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Phenetiks Takes Manhattan
Thursday, January 08, 2009

Playing a stage in NYC isn’t exactly going to a place where no man has gone before, but for the majority of Connecticut Hip-Hop artists it probably feels that way. Very few CT emcees get the opportunity to perform in NYC, which is one of the reasons Phenetiks’ upcoming appearance at The Annex on January 9th, is so impressive.

“NY is a comfortable vibe for us and the Phenetiks ‘sound.’” says Deto-22, who, along with DJ Sir.Cumference, Protégé and Roc-one make up the Phenetiks foursome. According to Deto there’s another reason they’re amped to be performing in NYC. “We’re looking forward to rockin with Homeboy Sandman.” Homeboy Sandman being one of the most buzzed about emcees in all of NYC.

For Phenetiks, a lot of their buzz has developed from their live shows, which they feel begin with their DJ, Sir.Cumference. Protégé calls Sir.Cumference, “our innovator,” adding “he comes up with some insane formulas for scratching and adds flare to our tracks.” Roc-one, who is the lone New Yorker in the group, being from Brooklyn, seconds this, saying Sir.Cumference is “a one man show.” Of course, he could be a one man show, but with the rest of the crew there he’s part of a four man show, a four man show that has been improving by leaps and bounds when it comes to their performances. Improvements that Deto says have been the direct result of their affiliation with the AntFarm Affiliates.

“I stepped up my ‘on stage’ after seeing Hawl-Digg of Workforce kill it one night,” Deto remembers, “he kills it every night, but on this particular evening we were going on directly after them and he destroyed it. I was like, there’s no way I’m going up there and doing my usual. It helped me shake off a few more stage fright pounds. We also see Sketch Tha Cataclysm, The Rising Sun Quest and d_Cyphernauts give their 110% every time.” Inspiration was only one part of the equation for Phenetiks, though, as Deto notes another important aspect of their live shows is that “the four of us know each other’s shit, so it’s easy to just go up there and have fun and just let the energy fly.”

Protégé agrees that having fun is extremely important when hitting the stage, saying “How can someone else enjoy your music if you, yourself, are on stage and you don’t look like you’re having a good time? I’ve noticed that if I’m having fun on stage the crowd usually reciprocates that.”

With plenty of crowds reciprocating, and NYC calling, many may wonder why more artists aren’t working their way to bigger stages. Roc has a theory on why more CT artists don’t make it to NYC and it starts with them not perfecting their craft while in CT. “I think most cats don’t make the transition to performing, period,” he states, “it’s because they don’t believe in their own art and movement, so they remain stagnant.”

Stagnant is something Phenetiks can never be accused of being. In 2007, only two years after they became a group, they were named one of the Rawkus 50, a high honor for any underground rap group. Unfortunately, the high honor also meant they were competing for ears with 49 other talented artists. Despite the massive amount of newfound competition, the group agrees it was an accomplishment to be proud of as Protégé notes “it assured us that we had something good going.” Reflecting further he says the group has now come to view the entire thing more as a learning experience than the launching pad so many groups were hoping it would be. According to Deto, “we made some friends out of it and figured out some assholes, too.”

Look for a lot more from Phenetiks in 2009 as Roc states “this year is where we take everything we’ve learned and put it to use at full force. There will be no half-stepping.” No half-stepping, indeed, as the crew plans on releasing Protégé’s solo album at the start of the year, Roc’s shortly thereafter, a few projects Deto’s working on with some other members of the AFA, and then finally in mid to late ’09 they plan on releasing a third Phenetiks album. Fans can rest assured that they’ll be hitting plenty of stages in support of all of these projects, although as Roc points out, “ironically, the hardest crowd to please is in CT.”

After nearly half a decade of being battle tested on their own home turf, Phenetiks is prepared for just about anything.

Story originally ran in the FairfieldWeekly.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:41 AM  
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