Stereo Boyz "RayBanz (feat. Shoua Kue)" (2012)
Detroit underground hip-hop crew the Stereo Boyz just dropped a new single/video (above) titled "RayBanz" with a vocal feature from Shoua Kue and production by Nick Speed (G-Unit) with scratches and cuts by DJ Los. "RayBanz" is the lead single off the upcoming album Carz, Clubz & Theaterz (the follow up to last year's Live from the Ghettoblaster EP) from the Michigan duo that features the two MCs Mixo (aka Applauze Beetz) and Mic Audio (aka Perfect Hell) who for close to a decade pre-Stereo Boyz were part of another Detroit group called Rhyme Asylum. Wholeheartedly embracing the DIY hip-hop ethos the Stereo Boyz have traveled round the US and also over to Europe to do a series of underground shows - all the while slowly building their rep and fan-base. I met up with the pair a few months ago when they traveled by car from Detroit to New York City to do a series of shows including one at the Bowery Poetry Club and another in the park. That (informal) park set was one of their infamous Monkey Barz cipher sessions - a true traditional hip-hop event that they hold on a weekly basis back in their hometown. See the video below of their first 2012 Monkey Barz session. For the one-off NYC Monkey Barz session the visiting Stereo Boyz headed to Union Square on a balmy Saturday afternoon with their big white boombox in tow to provide beats, and there attracted a huge crowd - many of them also emcees who joined in the freestyle session.
Between verses I talked with the two members Mixo and Mic Audio about their crew and their city. "There's a lot of misconceptions about it. Detroit is pretty beautiful actually. You can find the same violence and drama anywhere," said Detroit born and raised Mixo who has been rapping since he was 12. His partner in rhyme Mic Audio, who was born in Chicago but moved to Detroit as a teen in 1999, noted how "You can live in an abandoned building and still get your hip-hop on" in reference to the large number of vacated houses in Detroit that people squat in, in a city town known for having endless vacancies and very affordable homes (a silver lining to the depressed housing market). Like most hip-hop heads in Detroit the Stereo Boyz have boundless love and respect for the late J-Dilla. "We threw one [Dilla Day celebration] ourselves this year before the actual big one and there was some good performances," said Mic Audio with Mixo adding, "Yeah we threw an event for Ma Dukes [Dilla's mom] a week before and then we attended Dilla Day as well. Dilla for life!" On the topic of making and releasing music in this age when things are so readily available (and often for free) online Mixo said, "You got to love the Digital Era. It has its negatives just like anything else but it allows us to be able to get good music to a lot of people when it was extremely hard to do that before." Added Mic Audio of the group's business strategy in the Digital Age, "We just put out a lot of quality music for free so that everybody gets adjusted to good music for free until they have to pay for it." For more on the group visit the Stereo Boyz website
Stereo Boyz Monkey Barz Opening Day (2012)