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Local hip-hop group ready for big time



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June 18, 2014 - Summer's heating up for Clarkston's Matt Floyd Music.

The hip-hop, rap group – Floyd, Kyle O'Grady, Press Kampe, and Michael Wayne – is getting ready to release an EP, with 5-6 original, summer-themed hip-hop rap songs.

"What's cool about it is we're sitting in the studio making our own music," said O'Grady, 18. "We learned how to use music software. We record Matt and put it all together. It's a way to stand out, doing it by ourselves."

They're also set to open for rapper Machine Gun Kelly at The Fillmore Detroit on July 12.

"That's someone we've listened to for a long time," O'Grady said.

They also hope to open for hip art artist Mike Stud at the Crofoot in Pontiac on July 13.

"We book as many shows as we can. We keep pushing on in music," said Floyd, 19.

"We want to tour, that's a long term goal," said Kampe, 18.

"We're emailing a lot of artists, to hop on a leg of a tour and gain exposure," O'Grady said. "We're keeping our eyes open. We want to tour as much as we can."

"We're building a fan base, growing it from kids in high school," Kampe said.

On June 26, they're planning to host a private party at the Pike Room, with music, lights, fog, the works.

"We kind of took it in our own hands to promote ourselves by hosting a party," said O'Grady. "We rented a small room for Matt to do a small set."

Floyd and O'Grady met in fourth grade at Independence Elementary, and found they shared musical tastes.

"We've always liked rap. We decided take in our own hands and do it," Floyd said.

They made a studio out of a closet in the basement of his Independence Township home. The boys researched different types of equipment and styles of rap and hip hop music.

"We were kind of getting into it, listening to our favorite artists, trying it out," O'Grady said. "When we were 9 or 10, we set up a legitimate studio with microphones."

Floyd looked to hip hop artists like Wiz Khalifa, while O'Grady turned to Mac Miller and others.

"Young people we kind of looked up to," O'Grady said. "When we saw what they were doing, we figured we could do the same."

Kampe met Floyd and O'Grady at Clarkston High School and joined the group a couple years ago.

"I've been playing drums for 10 years in metal bands," Kampe said. "When you mix drums with a rapper and DJ, it's kind of cool. It's a live music aspect over electronic beats, a fusion of sound."

"We called one night and said bring a couple drums. We've had him with us ever since," O'Grady said.

"I'm happy enough to be with these guys," Kampe said.

"It's a new sound, it makes us stand out," Floyd said.

"We're more like friends who play music. We all get along well," O'Grady said.

The group had their first break last summer.

"Matt and I were working at a landscaping job, and during our lunch break I opened an email," O'Grady said.

The email was an offer to have them open for rapper Huey Mack at the Pike Room in Pontiac.

"He was someone I've listened to previously – it was out of the blue. I actually called the place to make sure," O'Grady said. "The show went great. We sold 50 tickets in two days with the support of the town."

Michael Wayne officially became part of team as manager a few weeks ago, but knew the guys for over a year.

"They're doing pretty well, with two openers for big name artists, their own privately labeled event, it's definitely heating up," said Wayne, 18.

They're also all in college now – Floyd at Oakland Community College; O'Grady, Albion College; Kampe, Berkley College of Music; and Wayne, Indiana University in Bloomington. In 10 years, they want to be signed with music on the charts, living in California, and performing around the country with their own tour bus, and around the world.

For more information and music samples (parental advisory for lyrics), check soundcloud.com/mattfloydmusic or email mattfloydmgmt@gmail.com.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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