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The best kept secret in music


Hingham's rap star has a heart

Rap artist and Hingham's own Bobby Sullivan, a.k.a. Sullee, is making it to the "big time."

Sullee performed in front of a crowd of more than 4,000 people in Boston's first annual Hip-Hop Peace and Unity Fest earlier this month. Sponsored by various major companies, including Dunkin' Donuts and Pepsi, the concert took place at City Hall Plaza and was presented by Mayor Tom Menino and Inebriated Rhythm.

Sullee opened the show with his hit song, "Show 'Em" off his debut album titled, "It's Time," which is now in stores. Alongside fellow Old South End Records artists, Merc the Grim Reaper and Darren "Decamp" Campbell, Sullee wowed the crowd with his performance. The show was hosted by Smash Squad Representatives, Statik Selektah and DJ Chubby Chub of Boston's Hot 97.7 radio station; and featured many other artists including KRs-ONE's Big Daddy Kane and Skillz.

"Overall it was a great experience," Sullee said after the concert. "I am glad I got a chance to meet Mayor Menino and it felt pretty good doing something for the City of Boston." Following the concert, Sullee posed for pictures with various fans and signed autographs when he came out to greet the people there.

This was not the first charitable event Sullee has been part of as he "always like[s] doing stuff for [his] community." Sullee raised more than $2,000 for the Hingham senior class this past year and plans to at more charitable events this summer, despite his grueling schedule.

Sullee's recent shows included: opening for Funkmaster Flex at Pufferbellies this Friday, July 25; North Carolina, radio interview, 103 Jams Show at a local night club on July 28; local North Carolina TV show - another club show that night, July 30; Upcoming shows include:

Radio interview in Charlotte, N.C. on July 31
An 18-and-under show at Pufferbellie's - as headliner - on Monday, Aug 4
And performing at National Night out at Charlestown High School's field on Aug. 5. - Andrew Dassori

It's time for Sullivan

When Bobby Sullivan - better known to the local hip-hop community as "Sullee" - was just a wee lad of five, he went to a concert with his father. The elder Sullivan pointed out a man in the corner as Maurice Starr, the producer of New Kids on the Block and a legend in the Boston music scene.

"I told my father," recalled Sullivan, now a senior in high school, "I'm going to go tell him [Starr] about my group that I'm gonna start...and that he should get with us."

And that's exactly what he did.

Starr was so impressed that he invited the youngster to audition for one of his groups, and a few rehearsals later Sullivan was in Taking Care of Business, or TCB.

Now at 18, Sullivan has left the boy band music behind for rap, but the same desire and intensity that prompted that little boy to walk up to one of the most famous men in Boston remains.

For someone who has only been rapping for two years, Sullee boasts an impressive resume. He has performed with such well known hip-hop personalities as Lil' Romeo and Funkmaster Flex, and collaborated with rock luminary Billy Squier. He has worked with some pretty heavy hitters in the hip-hop industry in terms of producers and behind-the-scenes people.

"At first I looked at it like a fan, but now I look at it like, 'Ther [famous rappers] worked with him before, but I'm going to work with him later,'" Sullivan said. He and his father started their own record label, Old South End Records, and his first full length album, "It's Time," is due in the next few weeks.

The transition from the more R&B music that Taking Care of Business played to rap was a natural one for Sullivan. His interest in the genre started at a young age.

"I used to listen to Dr. Dre when I was six," he said with a laugh, "but I had to listen to the radio because my mother wouldn't let me buy the CD."

TCB's rehearsal studio was in Roxbury, but he loved to watch the local rappers come in and work. But for Sullivan, the biggest draw was being on stage, in the limelight. His musical talent is obvious, but the real draw is the roar of the crowd.

"I like to get on stage," he said. "I like to entertain. THere's nothing that makes me happier than being up on that stage...I'll see 60,000 people on TV and say, I know I can rock that.

There is only one thing that is unavoidable when talking to Sullee: he's white. He grew up in more urban Medford, but now he lives in a very comfortable hom in Hingham. Sullivan, however, doesn't attempt to misrepresent himself; there is nothing in his music or in what he says that tries to paint him as something he's not. One of his goals is to create music that is accessible to all colors and social stations, and on his web site, he proclaims himself a "Rapper for All People."

"I say things that don't really have a color or a race," he said. But in a musical environment where so much value is placed on things like image and street credibility, in a musical style that is so often associated with the inner city and African-Americans, the issue cannot be avoided.

The most important tool Sullee has to combat this is his talent - he's very good at what he does. His words flow eloquently and smoothly, and he is comfortable mixing a variety of styles. There is also the Eminem issue. Since Eminem burst onto the scene, people are taking the idea of a white rapper much more seriously. But this wasn't always the case.

Sullivan's father describes a scene that happened over and over again as the young rapper approached various record labels: they'd send him to the rock department. When Sullivan's father sends promo CDs to record labels or radio stations, he sends it without a photo, so that Sullee isn't judged by the color of his skin. It's one of the factors that prompted them to start Old South End Records.

Another way that Sullivan deals with the credibility issue is that he takes the part of the observer. "I just try to say what I see," he said. "It's not as much what I've lived, but what I've seen through my family and friends." An example is a song-in-progress called "I've Seen," Where he describes various things he's observed, including watching the second plane hit the Twin Towers on TV, and visiting friends both in rich neighborhoods and the projects.

There is a positive message running through his music as well. Sullivan has a young cousin in Mattapan who he says is a prime influence for the lead track from "It's Time," called "Show 'Em." (The chorus to the song is "Take em' out the ghetto, show em' what life is.") Talking about street violence, he says, "If you're a grown person and you choose to do that, go ahead...But I don't think kids need to be seeing that when they're three years old." The feel of the songs on "It's Time" range from the introspective and autobiographical "Life Story" to the party anthem "Put Your Hands Up," but an uplifting current runs through all of Sullee's lyrics.

Sullee shatters m - Justin Graeber


Some of Sullee's blazin tracks include:stroke me, step back, put your hands up, Is that you?, Gangsta, Life stor & Did you hear.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Meet Sullee, a young talent on the rise, equipped with a flow that will turn heads when the music comes on. Sullee is a charismatic eighteen year old with years of experience behind him and a limitless future ahead.

Born in Boston in 1985, Sullee is a natural entertainer who got an early start. Producer Maurice Starr (New Kids on The Block) identified Sullee’s talent and signed him in 1990 to become part of TCB, or Taking Care of Business. The precocious Sullee blossomed under Starr’s tutelage. He was five years old. For three years TCB practiced, cut records, traveled and played to audiences. The ride came to an abrupt halt, however, when Starr dismantled all his bands in the early 90’s.

Sullee’s life changed. His family moved to the burbs and he was out of music. His new passions were boxing and basketball, but it was never enough. The beat never stopped. In 2001 Sullee and his father, Robert, Sr., teamed up and founded Old South End Records. They collaborated with artists such as rock legend Billy Squier and General The Street Banker, performer and writer for R Kelly and Tank. After two years of practice, sweat, and local performances, Sullee is ready for the mainstream stage. The name of the album, fittingly, is It’s Time.

Sullee has opened for notables such as Lil’ Romeo and FunkMaster Flex and performed at Boston City Hall Plaza and John Hancock Hall in Boston. He was the Special Guest at the Roxy nightclub in Boston for the finals of the NEXT Superstar of New England competition, hosted by KISS 108’s Billy Costa. Sullee also performed at the Sprite Remix show with FunkMaster Flex at Avalon on Lansdowne Street in Boston. He was a Special Guest for the True Talent Competiton along with David Banner, and Smoke Bulga sponsored by Coca-Cola, and Hot 97.7 at the Berklee Performance Center.

Sullee’s original style and stage presence have left rap fans screaming for more. Listen to his lyrics. Hear the beat. Feel his energy. Watch him perform. Be a believer. Let your eyes follow his footsteps and his tongue grab your ears. Sullee is the suburban teen rapper who defies stereotypes. Meet the young man rap fans call Sullee and let him touch your soul. You won’t be disappointed.