Royal Ruckus
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Royal Ruckus

Boynton Beach, FL | Established. Jan 01, 1998 | INDIE

Boynton Beach, FL | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1998
Duo Hip Hop Electronic






Is Royal Ruckus one of the most important underground hip-hop groups currently around? Well, if you believe that the rise of hip-hop is the most significant musical development in a quarter century, what other conclusion can you draw? Though they are not responsible for the birth of the genre, riding the mainstream charts or winning self-righteous and pompous industry awards, the Bakersfield collective represents the genre’s second coming of age. The acid-tongued rhymes, the throwback beats and scratching, the hipster style, and the postmodern rap attitude – Royal Ruckus is introducing it all, at time when mumble rap and trap are in world domination mode. They want to help set hip hop on its ear and kick open the doors for the new old school, and third generation of rap to take shape, seeing as the second generation is currently a total sellout to the commercial machine.

Royal Ruckus originally hails from Bakersfield, California, and has been making fun, conscious hip-hop for two decades. They returned last year with “The Summer of the Cicadas” double album, and now front-man Chunjay proposes a collaborative project with CookBook from LA Symphony.

Their latest “World’s Okayest Rapper EP” is a vivid reminder of rap’s alternative attitudes and styles: their queries are forceful but not angry; the lyrics are critically cutting but never purposefully degrading or derogatory: the beats are simple but rich and exciting; the overall effect is edgy and combative, but not violent or destructive.

But most of all, it’s damn good fun, as Royal Ruckus take a satiric look at a series relatable topics – poking fun at the middle class, scrutinizing a white rapper in a highly competitive game, and describing dating anecdotes. But they can also be reflective and serious, as they show on “Postcards from the Road”– a song written to loved ones while traveling the United States on tour.

An anthemic-rhyme lyrical assault, launches “World’s Okayest Rapper”, a tongue-in-cheek look at your average white rapper with the ambition of rocking the mic and wearing the crown. What sets the song apart, is its brass-filled instrumentation and Chunjay’s “white rapper” delivery.

“The Ghosts of Women Past” sees the narrator suffer a serious of failed relationships and “rebuilding brick by brick” as he warns about the mess he made of events while trying desperately to find a wife: “don’t be a douche, but don’t rush to put a ring.”

“Take the Leap” (feat. Shizaru) sees Royal Ruckus’ Chunjay cement himself in a duet with Shizaru, which lyrically has all the potential of being the logical antithesis or perhaps the unavoidable consequence of the track that preceded it.

“This White Life” is exactly what the title says, as it pokes fun at the white middle class. This is probably as good as the Beastie Boys would have sounded like today.

Royal Ruckus describes “Multi-Purpose Room 2”, which features guest vocals from Eligh of Living Legends, Pigeon John, MC RedCloud, Malcolm Smalls, and Shizaru as the most fun track on the album. This song as a whole has no weak spots, filled from top to bottom with the genre-shaping, air-tight rhymes which are thrown around between the features.

“I Love You (and You and You and You and You)”, again tackles the interpersonal charades some of us bounce between, in trying find ‘rewarding’ relationships. The “World’s Okayest Rapper EP” is a top quality listen, managing to incorporate a strong fun characteristic whilst maintaining a high standard of musical and lyrical integrity, and should not be excluded from any rap music collection. - TunedLoud!

"Royal Ruckus – “The Summer Of The Cicadas” (Album Review)"

Hip Hop duo, Royal Ruckus out of Bakersfield, CA recently dropped their latest album titled “The Summer Of The Cicadas”. Consisting of 30 songs! That’s right, 30 full songs, jam-packed with extremely unconventional Hip-Hop which makes this group that much more special! Their sound is super original, positive and uplifting with humor that nobody can match in the game today! You can hear their experience and passion right off the bat! Their sound is extremely vivid, articulate and most importantly, full of real substance and a message! To be honest, there were songs that made me laugh and songs that were straight up BANGERS & underground Hip Hop classics in my book! Just goes to show Royal Ruckus’s range when it comes to solid original music and sticking to their lane!

Packed with heavyweight features with artists like Pigeon John, Krum, Joey the Jerk & Cookbook of LA Symphony, Eligh of Living Legends, Jeremiah Dirt & more! The most surprising feature of them all, one of my favorite MC’s of all time ManChild of Mars Ill! Man! I grew up listening to Mars Ill religiously!!!! These dudes completely break the typical stereotype of what traditional modern Hip Hop should sound. This is real Underground Hip Hop, being able to do what you love and stick to your lane!!

Much respect to Royal Ruckus for doing what they do best since 1998! There is no reason to not peep this project out! If you’re a real underground Hip Hop head like myself, there will definitely be a place in your collection for this album! - Underground Hip-Hop Blog

"Q&A With Veteran Bakersfield, CA Hip Hop Group Royal Ruckus"

Hey guys! Much respect on your new album. We appreciate you guys holding down Hip Hop, especially out in Bakersfield since 1998! How did this epic duo come about? How did you guys meet?

Chunjay: First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to chat with me. You seem to really “get” our album, it’s an honor to talk with you. And yeah! Flatline and I have known each other since grade school, went to the same church and schools. It was sort of a fluke though, when one day after a youth group event at Flatline’s house, he was playing around on his keyboard making rap beats. I dug his stuff and invited him to join this joke rap group I was starting with another buddy, and the rest is history. When people started taking us seriously and offering us real gigs, we decided that it wasn’t a joke after all.

Your guys’ style and sound is really rare nowadays! Adding tons of humor in music along with being true and having fun with your music! How did you guys come up with your guys’ original sound scheme and actually perfect it!

Chunjay: You know, I was heavily influenced by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s story-telling style and sense of humor growing up. And I really dug UMC’s and their ability to make you feel good and smile. People should look up their first album if they don’t know. But then along came LA Symphony! And these dudes were fun but not corny, and they rapping about girls in a very fresh but innocent way. And I was like, “You mean I can make a break-up rap song? Or a song about getting dissed by girls? And it’s okay to do?”

On top of that, Flatline was not much of a rap guy. I think when Royal Ruckus started, he’d listened to LA Symphony and Wu-Tang and that was about it. And he plays like eight instruments, at least. We’re both pretty musically well rounded, so when we sit down to make a song, it’s not going to be like anyone else out there. At all.

At the end of the day, we’ve never tried to be anything other than two suburbanites from northeast Bakersfield who grew up skateboarding and going to church. I mean, I’ve lived in the hood in North Philly, so I can hold my own. But I’m not Ice Cube either, and I’ve never tried to be. We like laughing more than we like being mad at people.

A lot of rappers and producers who tend to get big completely disappear from their local communities and never give back! What is your take on that, and lets say you hit it major one day, what will you do?

Chunjay: The thing is, we love where we come from, and we respect our friends and family there. One of our first photo shoots was in front of the famous Bakersfield archway sign. We’ve always repped our hometown! In fact, it was Pigeon John, we did an EP with him in like 2001, and he was like, “Homie, you need to rep Bakersfield all the time. Let that be one of your things.” And we did. We used to sell “I Love Bakersfield” bookmarks at our shows, even. Were we to “make it big,” I would want to do something to further the local music scene in Bakersfield, and help grow the artistic community where we got our start. Bakersfield used to be known as Nashville West for its great country acts—I’d love to help bring that reputation back, but for all genres.

Please breakdown the creative process of your latest album The Summer Of The Cicadas. Also, tell up about those amazing features! Solid MC’s across the board!

Chunjay: Well, it was tricky, because I am currently living in South Florida, and Flatline is in Austin, Texas raising a couple kidlets. So there was a lot of Dropbox, Gmail, and texting involved in the process. That said, I went to Austin twice to make sure that we had that in-person synergy, too, and we recorded most the vocals together in Texas.

When it came time to record, we had tracked all of the music ahead of time in home studios, and some of the vocals, and then we teamed up with DJ Sean P and KRUM (formerly Playdough) to record together in Fort Worth. Sean was our engineer, did the mixing and mastering, and just did an incredible job. He gave a lot of creative feedback in the studio as well. I just couldn’t imagine this album without him. And KRUM was a huge help, too. He came in the studio to listen to us rap—and essentially to produce our vocals, coaching and critiquing every step of the way.

Originally, this album was supposed to be two records: a Royal Ruckus record, and a Chunjay solo project. Flatline was involved in both projects, but obviously there was a more significant collaboration between us for the first half of the project. Act I (songs 1-15) tells a love story, and originally it was going to be a thematic album, not an actual story. As we wrote the album, we realized if we put the songs in a particular order that they would form sort of a story. Once we had a narrative outline, we could start filling in the gaps in the story so that it can be listened to from start to finish and make sense.

If you listen to Act I from start to finish with that in mind, then when you get to Act II, it’s like I’m picking up the pieces from an incredible, beautiful, but painful, failed relationship. The metaphor shifts to “Lone Gunmen”—rugged individuals in community, capturing the tension in life of being an individual but together with others. This was the inspiration for my “solo” album being loaded with guest spots. It’s like the relationship tanked, and now I have to figure out life, and it’s one big conversation with my friends about death, life, love, dating, fathers, beers, everything.

The guest spots were amazing. Part of the inspiration here was, “Let’s assume this is our final album, how do we want to go out, and with whom do we want to go down guns blazing?” Originally, Act I was not going to have any guest spots, those were going to be saved for Act II. But when it came down to those songs, as we were writing, I was like, “‘Coulda Swore I Saw You’ is just begging for a Pigeon John singing hook,” and I knew “Time for Us” needed a strong, masculine voice, and Bonafide of GRITS proved to be perfect for that song.

Pretty much everyone on the album is a friend, or a friend of friends. We just made a list of rappers we have known over the years, dudes we respect, and started shooting out invites to be on the album, and we got a couple recommendations from friends. The only one that was a bit of a stretch was Eligh, but we have mutual friends, and I got lucky to catch him on like a month break between tours. The second he heard the beat and the concept, he was in, and had his verse within a couple hours. It was dope.

What are you guys looking forward to for 2017? Anything you going to be doing differently as a group compared to past years?

Chunjay: Well, for the most part, I’m doing live shows solo, repping Royal Ruckus. I’ve only done that a few times before, usually Flatline and I are rocking together. I miss touring with him, but RR is originally my brainchild, and I don’t have kids to take care of! It’s a slow re-build, as it has been more than a decade since we actively toured. But I’m in it for the long haul and trying to build up that Ruckus Nation.

Any pressuring situations before you decided to push your album? Did everything work out according to plan?

Chunjay: The only real pushback was that our friends from Invisible Library Records said they wanted to jump behind the record, but only if they had time to promote it. So the record got pushed back from October to February. Alas! But it’s out now. Not nearly as frustrating as “The Great Hard Drive Crash of 2002” that threatened to wreck our Self-Titled project!

What are you guys working on now, any new projects coming out!?

Chunjay: With The Summer of the Cicadas being so freshly released, really all of our energy is there right now. We’ve been playing around with the idea of a mixtape, and I did hit the studio with Spoken Nerd for a really fun song, not sure what project it will go on, but it’s great. I’m not really sure where any of that will go. We will certainly keep you posted!

Rappers nowadays think by throwing up a few videos up on social media and pushing quick projects, they can blow up overnight! Give us your view on how over saturated the market is right now with so many MC’s/Producers but not too many quality music.

Chunjay: LOL! Yeah, instant success is unlikely unless you just get really, really lucky with a viral video or something. The market is saturated, man. It’s crazy. We were one of the early adopters in the late nineties to utilize the Internet effectively for our music. It’s a completely different beast 19 years later. On the plus side, it’s easier than ever to get your music out there. On the negative side, people don’t value the music as much. They don’t feel a sense of ownership of the music with streaming. As artists, our job is not only to make a great album creatively, but connect with people in a way beyond the music.

How often do you perform LIVE. Shows lined up in the near future?

Chunjay: I’ve been hitting a lot of open mics lately. It’s one thing to write a great rap and nail it in the studio—it’s another to spotlight a bunch of songs and captivate a crowd for thirty minutes. So right now I’m fine-tuning the show, and I’ll be hitting the road soon. Have some exciting stuff in the works for this summer. We’ll definitely promote it on the website.

Where do you see yourselves in 5 yrs time?

I’d like to have re-established Royal Ruckus in the underground scene by then, and hopefully will have some more solo stuff out there. I’d imagine my current day job will still be going strong—I work from my laptop and set my own schedule, so I really don’t want to mess that one up!

Here it is! Our most popular question! What is your definition of “underground hip hop”?

Man, underground hip-hop is anything that keeps the spirit of hip-hop alive, even without the backing of one of the majors. If it’s authentic, if it’s fresh, and if it’s representing the foundations of hip-hop culture, I’m all about it.

Where can people find you on the web? Drop all the vital links.

Lastly, and shout out?

Chunjay: First, I want to thank Flatline. He’s been a faithful friend and an amazing music partner. Like I say in the record:

“Still down with MPWalker, we text all the time/ Imma be his friend ’til the day that he Flatlines/ Or if I’m going first he’ll hoist me in the hearse/ And I’ll pray for him from heaven ’til sadness is reversed”

I’d also like to shout out to all the amazing artists that gave their time and their talent to make the record what it is, especially the homie DJ Sean P for putting that special touch on it. Shout to Cookbook from LA Symphony for coaching me and keeping me accountable. Thanks to Status Escalate for help on the promo front! And of course a major shout to our Kickstarter backers for helping us make this project a reality—and to our families for the support when we wanted to make unconventional hip-hop. - Underground Hip-Hop Blog

"Royal Ruckus – Featured Artist"

Royal Ruckus, ok, the name piqued my interest. I was super surprised and super pissed at the same time when I found out the group has been around for 19 years! I’m surprised because I’ve never heard of them until recently and pissed because I’VE NEVER HEARD OF THEM UNTIL RECENTLY! We had a chance to sit down with founding member Jamey Bennett on Indie Music LIVE! and he filled us in on what the group is up to.

Royal Ruckus – The Summer Of The Cicadas
Jamey states the group has been together for 19 years, but also says they haven’t really taken it seriously that entire time. They’ve released some projects here and there but have recently gotten behind their latest project The Summer Of The Cicadas.

These days it’s hard to keep relationships going for longer than a few months, and the fact that Royal Ruckus has been a group for so long is a testament to their commitment and determination. Jamey admits that when they formed, not everyone in the group was heavy into hip-hop. This hasn’t stopped them though from making some of the best alternative/indie rap out there.

During the show, which you can watch below, we took a listen to the single “The Waitress Song” they recently released. Jamey explained the song is about how a guy falls in love with his waitress over the course of a night. I love the concept and the song! Go ahead and watch the video below to find out more about Royal Ruckus from the “horse’s mouth” of founding member Jamey Bennett…

We had the pleasure of having Jamey on our Indie Musician’s Roundtable recently and got to know him a little bit better. He did his research and was awesome, a very thoughtful critic. Dave and I are hoping he will become a regular on our roundtables and within the Indie Music community. So go on now, support Royal Ruckus like crazy and as always SUPPORT INDIE MUSIC! - Indie Music Plus

"Spotlight Interview: Royal Ruckus"

They are a bit unconventional. Something is definitely a lot different from mainstream hip hop. Nonetheless, acts like Royal Ruckus are need in the hip hop genre. So make some room for them. Royal Ruckus, the positive hip hop duo composed of Flatline (Michael Walker) and Chunjay (Jamey Bennett) are two visionaries who are telling their stories and highlighting their truths all in the music. From fun tracks like “The Waitress Song” off of their double album The Summer of the Cicadas to our personal favorite “Lonely Christmas” from the Lonely Christmas EP, it’s safe to say that there is a song for everyone.

So we interviewed the bearded duo about their upcoming release, the plans for the rest of the year, and some life lessons the hip hop act has learned while in the music industry. Check out the interview below!

Tell us about yourself and your music.

Chunjay: We are a rap duo originally out of Bakersfield, California, and various life situations have placed Flatline in Austin, Texas, and I’m in South Florida. We tend to be positive and fun, and rap a lot about girls.

Flatline: We have a subtle twisted sense of humor that isn’t always picked up on first listen to our music. Musical and lyrical references abound. We wear our hearts and our ears on our sleeves, so to speak.

How would you describe your sound?

Flatline: A blend of modern electro pop with 90’s boom-bap beats has been the driving influence in our sound for our most recent releases. I’m influenced from a wide range of musical inspiration that I really enjoy incorporating into our projects. Lyrically we range from getting nostalgic about the what-was-and-could-have-been, to crafting ridiculous premises occasionally filled with inside jokes and references.

Chunjay: Yeah, that’s right. We actually started as a joke. I was the “rap guy” (though I’m inspired by all sorts of music) and Flatline was not a rap guy, so he brings something unique to the table. We end up with a very cross-genre sound. On the second half of the new double-LP, you get more of the classic boom-bap influence, and a lot of rock-ish distortion guitar. On the first half you get a lot more electro-pop. It’s a fun, fresh mix.

Talk about the experience making your new album.

Chunjay: Our latest project is a double LP entitled The Summer of the Cicadas, and is dropping February 3, 2017. It was a true labor of love for us. Originally intended to be two separate records: a Royal Ruckus project and my solo project, over time it became clear that the two belonged together as one. On top of that, Flatline is on like 6 or 7 songs on the solo project, so it really makes a lot of sense putting them together.

We had fun working with old and new friends on the new album. We called in a lot of favors from old friends, out of love for relationships we developed in the past. It was truly a joy to work with all these folks, most of whom worked from afar, from east to west.

Flatline: Technology is helping make this world a little smaller in terms of the ability to collaborate and create with others. What was once novel over a decade ago is now commonplace in modern recording. This double album is a testament to our vision and hard work to put out the best material we have to date and we were able to do it together, apart, and with friends from across the country. Truly a modern piece of art.

What are you currently working on? Any new projects? Shows?

Flatline: As a group we are working on the possibility of performing a handful of live shows for 2017 in support of our new album. Independently, we both are always striving to keep up our creative output. I plan on releasing a small batch of music over the next year with my MPWalker solo project as well as writing and performing with some local jazz/rock musicians in Austin, TX.

Chunjay: Yeah, I’m cooking up both solo and group shows. Pretty much everywhere I go, I’m going to be pushing it as Royal Ruckus, not as a solo act. This is the year of Royal Ruckus. I’ve been writing new songs, and have already recorded a collaboration song with me and our pal Spoken Nerd. But my focus right now is this double LP, and until that has run its course, everything else is under wraps.

What has been your biggest highlight in your music career thus far?

Chunjay: We had a few years living in Nashville and being signed to a record label there. It opened a lot of doors for us, and we made a lot of friendships with some really great folks in the industry. That, and doing songs with some of us our musical heroes, like Pigeon John, Eligh of Living Legends, and 80’s rap icon, The Rappin’ Duke.

Flatline: There are times I have taken the opportunities afforded to me for granted, but I am very honored to have been able to receive the support from my family and friends to produce and perform the kind of music that has been brewing up inside me. Although I have played great shows in front of large crowds and opened up for many big acts, I have found the creation and completion of this project to be the biggest highlight of my career so far. I feel like the best is still yet to come.

Chunjay: I’m glad you said that, Dude. Out of all the things we’ve done, this new record is the thing I am most proud. It’s funny, we always said that this next record was “the best to come,” and yet, like you, I’m pretty excited to see what is next, too.

Name your ideal collaboration: mainstream or independent artist(s).

Flatline: I would love to do work with some of the artists I’m influenced by, especially Animal Collective, Grimes, and Tame Impala. Things could get real weird but still stay really poppy.

Chunjay: Oh man, if we’re dreaming out of the box, I’d love to do a rap song with Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest and Adrock from Beastie Boys, with Flatline and DJ Muggs co-producing the beat. Bananas. That would be bananas. That said, the new album features a song called “Lost Boys” that I did with Eligh of Living Legends and Cookbook of LA Symphony. That was a pretty amazing accomplishment. Such a dope song.

Name something random that people do not know about you.

Chunjay: I used to drive a convertible Chrysler LeBaron, which was painted as one big Royal Ruckus graffiti mural. I used to pick my nose and store the winnings underneath the front seat. I would tell people in my car that I was cultivating a booger farm.

Flatline: Chunjay’s story is 100% true and still makes me queasy hearing about it. My story is less random and more of a guilty pleasure; Jamey and I are big taco fanatics. I have family in the taco business here in Austin, too. Despite the taco snobbery, I occasionally sneak out to Taco Bell late at night for their $1 menu. I usually pay for it with my body the next day, however.

Chunjay: Shhhhhhh… (Me too.)

What’s one thing you have learned or discovered while being in the music scene/industry?

Flatline: “If it sounds good, it is good,” a quote attributed to Duke Ellington; I keep this in mind when reminding myself that it’s not about having the most expensive, most up-to-date gadgets and studio hardware and software. I’m able to use the tools and instruments that I have available to me to their full extent and produce the kind of sound that I’m aiming for, and it sounds good, then I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, and I find great freedom in that.

Chunjay: It takes hard work, the music industry. I don’t care how many people you have on your team, you won’t get any farther than you’re willing to go busting your own ass. Taylor Swift is probably one of the hardest working musicians in the world, or at least was until she got enough money to pay people to give her some slack, and even then she’s probably up there. If you want it, you go get it, and do whatever it takes to get there through hard work and building relationships. An artist’s growth and success (or failure) is 80% on his shoulders.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Chunjay: You know, it’s hard to say exactly what the future holds, but I am going to take this Cicada project as far as I can. This is our most ambitious project ever, and the best music we’ve ever put together as a group. I want to get this music into as many ears as possible, and share the joys and the sorrows of our tunes.

Flatline: In addition to support for the new album, I have a five-track EP I plan on releasing as MPWalker sometime in 2017 and will likely start performing live with a group of avant garde jazz artists here in Austin this year as well.

Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Chunjay: You can check us out on Facebook and Instagram at @royalruckusofficial, and on Twitter and Soundcloud at @royalruckus. Our website is a one-stop hub for all things related to our new project, media interviews, live shows, and picking up copies of the CD, if you’re a collector. The website has all our lyrics, and super cool info about the artwork behind the project.

Flatline: Eat your veggies.

Twitter, Soundcloud: @royalruckus
Facebook, Instagram: @royalruckusofficial - Purple Bars


Selected Titles

World's Okayest Rapper EP (2018)

The Summer of the Cicadas Double LP (2017)

Seventeen Candles (2016)

Rumors of Our Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated (2011)

Pocket Lint & Spare Change Deluxe Edition (2008)

Self-Titled (2002)



Royal Ruckus started making happy hip-hop in Bakersfield, California. While initially the whole thing was a bit of a joke, when people responded well to their quirky humor and unconventional style of hip-hop, they decided to take it more seriously. Flatline and Chunjay make songs that feel good, make you throw ya hands up, and give you something to think about.

Royal Ruckus is usually represented live by Chunjay as a solo act, sometimes backed by a drummer and/or a DJ.

Band Members