The Bridge
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The Bridge

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Apr
24
The Bridge @ Madison Ave.

Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Feb
15
The Bridge @ Picador

Iowa City, Iowa, USA

Iowa City, Iowa, USA

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The Bridge
The Chosen Few
Cassette Company; 2007
3 Stars

While Chicago may be the "Second City" to New York or Los Angeles, the second city to Chicago is a not-so-little city in the Northwest corner of Illinois called Rockford. It's the home of Migweezy, Hollywood and Tapeman, collectively known as The Bridge. On their debut album The Chosen Few, the three childhood friends come with one simple goal: trying to "turn 'The Rock' into a name brand," as they proclaim on "Name Brand."

Their bio describes their sound as "Run DMC on Crunk," and while they do capture a similar, high-energy recording to that of Run DMC, their overall sound is more reminiscent of UGK and other Houston acts than of Lil' Jon and his crunk offspring. Where they differ from UGK, however, is the lack of contrast between the two MCs voices. At times, it's hard to tell whether it's Hollywood or Migweezy rhyming.

From the production to the lyrics, The Bridge do a phenomenal job developing their own sound, thanks in part to Tapeman's production. Full of booming drums, futuristic synths and lush strings, each track flows seamlessly into the next and not a single one feels out of place. Ironically, this could also be the downfall to the album because it lacks a stand out song. While it's refreshing to see hip-hop artists in this day and age focusing on creating a full album, the nature of the beast that is the record industry requires a jaw-dropping, amazing single and/or ring tone.

Lyrically, Hollywood and Migweezy are extremely talented, and they'll be the first to you let you know. They spit each line with fierce enthusiasm and their harmonizing is on par with artists like Chamillionaire. Each verse oozes with confident swagger and braggadocios rhymes balanced perfectly with a self-aware realism—they know that their skills can only take them so far, and they still have a long climb to the top. It couldn't hurt their cause if they were to diversify their subject matter a bit. Most of their topics seem to revolve around their skills, with the occasional gang-bangin' or chick-pullin' reference thrown in for good measure.

All things considered, the best way to describe The Chosen Few in one word is SOLID. Although it lacks a stand-out single, it certainly bumps from start to finish, and these days, that's a rare feat. There's no doubt that, at any given moment, someone is cruising down Route 20, through Rockford, chanting along with "I ain't gotta say much, but if I want to get it crackin' I'll say ALL HANDS ON DECK!"

- Griff

- www.okayplayer.com


The Bridge rocks Krypto with its tighter sound
By Kevin Haas

GO.RRSTAR.COM

It's fitting The Bridge titled its mix tape "Training Day" — the album proves the group has been practicing.

When the Rockford hip-hoppers released their first album "The Chosen Few" in February, I praised its dynamic beats, flawless timing and energetic hooks, but critiqued the lyrics as one-dimensional.

In just seven months between albums, the group made leaps and bounds in that category, proving its lyrical versatility and depth.

The politically charged "Conspiracy" featuring Doc MD proves the group can drop a little knowledge on you, and "All I Need" displays social consciousness with lyrics that paint the picture of women caught in a fast-paced and deadly lifestyle.

The Bridge switched the timing of its style up with the song "Goof Troop" featuring Coty O and showed love for the art with the Roy "Hollywood" Gregg-produced "My Music."

And I haven't even mentioned "I Got Phrases," which won the maximum five nights on 97ZOK's New Music Matchup, or "Hate," one of the best on the CD, which has 16 tracks and features appearances from eight rappers.

The Bridge can definitely make a hit song. In fact, I'm yet to hear a Tapeman (Stefan Clark) beat I didn't like.

But where "Run DMC on Crunk" excels is on stage.

The three moved the crowd so well at Krypto Music Lounge during their release party Saturday that outside passers-by were peering in the windows to see why so many people had their hands in the air.

Unfortunately, as if you haven't heard, the group had its last song cut off when a gunman fired shots into a crowded parking lot across the street.

Police arrested Martin D. Love, 24, for the shooting that injured two people: Tasha Jackson, 29, was shot in the arm, and Ivery Croom, 24, was wounded in the left forearm and left leg.

Inside Krypto, with the music turned down, members of The Bridge immediately denounced the actions outside, saying their brand of hip-hop doesn't mix with gun violence.

The Bridge heads to The Canopy Club in Urbana this weekend before taking on a couple of Chicago venues in November.

Now it's time for you to put this article down and go cop "Training Day." Visit myspace.com/thebridgehiphop.

Contact GO Now writer Kevin Haas at 815-544-3452 or khaas@rrstar.com. - Rockford Register Star by Kevin Hass


CROSSIN THE BRIDGE by Adam Seidel


"Lets start with our name," said Hollywood, co-mc of The Bridge. "You got many bridges in Rockford, (home base of The Bridge) and these bridges separate Rockford. You got the east side of Rockford and the west side, and these two sides are totally different. The east side is where you have all the nice stores and everything new and nice. The west side is not so nice, and people try to stay away from it."

"The only thing new on the west side is this really nice-looking jail" added co MC Migweezy.

"So that's where we get our name from," continued co MC Hollywood. "We come from a really segregated town, and we're trying to connect the gaps between people and situations."

The Bridge is composed of three: MC Hollywood (Roy Gregg), MC Migweezy (Miguel Mora), and Producer/ MC Tapeman (Stefan Clark).

"We all have interesting stories behind our names," explains Migweezy. "My name started out from when I was on the high school basketball team. I would spit rhymes on the basketball bus, and people would call me Migweezy."

"Originally I was Cassette. I was raised on them, and I became a bit obsessed with them because I feel they are a symbol of what music used to be. I changed my name to Tapeman because people got confused by Cassette."

"My dad gave me the name when I was born," explains Hollywood. "I guess it was destined to be my name."

The group is fairly new, having released their debut effort The Chosen Few last February. The beginnings of The Bridge come from way before that.

"Me and Hollywood know each other from grade school," said Migweezy. "And Hollywood was rapping ever since I knew him. There were two things people said about Hollywood, "He be rapping or he be hooping". And then I met Tape in high school. At the time he was doing a lot of things. He was doing folk, country, electronic. He was covering everything. In late high school, early college, I started writing. Tape started making beats for me, and we would get together at his place in Chicago and do our thing."

After a year of sessions in Tapeman's Chicago apartment, Hollywood came into the picture.

"We got him down to Chicago (from Rockford)," continued Migweezy, "and we had a late night out and went back to Tape's apartment to do our thing."

That's when things clicked and The Bridge was formed.

"I had made this one beat from scratch," explained Tape. "When we got back that night, I played it for Hollywood, and he thought it was hot. That turned out to be our first track ever, "Listen to the Verse." That night The Bridge was born."
"Listen to the Verse" was the foundation that The Chosen Few was built upon. The album is dynamic, tightly produced, and as professional as most major label releases. Their second album, Training Day, is going to be released on September 22nd. It is sure to be another ultra creative and diverse album that will catch the ear and make heads nod.

Posted on Friday, September 21st 2007 - www.collegenews.com by Adam Seidel


Bridge your music gap
By Kevin Haas
GO.RRSTAR.COM


If you haven't jumped on The Bridge's bandwagon yet, you might want to before there's no room left.

If you go
What: The Bridge with Judah the Lyrical Rev show

When: 10 p.m. Saturday

Where: Krypto Music Lounge, 308 W. State St., Rockford

Cost: $5; $20 will get you a copy of "Training Day" and access to a VIP lounge.

The local hip-hop group has been doing big things since dropping its debut album "The Chosen Few" fewer than seven months ago. It'll celebrate the release of a mix tape 10 p.m. Saturday at Krypto Music Lounge in a musical event with Judah The Lyrical Rev.

A busy summer for The Bridge included a slew of shows and opening for some of rap's biggest names. They played before Nas in April, Snoop Dogg in August and T.I. this month, all at the Rave in Milwaukee. Summer stops also included trips to Tennessee, Las Vegas and Hollywood.

"We're basically living a dream right now, being able to do what we love," Bridge member Miguel "Migweezy" Mora said.

The 16-track release "Training Day" is a mix tape in name only. With 14 original beats produced by Stefan "Tapeman" Clark and another by Roy "Hollywood" Gregg, the tape has enough new music to be an album.

"If you were to take a running diary of all the music we've come up with since 'The Chosen Few,' that's what this album is," Mora said.

The rap trio has had some radio play this summer, toppling mainstream acts on 97ZOK's New Music Matchup. With a little support from locals, The Bridge had a three-day run (the max allowed is five) on ZOK with their song "Take That Home" from the album "The Chosen Few." The song "I Got Phrazes" (check it out on myspace.com/thebridgehiphop) won five nights in a row, beating pop stars such as Akon, Enrique Iglesias and Beyoncé.

"Give them a year or two, and the way they're going, I think they'll be big," ZOK DJ J.B. Love said.

Love is hosting Saturday's release party that opens with local lyrical giant Judah. The rapper, whose real name is James Ford, said he'll be introducing a new song Saturday as well: "The Rev" is described as a lyrical battle track similar to "Burning Hot" off his album "It Is What It Is."

Ford is also working on a new LP, "Truth to Power," which he hopes to have out by spring.

"I'm always a guy who isn't afraid to speak what he feels, and I think this album is going to embody that," Ford said.

Kevin Haas invented the phrase "Run DMC on crunk" to describe The Bridge's music. Contact him to set up royalty payments at 815-544-3452 or khaas@rrstar.com. - Rockford Register Star by Kevin Hass


T.I. show highlights streetwise persona
By ERIK ERNST
Special to the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Sept. 7, 2007

A few weeks after an earlier concert date was postponed because of a scheduling conflict, the self-proclaimed "King of the South" arrived in Milwaukee on Thursday night.
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Bounding onto the Eagles Ballroom stage in a black T-shirt and dark sunglasses, T.I. whipped the crowd into a frenzy from the opening beats of "Top Back," a single from his 2006 platinum-selling "King."

Immediately, the crowd that had been anxiously chanting the Atlanta rapper's name began waving hands and cell phone cameras in the air.

With a unique vocal style that mixes a fair bit of harshness with a smooth Southern drawl, T.I. has sold enough records to create an argument for his placement as hip-hop's king.

Unfortunately, a muddled bass-heavy mix and continuous microphone feedback in the large concert hall covered up any rhythmic vocal nuance.

But that didn't seem to matter in this concert setting as the volume for most lyrics from T.I. and his lone hype man were set on yell and the crowd rapped along to almost every song without seeming to notice any sonic shortcomings.

On his most recent offering, this year's "T.I. vs. T.I.P," the rapper created a concept album exploring his dual personalities - the former representing his sensitive, polished, businessman side; the latter being his ruthless street-smart persona.

With the exception of "I'm a Flirt" and a couple other midset songs that T.I. dedicated to the women in the crowd, it seemed like most of the rapper's stage persona was drawn from the T.I.P. side.

Much of the fare, like "U Don't Know Me" and "Ride Wit Me," was filled with gritty, fast-paced lyrics.

Many of those songs also saw glancing takes of only a verse and a chorus, allowing the crowd to sample more than 20 tracks in the 50-minute set.

The audience seemed ambivalent to the tracks' brevity, as a large female contingent of fans cheered just as loudly for the removal of the rapper's shirt as they did much of the music.

T.I allowed some of his bigger hits to stretch out longer toward the end of his set. With a powerful deep bass line and rowdy crowd participation, "What You Know" moved the entire audience and set them up for "Big (expletive) Poppin' (Do It)," the first single off of the new album.

Three acts opened the main stage Thursday night. The Bridge, a hip-hop trio from Rockford, Ill., shone the brightest.

Mixing intelligent political and social rhymes against a melodic backbeat, the group displayed talent equal to many national acts - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by Erik Ernst


Exclusive Interview with The Bridge
Posted on Monday, September 10th 2007

" We'll all just sit down in the studio," said Tapeman, "and I'll just start making beats from out of no where. And once they (Hollywood and Migweezy) catch the beat they'll start writing. And usually when the beat is done, they'll be done with their verses. Because we create music like this, I look at us more as a band rather than a group."

Like any group (band) out there, The Bridge has many influences that they use for guidance.

"For me," stated Tapeman, "I'm a huge Bjork fan, and that influences me along with other electronic music. But as for producers, I'll go with Timbaland, Manny Fresh, and Kanye."

"I did get a lot of influence from Twista," stated Hollywood. "He (Twista) was in the Midwest before he blew up, and I can and could relate to him because of coming from the Midwest."

"We're just starting out, and it's important to realize that you can learn something from any artist that is doing something admirable," said Migweezy. "Maybe it's not even their music, maybe it's just their business approach or how they handle things."

What The Bridge is doing is working, and the rapid progress they've had is proof of that.

"The fact that we're here doing the T.I. show," stated Migweezy, "shows that were doing something right. We can learn from guys like T.I. He's a major player in this game, and we want to be one too, but in our own way."

The "Run DMC on crunk" was definitely present before the large crowd in Milwaukee. Hollywood and Migweezy used every inch of the stage to include the audience, and Tapeman held it down as a stylie DJ in the rear, keeping track of the beats while giving vocal backup. The venue doesn't have the best acoustics, but The Bridge picked up the venue's slack with their intensity and presence. They represented at the T.I. show.

Their new album, Training Day, is to be released September 22. Check it out. - www.collegenews.com by Adam Seidel


"Through.

One definition of the word is "from beginning to end."

Rockford-based rap group The Bridge's first LP is a "through album." You listen to it from beginning to end without being tempted to skip any of the tracks.

The rap trio's debut album "The Chosen Few" is hotter than black asphalt on the fourth of July.

Rappers Hollywood and Migweezy have been friends since age 9 and hooked up with producer TapeMan to complete the group. The Bridge made the album in less than six months, but the 13-track LP sounds anything but quickly thrown together.

The group has a bit of a southern rap sound, like T.I. or a smoother version of Bone Crusher. Their on stage chemistry when I first heard them at CJ's Lounge a month back made me think of them as Run DMC on crunk. After hearing their full album I'd say the shoe fits.
TapeMan is impressive as the group's beat maker. Couple that with catchy hooks and well timed rhymes and you've got yourself something worth listening to. They've got a little development to do with their lyrical depth, but they are still a cut above most radio artists.

Rapper Boom was impressive in two guest appearances, especially "All Hands on Deck," one of my favorite tracks along with "Something's Missing" and "Name Brand."

The album will be released independently Feb. 27. Since "independently" usually means "hard to find" you can make sure to ensure yourself a copy at myspace.com/thebridgehiphop and check the group out live Saturday (Feb. 24) at Krypto Music Lounge with Judah The Lyrical Rev. - Rockford Register Star by Kevin Hass



The Bridge - The Chosen Few
Independent © 2007
www.myspace.com/thebridgehiphop
www.thebridgehiphop.com
Reviewed by Gary Hill
gary@beetcafe.com
www.musicstreetjournal.com
Rating:4 out of 5

For those who say that nothing cool comes out of Rockford, I have to call you to the table and firmly disagree.
There is some really interesting music being created in the greater Rockford area. A lot is coming from metal
bands like Southview, goth outfits like Reverend Agony and the "what is this really" category like The Heavils,
but (as Judah The Lyrical Rev and now The Bridge have shown), hip hop is alive and thriving in the area.
While I would have to say that I find the Judah CD to be more consistent than this one, there are some real
factors working in favor of The Bridge. For one thing, I like the way they have created bookends on this CD.
Both the opening "Welcome to the Rock" and the closer "The Bridge is Over" work together to create a cohesive
approach to the album. Part of that symmetry is produced by the themes - the first track serves to introduce the
group to the listener, while the final number provides a solid farewell to the album. Still more of the thread is
created by the music on those two pieces. Of all the songs here, these two share a definite jazz texture that
makes them feel as if they are cut from the same cloth. This kind of detail really shows the class that The
Bridge embodies.
Another aspect that I find quite strong on the disc is the integration between the two rappers. You can tell that
these guys really enjoy working together (and have done it a lot) because they play off each other quite
intuitively. I also think that for the most part the beats and other musical accompaniments that have been
created here are quite effective. There are times you'll find yourself uncontrollably pulled into the rhythmic
patterns of the sounds. For my money the best piece on the whole disc is "Name Brand" and it really
accomplishes this more than anything else here.
If I had to pinpoint one thing that I think to be a downfall on the disc, it's that a few of the songs (and really
we're talking only two or three) don't seem to be as well put together in terms of the musical backing. I think
they could have used a bit more oomph in terms of layers and sound elements. Even that drawback, though, is
minimized because this outfit does what a lot fail to consider. They put the weaker material in the center
portion of the CD, opening and closing strong. As a reviewer and music fan I can't emphasize enough how
important this fact is to making a strong disc. These guys do it right when so many others fail.
Overall, I'd have to say that this is a very strong disc, but it's not without it's defects. It shows a lot of promise,
though, and fans of hip hop should really get this one when it comes out (it won't be officially released til the
27th - you can get it on the 24th at the CD release party at Krypto Music Lounge). I should mention, for those
who aren't deep into the genre, that like most rap there is language here that some might find offensive. I
probably wouldn't recommend turning this one up with kids in the room. If the place is child-resisted and no
one takes offense, though, turn up the tunes and enjoy The Bridge.

- www.beetcafe.com by Gary Hill



The Bridge - A New Rap Presence
by Gary Hill
gary@beetcafe.com
www.musicstreetjournal.com
It seems that the Rockford hip hop scene is really
beginning to happen. For many the first rumblings came
from Judah The Lyrical Rev - the first Rockford hip-hop
artist to gain some prominence. The latest entry into the
field is The Bridge and they will be celebrating the release
of their first CD on February 24th at Krypto Music Lounge. It
seems appropriate that Judah will also be on the bill at that
show.
For those who have been listening to the group already,
that show will be in the "do not miss" category because it
allows you to get the disc in advance. They'll be selling it
there, but for the rest of the world the release date is the
27th. That makes it kind of a gift (a three day early sales
event) for those in attendance.
The Bridge is made up of Hollywood (MC), Migweezy (MC)
and TapeMan (DJ/Producer). Their sound is based pretty
firmly on old-school hip hop, but they bring in enough
modern elements to make it fresh and vital. They have
been described as "Run DMC on crunk." For those out of
the hip hop circle, "crunk" is a term that combines the
words (and meanings) of "crazy" and "drunk," but more
appropriately in this sense it is related to an energy drink.
Rapper Lil' John (known as the King of Crunk) makes the
beverage called "Crunk," and it is in the same league as
Red Bull, No Fear and other energy drinks. If you don't
know who Run DMC were (you probably won't be reading
this if that's the case) they were one of the first hip hop acts
to make it big and are probably best known to the
mainstream audience for their cover of Aerosmith's "Walk
This Way," which also featured Joe Perry and Steven Tyler.
Suffice it to say that song was the one that really broke the
hip-hop sound and culture into the mainstream by putting it
in front of rock music fans. So, that analogy would mean an
old-school rap sound with a higher energy level. It fits this
group.
The Bridge's true strength is the ability of the two MC's to
work off of one another. Each complements the other quite
well, creating a spirit of cooperation and collaboration
rather than competition. The beats and backing music
generally has a depth and power often missing in the

- www.beetcafe.com by Gary Hill


Discography

Training Day - LP - 2007 - 16 Songs
---Singles---
"I Got Phrases" - Voted 5 day Champion on 97ZOK Rockford
"Goof Troop" - 97ZOK Rockford

Chosen Few - LP - 2007 - 13 Songs
---Singles---
"Take That Home" - Voted Champion on 97ZOK Rockford

Photos

Bio

While Chicago may be the "Second City" to New York or Los Angeles, the second city to Chicago is a not-so-little city in the Northwest corner of Illinois called Rockford. It's the home of Gweez, Hollywood and Tapeman, collectively known as The Bridge.

The hip hop trio formed in Fall 2006 after the three longtime friends decided their individual perspectives on life and hip hop could combine to give the game just what it's been missing. Their chemistry has been undeniable from the start, as the group quickly recorded their debut LP, The Chosen Few, released in February 2007. The high-energy album brought The Bridge local celebrity status as they opened midwest gigs for a diverse roster of national acts including NaS, Snoop Dogg, and T.I.

Never content and always anxious to get back in the studio, The Bridge released its second LP in September 2007, titled Training Day. The full length disc was met with widespread critical acclaim as it showcased the lyrical depth of the group's MCs, as well as the reach of cosmopolitan producer Tapeman.

The Bridge kicked off 2008 in grand fashion, performing at a sold out House of Blues in Chicago with Talib Kwali. With multiple full length projects in pre-production, a busy performing schedule ahead, and a clothing line in the works, The Bridge seem only to be gaining steam in 2008.

Recent Notable Performances:

House of Blues w/ Talib Kweli
Chicago, IL
01/20/2008

Eagles Ballroom w/ T.I.
Milwaukee, WI
09/06/2007

The Rave w/ Snoop Dogg
Milwaukee, WI
08/30/2007

Hip Hop Cafe
Hollywood, CA
08/24/2007

The Rave w/ NaS
Milwaukee, WI
04/21/2007