The collective of creatives known as The Heavy Light came together from careers as solo artists, producers and collaborators, but their time as a unit has produced a sound drenched in hip-hop/soul that is poised to take each of them to new heights. The first result of their marathon sessions in the studio was Ocean’s Eleven, the aptly titled EP that seamlessly stitched their diverse talents together in a string of songs that’s reminiscent of the Native Tongue collective.
Hip-hop has long been considered a young man’s sport, but for these seasoned veterans of life, they’ve identified a void the group sensed needed filling. Although there’s a contingent of emcees over 35 who are extremely successful (Jay Z, Nas, Rick Ross, etc.), they didn’t see or hear themselves when they inspected the music; the voice of the first generation to grow up with hip-hop has been marginalized, and its members often exist on the fringes, waiting for glimpses of the “Golden Era.” So, the phone calls began, the conversations continued, and Tai Allen, Mic El, CEO and Dasan Ahanu looked to restore a semblance of balance to the game. That balance is found in their passion for the music, the thought that’s gone into their various forms of expression through the years and the ultimate goal of making sure that B-Boys and B-Girls still see themselves in the music that helped shape their identity.
The fusion of hip-hop, R&B, house, jazz and spoken word, combined with their experience, travels and regional sensibilities provides a well-rounded musical journey that represents the original intent of DJs and masters of ceremony back on those New York City streets, having fun and entertaining, but doing so in a modern setting. That setting is evolving; due to shifts in the marketplace, trends, tastes and fads, the music at the heart of the Heavy Light often gets squeezed out, which is why they are carving out a space among the scenes that continuously work to preserve the art of good music. The Heavy Light mixes well with the indie soul scene, as well as the spoken word circuit, reminding us all of when you used to yell “Hoooooooo!” at the parties.
The approach to growing an audience is very organic, grassroots in nature. They each tap into their resources, asking for folks to check out their music and share through social media, the shows have also been a great way to build a base. The summer of 2014 is proving to be a busy one for the guys; they’ve been working around the clock on new music, as well as participating in many of the events that fill the calendar. Having already made appearances at “The Art of Cool” in Durham, North Carolina in the spring, group members are hosting part of the Springfield Indie Soul Books and Arts Festival (August 22–24) and will host Bushwick Beverages in Brooklyn on July 26. The collective will also be part of the Soul of Brooklyn celebration in August, before setting out on the road for tour of the Southeast.
The calendar stays full; the void that was recognized before a studio session was ever held has been widening and an important demographic in our culture is looking for something beyond reality TV and music that doesn’t fit with their day-to-day life. In steps The Heavy Light, an interaction of elements combined to produce a total effect that outweighs the sum of its individual parts, for the sake of good music.
Find yourself grooving a few seconds into their EP at https://soundcloud.com/theheavylight/sets/oceans-playlist.
Between rhetoric and reality is where you’ll find Al-Lateef Farmer; Black man, husband, social documentarian, and slinger of Soul by the pound. His brand of social commentary, rooted in independent thought can be found at www.worldaccording2teef.com and on Twitter @wrldacrdng2teef.