MH the Verb
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MH the Verb

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop Jam




"We Were There"

by Michael Bennett | September 7, 2011 - 3:00pm

Erie Reader works ceaselessly to keep you informed of the shows and events you should put your full faith and effort into seeing, but we’d also like to present you the opportunity to kick yourself for missing a great show. Or perhaps spark your interest enough to catch a group the next time they play. Or, on occasion, commiserate with the writer about the failed journey into an abomination of a night where all you wanted was good music, but nothing was delivered. We are happy to offer you “You Weren’t There.“ But I was.

Thursday Sept. 1
2189 Skate Shop. 26th and Peach streets

The heat was oppressive. The top floor of a classic Erie building is no place to be when the night offers no break from the heat. But the fact that I was sweating in an almost irresponsible manner did not deter the entertainment on display. Pittsburgh hip-hop artist M H The Verb made his way to Erie in support of his new album “Cult Classic.”

The old skate shop turned into an all-ages hip-hop extravaganza for the night. Local talent of dancers and freestyle MCs were on display before another Pittsburgh act, Varsity Squad, got the small, enthusiastic, and sweat-covered crowd moving.

As M H The Verb took the floor, the beats began and a whole new movement of hip-hop emerged from the PA system. His own DJ didn’t make the gig, but Erie’s own DJ NastaK of 814 Bass Crew took to the tables with no allusions and no quarter given. The Verb’s rhymes were crisp and effortless. His beats heavy and pulsing, and the addition of his friend Arnold on saxophone made the music an experience and not just beats for words.

The MC was also gracious with his time and interested in sharing the mic with local talent, and took on all comers in miniature freestyle battles.

The crowd bounced with the beat, and, when prodded, threw their hands in the air like they just didn’t care.

“I’m gonna be really honest with you, the first thing I always think about when I’m writing songs is how I’m gonna do it live,” M H The Verb said after the show, constantly wiping the hard-earned sweat from his face. “I’m trying to come up with a concept, a vibe for the song that will go off live. It’s all about the live. The essence. The whole vibe of the song I want to be positive about real stuff. Say what’s on your mind. Gotta make music for you. “

Free copies of the new album were given out to everyone who attended, a gracious gesture from an artist who missed his last Erie date due to a flight cancellation. The audience was more than appreciative, and a few girls who were holding copies of the album, but refused to get up and dance when requested, were called out by the rapper: “If you’re not gonna dance give me back my CD.”

“Right now I feel like in Erie there is a lot of good momentum going as far as bringing real-deal straight-up 100 percent hip-hop to town,” said Jason Imig of 2189, who promoted the show. “We’re really trying to focus on the all ages aspect I feel is lacking in Erie. It will give kids an alternative to a lot of the stuff they see on MTV as far as the guns and gangs and stuff like that. When hip-hop was born it was born out of gangs and trying to stop that violence. And I feel like there is a lack of that here as far as another outlet and obviously there is a need for it.”

2189 will be presenting the Def On Arrival Tour September 18 at The crooked i.

- Erie Reader

"Hip Hop Week at Pitt concert features BNVz, Wiz Khalifa and others"

by Manny Theiner

The fourth floor of the Pitt Student Union -- home to WPTS 92.1 FM -- once reverberated with the sounds of hip hop, thanks to legendary DJs such as Blakk Steel, Bonics and Selecta. Lately, standard indie rock has found more favor. But WPTS' co-directors of hip hop, Marcus Harris and Corey Mizell (a.k.a. DJ Karazmatik), aim to bring the flavor back to Pitt.
"There are a lot of strong artists in this local urban scene doing positive things," says Harris. "This campus is hungry for the music."

If you happen to see a freestyle cypher or whirling breakdancers on the Union steps this week, they're not filming a remake of Beat Street -- it's just WPTS' Hip Hop Week. Harris and Mizell have invited local emcees to rap on-air during the very live show slot when local bands normally play; all of Friday's programming will be dedicated to interviewing local hip-hop artists, and their music.

The main event takes place on Thu., April 19: an evening concert featuring the cream of the region's crop, from Rolling Stone wunderkind Wiz Khalifa to Harris' own group, The BNVz.

Formerly known as Beats N Verbz, Pitt hip-hop stalwarts The BNVz wield a full funk-rock lineup with bass, guitar, drums and keyboards. Founders Harris and bassist Paul "Kinase" Eppes met at a Heiruspecs show three years ago; since then, the BNVz have haunted local bars from Oakland to the South Side, opened for national acts and, in 2005, released a demo called We Blowin' Up. "We were the first live band to play Da Buttonpusha's Hip-Hop Buffet at the Shadow. Before that, she only had emcees," Harris recounts. "We just finished putting together our own studio at our house in Shadyside, so we're working on a new album."

WPTS Hip Hop Week concert, featuring Wiz Khalifa, The BNVz, Eviction Notice, Sole Vibe, Kellee Maize, Cynik Lethal, Da Buttonpusha and Basick Sickness. 7:30 p.m. Thu., April 19. Pitt Student Union Assembly Room, Oakland. $10 ($5 Pitt students). 412-648-7980

- Pittsburgh City Paper

"BNVz opens for Kid Cudi"

By: Patrick Wagner / Staff Writer
Posted on 26. Mar, 2010 in Magazine

BNVz shows off its beats and verbs all over the Pittsburgh music scene. Courtesy BNVz
The BNVz (opening for Kid Cudi)

Fitzgerald Field House

Saturday March 27 at 7 p.m.


(412) 648-7814 (William Pitt Union Ticket Office)

On Saturday, a certain “Kid From Cleveland” will drop by Pittsburgh. But before he moves into the spotlight at the Fitzgerald Field House, a slew of the Pittsburgh hip-hop overachievers will take the stage.

The BNVz (formerly known as the Beats N Verbz) won the Pitt Program Council and WPTS’ Hip-Hop Battle that was held at Nordy’s Place in the William Pitt Union Monday night.

It beat nine other emcees, turntablists and other hip-hop based groups to get the only opening slot for this Saturday’s Kid Cudi show.

The group’s emcee, producer and creative director, Marcus Harris (known as MH the Verbz), isn’t new to Pitt’s campus or the local music scene. The super-senior, urban studies major has been exploring Pittsburgh’s musical landscape since 2004.

“A lot of people on campus tend to stay on campus, but me and friends would venture off to different places like Shadow Lounge,” Harris said.

After one performance at the music venue by St. Paul-based hip-hop group Heiruspecs, Harris met fellow hip-hop devotee and Pitt alumnus Paul Eppes.

“We just linked up. We started going to shows, hanging out and writing music in his basement,” Harris said.

The idea to form their own version of a hip-hop band in the same vein as The Roots and Heiruspecs wasn’t far behind.

The group quickly took form and by 2007 released its debut album, We Blowin Up.

In that same year, however, it decided on a change in music directions. Several members parted ways while Harris and keyboard player Ben Bromfield continued on, collaborating with a multitude of Pittsburgh’s musical talent.

“A lot of artists work with us, and I feel like if you have that talent then you should showcase it,” Harris said.

Several of BNVz’s members come from jazz and other backgrounds. This diversity contributes, rather than hinders though.

“What we’re trying to do is bring a lot of things together,” Harris said. “I don’t classify our band as a hip-hop band anymore.”

The group’s musical direction moved more towards what Harris describes as “urban pop.”

“It has hip-hop influences but it’s not straight hip-hop ... We have reggae and Latin groves, rock, hard bass stuff, dance and we even host a weekly jazz jam session Genres are so 1990s.”

The emcee’s personal style also factors into the group’s approach.

“I’m interested in telling stories with my songs,” he said. That lyrical storytelling is part of one of the group’s next projects, a new album called Narcissism that will tackle the cultural “obsession with your own being.”

The group is hopeful that it will be the first in a series examining differences and their associated woes.

Before any album can be released though, the BNVz has several performances around Pittsburgh opening for hip-hop legends and heavy-hitters alike.

Saturday with Cleveland’s Kid Cudi, next Wednesday with Cleveland’s Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and April 9 with Philadelphia’s Jedi Mind Tricks. Even with these commitments, the group members continue to make music at a staccato pace (even if it isn’t particularly hip-hop).

“Everything moves in a circle,” Harris said. “Before the DJ, there was the band.”
- The Pitt News

"MP3 Monday: The BNVz"

Posted by Andy Mulkerin on Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 7:05 PM

Okay. If you're like me, your Monday's been killing you. So let's cut straight to the good stuff.

This week's MP3 comes to us from Marcus, aka MH the Verb, of The BNVz. The electro-pop-hip hop group came out of Pitt a few years back and has refined its sound since then -- and is now relocating to Philly to be closer to the music-industrial complex. Which is cool, I guess, as long as they keep repping the Pittsburgh scene like the promise too, and also keep repping the Steelers.

The MP3 they've supplied is "Burnin' Up," a party track that'll likely blow Peter's Pub up on Saturday (the 24th) when The BNVz play their last show as Pittsburgh residents.

Download it here!

- Pittsburgh City Paper

"Local Coffeehouse Showcases Philly's Finest in Hip-Hop"

By Brooke Hoffman

Coffeehouse Showcases Philly's Finest in Hip-Hop
Led by renowned Philly Rapper, Kuf Knotz, MH the Verb and Blaqmel gave Burlap and Bean a reason to break the listening room silence on Aug. 20.

NEWTOWN SQUARE—Burlap and Bean has always strived to bring music from the city to the 'burbs. Back in May, renowned Philly rapper Kuf Knotz headlined an amazing show at the Newtown Square coffeehouse to a less than packed house. But on Saturday, Aug. 20, he was back with Blaqmel and MH the Verb and this time people got the message.

Blaqmel, who performed on Knotz's pervious show, returned to the stage with his signature soul and strong vocal range. His sound is a combination of influences such as Stevie Wonder, Sam Cook, Miles Davis, Living Colour, Steve Perry, Prince, and recent Burlap and Bean performer Jeffery Gaines.

"I want to show people that I respect where I came from while at the same time giving them something new to think about," said Blaqmel, a.k.a Melvin McKnight, a New Brunswick, NJ, resident.

He opened with a cover of Counting Crows' "Round Here" and described it as a tribute to Amy Winehouse. The original track is somber, but Blaqmel's vocals added an even stronger dynamic of sadness. While his voice is what blows audiences away, it's his guitar skills that needs to be addressed. On one particular song, Blaqmel appeared to be using his Tiffany blue acoustic guitar as a bass, a drum and a guitar. His lyrics are classic R&B with an updated story.

"I don't want to pressure you, I just can't stop thinking of you. I just gotta know your name and sometime maybe we can hook up, hang out, or just chill," he sang in one of his songs.

Blaqmel can make the sounds of simple "oohs" and "aahs" into an art form with the complexity of his vocal range–it can sound magical and he doesn't even have to say a word.

The next performer MH the Verb had a treat for audiences. He just received the first printing of his new album, Cult Classic, and was selling the new tracks to the local coffeehouse audience before the release date of Aug. 23.

Verb invited the audience to his album release party, which will be held on Aug. 31 at World Cafè Live in Philadelphia during this month's Boombox Collective–a free, all-ages show at World Cafè Live to help highlight local Philadelphia and national musical acts as well as artisan vendors selling jewelry, fashion, and crafts hosted by Knotz.

There is also a planned video shoot for that day. Verb has made a few headlines in his hometown of Pittsburgh. In 2005, his previous band was named best band in Pittsburgh by the Pitt News (University of Pittsburgh). Music isn't his only passion though, Verb has stayed politically active as well. He has participated in organizations such as LiNK (Liberation in North Korea), Barrios Unidos (a California-based organization against youth violence), the Financial Consortium of Western Pennsylvania, and the League of Young Voters.

On Saturday, Verb hit the stage with an element of energy that only could have been building up since he mentioned he hadn't been on stage for a while. Despite his absence, he didn't miss a beat. (On a side note: the drum that provided the beats was on loan from Burlap and Bean regular Will Donahue who plays for Vilebred and The Nodd).

"I'm going to try to talk to you because I get lonely up here," Verb frankly told the audience.

From the first verse he sang, Verb began pulling the attentive, somewhat shy, listening room out of their shell. He engaged the audience, jumped off stage, prodding the audience to sing and dance with him. His band picked up a groove while Verb dropped the beat that got heads bobbing.

His lyrics are usually positive and clever such as, "Would you go back in time like Marty McFly?" The sound is classic hip-hop–natural and unprocessed like his influential band A Tribe Called Quest.

He closed his set with a song featuring a nice groovy bass line.

"You like that bass line," he joked. "It's on my CD, it'll cost you five dollars."

When Knotz took the stage, the audience, at this point, had really loosened up. His set consisted of a collective work featuring Blaqmel and Verb on a few songs as well as letting his back-up band take the spotlight on a track or two.

Knotz has become a leader in the hip-hop community of Philadelphia. Each month he hosts the Boombox Collective. Knotz has performed with acts like Common, ODB, and The Roots.

Like Verb, Knotz is active in the community, he participates in WXPN's Musicians On Call program, which brings live music to the bedside of patients at six local hospitals, including The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, and Philadelphia VA Medical Center in West Philadelphia.

Knotz ended his set with a song that could knock the Fresh Prince's "Summertime" out for the top song describing Philly in summer. The vibe of the evening was chill but energetic, despite the muggy summer weather outside.

About this column: Want to know what the area is listening to? Tune in here weekly, where Marple Newtown Patch goes behind the music and interviews the artists featured at Burlap and Bean. - Marple Newtown Patch

"Best Of: The ‘Burgh"

Local band: MH the Verb

As a former Pitt student, Marcus Harris, known on stage as “MH the Verb,” lays down hip-hop beats that reverberate with his former campus. In 2010, Harris’ group, the BNVz, won the Pitt Program Council’s Hip-Hop Battle and the chance to open for Kid Cudi that same year. MH the Verb attracts so much attention because, at least in our opinion, he is willing to incorporate electronic media with live instruments. Or perhaps it’s his crafty rhymes and lyrics.

Editors’ Pick: Legs Like Tree Trunks - The Pitt News

"MH the Verb brings MC skills to Skateshop show"

By Dave Richards, Erie Times-News
Staff writer

Marcus Harris says even his own mother kids him about his hip-hop name, MH the Verb.

"Hi, MH the Verb. This is RH the Adjective," she'll say. He's fine with that.

"Mom and Dad are funny people, a little crazy. They're definitely the reason I am the way I am," Harris said.

What he is, right now, is an up-and-coming MC with a just-released CD ("Cult Classic").

"It has a strong sense of the old school but also new-age sounds and a real positive message. So, I'm interested to see how people get into it," said Harris, who performs tonight in Erie.

Harris, who studied ethnocology and urban studies at Pitt, grew up admiring socially conscious artists such as Q-Tip, as well as Miles Davis and new-jack swing (Jodeci, Teddy Riley). He has nothing against party rock or hip-hop; he'd just like to paint a larger picture.

"The hip-hop world has always been about swag," he said. "The difference is before, swag meant the ability to perform and (having) a compositional sense. That had to be there. The substance. A lot of MCs today, they just get up there and yell and talk about who they are and how cool they are.

"All that's good but a lot of it is punch lines. The ability to do that stuff within a story is something that I think has been lost in hip-hop, specifically."

So, "Cult Classic" includes meaningful songs like the ruminative "More Time."

"My grandfather passed when I was 5; I was in the house when he died," Harris said. "It takes a long time to say I miss you. That's something I'd been trying to say for a long time.

"With that particular song, it talks about what you would do with a little more time. That's the hook. I like to start with that song on tour a lot of times because of that message, in particular. Savor the day. Just always relish it; relish in the moment."

"Pyramids" is about rising up after people beat you down. "Every goal is attainable, if you have enough drive," Harris said.

He knows that from experience. He spent five years with Pittsburgh's BNVz -- an organic hip-hop fusion group, which opened for Kid Cudi and other stars. But he said the group didn't have it together on the business side.

"Music brings people together, but just as fast, other s--- can break it up," he said.

After BNVz ended, Harris fell into financial trouble. "I ran up a bunch of credit cards; my dad lost his job. It was (messed up)," he said. "I had to go get a job working at a bank. I was really forced to grow up real quick and learn how to do this."

He applied what he's learned to his career as a solo artist. Now he has momentum. MH the Verb won Joker Productions' 2011 Battle of the Bands in Pittsburgh, opened for the Roots and shot a video for "She's My Girl," the first single from "Cult Classic."

"That's what it's all about -- taking care of business and having fun," he said. -

"MH the Verb: rapping Renaissance man at Pitt"

By: DAN VETANOVETZ / Staff Writer
Posted on 04. Oct, 2007 in Uncategorized

Sinking into a couch on Parkview Avenue, deep in South Oakland, I listen to two tracks that MH the Verb, as Marcus Harris is known, has just put down.

"We just made this one today," he says, excitement rimming his relaxed voice. He finds the file on the computer, double clicks, and the bass line starts in, a window over the door quivering in response.

The guys on Parkview Avenue have worked the lyrics out for this song already, but MH is better known for his improvisation skills, which he gained recognition for at house parties in Oakland - while most of us were still in high school. For Marcus Harris, his fascination with these tough bass lines were something always attracted him, but the first treasured single that he bought, after finally being allowed to listen to hip-hop by his parents, was Notorious BIG's "Warning."

Although he listened to that first single in New York, Harris formed his first hip-hop production group after moving to Florida. Originally named 163 Entertainment, the group is now known as Florida Remix. Through 163 Entertainment, Harris DJ'd for high school events and got into improvisational hip-hop. It began as an opportunity to experiment musically with friends, but it gave Harris experience and a taste for producing music.

Coming to Pitt was a natural fit for Harris. "Pittsburgh wasn't an intimidating city," he says, standing for added emphasis. He quickly started working with WPTS, Pitt's radio station, meeting others with similar interests in hip-hop and improvisation.

And it was the radio station that led Harris to Paul Eppes. After a Heiruspecs show, Harris started to improv and Paul came in with beat boxing. The set-up fit, and in 2005 the two sophomores and new-found band mates, going under the moniker the Beatz 'n' Verbz, made their first real project with WPTS. They burned the instruments to CD and then, putting blankets up on the walls of the bathroom in Harris' Brackenridge dorm room and hanging a mic over a fan, recorded the vocals. The whole process took about three days, and the hundred CDs they burned sold out in a weekend.

"It was just easy, it was just natural," MH says, reflecting on that project. Doing three shows a weekend at house parties and constantly discovering new ways to manipulate their music, the group went on an "indefinite hiatus," as Harris says, when he had to go back to Florida for personal reasons. Eppes, sitting in an adjacent easy chair, has a different view of the event.

"The band broke up over a ham sandwich," he smiles, remembering. Harris looks at him from the adjacent side of the room - perplexed? Nothing else is said about this mysterious deli entree.

"We each have to build our personal strengths," Harris turns his attention to me emphatically. Through the move back to Florida and his return to Pittsburgh, Harris has been diligently adapting his style, incorporating changes as his influences change. He looks up at the ceiling trying to classify his sound, and comes to the conclusion that, among other things, it's "dirty south swag, kind of east coast DJ," both in work with the BNVz (the reincarnated Beatz 'n' Verbz) and MH the Verb, his solo MC project. Also, his latest additions in musical tastes have been Lily Allen and The Go Team.

When Harris plays the solo tracks he had constructed earlier that day, Eppes chips in that they're "the molten magma, so to speak." For a hip-hop act operating out of college, this is exactly how hot Harris' work seems. Coming from a background similar to any other student, he has come to shrug off the demands and obstacles of an early music career, relying on his musical passion to pull him through. Yet Harris notes that he's a real person; he plays what he likes, and other people happen to like it, too. There's no use in rushing him for his next release, either. Harris has his own philosophy about what's important in releasing his music: "When we come, we'll come with something totally original."

But live performance is where you'll find Harris' soul. "Nothin like rockin a party," he drawls. His next show, performing as MH the Verb, is this Sunday, Oct. 7, starting at 7:30 p.m. in Peter's Pub. And if what he played on Parkview Avenue is any indication, you'll want to be there early. - The Pitt News


"Cult Classic" © [AVAILABLE NOW]

1. Winter In America 04:19
2. Professional (f/ Wi.Sh) 04:07
3. Lights Off 04:06
4. More Time 03:30
5. Burnin' Up 04:36
6. She's My Girl 05:22
7. Money Can't Save You 04:20
8. So Good 04:06
9. Slow It Down 03:52
10. Belle's Song 04:14
11. Legends (f/ B-Tips) 04:11
12. Pyramids (f/ Beedie and Kuf Knotz) 04:53




With unique style and sound, the multi-talented MC/ DJ/ Producer, MH the Verb is quickly becoming one of the East Coast's top crossover artists. Drawing from his diverse range of musical influences, MH the Verb bridges the rhythmic foundation of jazz with the new age sounds of electro-pop and Hip Hop. With his deep and raspy tone, MH brings listeners back to the 90s golden era of Hip Hop & RnB with lyrical substance and flash.

After an impressive 2011, performing with artists, such as, The Roots, Kid Cudi, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, MH the Verb is geared up for an even stronger 2012. Following his 2011 victory in Joker Production's Pittsburgh Battle of the Bands, MH celebrated the release of his debut album, "Cult Classic" with a 10-City Northeast Tour featuring his All-Star live production band, Diner Tempo. Known for his captivating live shows and high energy performances, MH the Verb is building a reputation as one of the region's most acclaimed up and comers.


...its a "Verbal Experience"!
What separates MH is his ability to translate the essence of his studio sound to a live format. MH the Verb works with numerous musicians to fuse his progressive production styles with organic instrumentation. More comparable to a Jam Band than anything else, MH and his All-Star backup band, Diner Tempo, are constantly pushing the envelope. They keep the creativity flowing with live mash-ups and remixes, genre blending covers, spontaneous jam sessions, and undeniable crowd pleasers. From live drums and DJs to horns and guitars, there is no format that MH the Verb can't handle.

***Summer Music Festival...
The full band showcases their talents and gets the crowds hands in the sky with a Hip Hop cover of The Doors "Light My Fire"!

***Art Gallery Performance...
MH and his trio slow it down with Jazzy renditions of his jams over wine, cheese, and light conversation. ***added bonus: Next to the band, a live artists paints on a blank canvas!

***Small Night Club Shows...
MH rocks Live with a DJ and Drummer, re-editing and sampling hits to keep the party jumping. The whole club will be singing along to "I wear my sunglasses at night..."!

***Coffee Shop Open Mic...
Poetry and Acoustic guitar, as MH utilizes his raspy jazz voice to mellow out the mood over a cup of medium blend. Music sweeter than the vegan blueberry muffin you are eating.

For booking inquiries, contact:

Band Members