Street Team (ST)
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Street Team (ST)

Huntsville, Alabama, United States

Huntsville, Alabama, United States
Band Hip Hop Soul

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"New Artist Spotlight"

New Artist Spotlight: ST (Street Team)

The way the majority of the artists get featured in these new artist spotlights are usually from people hitting me up. If I feel the music somewhat or I think the blog's audience might feel the music, I'll usually try to work it out with the artist to get them featured. The other way is if I run across an artist or group that I'm personally feeling and want to get them on the site. That would be the case with today's artists, ST aka StreetTeam. Every now and then, I strike gold when I come across a group that I'm immediately drawn to their music. ST hit me up on myspace with an add. I'll usually check out a requests music before I click "Accept", for no real reason than just to hear it. When I checked out ST's music, a track entitled "Miss Beautiful" immediately grabbed me. The second track wasn't too shabby either, but it was "Miss Beautiful" that I found myself playing over and over again. Shit, I bought the track from their snocap store, which I never do. I ended up contacting them, and the reason they had requested me on myspace was the fact that they read the blog, so it started off with a bang.

ST just brings that "real" music to the table. Lush string melodies, over thick basslines and snapping snares paint's a beautiful backdrop for the duo of D-Tech and KW to do their thing. The topics are for mature audiences only. No, this isn't the 00 version of 2 Live Crew, the music gets the "dreaded" grown folks music tag, which is just perfectly fine with me. In some ways, their new album, The Color of Love, reminds me of the Canto I album, While You Were Sleeping, but with ST's own flavor added to it. I know a lot of cats on here have been big upping the Canto I album, so if you felt that album, you need to check these cats out. Their album was received no less than seven complete plays for me in the past two days that I've had it. That don't happen much these days for me. It's just good music, no gimmicks, no shock value, no fluff.

As always with the spotlights, I sat down and talked with the crew, and after talking to them, I'm even more impressed with them. Be on the look out for ST....

WYDU: What's good guys, can you shine some light on the group and each member?

Kw: Umm, the group is ST aka StreetTeam. We hail from Huntsville, AL. Our aim is to bring you good music. I go by the name Kwofi aka KW, Mr. Kw that is. I'm an emcee/producer. I'm just a part of the group - a piece of the puzzle.

D-Tech: I'm D-tech aka “the rap junkie”. I'm just your local lyricist, ya know? One of the emcees in the group. We’re just some young brothers from the south who love good music- REAL music! We love making music. We use hip-hop to convey our experiences- show the world how we think, what we believe good music is.

W: I doubt you guys met through help wanted ads on Craig's List, so can you give those of us who are new to the group a little history lesson in how y'all came together?

D-Tech: We grew up together, I met Kwofi back in middle school. ST started off with four dudes, we all knew each other from like, early childhood. We played ball together and whatnot. In high school, we went to different schools although we still kicked it and were pretty much best friends on up through high school. We started rapping in college.

Kw: Like D said, we basically kinda grew up together, we all enjoyed doing some of the same stuff. Right after high school, I developed more of an interest in music. Collectively, we would always sit down and discuss hip-hop: who was the best lyricist at the time; who was the best lyricist of ALL time, that kind of stuff. We got together and started writing our rhymes and sharing our rhymes right around the same time I started seriously making beats. Umm, the next thing you know, we recorded a few demos around the city, and that's how ST was born and here we are today. We have since dropped down to two active members, but at one point, we had five dudes! (laughs)

W: From the first listen of your first project, The Come-Up, it's obvious that while you guys hail from Alabama, this isn't your Uncle Crunk's southern hip hop...What is the sound behind the group, and obviously your influences are a little wider than a diet of traditional southern fare, what might those be?

D-Tech: Our sound really is just... man, I don't really know. We have lots of different sounds- we take them all and make one sound, it’s kinda hard to label. We got that “good” sound (laughs). Coming from where we’re from (and the era we grew up in), I listen to a little of everything; Tupac, Biggie, Tribe Called Quest... OutKast definitely - they’re from the south so they were one of the groups I looked up to a lot. Pretty much all the 90’s hip-hop, I was down with and I have an older sister, so I listen to a lot of R&B and oldies music. I'm a young brother with an old soul. You really have to ask Kwofi about the sound because he is the originator of a lot of our sound.

Kw: We just do us. Growing up I was just exposed to music - period. And as a musician (in my own right), you know, I do what I know, I do what comes out, I do what I feel. We don’t really try to make “a sound”, there’s nobody or nothing we try to sound like, we are influenced, but mainly, there’s what we try NOT to have. We try not to be typical, we try not to be regular. I was just influenced by music - artists, producers and musicians alike, such as: OutKast, the Dungeon Family, Slum Village, Nas, Stevie Wonder and Curtis Mayfield, that's just to name a few. Me and D both have extensive ipods, its crazy the type of stuff we listen to.

W: Your music seems to be on that "Grown-Folks" level, how important is it to you guys to keep it "really real" in portraying life's trials and tribulations in your music?

Kw: Keeping it real is a prerequisite for our music. Whenever we start on something we never even have to ask, I know good and well D is only going to come from the heart - I'm going to come from the heart. We kinda dont know any other way to be. Art imitates life... we’re artists. Everybody seems to be on these “fads”... whatever the new/hot thing is, that's what everyone jumps to... so what’s that say about them? I don’t know about you but I don’t like being lied to. So I try not to lie to our listeners... try not to lie to the people.

D-tech: Today, I feel like a lot of people in the world are trapped in “the matrix”, there’s not a lot of real music or real artists in the industry like there used to people. People sell lies and like Kw said, we’re just trying to really be ourselves, tell the truth and make music that can open minds and talk about real life situations all of us go thru.

W: I've asked this question before, but I'll ask you guys, do you feel a regional bias is still existent in the hip hop world? Do you guys feel like you get pigeonholed into the traditional southern sound even before people hear your music?

D-tech: Hell yeah! I mean, a lot of times. I used to see it in school. You meet different people and tell them you’re from Alabama, they stereotype you. Growing up, we were exposed to all types of music, not just “dirty south”. How can I be just “crunk” music when that not all I grew up on? There’s more to us.

Kw: I tend to think that there is a regional bias, but it starts before the music. Unfortunately, most of these cats pigeonhole themselves. Somebody told them that “this is the way you look if you’re from this area”; this is the way you sound if you’re from this area” that couldn't be further from the truth. I was born here, the place don’t dictate who you are, you do.

W: One of my favorite tracks of the year is the "Miss Beautiful" track, which is on of two songs you have on your myspace page. Is that track going to be a part of the your next project, The Color Of Love? How did that track come about?

D-Tech: Thanks dude, we’re glad you like it. Yeah, that's one of the joints on the new album coming up. That song is kinda like a dedication to everyday women. I heard the beat and it was hot then the hook kinda came to me. Plus, ST loves the ladies!

Kw: Basically, it came about like a lot of the e other tracks we do. I came across this hot sample (cant say which record), tweaked it a little bit then I let D hear the track. He shot me this hot hook and we ran with it.

W: Discuss the new project you have dropping soon, The Color of Love. What can new listeners expect from ST? Who are y'all working with, if anyone? When can we expect it?

Kw: “The Color of Love” is a concept album, kinda like our first album, “The Come-Up”, but we realized something was missing in music - love. Down here, there’s a lot of separation, a lot of it has to do with colors - all kinds of colors. Different color rags, different colors in politics, hell, lets just be honest, skin color. We feel like each person should realize that love starts within. We also shoot to the minorities and expose ourselves, like the track “Good Morning (ST Radio Show)” We’re basically saying, “ do WE see how we look” collectively- as a race? Even though that song is geared toward black folks, the question goes out to the human race. We cant be ignorant forever

D-Tech: Stay on the lookout. Its coming soon - Fall 2008.

W: I've heard it, and it's a great album. Let's get sentimental, if you could work with anyone in hip hop history....fuck it, anyone in music history, who would it be?


Kw: Do we have to pick one?

D-tech: Damn, thats a hard question....

Kw: Uh...

D-tech: As far as hip hop... man! I would love to do a song with Earth, Wind and Fire. I grew up on dat. As far as hip hop there’s a lot of cats I would like to do a collaboration with but it would have to be Pac for me. If I could work with anyone, it would have been Tupac.

Kw: I actually have a long list, as well as D has a long list, but if I could pick one, it would've been J Dilla.

W: What else does ST have planned for the future?

ST: We plan to continue bringing you good music that exceeds all genres. Right now, we're all about “The Color of Love” - be looking out for it and new projects as well. We’re currently negotiating with DJ TS’ people (Shout out to DJ Tru Story). We talking about putting together a mixtape, be on the lookout for that soon

W: Any last words for the minions out there?

ST: To all the fans, thanks for the support. Well keep banging them out, you tell your friends, I’ll tell my friends, that we can be friends and we can cill every weekend (HAHA)! Check us out on the myspace. To all the haters, y'all can just “sail on”. Shout out to Trav and WYDU, thank y'all so much for the support. Shout out to Kareem, our manager, and one love to Hsv! Peace

Posted by Travis at 9/14/2008 08:10:00 AM
Labels: New Artist Spotlight, ST aka Street Team

- Wake Your Daughter Up


Discography

Workers Compensation Vol. 1 (Unreleased)
The Come Up: A Sky Blue Story - 2007
The Color of Love - (Coming Summer 2008)

Photos

Bio

When the name StreetTeam comes to mind, one usually thinks of small groups of people promoting something they believe in. Well that’s exactly the case with this small group from the south. “We believe,” says emcee D-Tech “in good music”. You will often hear people implying that they do more than just music—that they are a movement. These guys mean it. Originally from Huntsville, AL this dynamic duo brings a fresh new approach to not only southern music, but the entire hip-hop genre. “Music should be selfless,” interrupts in-house producer and emcee Kwofi. “It’s a gift that was given to us, so who are we to make it appear as if you have to look a certain way or be a certain way to have it.” In fact, the only thing these guys ask is that you listen.

It all began in a small two-bedroom apartment on the south side of Huntsville for these childhood friends. “We would sit around and just talk about music all the time,” says D-Tech. “We would always get together and just rhyme—until Kwofi started making beats… then it was like…ok”. The originally four man group would get together and hone their skills over instrumentals; challenging each other by free-styling while driving and competing to see who could incorporate the most street signs and billboards in their rap. At this same time, Kwofi was beginning his walk down the path of producer/engineer. It wasn’t long until the guys found themselves in a local studio recording their first song and in 2003, the group StreetTeam was born.

Like any other group ST (as they like to be called) has had its share of changes. “We really feel like this is how it’s supposed to be,” says Kwofi on the subject of the membership dropping down to two, “…simplicity is key.” The current members work well together, and it shows. As music from their unreleased project “The Color of Love” plays in the background, the two sit over a Caribbean style meal to discuss their inspiration. “People say it all the time,” D-Tech begins “but really its just life”. With a mouth full of food Kwofi begins to explain how the two aren’t from any well-endowed families, just working class people. “See, TV got everyone fooled” he says “hip-hop started with people that wanted to be heard… not folks wanting attention—” he takes a few chews and blurts out, “…but I got something to say.”

With Christian upbringing being common in the southern states, the two have a powerful belief system in God. Their inspiration also includes music from the genres of pop, gospel, rock, R&B, and of course the many hip-hoppers before them. One thing that also sticks out is that ST believes in good music, naming many phenomenal artists such as Outkast, A Tribe Called Quest, and Slum Village, as favorites in their collective libraries (and the list of inspiration goes on and on). They know, however, that it takes more than good music to make their mark from home. “Music is only the half,” says Kwofi “this is still Alabama.” The issues of economy, morality and modern day racism all help fuel the fire to speak out. The state of music in general is what fuels their fire to be different; their lives, loved ones and listeners fuel the fire to do their best. “Be prepared,” says D-Tech. “We’re bringing something different. Not conscious music, but honest music”.