvey has been together about a year. It started two years ago as a DJ based instrumental quartet. From there, it grew out of control, we added a singer, MC, more horns and percussion. Now, it’s just blowing up, people love the sound.

How would you describe your sound and vibe??

It's the sound of old school hip-hop and soul music. Lyrically the content is intelligent and Rudy's flow is cutting edge. Lady Bri's vocals bring the soul aspect and it’s all built on top of the live band, which we've incorporated with the foundation of hip-hop, the DJ.

How did you come up with name?

It was an old department store in G'ville, kind of the Woolworth's of the town. It’s just a little history from where we're from.

Who are the members and what do they play?

Mad Shah-keyboards, Ill Will-drums, Nigel Cheeks-guitar, John Beez-turntables, John "The Professor" Caison-trumpet, Pablo Nieves-trombone, Lady Bri-vocalist, and Rudolph Lyrics-MC extraordinaire.

What is your opinion of hip hop today?

Mainstream hip-hop is complete garbage. It sucks. Like many art forms today, hip-hop is suffering from being totally profit driven. The music industry is pushing the music they think people want to hear. The good music is out there you just have to look harder for it. Ultimately, the responsibility lies in the hands of the people to support and demand better music.

Tupac or Biggie?

Neither. Rakim and Kool G Rap or Big Daddy Kane or KRS-One.

If you could work with any producer, who would you like to work?

PETE ROCK!!! J Dilla (a posthumous collaboration). There are also some top-notch producers right here in NC like 9th Wonder and Nicolay we'd like to be down with.

Will you guys be heading out on tour to support the new record?

We are planning a northeast tour through DC, Baltimore, Philly, and NYC. Also, plenty of NC dates from Wilmington to Asheville so check out for the full schedule. We are basically just grinding right now. The shows never stop. The next run will be down to Atlanta and through the southeast. After that we may just hit Europe and the rest of the world.

Tell us about the new record?

It is the hotness; lyrical, soulful vibes over funky fresh rhythms. It's a live recording we did last winter with a top notch engineer. It happened right around the time we began to define the Blount Harvey sound. Its changed since then, but this was really the beginning. The record showcases everything we are about-- our MC and singer, the band, and the way we have incorporated sampling and dj techniques into the mix with the live instruments. There’s a variety of styles, something for every hip-hop head. The vibe was really great that night. You can pick up the record at any show or directly from our myspace page.

Who are your biggest non musical influences?

Karl Marx, Nat Turner, white women, Gordon Liu, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Hieronymus Bosch, W.H. Auden, Puerto Rico, Eastern philosophy, but mostly soul food.

What the weirdest thing that has happened to you all on the road?

Rudolph Lyrics: "This chick tried to kiss me on the lips at a show but I told her no and she got mad. I didn't know where her lips had been and she could have had herpes."
That is pretty weird because Rudy loves the all shapes and sizes, as long as they are from the more mature age group. That one must have been too 40. - The Village Idiot

"Roots Away, This Band Plays"

Roots Away, This Band Plays
Greenville's Blount Harvey has the Philly sound, too

By Ed Condran - Correspondent
Published: Fri, Mar. 20, 2009

You can't blame the members of Blount Harvey for noticing that the Roots have moved from the stage to the soundstage. The preeminent hip-hop band is now the house act on NBC's "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon."

The Roots say they will find time to record and play some dates, but their regular gig seems to leave a void. Perhaps Greenville's Blount Harvey could fill that hole.

"Those would be big shoes to fill and I'm not saying we'll ever do that," keyboardist Adam Whitley-Sebti, aka Mad Shah, says. "That's especially since the Roots are still a band and a great band. They're just on TV every night."

Who: Blount Harvey, The Beast, The Higher Hands
When: 10 p.m., Saturday
Where: The Pour House Music Hall, 224 S. Blount St., Raleigh
Cost: $5

It's difficult not to compare Blount Harvey with what is arguably Philadelphia's finest contribution to the music world since the halcyon days of Gamble and Huff. "We have some of that Philly sound," Whitley-Sebti says. "We can't deny that."

Blount Harvey is soulful and can lay down a groove. The band, which will make its headlining debut Saturday at the Pour House Music Hall, is a solid live act, which isn't how every hip-hop act is described. "Doing it live is something that is so essential," says Whitley-Sebti, calling from his Greenville home. "We have to go for it when we perform."

"Live at the Station," the group's lone album, is proof they can cut it live. It's an all-organic effort by the band, which includes 11 players for local shows and seven for the road. "We don't rely on anything but ourselves up there," Whitley-Sebti says.

The group -- vocalist Tykee ("She's our Jill Scott," Whitley-Sebi says), MC Rudolph Lyrics, guitarist Nigel Cheeks, DJ John Beez, trumpeter The Professor and drummer Ill Will -- formed in 2006 and released its live document in December 2007.

"We've been taking it like we need to," Whitley-Sebti says. "We'll be making our first (studio) album soon."

Expect that disc to bear an array of influences; the members of the band were weaned on early '90s hip-hop.

"We love Public Enemy and a Tribe Called Quest," Whitley-Sebti says. "But there's other stuff that hits me, like Motown and old R&B. I love Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield."

Blount Harvey has been trying to establish itself in Raleigh, Whitley-Sebti says. "We've played a number of times there and love it. It's a good time for music in North Carolina. Look at groups like Little Brother and the Urban Sophisticates. I think a lot of bands from this state are going to be going places."

And in the late summer the group will expand its horizons by heading up the coast to play Philadelphia and New York.

"We want to go as far as we can," Whitley-Sebti says. "We just got back from Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and that went over well. The next step is Philly and New York. I think we're going to fit in fine there. There's only one way to find out."
- The Raleigh News & Observer

"Blount Harvey"

By Rob Young
Special to The Post and Courier
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Eight-piece hip-hop band from North Carolina brings big sound to Johnson's Pub

There's a lot to like from Blount Harvey, a balance of hip-hop, R&B, soul and jazz. Really, what's not to like about an 8-piece, hip-hop ensemble? It's a big band sound for the new millennium, made up of piano, drums, strings, horns and, of course, turntables.

As references, The Roots and Lauryn Hill come to mind, followed by A Tribe Called Quest and Erykah Badu.

"People are drawn in whenever we're playing because it is different," says Mad Shah, the group's keyboardist.

Just how different? Here's the band lineup:

Besides Mad Shah, the keyboardist from - wink, wink - Morocco, there's guitarist Nigel Cheeks from London, drummer ill Will from California, trumpeter Jon "The Professor" Caison out of Venezuela, Big Ben Sparrow, a tenor saxophonist from Big Sur, Calif., trombonist Pablo Nieves from Puerto Rico, and DJ JohnBeez out of Vermont. The origins of vocalist Rudolph Lyrics and female singer TyKee are, well, unknown.

What is clear: These guys know how to enjoy themselves, whether it's joshing about making up fake names and birthplaces, or stretching musical boundaries. On Friday, they're taking the stage at Johnson's Pub, show time around 10 p.m.

"We've got a broad appeal," guitarist Cheeks says. "We can please the hip-hop heads, but we've also split bills with punk bands and rock bands. When you get people up there actually playing instruments, the crowd warms to the idea. It sounds good. It's universally appealing."

On songs such as "Crunk Train," Lyrics rhymes about the dreadful condition of current hip-hop, BET and crunk music, while on "1-2-3" he shows a mischievous side, rapping about the three types of girls he likes: fat, athletic and hippy.

TyKee channels Beyonce, Joss Stone and Jill Scott, performing some high-spirited covers like "Work It Out," "It's Love" and "Put Your Hands on Me." Blount Harvey's repertoire, in general, offers plenty of room for everybody to shine, appropriate because the Greenville, N.C., band originally started as an instrumental group.

"We're always expanding, learning new covers," Cheeks says. "There's always new material to flesh out."

Some other songs include the optimistic "The Flow," the electric "Targeted Since the Day We Were Born," and two other numbers featuring samples from Marvin Gaye and Archie Bell & the Drells.
If you go

Who: Blount Harvey.

When: Friday 10 p.m.

Where: Johnsons Pub and Pizzeria, 12 Cumberland St.

Cost: TBA.

To hear the band's music:

Info: 843-958-0662,

"We do a good mixture," Mad Shah says. "We have elements of classic funk, and then the hip hop and DJ. It's a unique blend."

The group recorded a live CD at the Outer Banks Brew Station on the North Carolina coast last year, and in the fall they're hoping to make a studio album. This year already, Blount Harvey has teamed with Leeway's Home Grown Music Network, a group of independent bands and venues, plus they're touring several colleges under Degy Entertainment. Next month, they're playing FloydFest 8 Revival in Floyd, Va., joined by headliners Blues Traveler.

"The past couple months have been pretty big for us," Cheeks says. "Now we just want a really good studio album to better define who we are." - Post and Courier

"NC Act Finds Root In Old School Hip-Hop"

N.C. act finds root in old school hip-hop
By Rob Young ( Contact)

The Post and Courier

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Rudolph Lyrics (far right), Lady Bri, saxophonist Ben Sparrow and trumpeter Jonathan Caison help lead the way for hip-hop, soul combo Blount Harvey, playing Saturday at Johnson's Pub.


Blount Harvey

* Where: Johnson's Pub, 12 Cumberland St, Charleston
* Cost: $5
* Age limit: 21+

Full event details

It's nifty latticework: Early '90s hip-hop, soul and jazz, fleshed out with strings, horns, piano, drums and the kitchen sink (re: turntables).

Blount Harvey makes for an unlikely combination of The Roots and Lauryn Hill, a hip-hop edition of the Super Friends — toting aliases and instruments — gathered together from the cosmic reaches of the universe.

The crusade continues Saturday night as the group visits downtown at Johnson's Pub, celebrating the release of its debut CD, "Live at the Station." Show time is 10 p.m.

In Blount Harvey's case, Greenville, N.C., acts as the Hall of Justice, headquarters to the band. And Superman? That's mysterious frontman Rudolph Lyrics, the rapid-fire staccato rhymer, his true identity undisclosed.

"We don't know Rudy's age, his occupation or his real name," says keyboardist MadShah.

Come again?

"Well, we picked up a few things," MadShah continues. "He is a veteran. He was stationed in Germany, served in Bosnia."

They also know him to be opinionated and strong in his convictions. On the CD's first song, "Crunktrain," he rails against the current state of hip-hop, BET, crunk music and buffoonery.

The lines he delivers curse-free, devoid of misogyny and without references to money and jewelry. It's a positive vibe, classic hip-hop.

"It's about MC'ing, DJ'ing, B-boying or breaking," MadShah says. Equally assertive: Blount Harvey's other vocalist, the sassy dynamo, Lady Bri. She vamps on the Jill Scott cover, "It's Love," a knockout tune, capably layering melodies on the other tracks.

"Bri gets a lot of love," MadShah says. "She's a fun girl. People love her voice."

Heck, it's fun just to run down the band members and their purported origins, as Rudolph Lyrics does on the CD's final tune, "Tighten Up," which features a fun sample from Archie Bell & the Drells.

There's guitarist Nigel Cheeks from London, drummer illWill out of California, trumpeter Jonathan Caison from Venezuela and Big Ben Sparrow, tenor saxophonist from Big Sur, Calif.

Trombonist Pablo Nieves hails from Puerto Rico. DJ JohnBeez is from Vermont. MadShah comes from Morocco, Lady Bri from Hell's Kitchen. Predictably, no word on Rudolph Lyrics.

It amounts to big sound, each member finding time on the CD to show off, scratching, soloing and singing. Blount Harvey came together in Halloween 2006 as an instrumental project — DJ, keyboard, guitar and horns — before picking up Rudy and Lady Bri.

"It was more dance-oriented (at first). It was an experimental kind of thing," MadShah says. "From there, it just snowballed. We kept finding talented people that wanted to be part of the band."

Expect some original numbers from the CD, recorded at the Outer Banks Brew Station on the North Carolina coast. Songs include the jumpy "Targeted Since the Day We Were Born," the positive, funky "The Flow" and "Hot ****," boosted by a sample from Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)."

Reach Rob Young at - The Post and Courier


Live @ The Station (2008)



Blount Harvey is an eclectic blend of old school hip-hop, soul music, and funk. Erykah Badu, James Brown, and A Tribe Called Quest are branches from the same root and Blount Harvey is searching for the place where they reconnect. The sound is influenced by early 90’s hip-hop, embracing the jazz and soul music breaks at its foundation; and the socially relevent lyricism that expresses complicated subject matter...(This is not crunk music).

"Blount Harvey makes for a unique combination of The Roots and Lauryn Hill"
- Charleston Post & Courier

The group is fronted by two vocalists: emcee Rudolph Lyrics and singer Kid Vixen. This allows the group to flow seamlessly from hip-hop to soul to funk. They are backed by a band consisting of drums, DJ, guitar, keyboards, and horns. Blount Harvey often performs with 10 members: adding more horns and a percussionist

"It's difficult not to compare Blount Harvey to what is arguably Philadelphia's finest contribution to the music world"
- Raleigh News & Observer

Blount Harvey is famed for copping old school hip-hop grooves and putting their own spin on them. This includes Rudolph Lyrics’ curse free rhymes and solos from the instrumentalists. JohnBeez offers up breaks, samples and skratching to set the band apart. They borrow freely from hip-hop and souls’ deep tradition while keeping the sound fresh.

“Oh we can rock a party!”
-Kid Vixen

For Booking Contact: Shah Management 252-412-8973 or