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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - R.Me
Monday, March 22, 2010

Plans don’t always work out, but for R.Me a failed plan ended up leading them to something much greater than they had imagined. In 2008, Steph L.V, X Maximus, Rashid Amir and Real Da Magnificent (pictured L to R), wanted to combine their four teams. Conflicting interests led to that dream fading in the summer of that year, but with the four leading men still together on Rebels Music Empire Recordings, Real saw a new opportunity. “From the previous collaborations that we had done I figured we should form as a group.”

Real’s idea turned out to be a really good one as the group they formed has been making an impact on stages throughout NYC. That impact is now also making its way into people’s homes as R.Me just released their debut album, Still Untitled Til This Day, which features production by Real, Saez The Last Son, Rashid Amir, Cliff Rock and Raydar Ellis. According to Steph L.V. the group’s goal is “to shake up the music industry and have some fun while doing so,” and this week I caught up with all four member of R.Me to find out more about how they’re going to accomplish that.

Adam Bernard: Why don’t you start off this interview by breaking down what makes each of you unique within R.Me?
Real: I always describe R.Me as four different seasons. Rashid Amir is the mellow, laid back poet. Steph L.V is the smooth heavyweight lover. X Maximus is the gritty, dirty, grimy lyricist. When he rhymes, he sounds like he just got out of jail. And myself, I'm considered to be the hype explosive character. Sometimes too hype because my brothas will feed off of my energy and we'll all be onstage looking like Warren Britt x 4. KRAZYYY!!!
X Maximus: It’s almost like we take on different energies that hip-hop portrays. For example, my dude Real reminds me of those Onyx days with his high, wild, agitated energy. Steph is the golden child, he even was when he was a solo artist. His records save the day at the party. Rashid Amir creates the somber, but lyrical, ambience for the group. He always reminds me of Common in how he keeps an optimistic attitude in records. And myself, {laughs} I think the record speaks for itself.
Rashid Amir: At the same time, I feel that we connect on a unison level and come together well as a group.

Adam Bernard: I know R.Me can be pronounced two ways and mean multiple things, so is it “Army,” is it “R dot Me,” or is it both, and whichever the case may be, what does it stand for and how does it represent you?
Rashid Amir: R.Me is pronounced “Army,” but don’t be surprised to hear us go by “R dot Me.” Ultimately we go by the first pronunciation officially. Colloquially we may refer to ourselves as “R dot Me” just because it sounds cool. And why not name a four man group from Brooklyn R.Me? We roll deep as it is, but when you add our people that come out and support us, and the fact that we’re a force to be reckoned with, I say that pretty much sums up the appearance of an Army.
Real: I get the feeling when we step on the stage that people look at us like we're 20 deep. Also, we all have our own arsenal. We have different skills that we specialize in, and when we come together as a united front, we can take over cities.

Adam Bernard: You just released your debut album, Still Untitled Til This Day. First off, why is it still untitled? Can’t the four of you come to an agreement!
Steph L.V: That's pretty funny. We really couldn't come up with a name, so Still Untitled Til This Day was the choice.
Rashid Amir: Although initially a joke, it actually sounded like a dope fit, and we realized that we were getting closer to our release date and really had no other choices. {laughs}
Real: The meaning behind the title is this; we've been grindin for a long time, and the quality of music that we've been putting out, we feel, is some of the best material to come out of the underground scene, but a lot of politics determines how far you go in this music scene and a lot of the cats we've been looking at makes us question the quality, the content, and if as a community are we trying to progress and take the music to a higher plateau. Therefore, we're still untitled. You don't know us. You might of heard of us, but you're unaware of our capabilities, so we're going to continue to grind while waiting on our crowns. If it doesn't come willingly, the fourth track on the LP, "Run Dem," will become real life and we will take the crown.

Adam Bernard: You just led into my next question beautifully. Tell everybody about the content of Still Untitled Til This Day, because I think you cover a lot of topics in your lyrics while also doing some really interesting things with your production.
Rashid Amir: Picture four guys that used to run the town coming back together after some time. That’s the whole idea of the album, we come together with a plan to take back what we once controlled, the places we used to roam, the streets we know, because it’s now run by this kingpin who’s fucking it all up. Now we're on some “save the day” tip and we run through a few different situations along the way, which is why it’s best to listen to the album from start to finish. Plus, it’s a concept album, so why not take advantage of that?
X Maximus: The objective with this project was to create and develop a story. One of those wild Quentin Tarantino stories. Actually, if you think about it, Still Untitled could be a musical. Let's shop that! {laughs} But we hadn't heard a conceptual album in sooo long, we decided that element in hip-hop had been disintegrated and someone needed to bring it back. We wanted to cover modern topics, and discuss the new wave of society; accepting homosexuality, bright tight jeans, the illuminati, the recession.
Steph L.V: We’re all about giving a little bit of everything, so we tried to come up with concepts that everybody can relate to.
Real: Also, we didn't want the music on this album to seclude any demographic. We wanted this LP to be heard by anybody and loved by all. The album is broken up like a theatrical play. ACT 1: The Plot, ACT 2: The Escape, ACT 3: The Climax, ACT 4: The Downfall. The poetry narration was done by Kristine Anderson, and the production on this album was essential. We were annoyed with the typical hip hop beat, with same loop, the same snares, same drums. Our task was to add more breaks in our beats, as well as switch up the tempo and bring in a different melody, then return with the original beat. Having the same vibe from the beginning to the end of a song is corny to me.

Adam Bernard: Speaking of switching things up, groups are kind of an anomaly these days. Why do you think that is?
X Maximus: I guess it’s the money. That’s one of our advantages as a group; it’s not about the money. It would be kinda nice to get paid, but fuck it, if we don't, we don't. We’ll keep makin hot records, keep networking, keep grinding. Forreal forreal, I feel more comfortable broke. {laughs}
Steph L.V: We don’t let the hype of the industry dictate how we operate, we do this strictly for the love of music.
Real: There are also a lot of groups that aren't honest with each other, so that brings about behind the back talking. With us, we really don't have an issue with telling each other "Fuck You." I think you need that element. Just be honest. I DON'T LIKE MAXIMUS. That's my brotha till death, but that doesn't mean that I don't want to fuck him up. I don't want to fake the front for the public. It be those same groups that look so cute and picture perfect together that behind the scenes can't even talk to each other. With R.Me you don't have to worry about if we have issues with each other, we'll tell you.

Adam Bernard: Finally, I know you can’t reveal it all, but give some insight as to what your plan is for world domination.
Rashid Amir: {laughs} World domination is the plan, it’s the steps taken to get there that matter. We’re four young guys with tons of determination, charisma, and purpose to do more than what you see us doing right now.
Real: I really want to develop an empire that is built on progress and uplifting people that would be structured by different teams. I came up with this idea for Rebels Music Empire in 2007 from a former slave named Tunis Campbell who took other former slaves to St. Catherine's Island in Georgia where they developed their own government and prominent community. From that idea I want to build a foundation with artists, photographers, bloggers, promoters, etc. and form a unified front where everybody can shine and become wealthy off our collaborations and alliances.
Steph L.V: We definitely want to do a lot for our families and our community, but it’s not only up to us (individually), we all have to chip in somehow.

Related Links

Website: rebelsmusicempire.com
YouTube: youtube.com/damiendecor
Twitter: twitter.com/rebelsmusic


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:25 AM  
  • At 3:50 PM, Blogger The MC Faceman said…

    Dope interview!

  • At 4:05 PM, Blogger Warren said…

    Crazy Love for these dudes man! The

  • At 12:21 PM, Blogger freethinkingfemale said…

    I'm so proud of these guys. Sadly, artistic pursuits have been seen only as a commodity. It was good to read that these guys are in it for the love of the music and not merely the pursuit of money. So many black artist have sold their souls to gain the world, comprimising in the worst way, their morals and reiterating stereotypical images of blacks and the black community to those who know little to nothing about us. Keep up the good work R.ME!

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