I don’t know how many folks have actually been paying attention — yet, anyway — to the Georgia Lottery All Access Music Search, but the contest has been going on for months now.
The Savannah hip hop band KidSyc@Brandywine is among the twelve finalists, with the winner in each of four genres to be decided in a live television broadcast on Friday, January 14th. Here’s the band’s profile on ReverbNation. [UPDATE: KidSyc@Brandywine won their category in the televised finale and will be traveling soon to Hollywood for a recording session.] The contest has some corny elements, but it’s hard to argue with such broad exposure. Here’s KidSyc@Brandywine and the other finalists performing “Georgia on My Mind” at halftime of a recent Falcons game. The hip hop performers begin at the 2:50 mark:
One of the ironies is that KidSyc@Brandywine is the only hip hop finalist that features an actual band — in fact, Brandywine is one of the only hip hop bands (you know, with people who play actual instruments) in the region. The winners on Friday night will go to Hollywood to record at the Capitol Record Tower; Capitol Records, by the way, was founded by Savannah’s own Johnny Mercer in 1942.
KidSyc is the personable Lloyd Harold, whom I met many years ago when he was attending SCAD. Lloyd went on to teach art in a local public elementary school. The four excellent musicians in Brandywine do instrumental work on their own and can potentially back other performers. And they are busy with other projects too — I routinely see bassist Charles Hodge perform with Damon & The Shitkickers, a fabulous classic country cover band that I listen to all the time (and which I’ll post something about soon).
I don’t pretend to be an expert on hip hop, but I like it more than most of the people my age — especially if it’s obvious that skill and care have gone into the creation of the music and lyrics. KidSyc@Brandywine passes that test easily. Many people I know stereotype hip hop and rap as being all about violence and sex, but shows by groups like KidSyc@Brandywine are upbeat, positive, forward-looking. And good hip hop acts attract incredibly diverse audiences. Those audiences would be even more diverse if some folks would get over their prejudices against the genre.
Here’s another video posted by the Georgia Lottery. YouTube videos of live bands are sometimes tough to appreciate. I think this one holds up decently, but it pales in comparison with the energy of KidSyc@Brandywine’s live shows, like the one I saw last weekend at Live Wire Music Hall.