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"Belligerent is an MC not a Rapper"

Don’t call Miles “Belligerent” Huddleston a rapper. He’s an MC. “Rap and rapper have negative connotations,” the 25-year-old Huddleston says. “Hip-hop is about progressing the culture, and an MC or lyricist takes the time to make sure what they say is going to help someone.”
Huddleston rhymes about family struggles, relationships and the challenge of being an MC in a world of pop-rap and club bangers. It’s about the message, not the quick buck that rappers often concern themselves with. His latest single, “Check Please,” addresses the issue in lyrics such as, “You see we’re on different airwaves / I’m thinking longevity, and you’re thinking about the quickest way to get paid.”
“It helps me release,” Huddleston says. “It’s therapeutic. But I’m not out to profit. Why am I going to sell you something when you haven’t even heard of me yet?”
Huddleston started performing at age 10 by forming a Boyz II Men-style group with his cousins and singing at family gatherings. Growing up with Kris Kross and Jay-Z’s music, Huddleston decided to pursue hip-hop after high school, and he left his hometown of Edwardsville, Ill., to attend college in St. Joseph.
While others took notes in lecture, Huddleston thought about rhyme schemes. School wasn’t his calling, and neither was St. Joseph’s disillusioning gangsta rap scene. Taking a break from both college and music, Huddleston moved to Columbia for a fresh start in May 2009 and discovered a bustling underground hip-hop scene. It revived his inner MC.
Positive audience reactions at Mojo’s open-mic nights led to Huddleston’s transformation into Belligerent, a name that came from a childhood infatuation with big words. When he eventually learned its connotation of waging war, he associated it with his battle of being an MC in a rapper’s world. When local MC Eric “Farout” Farlow heard Huddleston, he immediately related to their shared vision of hip-hop as personal expression. Farlow engineered Belligerent’s 2010 debut mix tape, The Sampler, that summer. “He’ll make songs that have stories and morals, and it’s relatable,” Farlow says. “He gives you a sense of his perspective on life.”
Because his music is free on, Huddleston makes his money at concerts. He conceded early on that being an MC might not result in many paychecks. Afraid that his mother Minnie Tucker wouldn’t share that perspective, he waited nearly seven months before telling her about Belligerent. “No parent wants their kid to go into a field where there is so much uncertainty,” Huddleston says.
Tucker’s glad her son is pursuing his hip-hop dream with lyrics that reflect his personality. “It’s more poetry than that thug rap,” Tucker says. “He’s concerned about issues of the heart, and a lot of that comes out in his music.” - JON HADUSEK

"Telling his tale through hip-hop, Belligerent touches on themes that resonate widely"

A poet of another sort, Miles Huddleston's art to date reveals a performer who contains universalities. A Columbia-based hip-hop artist who has assumed the name Belligerent, Huddleston goes public with his newest album, "Belligerent Presents: The Soulo Project," at a release show tonight.

Huddleston has referred to each of his releases using steps in the employment process — his first mix tape was a job interview while subsequent records represented efforts to prove he had earned the position, putting in overtime and laboring for a promotion. Looking back, the events of Huddleston's life were grooming him for the job of articulating truths about life's hardest and most poignant moments through hip-hop, even if he didn't recognize it immediately.

Growing up in Edwardsville, Ill., Huddleston initially subsisted on a musical diet of '90s R&B before family members turned him on to a type of hip-hop that emphasized musicality over machismo. In the earliest sounds of megawatt stars such as Jay-Z — his debut album, "Reasonable Doubt," as well as an early freestyle with Big L were foundational sounds — and more underground acts such as Immortal Technique, he heard a way to carry his lifelong love of music forward. Marrying his growing appreciation for the art form with an inherent "knack for vernacular," Huddleston saw nothing but possibilities and a way to realize the potential others recognized, albeit in a different way. Early on, many around him suggested he would make a first-rate teacher.

"I guess with the type of music" I'm doing, "I'm still teaching, in a sense," the 26-year-old said.

Huddleston has found, as the old axiom goes, that experience is the best teacher. And, as he has revisited and repeated those experiences on his tracks, he has taught listeners something about themselves. Common lyrical threads include finding love and forging ahead in seasons of loss as well as the tug-of-rope tension that marks his family history, a dynamic that includes acceptance and abandonment, strong roots and severed ties.

Writing about those bonds — both the broken ones and the ones that remain intact — with almost painful precision, Huddleston has been amazed to find that the more personal a song's inspiration is, the more his audience can identify. Even though these are the songs that take a pound of flesh — or, perhaps more accurately, many ounces of soul — from him, he's glad they resonate, allowing him to build a rapport that transcends music.

"It allows you to be relevant to everyone," he said. "It doesn't just say, 'Oh, this is hip-hop. This is what hip-hop is about.' No, this is what life is about."

Huddleston sets those life lessons to tracks that find their heart in the "heavy jazz influence and that boom bap" he responded to in mid-'90s hip-hop. It's the same uplifting sound and spirit perpetrated by acts such as A Tribe Called Quest and Leaders of the New School. He starts the writing process by sifting and shuffling through a library of instrumental tracks, using those sounds to catalyze his emotion and set his state of mind. He described the music-first genesis on a recent cut, "Shape Shifters": "It's that simple / Instrumentals are vital to my survival / I need 'em like a pastor needs a Bible or a champ needs a rival."

Huddleston is, for the most part, a one-take writer who embraces a stream-of-consciousness approach and avoids any sort of heavy-handed rewriting or editing process. He wants his verses to exist as something of a time capsule, accurately capturing the time and place in which he wrote them. The songs that have emerged also are shaped by an appreciation for cinema — on the song "All My Fault," he drops a prominent lyrical reference to the 2005 film " 'V' for Vendetta" — and the varied musical palette Huddleston appreciates and consumes.

"Listening to just hip-hop means that you're going to start to sound like just a hip-hop artist," he said.

Carrying that open-mindedness into his career, he has relished the opportunity to collaborate with seemingly unlike artists, including local rock acts Z.A.P. and Six by Silver as well as bluegrass-tinged outfit Mary and the Giant.

"I welcome doing anything outside of hip-hop … because it allows me to show people that it's not one kind of sound," he said. "Hip-hop is a culture, and the culture is about uplifting a generation. So why would I segregate myself? That doesn't make any sense to me."

Going forward, he wants to cultivate an even stronger, more complete style of storytelling, taking listeners through a single story over the course of multiple tracks. But Huddleston certainly doesn't have miles to go in this respect — he possesses and is pursuing an innate desire to communicate with anyone he comes into contact with.

"I want to talk to everyone because my story is everybody's story; it's just being talked about in a different way, a different dialogue," he said. "… It's being presented maybe in a more in-your-face, direct way. … These are the problems; these are the issues; we're gonna talk about it. I may not necessarily look like you, talk like you, walk like you, but you still have those issues, don't you?" - AARIK DANIELSEN


"Millionaire" - available for streaming via

Two4One Debut Album "Bargain Basement" available 3/12/13.

Individual projects:

"TrialxError"- Dutch Young
available at

"Belligerent Presents: The Soulo Project" - Belligerent
available at



Hailing from a small town in Illinois, "Belligerent" reminds you of that "Golden Era" hip hop. Lyrical, passionate, and thrives on making sure the crowd leaves fully satisfied. Dutch Young is NO DIFFERENT. Hailing from Kansas City, MO Dutch brings a level of energy to every stage performance that cannot be matched. every word is heartfelt, and as passionate as the line before. Performing like veterans, Dutch Young, and Belligerent make up the hip hop collective known as Two4One.

Influenced by LIFE more than anything. The Two4One sound takes you on a journey of highs, lows, and in-betweens. But, based on watching their stage performance, you'd never know how much of a struggle it was to garner the respect and support from Midwest heavyweights.

Two4One spent the last year playing shows all over the Midwest and every venue would say the same thing, "You guys have so much energy!" That's what sets them apart from other groups. EVERYTHING is left on the stage. Regardless of crowd size, venue, or set time. They want you to remember where you were when you heard of Two4One.