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by Jason C Mitchell
In Southern Maryland there is a large diversity of music. If you go out to most the bars you might be lead to believe that there is primarily Country and Rock artists in the area. If you look a little beyond the surface you will find artists of every genre actively participating in the community of musicians. One of these genres is hip-hop and the featured artist this week is The Wright Brotherz.
Dezi, Walt J, and Mike J are the members that form the group The Wright Brotherz. Dezi began his journey into hip-hop young. “It started for me when I was around eleven. My parents were big hip-hop heads. I grew up listening to some of the greats like The Wu-Tang Clan, Biggie, etc. I would put my headphones in and listen to the Slim Shady EP and Ja Rule while writing and recording my own verses.”
Mike J began in the beginning of high school. “I was always really influenced by the lyrics, like a lot of East Coast music. The whole era of the 90’s, that really influenced me a lot. I started out listening to all genres of music, which I still do.”
Walt James didn’t start rapping until 2011. “We had already created our own duo (Dezi and Walt J). The two of us had started tracking and recording on a laptop, in our rooms, the closets, wherever we could. We were playing video games with Walt and messing with him. We actually got him to free-style. We asked if he wanted to start rapping with us and practice more and get better,” Dezi recalled. Walt is also an East Coast influenced background but also enjoys anime and the cultural influences from those show.
Although we have a diverse group of musicians in the area it is difficult for certain artists to find a home. In my article on Josh Riley he discussed that Blues was not a genre you would likely see in the bars of Southern Maryland. It applies even more so to the hip-hop scene.
“Locally, and Mike and Walt and confirm this, it’s hard to get people to care. It’s mostly Country and Rock and we don’t fit that. I don’t know if it’s that they don’t care, or if it’s just a very difficult place for hip-hop”
Mike Jay added, “Sometimes I feel like it also has to do with people knowing you. They have this idea of who they think you should be or that you are. When we go out of state it’s easier to get people interested in what we are doing and supporting our music. It can feel like the people you grew up with don’t want you to succeed.
Individually, Dezi finds his own set of challenges being a white rapper. “I get compared to only a handful of artists, mainly Eminem. When we perform places I’ll get looks. Once we start performing those looks change and turn to smiles though as they begin to warm up to us and what we are doing on stage.”
The group has a full length album titled Alternate Reality. They also have two singles, Barz and Studio Raised Me, from their up coming album currently released on most platforms. Though they write and record their tracks as a collective group, they do have their own unique voices and styles as individuals. “We have our own different methods of writing. Walt and Mike have numerous lyrics written in books that they can make work. They can put it to a beat purchased from the producers. I need to write it to the beat, that’s just how I do things.” For their next album Dezi stated that they were excited to be featuring as many artists as possible to add diversity to the tracks.
Besides the up coming album, what’s next for the group? They’ve got some big plans. “So we are in Pittsburgh this weekend discussing the possibility of a nation wide tour starting January 2020. I don’t want disclose too many details as in this industry even solid plans can change in an instant. We would start on the East Coast in cities like Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and like the state of Vermont. We’d get to come home for a few weeks in between legs of the tour. Then the mid-west and eventually get to the West Coast.” Although they said the tour was in it’s baby stages they said it seemed like a strong possibility. The tour would span about six months in length giving the group a good bit of exposure across the country.