I stopped by the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis on a rainy, late November weeknight to check out local hip hop group S.O.S. (Speed Of Sound) as they headlined Uncovered MPLS #25 Showcase.
Despite the soggy weather, the house held an enthusiastic crowd and S.O.S. didn’t waste any time getting the audience to throw down. BDaMan, B.Allen and DJ MonoPoleJoe got the crowd moving and singing along throughout their entire set. Their music is innovative; you can hear they’re pushing forward to create their original sound, but they aren’t shy about mixing in some old school flair.
I was able to talk with BDaMan after the show to get a little more insight on the history and future of the group, here’s how that went:
Treble – How long have the 3 of you been working together?
BDaMan – Brice and I started rapping with each other as early as 2004. Him and I came up with rapping together around that time. It wasn’t until 2013 that we truly came together as a duo. Mono and I have been working together since 2011. Him and I were in a group called New Life together. Brice, Mono and I started to collaborate together more as a unit in 2014.
Treble – Is there a current S.O.S. album to promote, or plans to release one in the future?
BDaMan -There’s plans to release a project in the future. Right now, we’ve both got some solo projects and songs we’re working on that kind of puts our duo project on hold, but we do plan to release a project in the future. It’s been well overdue.
Treble – Upcoming shows to promote?
BDaMan – We don’t have any upcoming shows at the moment, but we’re always looking for shows to be part of.
Treble – Can you tell me about the “Uncovered MPLS #25” showcase?
BDaMan – The Uncovered Series is organized and booked by local artist/promoter, Breakneck. I believe this was our 5th show with Breakneck. 2nd within the Uncovered Series. The night started off with Evilscience doing a live instrumental set, followed by performances from local Hip-Hop artists: Phillip St. John, Moxie & J, Allen Bars, along with my brother and I (S.O.S.).
Treble – What are your thoughts on the current state of the Minneapolis – St. Paul Rap / Hip Hop scene?
BDaMan – I love getting this question. I’m glad to see the local Hip-Hop scene get the recognition that it deserves. With 95.3 being around and prominent Open Mics, such as the monthly one at Fifth Element, this is a great time to be a thriving Hip-Hop artist in the city. It makes everyone work harder as we see who gets recognition. However, it does bother me to see other artists have elitist mindsets at times. Whether that be unwillingness to collaborate with others outside of their inner circle, helping other local artists or anything in between – there is an obnoxious level of “Minnesota Nice” elitism that needs to decrease. The same scene that is thriving is also suffocating at times because of a lack of unity. Myself, along with B.Allen and MonoPoleJoe strive to be artists that push towards the opposite of elitism within the scene and more towards unity and musical diversity. Without sincere and legit support in the scene, that is perhaps the greatest downfall of our local scene compared to other cities.
Treble – If you could tour with anyone, who would that be?
BDaMan – If I could go on tour with anyone, it’d be my big brother, B.Allen! We started our music journey together and have always envisioned what a tour together would look like. From all of the potential shenanigans we’d get into, the places traveled and the people we’d see – it’d be another experience in the S.O.S. book that would be great to look back on.
Treble – What are the biggest influences in the S.O.S. sound?
BDaMan – The biggest influences in our sound would have to be the “Watch The Throne” album by Jay-Z and Kanye West. Throughout the years, our influences in sound have ranged from The Diplomats, Outkast and A Tribe Called Quest to current artists such as, Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole Chance The Rapper and Childish Gambino.
Treble – I thought MC. Chris would make the list!?
BDaMan – Hahaha no, not on this list.
Treble – Ah, but if he called you up to play a show?
BDaMan – Well, I rarely turn down a show!
Treble – You’ve had a busy year that’s for sure, will next year bring a new BDaMan album? A new B.Allen album? More solo shows for both of you?
BDaMan – I’ve got a few things lined up on my end. One concept will coincide with a project I hope to release on my 25th birthday (June 11th). B.Allen is hoping to have a couple projects out next year, but nothing is set in stone at the moment. As we put more music out, we’re hoping to book more shows. Whether it’s an S.O.S. set or a solo set, we’re aiming to increase our show load along with our music and music video releases.
Treble – Is there anything in particular that influences what you and B.Allen write about when you work on S.O.S songs? Pop Culture? Politics?
BDaMan – Outside of musical influences, I’d say that it’s a combination of Pop Culture, issues within the city, state and country, along with interactions and characteristics of people we’ve come across. The consistent influence in our solo and duo songs happens to be our life experiences. Knowing each other for 15 1/2 years now, we’ve had similarities and differences in experiences and viewpoints, making each song unique.
Treble – How did you get the stage name “BDaMan”?
BDaMan – I always love telling this story. Around 2005, I was trying to think of a new stage name. During that time, I went by BRealHustler. Once I was aware that there was already a B-Real in Hip-Hop, I had to think of a new name. On a night that WWE Raw was on, I heard Ric Flair’s phrase, “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man!” I took the “Be the man” portion and stylized it as “BDaMan”. I believed in the phrase so much, I felt the name was a way to keep that phrase intact.
Treble – Excellent! Are you a fan of wrestling?
BDaMan – Oh, absolutely! I’ve been a fan since 1998.
Treble – Who’s your favorite of all time?
BDaMan – Undertaker, hands down.
Treble – He’s good for sure. Doesn’t the Paul Bearer annoy you though?
BDaMan – I never fully understood Paul Bearer’s character until Undertaker brought back the Deadman gimmick at WrestleMania 20. Once I was old enough to understand how wrestling worked with gimmicks and the characters and such, I had a greater appreciation of Paul Bearer.
Treble – Tell me about Culchr Entertainment?
BDaMan – Culchr ENT. is a multi-talented group of Hip-Hop artists, Graphic Designers, Audio Producers and more. Culchr was started by B.Allen and Alex Zalesky in 2013. Originally intended as a Clothing Brand, they decided to incorporate music and more in the mix. In the short 3 year history of the group, we’ve had some significant changes, but still maintain a DIY-mentality to getting our art out.
Treble – Is there any advice you’d like to give to any aspiring rap / hip-hop artists?
BDaMan – Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons. Whether it be the delivery of rhymes, flow of rhymes or instrumental choice – don’t be afraid to take that risk. Even when you think you have a style that works, don’t be afraid to push the envelope a bit. Collaborate and network with others as much as you can. It may open up doors to endless possibilities.
Treble – And when it comes to dodging a steel folding chair? Duck, Jump, or just take it straight to the face, you know… for the fans?
BDaMan – Haha – well, with the awareness of concussions compared to the Attitude Era, I’d say duck and prepare to experience a Steel Chair to the back.
Check out the music:
S.O.S (Speed Of Sound):
“It’s A TRAP!” by BDaMan:
S.O.S. @ THE TRIPLE ROCK – Lava Submarine Studio