Shop Boyz: Bring the Noise

Rock Star Energy Drinks might have a new soundtrack, according to Shop Boyz member Rasheed “Sheed” Hightower. The Atlanta trio’s “Party Like a Rock Star” caught the suburbs last month, and when it joins up with a reported campaign from the Red Bull competitor, expect it to be the draw to sip your way out […]

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Star Energy Drinks might have a new soundtrack, according to Shop Boyz

member Rasheed “Sheed” Hightower. The Atlanta trio’s “Party Like a Rock

Star” caught the suburbs last month, and when it joins up with a

reported campaign from the Red Bull competitor, expect it to be the

draw to sip your way out of a slumber. As one of the biggest

singles of spring, the song, its video, and grassroots marketing

campaign allude to something that few people have admitted lately –

urban kids love Rock culture. Before you pull out your Anthrax and

Public Enemy “Bring the Noise” cut, Sheed says it’s truly more about

the lifestyle than the guitar licks that has him rocking out.

Nonetheless, the rapper, who will soon deliver Rock Star Mentality,

struggles to name the lead singer of Nirvana. Whether or not that’s

posturing in the eyes of some, is to be decided – the lead single is

hot. Other acts agree too, and have made the record their own

versions of the record, from B.O.B. to Green City. Like Axl Rose in his

prime, Sheed ego trips over the copycats and discusses how this

three-year movement in the making is no accident. and

Sheed talk Shop, and get wild like Rock stars who smash guitars. Do you think that it’s a misperception out there that urban and Black people don’t listen to Rock music?

Sheed: I wouldn’t say that. Let me get into it before we even get

started: with “Party Like a Rock Star,” we’re not trying to be Rock

stars; we’re not trying to do the whole Punk Rock thing. We just like

the way the Punk rockers live, so we expressed that in the song. We

like their way of life. That’s basically the concept of “Party Like a

Rock Star.” We’re trying to encourage the way of life that they live –

live freely, live life to the limit, hardcore. You understand what I’m

saying? I do. But you have to admit, from the logo of the group

which is very Guns N’ Roses-esque, to the way you’re dressing, to the

guitar in the single…

Sheed: Uh huh. We tryin’ to get the vibe. There’s something in the Punk

Rock, from the drum-lines and the bass, the instruments, it’s something

that we felt was needed in our sound of Hip-Hop. It’s a sound. We love

the energy in the Punk Rock music, and we’re trying to put Hip-Hop on

top of it. Do you own or listen to a lot of Rock music?

Sheed: Nah. I don’t listen to or own much Rock music, but I really like

it – a lot. What’s the boy who killed himself? The “[Smells Like] Teen

Spirit” guy? Kurt Cobain.

Sheed: Right. I’m a real fan. Who are your rap influences?

Sheed: T.I. I like Jay-Z… The usual suspects.

Sheed: Yeah. The usuals. A lot of artists are running with your song, whether

it’s Green City’s “Like a P### Star” or B.O.B.’s “Chiefin’ Like a

Rasta.” This happens periodically, like with Busta Rhymes’ “New York

S**t” last year this time. How do you feel about this?

Sheed: We understand that our song’s hot, and that kind of stuff

happens. We ain’t trippin’, you know? We knew it was comin’. People

would be crazy not to talk over our song when they know it’s gonna be

Number One. We understand. Was this something that you had built up originally with On Deck Records before Universal picked it up?

Sheed: Yeah. That’s exactly how it happened. We’ve been down with On

Deck Records, an independent label, for a three years. When “Party Like

a Rock Star” came, we knew we was gonna stay with On Deck. We could

have taken it all the way independent, and done it ourselves, or we

could get a major. Basically, that’s what happened. We’re signed to On

Deck and Universal gave us a publishing deal, and we’re glad it

happened. How old is the song then, has this been around for a year or something?

Sheed: Nah. We made the song in January. The record is getting a lot of burn on commercial radio

in several markets well outside of Atlanta. Do you think you could have

achieved that without that publishing deal with Universal?

Sheed: Um…it wouldn’t be either or. The majors, they get you on the

radio. A lot of this stuff, it takes for the artist to have to do it

themselves. Like I said, On Deck is responsible for a lot of this. Excuse my ignorance, but have the Shop Boyz released an

album before? In the South, it always gets blurry between mixtapes and

indie albums…

Sheed: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We got two mixtapes out: It’s All Hood [Volumes 1 and 2], and we get an album out called I Get Money. Have you noticed a pickup in the sales of I Get Money since the exposure of the single?

Sheed: It was a street album. We never wanted to put it in the stores,

‘cause you can’t go make somebody buy something that they know nothing

about. It was for tours. We made the album, and took ‘em to the clubs.

People were actually tryin’ to buy our music when we wasn’t even

sellin’ it. We just did it. People would go to record stores and say,

“Y’all got the Shop Boyz’ I Get Money

album?” The record stores didn’t. They’d turn to us and say, “We want

copies.” That’s how we got our buzz. People would request our songs in

the club. We just blew. We been hot! A lot of critics are very skeptical of hook-based songs.

If you turn on the radio, you’ll inevitably hear Huey’s “Pop Lock it

Drop it,” Lil’ Mama’s “Lip Gloss,” and your single. I like your single,

and I’ll say it. But how do you react to the critics?

Sheed: Umm…okay…those are just people who…I don’t want to say don’t

understand… how can I put this? People are going to say what they want

to say. It’s just their personal opinions. If they want to be critics,

they can be critics. Some people love it! Music is about how you feel

and you makin’ what you want to make. I don’t feel nothin’ about it. If

they talkin’ about it, I like that they’re talkin’ ‘bout it! If you’re

bein’ talked about, you’re doing something right. What’s your strategy for longevity?

Sheed: Man, our plan is just to stay workin’. A lot of artists, once

they get hot, they slip. They sit back, eat, and don’t move. That’s how

you get forgotten about by your fans. We’re trying to do with Jeezy

doin’, and T.I. doin’, and Jay-Z did, and Nas doin’, and a lot of other

legends in Hip-Hop did, and that’s stay consistent. That’s the key and

foundation. We don’t slack on our work ethic. We do it for the money,

but we do it ‘cause it sounds good too.