hey’ve performed with Lil Wayne, collaborated with Cee Lo Green and toured extensively with labelmate Tech N9ne. No matter whom they work with or who hears their music, ¡Mayday! quickly impresses whoever hears its diverse music and sees its riveting live show. So when it came time for Wrekonize (rapper), Bernz (rapper) and company to name its second Strange Music album, the group felt Believers best represented its progression for two reasons.
“When it comes to our sound, we have a lot of different things in it so a lot of times it’s hard to define, but the one common thread is that as soon as people hear it, they become Believers and it’s something that resonates with them,” Bernz says. “On a more esoteric level, we chose the title because we believe and the people we roll with believe that you ask the universe for things and you get them in return. You have to believe in what you want and believe it to achieve it.”
To this end, the Miami-based crew jumpstarts Believers with the energetic tag-team raps of Bernz and Wrekonize on the driving title track before delivering a rousing reggae-tinged declaration of their potency on “Shots Fired.” “We try to start our albums with a bang,” Bernz says. “It’s our time to become the group that everybody wants us to be. ‘Shots Fired’ is us claiming our spot. We feel like we put out great music and that our sound could appeal to a lot of people.”
Another writing wrinkle came from Tech N9ne. “One thing I learned from hanging out with Tech is that he definitely thinks about his show a lot when he’s making his albums and that is something we wanted to do with this album,” Bernz says. “A song like ‘Tear Shit Down’ is definitely something we wanted to play live and have fun to. We made this album coming off a 106-show tour, so our minds were literally still in the shows.”
Before joining Strange Music, ¡Mayday! became a draw in Southern Florida and the Southeast because of its energetic shows and anthemic music, earning such A-list fans as Lil Wayne, who featured the group in his “Get A Life” and “Da Da Da” videos, and Cee Lo Green, with whom they collaborated on the Internet hit “Groundhog Day.” Upon joining Strange Music, the sextet released its debut album, Take Me To Your Leader, in March 2012. The group’s stellar instrumentation and its captivating blend of singing and rapping on such selections as the ominous “Badlands” with Tech N9ne, the stirring “Tango In Tunisia,” the edgy “Death March” and the eerie “Don’t Make Me Live” introduced ¡Mayday! on a national stage as a versatile, noteworthy group with thematic diversity and impressive musicianship.
Touring, recording and working with independent music powerhouses Tech N9ne and Strange Music also gave ¡Mayday! the keys to success. “Hard work, perseverance, consistency and quality — that’s what I’ve learned the most from Tech,” Bernz says. “Strange has given us the blueprint for success. If you put all those things together and you can survive the other pitfalls of life, you’re probably going to come out the other end OK.”
¡Mayday! also released its Thrift Store Halos EP in August 2012 and Wrekonize released his The War Within LP in June 2013, all while touring virtually non-stop and collaborating with a bevy of artists. With Believers, ¡Mayday! plans to graduate to the next stage of its career. “This is the album where it’s time for us to move on from being that underground thing and into becoming something bigger,” Bernz says. “We’re going for the brass ring. I definitely think ¡Mayday! makes the kind of music that can be played everywhere. That’s our goal, to move past the underground status and go on to the next level, whatever that may be for us.”
One thing’s for sure. ¡Mayday!’s next level will include legions of new Believers.
About Little Stranger
Born and raised in Philly and crash-landed in Charleston, John and Kevin Shields are the minds behind the quirky indie hip-hop group Little Stranger. Performing as a duo, Little Stranger is a fresh hybrid of John’s singer-songwriter magnetism and Kevin’s hard hitting, in-your-face delivery. Stylistically reminiscent of Gorillaz and Twenty One Pilots, Little Stranger inhabits a relatively unexplored niche at this point in time. They’re all about originality, every song is a separate work unto itself with all the strangeness that their name implies.
Though the band is relatively new, John and Kevin Shields bring years of experience to the table. With previous bands, they’ve played with names like Slightly Stoopid, Del the Funky Homosapien, Grace Potter, Papadosio, The Heavy Pets, and John Brown’s Body. Little Stranger was quickly recognized at home, named “Hip-Hop Act of the Year” in the 2016 Charleston City Paper Music Awards and listed jointly as one of “17 People to Watch in 2017” in the Charleston Indie blog, Out of the Wood- work. They’ve toured up and down the East Coast and recently released a string of eclectic music videos to their fans. With an ever-increasing arsenal of new tunes, Little Stranger is poised and making 2018 a big year.