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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


This is a time when hip-hop music has become predominantly mainstream in today's pop culture, thanks to the likes of Eminem, The Game, and 50 Cent, among others. It gives confidence and hope to future up-and-coming rap artists/groups. Chris Johnson, aka "DVS," 22, and Tony Lacy, 22, are two of those who are hoping to make their presence felt with their own brand of hip-hop.

DVS and Lacy have been working together as a group known as HYB (High Yella Brothers) in the past year, recording their debut album "It's Only the Beginning" for CTO Entertainment Records. The album has been released this past month.

Andrew Kim 22, a UIC graduate student in Medicine is currently the CEO of CTO Entertainment Records and had a major influence in bringing both DVS and Lacy together in his label.

Lacy discussed his encounter with Kim, "It was during the summer of last year that I ran into Andrew at a bowling alley. I was with Chris (DVS) at the time and we've been doing rap beats together and Andrew was explaining to me about his record label and his personal aspirations to become a rapper."

Lacy added, "I knew Andrew back in high school and I haven't seen him for awhile but he convinced me and Chris to take a look at his label."

Lacy also explained, "I was shocked and surprised about Andrew going into the music business but after hearing his work and learning about his label, I was impressed and since then, it has worked out very well."

Both DVS and Lacy's aspirations to become rappers were inspired from their love for hip-hop music like 2Pac, The Roots, Outkast, Rakim, Notorious B.I.G, just to name a few. DVS added that his family played a major factor in becoming involved with hip-hop.

"My uncle was a DJ, spinning records and my dad played the guitar when I was growing up." said DVS. His musical upbringing allowed him to forge a friendship with his rap partner Lacy and eventually into a partnership with Kim and CTO Entertainment.

The album "It's Only the Beginning" took only 2 days to record. Lacy describes "it was constant, song after song, and met with its slick production, the theme of HYB's debut album is simply keeping it real. Lacy and DVS both agree that it was necessary to stay true to themselves and rap about songs that people can relate to.

Lacy said "our message is that we're not trying to be the next 50 Cent, Ja Rule or Chingy, but we're all about bringing back hip-hop to its respectable roots, being introspective and carrying ourselves in a professional manner." DVS also adds "we want people to know that we're all about having fun, expressing ourselves emotionally, story-telling and doing it for the main purpose of music."

While working on their album, timing was crucial in getting the work done. Both Lacy and DVS are currently attending different universities far apart from each other.

Lacy is attending classes at Southern Illinois University as a Criminal Justice major while DVS is at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, studying in Arts and Design.

According to both Lacy and DVS, the long-distance can sometimes be an issue but they kept touch throughout the semester by phone, internet and during semester breaks.

Similar to the cell phone commercial that featured Kanye West, Ludacris and The Game, they shared their lyrical skills over the phone and working intensely in trying to keep the album consistent in its lyrical and vocal delivery.

"Pimps & Hustlers", "Who I Am 2 You" and "Prison System" are one of the several songs on their new album that cover a wide variety of subjects with gangs, relationships, and personal experiences.

DVS growing up in Detroit and Lacy coming from Chicago, they both plan on teaming up together this year in promoting their album and performing at various venues around the Chicago land area and the Midwest before looking into touring in the East Coast.

The experience so far, has left the group HYB very satisfied and motivated. DVS commented, "the experience has been fun. I love every minute of it and I wouldn't have it any other way. CTO Entertainment has supported us and been very positive in what we have done."

Lacy said "that it has made see what I'm capable of doing and giving me more confidence in what I can do now. I've always considered myself to be artistic and out trying to prove people wrong. If things go right, I hope to one day give back to the community and still keep doing what I love to do."

With their passion and relentless determination, it's no wonder why the chemistry between them has worked well together despite the hectic work schedule and long-distance communication. To them, it all comes down to serving a common purpose: bringing back what real hip-hop should be and allowing them the opportunity to share their vision with an audience onstage.

For more information on HYB, upcoming shows, and their latest album, feel free to visit the CTO Entertainment web site at www.ctoentertainment.com. - Chicago Flame by Randy Kim


Discography

Tony Lacy and DVS
*Debut LP: It's Only the Beginning
*17 full tracks feat. guests, Lauryn W., Quest, and Andrew Kim

Andrew Kim
"My Life" LP 2004
*Copyright 2005 CTO Entertainment, Inc.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Tony Lacy, DVS, Andrew Kim

Film:
"The Gift" 2006 directed by Hyung Hyup Kim; Yehyang and WinMedia (Now Showing in Theaters)

Video Game/Multimedia:
"Pump" Korean Dance Video Game 2006

Prior Performances:

*Athenaeum Theater 2006
*ChicagoSpringBreak.com Rain Forest Cafe 2006
*ChiKollaboration 2004, 2005
*U of I Visibility 2005
*Funky Buddha Lounge 2005
*Generation Next 2005
*UIC Asian NightVision 2004
*Joe's Bar 2003,2004
*KoreaTown Street Festival 2004, 2005

Charity Events:

*Cairo Community Center Teen Outreach 2006
*Partnership Walk 2004 at Soldier Field Chicago
*Emmanuel Missions Trip Fundraiser 2005

Hosted:
*Underground Hype Apollo Theater Chicago
*Chicago Spring Break Rainforest Cafe Chicago