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"In The Studio: Southpaw Players recording at River City Studios"

Having headed south from Fulton, braving the construction and wily pedestrians, arriving at River City Studios intact, I noticed a beardy fellow on a cell phone while walking into the facility. Saying hello to Jackie in the office, I wandered into Studio A, a big reverberant room with pricey microphones. Not too many days previously, the Southpaw Players with new member, rapper Rick Chyme, had been diligently recording, captured by veteran engineer Joe McCargar at the helm of the studio's fully up-to-date Pro Tools HD system.

Sitting next to me in the lobby, the aforementioned beardy fellow, who turned out to be Rick Chyme, said, "Joe (McCargar) made it really natural," noting that some producer/engineers "tell you what to do before you even make a joke with each other."

Andy, the guitarist sitting next to Rick, plays an Ibanez semi-hollow body guitar and is a fully recovered ex-tone tweaker. He said that while he still would rather record in a looser environment not constricted by time and money, River City is as good as any place.

They told me that this was the first time the band has been in the studio together, and the drummer's first time in the studio at all. Without an outside producer but with a strong vision of making good music, the band expected to have "between 11 and 84" tracks on the new full-length album.

"Ryan is the general," Rick said, referring to the band's songwriting and stage dynamic. Ryan plays R&B-style keyboards, and together with metal bassist Coe, funk drummer Jake and Andy the guitarist (also in roots group Potato Moon), they create an entire arrangement, usually stemming from a jam situation. While not intentionally arranged to reach Top 40 radio, the songs are mindfully created, warranting the pristine recording a larger studio can provide.

"We're extremely efficient," said Joe the engineer. "The rate is double other places', but we get there in half the time. You can't do that unless you've been doing it 32 years."

In addition to the expertise and experience, River City also offers access to high-end equipment.

"You can use the $200 mike in your basement, but you're going up against the national acts who are using those mikes," Rick said, referring to the $3,000 Neumann U87 at River City.

Be sure to keep track of the Players and see how this artist/studio collaboration turns out, as it's sure to be nothing if not professional and energetic. - Revue Magazine

"That's A Rap For Rick Chyme"


GRAND RAPIDS -- That's a rap for Rick Chyme.
No more solo gigs for the hip-hop artist; he and his fellow music makers of the funk/soul outfit, The Southpaw Players, are officially one unit of five.
"It's just something that's alive and living," Chyme said of the band setting, where one has to be accountable and is forced to take ownership.
"I guess I'm addicted to being on a team. ... I'd be surprised if after October that you'd see the band (perform) without everyone," he said.
In the past, Chyme would join the Southpaw Players -- then a four-person "soul 'n' roll" gig with current and original members guitarist Michael Sullivan and keyboardist/vocalist Ryan K. Wilson -- for a few songs each set.
It was "The Southpaw Players, featuring Rick Chyme." Now, it's just "The Southpaw Players" and the Chyme's implied.
The idea of an amalgamated band came around November 2007. But Chyme said it has only been in the last four months that the idea has really taken visible shape.
Now the group includes drummer Jacob Schaub, bassist Coe Lacy, Wilson, Sullivan and Chyme.
"It was freakish how easy it was for it all to work," he said.
Chyme listened to his gut, he said, and saw growth in his music with Southpaw.
"I feel like anything I've done is not comparable," he said. "It's like fruition."
Now, Chyme and Southpaw have slowly passed through the musical combine to produce a new, almost "genre-less" sound. Take away Chyme's rapping, and the music could be played in any venue, he said.
Right now, the group is recording at River City Studios its first full-length album. It's starting to unintentionally tell a story, since they've been writing songs all along without an album in mind.
Their songs together are cyclical in nature, twirling around the good or the bad with topics like relationships, addictions, feelings or someone's lot in life based on how they were parented.
"We're creatures of habit and once you get those ingrained it's hard to kick 'em, whether it's good or bad," he said.
You can tell hip hop is so ingrained in Chyme when he can't help but rap a few bars from his song -- "Think Big" -- during the interview.
The song relates the Catch-22 of the many people's claustrophobic situations where they need the job they hate to be able to cope with the limited lifestyle the job affords.
"I do what the beat tells me to do," Chyme said of his style, which is sometimes fast-pace, sometimes methodically smooth and grooving on "sappy or emotional" songs.
He's had time and the right environments to help foster his own style.
After college at Western Michigan, Chyme moved to New York for two years, where he interned at Def Jam Records, working on multiple projects and eventually inching his way up to be a manager.
He even worked on Jay-Z's film "Fade to Black" on an independent musical supervision team with then Def Jam general manager Randy Acker and Jay-Z's lawyer.
"Then I kind of realized, after sitting in a bunch of studio sessions .... that in my gut, I didn't want to be a manager. And no artist needs a manager who wants to be an artist," he said.
Chyme came back to Michigan, and since then has recorded promotional introductions for E.O.B. of WSNX-FM (104.5) and participated in Floyd Mayweather's 2008 rap contest in Grand Rapids, featuring Kid Capri, Swizz Beats and others.
But now, the Grand Rapids-born and Rockford-raised lyricist wants to make it on the stage with Southpaw.
"When you are on a team that is fun to be on and you can tell has the potential to win games, it's never a struggle. There's no tension in the room. It's natural.
"You like the music better than you did before." - Grand Rapids Press

"Southpaw Players"

“Southpaw Players”
By J. Bennett Rylah
REVUE Magazine
June 2009

A fusion of funk, soul and hip hop, Southpaw Players offer a unique experience both live and on their new EP, Avant. Rapper and lyricist Rick Chyme hooked up with Southpaw Players after moving from New York back to Grand Rapids. Founded by keyboardist/vocalist Ryan K. Wilson and guitarist Michael Sullivan, the Players started layering hip hop vocals over their live instrumentation, figured it “was a fit” and kept pushing onward later adding Jacob Schaub on drums and bass player Coe Lacy.

The result is a band that surprises you, but in a good way. Live, composed music takes the place of samples or loops, while fast and witty lyrics supplement complex bass grooves and interesting syncopations.

Chyme’s lyrics, which contend with the reality of day-to-day living are something the band calls “truth music”. Chyme writes about blue-collar, raw human emotion and his songs can range from heavy subject matter to party music, with an element of stream-of-consciousness pervading throughout.

“I’m not trying to preach,” Chyme said, “not story after story, lesson after lesson, heartache after heartache. We are not a specific type of band- not a jam band, not a political band, not a stoner band- but we can do all those things.”

Part of Southpaw Players’ ability to shift between genres may come from their “open-minded” songwriting process, involving members contributing pieces of song, and the rest of the band evolving the piece into a whole. Songs change and develop and find their “true personality,” Chyme said.

“There’s so many different ways to write,” he added, “Every time is different. That’s why it’s exciting”. Southpaw Players’ unique melting pot of sounds will please a multitude of people, from those who subscribe to Dylan to those who jam The Roots, The Meters, or Talib Kwele.

This month, The Southpaw Players will be live June 13 at the Local First Festival with Karisa Wilson, with a performance to follow that same evening at Founders. Additional performances include June 5 at New Holland Brewery and June 6 at Rosebud (Grand Haven).
- REVUE Magazine

"The Southpaw Players"

A little different from the contemporary version of the standard hip-hop genre lies a group of Grand Rapids locals. The Southpaw Players are weaving their own basket to house their version of what hip-hop is. "It's truth music," said lyricist Rick Chyme when asked to describe the Southpaw Players' musical genre. "It's five people playing music that they love."
The band has been together for three years but have been playing with their current lineup for about a year. "We are trying to change people's minds," said keyboardist/vocalist Ryan K. Wilson. The members of the Southpaw Players have the desire to become something original and not yet experienced. They are striving towards excellence in their craft.
Getting its start at Billy's Lounge in Eastown, the group has been creating chatter from Grand Rapids to New York with their blue collar perspective on the world. "People can relate" to the music, Chyme said. "It's not a forced thing."
"It's about watching something grow," said Wilson. "We have not reached our potential yet," Chyme said. "You really have to write a hundred songs before you can know what you are."
The band recently made a trip to New York City with Karisa Wilson to play at the oldest standing rock venue: The Bitter End in Greenwich Village. The venue has played host to the likes of Nora Jones, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and Taj Mahal. The venue holds about 130 and has a red brick wall at the back of the stage. "It felt good to play in front of that many unfamiliar faces and be received so well," Chyme said. "It was reassuring; it showed us we are doing something right."
The Southpaw Players' music tells tales of real world experience, life choices and lost loves. In gritty, decipherable quotes and edgy hooks, the band grabs hold of your senses and takes you to places you thought you wanted to forget. The track "Round and Around" speaks about history repeating itself and is presented in a strong and knowing articulation. You can tell the song means something; the band shows a bit of itself not only in this track but in all of the songs on the EP, making their music accessible and easy to connect with.
The act is working to bring together all forms of artistic expression. Tying together everything from beatboxing to live painting at their shows, the band is "not afraid to change things on the spot," said Coe Lacy, Southpaw's bassist. Their variety creates an exciting environment to be in; the vast culture of groups that assemble at their shows is unprecedented.
Striving to get better every day, the band continues to push themselves and their limits in the hope of coming to the realization of what they "are." Uncertain as to what they might be, the group has stopped concerning themselves with the "what ifs" and are ready to focus on becoming; they are ready to fully realize their potential.
Their new EP, "Avant," will be released at Billy's Lounge on April 30 with guest performances by DJ Super Dre and Token Blaq, special giveaways from Chaunce Clothing, Andy Holmes performing live painting, and special guests TBA. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. For all things Southpaw, check out
May 2009
- RECOIL Magazine


Avant EP- Released April 2009



The Southpaw Players are creators of funky-hip-hop. Their intricate wordplay, skilled musicianship, and unmatched energy combine to result in a live performance that moves both feet and minds.

Melding elements of hip-hop, rock, R&B, and funk into one cohesive and melodic sound, Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Southpaw Players diverse appeal is based on their impressive musical dexterity. Performing live with bands from all walks, they don't fit comfortably into one specific genre; the quintet's music is rooted in traditional hip-hop, but features live instruments, rather than looped samples or beats. The lyrical content is open book, observational, and often socially conscious, drawing from a blue collar perspective and also incorporating humor and wry perceptiveness.

Initially founded by keyboardist/vocalist, Ryan K. Wilson and guitarist Michael Sullivan, the group began to experiment with hip-hop in early 2007 via it’s collaboration with lyricist, Rick Chyme. Songwriting began naturally and quickly to follow was the addition of drummer, Jacob Schaub sparked by a chance meeting with Wilson in a record store.

After solidifying their line-up with the newest addition of bassist Coe Lacy in the summer of 2008, Southpaw quickly built momentum via performances with The Gym Class Hereos, JJ Grey and Moffro, Atmosphere, and The Digable Planets. In 2009, the band was named “Best Group” at The Grand Rapids Hip Hop Awards. In June of the same year, they were one in twelve, out of 194 bands that received over 3000 votes in the “Fox Rocks” Rothbury competition.

Known for their intense live performances, a Southpaw Players show contains everything from intricately executed musical compositions to improvisational rhymes about objects brought to the stage by members of the crowd. Regardless, the vibe is one of community and elation.

Currently promoting their debut EP, Avant, released in April 2009, they are now prepared to extend their reach further. Anchored by the singles now getting regional airplay, “Deeper” and “Think Big”, The Avant EP is sure to serve as a solid introduction to The Southpaw Players distinct style of Truth Music.