Early Adopted
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Early Adopted

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
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By TIM WEISBERG
CONTRIBUTING WRITER
September 14, 2009 12:00 AM
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They didn't grow up in Brooklyn, hustling on the streets with Jay-Z or Biggie Smalls. They're not representing the Dirty South. The closest they've ever been to Compton is probably Little Compton, R.I.

But growing up in Wareham, the two MCs of the group Loud Neighbors know hip-hop music.

"We still knew something about the tough side of life. We didn't sell drugs, but we knew people that did. We knew people who were addicted to drugs," said Mike "Early Adopted" Dunphy. "We saw things that weren't spoken of. But that's not what our music is about."

Instead, the group has an original sound with a classic flow, focusing on the more positive hip-hop of the early '90s, when the likes of A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul ruled before giving way to the "gangsta rap" movement. Loud Neighbors' refreshing approach and charismatic performance has landed them exposure in an unlikely place for a new hip-hop group to get their big break: ESPN, in conjunction with the sports network's "Monday Night Football" broadcasts.

"It's a great opportunity for us," said Mike "Defiance" Balzarini. "We've been working as a group for about 10 months, and we've played some shows but this will get us to a whole new audience."

Loud Neighbors has produced an original track, "Monday Night," which will serve as the music for a 20-second bumper that will air on tonight's ESPN's NFL programming, including possibly airing on the "MNF" broadcast itself.

The opportunity came when ESPN video editor Chase Decker, who puts together montages to promote "MNF" across the network, caught a Loud Neighbors show at McFadden's Pub in Boston.

"It was kind of a fluke deal," said Decker. "I live in Bristol, Connecticut, but I was in Boston to take in the Boston Marathon. I ran into them, got one of their CDs, and popped it into my truck's CD player on the way back home. I thought they had a good sound, so I looked them up, went to one of their shows and just stayed in contact with them."

"At first, we weren't sure if he was serious," Balzarini said. "At shows, someone is always talking about a cousin or someone else they can hook us up with to get a break. Originally, we just thought he was some guy who was hammered at the show."

When Decker turned out to be the real deal and later offered the group a chance to compose a tune to air on the Worldwide Leader, there were a few stipulations.

"We needed it to be under 30 seconds, and it had to be kind of generic, not really about a specific team or player because the schedule can change and players can get hurt," Decker said.

Writing a sports-related track was no problem for Loud Neighbors, as they've both been surrounded by sports their whole lives. Balzarini played basketball and baseball at Wareham High, while Dunphy was a four-year varsity hockey player. The beats for the track were laid out by Mike Capachione, a former football player at the high school.

Balzarini said they had to scrap one early draft "because Mike (Dunphy) was talking bad about a team that always comes in last, and they told us to stay away from that," but that the final product only took about a half-hour to compose. The version that will air includes references to "MNF" hosts Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden, and discusses how "Monday nights are an extension of the weekend."

The video first aired Sunday on ESPN Atlantic, which is seen in more than 70 countries across Africa and the Middle East. It will also air multiple times today on the domestic version, packaged both for the Patriots-Bills and Chargers-Raiders games. The network cleared rights for the song for use throughout the entire season, and Decker said there's the possibility of working with Loud Neighbors for ESPN's NBA coverage as well.

"It's a win-win for both sides. There's no other way to get this kind of exposure," Decker said. "The publicity they're getting is second-to-none. They're going to be heard in places and countries where they couldn't be otherwise."

While hip-hop is their passion, it isn't paying the bills — Balzarini graduated from Bridgewater State with a degree in business management, and works for a major investment firm, while Dunphy is a senior at Salem State. But they're building a loyal following, with shows at the Middle East in Cambridge, the Crash Mansion in New York City and Pufferbellies in Hyannis, among other spots. Dunphy has already released a solo album as Early Adopted, titled "Let's Be Honest," which is a reflection of Loud Neighbors' approach to hip-hop.

"If you look at mainstream hip-hop right now, it's all about glamour, fashion and money. There's no truth or substance," Dunphy said. "A lot of it is just fake, and it's lost the respect of the audience. But fortunately, there's a really great underground movement happening that just isn't getting the recognition yet."

Loud Neighbors have already prod - South Coast Today


Early Adopted, a junior at Salem State College, is an emcee from Wareham, Mass. His music is a breath of fresh air to hip hop fans who are tired of the relentless glorification of guns, sex, and violence, which is what they are bound to hear on a majority of rap songs. Music that is saturated with such graphic and misleading content can do nothing but harm. Early Adopted’s lyrical content is something to be proud of. His debut album, “Let’s Be Honest” is being released today.

Early hopes to infiltrate the underground hip hop scene, and solidify his spot as one of the best lyricists in Massachusetts. Throughout the past year he has made a valiant effort to spread his name across the state. Performing over fifty shows, handing out demo tapes, spending every paycheck on studio time, and networking on myspace.com are just a few of the tasks he has worked on since he truly started to view being an emcee as a feasible career. He recently collaborated with Reef the Lost Cause, who is a prominent underground emcee.

His peers at Salem State College vow to support Early’s dream to be a successful emcee. Early believes his lyrics hold the key to his success. He refuses to conform to the current subject matter of hip hop, and hopes that a revelation will occur. This revelation is that he is trying to be no one, but himself.

“I never claimed to be something I am not,” he says. “My biggest goal is to be remembered as someone who told the truth, and who was respected for it, and the person who had no respect for people who thought otherwise.”

The lyrics on this album reflect Early Adopted’s endeavors and the daily problems that eat him up inside. He touches on a variety of topics that anyone can relate to. These subjects include tragic relationships, love, poverty, college loans, the death of friends, etc. Early attributes music to a form of therapy.

“If I didn’t write music, I would probably go crazy,” he says. “The name of the album sums up everything that I am about. I have never fabricated my life or stretched the truth in my lyrics.”

The name of the album also makes fun of the fact that some rappers lie in their music.

“Telling the truth is how I differentiate myself from other rappers,” says Early Adopted who becomes extremely agitated when people judge his music because of the way he looks. He is sometimes a victim of perception. “I’m a kid from the suburbs who skateboards and wears tight jeans, but don’t tell me that I am not an emcee. Listen to my lyrical content.”

During the summer, Early Adopted plans to keep making music, and eventually start his own record label. He has an upcoming show in Providence at AS220 on June 20. For more, visit Early Adopted on Myspace.com. - North Shore Art Throb


Discography

Let's Be Honest (LP; 2009)
I'll Eat You Up (Mixtape; 2010)
Loud Neighbors- The Move In (LP; 2011)
73 Hours ft. Dr. Apple (Mixtape; 2011)
Chilling Will Kill You (LP; 2012)
I Wish I Woke Up (Mixtape; 2012)

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Bio

One half of the group Loud Neighbors, Early Adopted is a hip-hop artist hailing from Boston, MA. Early has shared the stage with major acts such as Joe Budden, Drag-On, Freeway, Cassidy, Sean Price and many more.
Early has also collaborated on songs with artists such as Termanology, L.E.G.A.C.Y, Skyzoo, D-Sisive, and Reef the Lost Cauze. Early has released over 6 projects, including 3 full length LP's. He has also had music featured ESPN as commercials for Monday Night Football, during the 2010-2011 season.