This down south rap collective is on the fast track to becoming the next in a long line of Atlanta artists to make their mark on the ever-evolving hip-hop industry. Pimp Squad Clique, as they are formally known, comprises an ensemble cast of some of the truest rap talents to sprout from the red clay of Georgia: Big Kuntry, Mac Boney, C-Rod, AK, and none other than the King of the South himself, T.I.
The ever-energetic Mac Boney describes the group best: 'We're a reality rap group. We've got some real soulful music. We're on some real reality shit.' And reality, he says, is something everyone can relate to – whether they want to or not. 'From the average teenager to the older person, we're gonna have a song for just about everybody. We've got a little feel-good music, too, but we're gonna come out hard because we gotta make our mark.'
Adds AK, 'Our music is universal. It's definitely a new era. It's hard, it's banging, and it's fly. I think it's street smart, too. It'll teach the youth about the streets and give them a broad state of mind. We're like 2 Live Crew meets NWA and UGK.'
The P$C roots run deep – all the way back to the schoolyards and street corners of their native Atlanta. 'We all went to school together,' notes Big Kuntry. 'We used to hang out in a place called the trap. We were always making music.' The group landed more than a few slots in talent shows, but it wasn't until they added a then-unknown rapper named T.I.P. that they started to win over audiences.
P$C's debut Grand Hustle/Atlantic CD, 25 TO LIFE, is a musical and lyrical missile, and no one is safe from its truth-searing lyrics – not even other rappers. On 'Murder Game,' the group admonishes emcees who talk tough in their music. 'This song is about what these guys talk about on their records,' says Big Kuntry. 'How they talk about what they'll do to a person. We're saying, 'Show me what you can do. Show me where your murder game is at.''
The boys soften up a bit on the melodic 'Walk to Me,' an introspective song about 'a king without a queen,' says Big Kuntry. The poetic lyrics are skillfully delivered by T.I. and Mac Boney and complemented by Cee-Lo's distinctive singing style on the hook.
The visual and irresistible 'Comin' Down,' with its slowed-down southern groove, is definitely one for the ride. Says Mac Boney, 'It's like a collage of different instruments, and it makes you feel good.'
The entire P$C crew checks in on the semi-comical 'Still I Love Her,' which describes a rowdy chick who can drink any man under the table but, nonetheless, has that special something that keeps the guys coming back for more. 'Most regular guys don't like women who hang out late, smoke weed, and drink liquor, but that's the type of women I like,' says AK. 'So I wanted to give them something to let them know that.' One of the CD's most poignant songs is 'It's Up To You.' 'In this song, we're telling people if you want to change the world, it's up to you,' says Big Kuntry. 'I live in the same world you live in.'
The set is rounded out by 'Touch Something,' which features a hearty thriving beat; the Lil Jon-produced 'You Need A Thug,' featuring Ciara; and 'Set It Out' – the album's first single – which Big Kuntry says serves up a little advice to brothers who 'try to cuff a girl that everybody knows is a 'ho.' 'We gotta train the young fellas out there not to fall in love with a girl like that,' says Mac Boney matter-of-factly. Big Kuntry adds, 'A lotta guys are going to jail over these same girls we're talking about.'
Even though the P$C name may be new in some hip-hop circles, the group is a longtime favorite in various segments of the south. 'Since 2001, we've performed all over the south. We've performed in junkyards, holes in the wall, and even outside in the cold. We don't care if it's 50 people out there. They paid their money and we have fun doing it.' And, they say, the fans enjoy what they do. 'We still have our original fanbase,' says Big Kuntry. 'A lotta people love our old stuff so much that they wanna hold onto it. We're like a rock band, like AC/DC. We didn't get fans by putting out hit songs. We got fans by putting out mixtapes and going directly to the people.'
Over the years, the people have gravitated to P$C not just because of the music but because of the personalities within the unit as well. Says C-Rod, 'We all grew up together. We all knew how to come with it. Everybody knows what they bring to the table.' To be specific, AK brings 'the reality of it all'; ' Mac Boney brings 'a lotta character and high energy'; C-Rod brings the 'gangsta sh*t and a little humor'; Big Kuntry brings 'the soul'; and, of course, T.I. brings his irrepressible swagger and signature style and flow.
The Pimp Squad Clique plans to continue to build on its musical and street legacy and continue to tell the stories of their lives and the lives of other real people in the real world. Says Big Kuntry, 'A lotta people make rap just for the hype, but we all wanna be here for a minute.'