Just a few miles East of Atlanta is the parlayed countryside known as Decatur, with its multitude of trees, dilapidated houses and southern players. It's the home of famed comedian and actor Chris Tucker, Jazzy T's and Club Mirage, as well as the birthplace of the rap duo known as Da BackWudz.
Da BackWudz debut album Wood Work, is a Hip-Hop masterpiece- a down-home compilation of classic crunk, throwback funk and juke-joint soul. It is their history, both raw and worldly, introducing the mainstream to the genuine and grimy realities of the sometimes inhospitable southern underworld. Signed to superstar music producer Dallas Austin's Rowdy Records in conjunction with Major Way Entertainment, Da BackWudz are poised to re-launch the label that helped thrust Monica into multi-platinum status, as well as to continue the southern-fried music-with-a-message tradition set forth by influential innovators OutKast. As a matter of fact, Austin, who served as the Executive Producer and Music Producer of 2002's, 20th Century Fox Film "Drumline" and as the Music Producer of the successful Tyler Perry/Lions Gate movie "Diary of a Mad Black Woman", revived his record label just to work with the skilled lyricists. "This is the best rap group to hit the Atlanta Hip-Hop market since I've been here," said Austin.
Georgia's suburb of Decatur, where it is said to be "greater", served as the musical breeding ground for blood related cousins Sho-Nuff and Big Marc. "Our fathers are brothers, so we've been down since the womb," explains Big Marc. "We're family and we have our differences but at the same time, we never part ways mad at each other," says Sho-Nuff. "If there's a disagreement, it's going to be settled right then. And I'm happy about working with somebody that I can trust and communicate with."
While Da BackWudz are known for their introspective and inventive rhymes, the talented duo began their musical career like most R&B artists- singing in the church. "We're both singers," says Sho-Nuff. "We're some choir boys who were raised on different genres of music but Gospel is a major influence. Our fathers were in the choir and are two of the best male singers I know." From 70's Soul and classic Rhythm & Blues to P-Funk, Rap and rebellious Crunk, Wood Work offers a glimpse into the world of definitive Hip-Hop.
Da BackWudz ambitious disc is as diverse as their rich and eclectic brew of musical inspirations. From yesteryear legends such as the O'Jay's, the Barkay's, Sam Cooke, the Temptations, Otis Redding, Johnnie Taylor, Earth, Wind & Fire, Donny Hathaway, Aretha Franklin and Sly & the Family Stone, to Run DMC, LL Cool J, Tupac, Biggie, OutKast and Goodie Mob, their music is a manifestation of revolutionary power.
"I appreciate real, good music, which is why I respect the whole Dungeon Family and Organized Noize camp," comments Big Marc. "They talked about everyday stuff that happens and that people could relate to; subject matter that spoke to the spirit. The words, the beats, really helped me out of the negative mind frame I was in when I was younger and that's what we're trying to do."
Though destined to come together, Da BackWudz began their musical mission separately. With Sho-Nuff attending Lakeside High School and Big Marc at Redan, they became members of separate Hip-Hop groups. Sho-Nuff, who is known to study poetry, particularly the works of famed poet, EE Cummings, began crafting flows by laying his thoughts to paper and then battling other MCs in the school cafeteria, meanwhile Big Marc, who plays the saxophone, was in the midst of perfecting his production skills. "I've been doing beats since the tenth grade," Big Marc points out. "But my cousin didn't know I could spit, too. So when his group situation didn't work out and mine fell apart, we connected on the music tip, which was a blessing."
Magic was born when Sho-Nuff and Big Marc merged their talents forming their own group and naming it Da BackWudz, which is an ode to the woody landscape of their home town. For their first single, "You Gonna Luv Me," platinum producer Milwaukee Black (TLC, 8-Ball & MJG, Pastor Troy) crafted an effortless melody that combines an old-school sampling of Jennifer Holiday's lush soul groove, "And I Am Telling You," with tricked-out brash bass and jazzy orchestrations. The record's irresistible and catchy hook instantly became etched into the memory of anyone who heard it, which is why radio stations across the country immediately began bumping the track, quickly scoring the group their first hit single.
While the head-bobbing tracks are laced with plenty of personality and are the heart of their success, it's their lyrics that provide the soul. Creating a soundtrack of their lives, Da BackWudz shine on choice cuts like "Same Song" and "Feeling Lonely," which is a conversation-inspired narrative. "We're telling three different stories about how crazy this world is and how people need to come down off these high horses and chill and look at the bigger picture," describes Big Marc. "We talk about some of the stuff that's going on that makes you be like, 'man, the devil is busy.' It makes you sit back and think about what we 're saying."
You can feel the electric energy of this duo when you listen to their music, but when they're performing live on stage with a microphone, Da BackWudz know how to move the crowd. TJ the DJ of TJ's DJ Record Pool declares, "Da BackWudz are the next level of superstars. Not only do they musically have the industry on lock, but they have a banging live show, too." Since the break of their single, Da BackWudz have become one of the most sought-after rap groups in the business. They have been featured in a myriad of industry publications, including Billboard, have appeared on UPN's Atlanta Tonight and have toured all over the country, including opening shows for artists such as 8-Ball, Rasheeda and The INC's young R&B heartthrob, Lloyd.
On Wood Work, Da BackWudz erase the lines between musical genres, allowing them the ability to encompass all sounds and vibes without getting stuck in a one-dimensional groove. "Wood Work is about versatility, lyrics and beats- the whole thing. A lot of people think dudes can't rap down in Atlanta, that everybody's in love with crunk music, but the thing that sets us apart is that we can do it all. Down bottom, up top, Left Coast, Midwest, whatever; we talk about a lot of issues that set us apart from lots of people. And when it boils down, it's always about creativity and we got a lot of creativity," Sho-Nuff insists. West Coast rapper, Daz Dillinger of DPG sums up Da BackWudz sound with one word, "gangsta."