Hustle Simmons
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Hustle Simmons

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Aug
08
Hustle Simmons @ Starlight Ballroom

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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Hustle Simmons, Ethel Cee and Fel Sweetenberg highlighted a night of solid indie hip hop at Silk City as local record label, Bee Eater, took over the Northern Liberties venue for their first showcase.

The evening began with DJ sets form Bee Eater CEO Ultraviolet and DJ Akshun. Both are excellent DJs, and as usual, did an outstanding job of playing a great mix of old and new hip hop. As with most indie hip hop shows, things started a little later than expected; scheduled to begin at 9:00, the opening acts didn’t hit the stage until around 11:30 p.m.

LeahNicole, a group composed of b-girl Leah “Krazy K” Caesar and emcee Nikkie “Victorious” Harris, started things off with a very interesting set. Featuring two backup singers, one of which was the amazingly talented Selina Carrera, a drummer playing on post and pans and the rhyming and dancing of Victorious and Krazy K, their set was quite a bit different than the typical rapping to the crowd type of hip hop.

After a brief introduction from host Mars Five, New Castle, Delaware rhymer Keziah was up next. Keziah’s aggressive rhymes and punchlines drew a good number of “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd, and although she was an opening act, she gave one of the best performances of the night. She was briefly joined on stage by Hezekiah, who would also contribute to Hustle Simmons set later on in the show.

After the opening acts did their thing, it was time for the Bee Eaters to show the crowd what they were all about. Rather than have each of the label mates perform longer sets one after another, they mixed things up a bit, rotating twice through starting with a brief 10 minute set from each artsist and then a longer showing.

Fel Sweeteberg was the first Bee Eater to rock the mic, and the New Jersey emcee/producer’s excellent stage show made it pretty clear why he was the label’s first signee. As a producer, he has a pretty nice range with clear influences from mid 90s East Coast hip hop, and his rhymes serve as the perfect compliment for them. Ethel Cee followed Fel, and this Philly lyricist’s incredible stage presence turned quite a few heads with rhymes ranging from highly sexualized braggadocio to much more introspective and poignant topics. Hustle Simmons, a duo of Camden rhymer Dave Ghetto and Philly beatmaker The S Ence. Easily one of the best indie acts in the city, the two kept the crowd moving with arguably the best performance of the night. Throughout the various sets, the Bee Eater label mates would join each other on stage as well, and also received some help from their extended family.

Throughout the night, Hustle Simmons brought out guest after guest, keeping the crowd on its toes each time they took the stage. A.U.L.P.U.R.P.I.S and Fatnice of 84, U. City, Hezekiah, Reef The Lost Cauze and event host Mars Five all helped and added another nice touch to very good show. Similarly, the night ended with an impromptu cipher featuring Truck North and P.O.R.N., two local emcees who have recently gained some fame for their worth with The Roots.
The Bee Eater Showcase was not only a solid display of talent for the fledgling label, but also a stands a great symbol of what can happen when artists come out to support each other. On top of that, it was one of the few indie hip hop shows I’ve been to were the men didn’t vastly outnumber the women, both in terms of the audience and the performers. Diversity, inclusion and togetherness coupled with dope beats and dope rhymes is always a clear recipe for success; hip hop listeners in Philly can only hope they do shows like this more often.

http://www.phrequency.com/blog/Local_Label_Impresses_with_Showcase_.html
- Phrequency.com


The founding simplicity of hip-hop is just about dead. Instead of focusing on perfecting the beat or crafting the delivery, MCs and producers find themselves competing in the gimmick game.



But when a smooth, straight-ahead group like Hustle Simmons starts getting some play, well, maybe the genre can make room for substance once in a while. Their bold move is to build off hip-hop's original blueprints. For them, it works.


Lyrical vet Dave Ghetto of Camden and producer Tha S Ence of Philly released their self-titled debut Hustle Simmons (Break Bread/Traffic) this past August. "The crazy thing for me is the people's response," laughs Ghetto. "Sonically, it's a traditional album. I really didn't expect the reactions." On message boards to blogs, Hustle Simmons has been called the fresh sound local hip-hop needs right now. Even the internationally known magazine The Source jumped on the bandwagon, in the Hot Tracks section of the October issue. Nestled between Ice Cube and Common, Hustle Simmons' single "Everybody" is praised as a "hypnotic, propulsive cut."

Their collaboration began as something temporary and organic. Ghetto was working on some solo tracks and sought out Tha S Ence for beats. "After he produced three songs, I was having a hard time finding the level of production to match what he gave me," says Ghetto. So three songs turned into five, which turned into 11, and Hustle Simmons was born.

"I knew the sound that he wanted," says Tha S Ence. "Soulful and hard-hitting at the same time, but not to be this jazzy, watered-down underground sound."

Ghetto nods and adds, "I know producers that have been doing this twice as long and don't have the talent S Ence has. His beats have a bottom and I'm automatically attracted to the soulful sound — it touches me to where I want to write."




Where S Ence is a relative newcomer (in the game for about four years), Dave Ghetto needs no introduction in hip-hop circles up and down the East Coast. In the past decade, he's recorded and/or performed with the likes of DJ Jazzy Jeff, Bahamadia, De La Soul and Little Brother. He's been to Europe and back rhyming in front of crowds of thousands and is the face of the Break Bread Projects indie label.
Their name is an obvious play off Russell Simmons, whom Ghetto calls the originator. "Life is all about hustling. You are always running and wearing different hats," he states. That's certainly true for Hustle Simmons, which, over the last few months, has put out two videos — "The Rundown" and "Everybody" (both directed by local MC Hezekiah) — an online promo and their full-length, while managing to keep a steady schedule of performances.

Will there be a follow-up? They respond with a unanimous "definitely." But both being believers in quality over quantity, they're not rushing it. "I don't know what I want it to sound like yet," says Tha S Ence. Plus, they still have plans to work the present album with more singles and videos. The hustle never ends.

Ghetto laughs, "Artists now want to be hip-hop, jazz, polka with a twist of country. At a time where everyone is focused on being different, something regular is different."

-Deesha Dyer
- City Paper Philadephia


Discography

1st album "Hu$tle Simmons"
1. Intro
2.They Already Know
3. Over and Out Feat. Buff1 & DJ Cru Cut
4. Get Down Ft. DJ Cru Cut
5. Evacuate Ft. Al Mighty
6. Thought Sparker/ Move
7. Ghetto Red Hot
8. Celebrate Ft. Richie Rasheen
9. The Joint Chiefs Ft. Richie Rasheen, & Fel Sweetenberg
10. Everybody (The Chase)
11. A War Tour (Bonus)

Leaks from "No Days Off"
Raise The Bar feat U. City
*all Beats by Tha S Ence

No Days off is the new album coming out on Bee Eater Records..

Photos

Bio

While many attribute the "Hustle" to what society deems as illegal activities, Dave Ghetto, vet emcee and frontman for Hustle Simmons states otherwise. "The hustle is doing what it takes to achieve your desired goal" explains Ghetto, "drugs sell themselves, there's no hustle in that". That being said, the desired goal for Hustle Simmons is to be heard.

Hustle Simmons is the emcee/ producer duo consisting of Camden City, NJ's indie hip-hop mainstay, Dave Ghetto (Nuthouse/ Counterflow) and Philadelphia based producer, Tha S Ence. Dave Ghetto began making a name for himself as a member of Nuthouse, releasing projects on both Bobitto Garcia's Fondle Em imprint and Goodvibe Recordings whose roster boasted artist like Slum Village, Bahamadia, and Mystic. As a solo artist, Ghetto has released various Projects via Miami based label Counterflow Recordings selling more then 35k 12" records and 20k copies of his solo full length release "LoveLife?". Working with artists ranging from Cee-Lo Green to DJ Jazzy Jeff, Dave has built quite an impressive resume. While Dave is the voice of Hustle Simmons, Tha S Ence is definitely the sound. His signature drum heavy sample based production style has been garnering him attention around the city of Philadelphia for sometime now. He's consistently stood out amongst his peers while performing in producer's showcases like Beats & Rhymes and Word of Mouth. A student of the craft of beat making, Tha S Ence cites producers Just Blaze, Premo, and the late J Dilla as the influences behind his production. An introduction by a mutual friend lead to Tha S Ence submitting a beat cd for a project which eventually became a full-length project. "It's that new millinium boom-bap!", explains Dave Ghetto. Welcome to the Digital Underground.