Since forming C-SIDE six years ago, Gator and cousins Kenny Kold and Bo-Q have had a knack for not only making hits – they’ve produced for some of the biggest names in the business – but also coming up with clever songs that are body-rockers and brain ticklers. Listen carefully and you just might learn something – about yourself.
Music lovers got their first taste of C-SIDE’S undiluted -- yet palatable – brand of music when their debut single “myspace.freak” exploded on myspace.com last year. The runaway hit merges a snap-inspired beat with clever wordplay as it probes the phenomenon of myspace addiction and gives us all a solid working definition of a freak. “A freak is anyone who takes something and goes a little too far with it,” they offer. But for C-SIDE, taking a good thing and running with it has paid off, thanks to the hoards of fans who flocked to the single, which, interestingly enough, started out as a joke. Now, nearly a year later, C-SIDE has the last laugh. And the punchline? Over one million plays on myspace and some 60,000 units sold independently. In addition, the song was one of the top five most played tracks on myspace.com and it enjoyed a 30-day feature on iTunes. “People from Australia, Amsterdam and all over the world were hitting us up,” says Kenny, the group’s resident producer who has worked with the likes of T-Pain, Ludacris, Dem Franchise Boys, Lil’ Mama, and Pimp C. “We even did drops for several radio stations in France.” But it wasn’t just fans who were paying attention; so was the music industry.
In the wake of the single’s success, C-SIDE’S label, POWER Entertainment, entered into a partnership with Atlanta-based 17.20 Entertainment, which released a remix of “myspace.freak,” produced by and featuring hit-maker Jazze Pha (Ciara, Outkast, Ludacris). The overwhelming success of the single opened many doors for the group whose name is an acronym for Creative Superb Individuals Dominating Entertainment. And the domination continues with their eponymous debut CD due out on 1720 Entertainment this Fall. The follow-up single, “Boyfriend, Girlfriend,” with its nostalgic, bass-inspired beat, is already being touted as the breakout hit of the summer. “I just like that old school feel to it and the high energy that it has,” says Gator. “It’s a complete record to me.” In the song the boys talk about the challenge of maintaining a relationship as ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ in the face of life on the road.
Spiking the set are songs like the inspirational never give-up anthem “Almost There,” “Broke Hands,” and “That Package.” “’Broke Hands’ is really touching on the fact that being broke is not where you wanna be,” Gator explains. “It’s about getting’ money and keepin’ it because you don’t want to fall into that broke category again.” And on “That Package” C-SIDE delivers a little advice about unprotected sex. “This song is touching on diseases and the importance of protecting yourself,” says Gator. Rounding out the collection are “New Draws” and “$1,000 Car,” both of which remind us of the insignificance of outward appearances. Just one listen to these songs and you get it: rap music can actually be fun, entertaining and enlightening. It can be insightful, original and as fresh as new draws!
The beauty of C-SIDE’S music is that its creators are not trapped by trends or preconceived notions of how their music is supposed to sound. It not only runs the gamut philosophically but stylistically as well – a fact that Bo-Q attributes to the group’s diverse backgrounds. “Everybody’s from different places,” he notes. “Kenny’s from Atlanta, Gator’s from Chicago and I’m from South Carolina.” Adds Kenny, “Even from the production standpoint we try to make the music reflect influences from all kinds of different sounds. If we fuse a little live instrumentation it might have a blues sound to it or maybe a little rock influence on it…. As mc’s, we have different deliveries, accents and styles. Our approach on each track is different so there’s really not a way to try to bottle it up. We leave that to the listeners because the people who like snap music might hear one or two tracks and fall in love with those and categorize us that way. And for the people who like the old school hip-hop sound -- we’ve got a couple of those too.”
Even though the guys like to flip the script when it comes to their sound, they stay the course when it comes to their message. “We talk about the realities of where we live and where other people live while conveying a positive message,” says Kenny. “Our purpose has been to bring light to everyday people and their everyday struggles. More people can relate to things like being broke or striving for a better situation or driving a beat down car than a lot of what you hear on the radio.”
It’s C-SIDE’s ability to be different, resist the status quo and dare to make music that is thought-provoking but still fun, that will insure their domination of the music industry. A ride through the ‘hood just got a little more enjoyable and a whole lot more interesting.