Conversations with Music Sept./Oct. 2015

Conversations with Music Sept./Oct. 2015
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Next of Kindredz: Making Music In Mississippi That Impacts the World

                                Next of Kindredz (l-r:Carlito Santino, Rulet, Big Pap and Tazz)

by Cyrus Webb

For Next of Kindredz members Big Pap, Rulet, Carlito Santino and Tazz music is not just what they do, it really is a part of who they are. Founded by Maurice Martin and brought together by destiny in Mississippi, the state would prove unable to contain the group's talent. It was obvious from the release of their debut album FAMILY TIEZ in 2004 that they were going to be a real force in the world of Hip Hop.

I became aware of the group not long after their album was released, and I knew from the first listen that they had something special together. Something that was bigger than who they were and the state that had brought them together. FAMILY TIEZ had messages of hope, pain, good times and even some tongue-in-cheek tracks that were sure to be just right for the clubs. My production company Shadow Play Entertainment (the former parent company of the Conversations Brand) was working with artists at the time, and the guys of Next of Kindredz asked me to work with them as well.

Though Hip Hop was not my specialty, it was great to not only broaden the work I was doing but showcase their talent as well. When it came time to introduce them on the radio, I was able to use Conversations LIVE (then called Conversations with C. A. Webb on WMPR 90.1 FM in Jackson, MS) to do so. It was there that they introduced  their single RAIN N' SUNSHINE. Thanks to the Jackson Advocate Newspaper in Jackson, MS I was able to get the group their first write-up and some attention on their live performances.

 They were moving forward, but there were some things internal and eventual external forces that would begin to affect their being able to be the best of themselves as a group. In 2006, after experiencing some relative success in the South, the group took a break and pursued other projects.

Big Pap went on to found D.I.G. M.E. (Dis Is Good Music Entertainment) and began nurturing his own artists. Rulet founded Mudd Life Entertainment, Santino founded M.4.D.P. (Muzic 4 Da People) Entertainment and Tazz founded Go Get'Em Entertainment, all of which included solo projects as well as Santino founding the group Jack Squad which included Rulet as well.

Though they were staying active in music, as the years went by it became clear to each member that the work of Next of Kindredz was undone. In 2012, with a new outlook on life and the music they could deliver, the group reunited, ready to take on the world in a whole new way.

"It just feels right," Carlito Santino told me during the group's first together in more than 8 years. "We have something to say that the world needs to hear, so we have to get to the work of sharing it."

The way that music is heard today has changed alot since the group was together, but Rulet says they are ready to mix the old and new ways of promotion together to reach the most people. "A lot of what people are hearing today is coming from the internet," he told me. "Being online is good, and we are going to go that route, but there is nothing like reaching people hand to hand. We are still going to be in these streets letting people know who we are and what we have to offer."

Big Pap agrees. "The streets got us to where we were before, and I know they are going to help us spread the word as to where we are today."

As for the time that has passed, Tazz seems to think that was necessary in order for them to bring the best of themselves forward in their music and their lives. "I'm a better man today than I was 8 years ago," he told me. "I'm a father now, and I better understand what it means to be a man and do the best I can not just for myself but my family." All of the guys agree that the time they have been away has helped them to grow individually, setting the stage for their coming together to re-create the magic Next of Kindredz had before.  

 Beginning with their single RAIN N SUNSHINE they are reintroducing themselves to their fans in Mississippi who have been with them and new lovers of music around the world that will appreciate songs that speak to the mind and heart as well as entertains in the process. They believe that life has given them the gift and the opportunity to make a difference in the world of Hip Hop, and they are going to take advantage of every opportunity.

Stay in contact with the guys of Next of Kindredz and what's next for them at www.facebook.com/nextofkindredz

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