H.2.O. (Hardest 2 Out)
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H.2.O. (Hardest 2 Out)

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"Local talent opens for Flo Rida"

Local talent opens for Flo Rida


By Allison Kowalski
LIFESTYLES EDITOR



H20 will open for Flo Rida Thursday (Photo By Allison Kowalski)

Young Leach (James Leach) and Frank White (Ivory Cowart), from the group H2O, are two talented and aspiring artists from Fly Guy Entertainment, who are climbing their way to the top in Rochester. Though Leach and White have only performed together for a short time, they are able to successfully mix two different beats into a unified, strong sound.


Before Leach and White became H2O, they performed by themselves. Both were well-known rappers in high school, and their talents escalated the more they practiced. They would get detention for producing songs in the radio room. A little more than one year ago, the two rappers met and began performing together.


White began rapping when he was 12 years old, though he was hesitant to perform in public.


“I was kind of scared to perform,” White said. “You get to see people’s reactions.”


Leach was the best rapper in his high school, and he constantly won rap battles.


Leach and White write their own lyrics and produce their own beats. Lyrics to their songs are based on issues everyone can relate to such as relationship problems and everyday life events.


H2O has had its fair share of performing at diverse range of events such as Club VIP, Liquid, Water Street in Rochester, the Penny Arcade and other clubs and bars in the Rochester area. They said they prefer club atmospheres because the audience is more compact.


Recently, H2O released their first CD. They signed a formal contract and now give autographs.


“The whole project took a year and some change,” Leach said. “It’s you. Your lyrics, your thoughts.”


The group is currently working on a second album, and H2O said they feel more comfortable producing a new album because they now know what to expect. They expect the second album to be better and more mature than the first.


“If you’re going to do it, take it seriously,” Leach said. “Take studio time. If the project comes out good, just take it and go hard at it.”


With a new CD, a second one in the making and performing in the Rochester area, H2O is about to make one of their biggest performances as one of the opening acts for Flo Rida Thursday, April 17 at 7 p.m.


“We’re very excited about performing with a big artist right now,” Leach said. “He had a No. 1 song.”


To hear H2O’s songs go to the Web sites at www.flyguyent.com, www.myspace.com/frankwhiteh2o and www.myspace.com/youngleach2.


— Additional reporting by
Laura Luettger, Editor-in-Chief
- The Stylus


"H.2.O."

H2O

From left, Ivory "Frank White" Cowart and James Leach (aka Young Leach), both of Henrietta, make up H2O.Written by Troy L. Smith
Photographed by Matt Wittmeyer
(April 16, 2008)
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Sound

In the case of local rap group H2O (Hardest 2 Out), opposites really do attract. The duo, hailing from Henrietta, combines the laid-back flow of 20-year-old James Leach (aka Young Leach) and the gritty wordplay of 20-year-old Ivory "Frank White" Cowart, producing edgy street music ("All Aboard") and catchy R&B cuts ("Baby, Baby," featuring Battle Roy). Says Leach: "(Cowart's) got that real deep, powerful voice, and I got a more mellow sound. It gives people both sides of what they want to hear."

Listen to...

Surprisingly, the glue that holds together H2O's popular club anthem "Whatcha Chain Like?" isn't its booming drum sounds or bravado-filled lyrics. It's a 76-year-old jazz tune.

"Whatcha Chain Like?" samples Duke Ellington's 1932 composition "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," a jazz standard that's also been recorded by Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett.

Ellington's masterpiece actually is a perfect match for the H2O song's sonic bells and whistles, over which the rap duo trades witty rhymes (including one in which Cowart compares his chain to Google — "It's got a lotta links").

Enemies to friends

The partnership between Cowart and Leach began as anything but harmonious.

The duo started off as bitter rivals in 10th grade at Rush-Henrietta High School.

"We ain't like each other too much," says Leach. "We ain't talk to each other in school. We would just give each other that look."

However, for the two aspiring MCs, mutual respect eventually won out.

During an after-school outing at Rochester Sports Garden, Leach found himself in a battle against two other local MCs when Cowart jumped in to assist him.

"People wanted us to go at it a lot," says Cowart. "But at that point we just decided we was gonna come together."

Branding themselves H2O, Cowart and Leach hooked up with local management company Fly Guy Entertainment (www.flyguyent.com) in early 2007 and released their self-titled debut album this past January.

And at press time, the duo was getting set for its biggest opportunity yet — a spot opening for rising star Flo Rida at SUNY Brockport.
- The Insider (Rochester)


Discography

Single "Whatcha Chain Like" - local jams page of www.wdkx.com

*Also reached number 2 on top 10 list at www.unsignedhypemusic.com*

Album - Hardest 2 Out 2008

Next single - "Baby, Baby" feat. Battleroy

Photos

Bio

Before signing with “Fly Guy Entertainment,” an independent label, the rap tag team had been working on separate, individual projects. Frank White, born (Ivory Cowart) in Rochester, NY, released his street mixtape “Katrina” in 2006, introducing himself to the local underground rap scene via self promotion. Frank White also had a track featured on a local “Young Guns” mixtape hosted by DJ Quan the Bomb. Young Leach, born (James Leach) in Rochester, NY, began recording songs for an unreleased mixtape, and also made an appearance freestyling on an underground rap dvd entitled “S.L.A.P.” (Street Legendz After Paper) DVD.

The two rap artists linked up with each other in 2006 and began recording in the studio together. Their talents were noticed by Justin Barley, Co-owner of Fly Guy Entertainment, who ended up signing them to the label in 2007 with plans of exposing their musical gifts to the masses and creating a buzz worthy of landing a major record deal.

Since then, H2O has taken a several steps to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the underground rap scene. They have appeared on local radio station 98.9 WBZA “The Buzz” for an interview and airplay, had their single "Whatcha Chain Like?" played on the local jams page of www.wdkx.com (Rochester's #1 urban music station), filmed a street music video for their song “Paper Chasin” which became part of an underground rap dvd entitled “Taking it to the Streets Vol.1” featuring interviews with well-known artist’s such as Jadakiss, Remy Martin, Max B., and have already opened up shows for established artists such as Rahzel and Lupe Fiasco.

H2O has finished their newest album, self-titled “Hardest 2 Out”, containing four tracks produced by “Hothands” (who has worked with Lloyd Banks), and three tracks produced by Battleroy (Worked with SWV, Frankie J, and was recently seen on “Making The Band 4” working with Donnie.) Thus far, they have produced a tv commercial that was aired on BET (upstate NY) through Time Warner Communications promoting the new album release and release party, and recorded a radio commercial that was aired on local radio station 106.7Kiss. Currently, H.2.0 continues to push their new release and continues to participate in events that will expose them to new faces, boost their buzz and allow them to actively strengthen their musical resume.