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BAMA BREED: A hardworking breed of artist

Promotion is the name of the game in order to reach heights of success in the music business. There’s nothing wrong with an artist promoting himself these days – after all, urban music in its rawest form is under attack in this country, so someone has to do it.

Meet Shannon Stevens a/k/a Bama Breed. Born in Alabama in the early 80’s, Bama Breed is a hustler at heart and a musician by trade. He has music in his blood. His father was the first African-American radio DJ in his hometown, having gone by the name of “Dr. Smith”, so he’s been charged with carrying on the legacy.

In fact, Bama Breed was born the night of his father’s first show – only proving further that music is his lineage.

We have seen this young man’s grind and just had to find out what’s up with him. Check out our interview with Bama Breed:

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: Tell us about your upbringing:

BAMA BREED: Well, my dad was a very popular DJ in our area. The night was mom had me, was the night of his first show. My mom and grandma fell like that’s the reason I’m so lyrically, musically blessed (Laughs). Funny, isn’t it? When I was six, the music bug bit me. My pops had a big show too, on an Easter Sunday at a local club. It just so happens it was local talent night. Michael Jackson has just performed on the Grammy Awards Show the night before and my pops asked me what I was going to do that night. I replied, “Billie Jean.” That’s just what I did that night. I moonwalked the whole night and won first place for the next six years!

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: How much an impact did rap music have on your style?

BAMA BREED: Well, I was up one Saturday morning watching Soul Train and that particular episode featured Run DMC and The Fat Boys. Run DMC performed a song called, “Hit Me”. Pops brought the album and I took the song and placed my name and changed the rhymes around so I could make it my own. From then on, I did that with DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Whoo, Dene, Slick Rick, and the Beastie Boys! Somehow I got away from the mimicking because they all started saying the same thing. The local skating rink was having a rap contest and just knew I was ready – I signed up for the contest and everyone in town knew that I was going to enter that night. I got all dressed down like Run DMC. At that time, my stage name was Sham-RoK. When they called my name, I walked out there like it was all about me. The music started and after the first two lines, the crowd boooooed my ass right off the stage. I was so embarrassed and I had plans to just quit. My uncle and mom pushed me right back into it and I did it again. And I got booed again. In fact, I got booed every Sunday that summer. I could find the heart to quit though, so I changed my Style up, and would go to the east side projects and join their rap battles to polish my skills. I became undefeated. The OGs had started saying that I was a “rare” breed in hip hop, but in the early 90’s they closed the Rink down. I turned 20 years old and got a job in Georgia and on the second day of the job, I was in the bathroom rapping. A young producer/rapper was working there part-time heard me. He was like, “Ayyee homeboy, you gotta holla at my boys. They have a label called Southern Empire Records. He gave me the number and I went to audition. They signed me on the spot.

THE HEAT MAG: Tell us about Southern Empire Records.

BAMA BREED: Well, they’re an independent label. After they signed me, I called my younger sister “Kaprice Smith”, because she got skills too. She got signed immediately and we started calling ourselves “Second Resurrection”, and we put out our self-titled album. We were hot, but we didn’t get pushed. We got placed on the shelf, but our hometown put us on the front page of the newspaper. We become the first recording rap artists in town. Unfortunately, it all came to an end before we got paid. She went one way and I went another – it was downhill from there.


THE HEAT MAGAZINE: What ended up happening to your career?

BAMA BREED: I joined a gang and ended up going to jail. One night after I got out of jail, I was sitting in my Cutlass when a song played on the radio – “I’m just a play’ah play’ahhhhuuh” – which was of course, “Playa Playa” by Big Mike. Then I started listening to Tupac, 8Ball & MJG, Biggie Smalls, Too Short, Tha Dogg Pound, Outkast, Naughty By Nature – I said “Damn going to jail. I want to rap.” I left the gang banging alone and started putting my anger and feelings on paper. I have been doing it ever since. I’m just now beginning to get recognition for my work. I worked on a song called, “Muddy Water”, dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It just so happened I saw this guy on Facebook with a set of headphones on. I sent him a friend request because he looked like a DJ. I sent him a friend request and a message – something like, “I’m sorry to impose on you like this, but I’m trying to get my music into the right hands.” He responded saying “you cool, send me something.” I sent him “Muddy Water”. His name is Legendary DJ Erv. He took my song and within a day or so, it was in rotation on Rob G Radio. It was after that, I was introduced to Dion “Devious” Norman, Charlie Martin and Arlene, members of the NOUE. It seemed as if God sent me a gang of people. I’ve been on a natural high ever since. They treated me as if I’m a signed artist. I’ve had radio and magazine interviews and my song, “Muddy Water” is becoming known. I’ve been compared to Rick Ross, Biggie,Tupac, Scarface, and Big Mike. I idolize all of those artists.

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: What have you learned from your journey?

BAMA BREED: Well, those artists I look up to are like reporters for the hood. They tell us, “Hey, ain’t nothing wrong with being at the bottom, but at least have the strength and courage to reach for the top.” Even if you feel like you’re not going to touch anything, at least reach high enough out of that hole and maybe somebody might see your hand. Either they will pull you up, or just at it as if you were damned crazy for being in the hole in the first. Either way it go, they saw you. My mom always telling me, “YOU CAN GIVE OUT, BUT DON’T GIVE UP. IT’S OK TO GO THROUGH HELL, JUST AS LONG AS YOU DON’T MAKE A PIT STOP”. I’m just a hungry, unsigned artist that’s trying to make something happen so that I can pull up others.

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: So what’s in the future for Bama Breed?

BAMA BREED: I’ve recently started an independent label called B.B.E. (BAMA BREED ENT.) and I have the hottest rare breed of artist around. I’m currently working with a young lady from Delaware and she’s a rapper name Jai Janay (Jessica Stowes) and a young man by the name of Travis (TD Soul) Dansby. He does R&B and he’s a producer, along with three other producers named Big Redd, Johnny Blazzed and V-VOSKY! They’re all BAMA BREED ENT. We’re also working with or teaming with a hot label out of South Carolina called Track Rippa’s with a producer there by the name Ralph “Ohio Fresh” Jackson and founding owner Big Aint. All these people believe in me, so I have to do this. They’re depending on me.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Stay on the lookout for this starving artist – you are sure to see more of him soon.

Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chief
Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chiefhttp://www.mikodreamz.com
Vice-President & Asst. Editor-in-Chief of The Heat Magazine, Arlene is a Louisiana native, Certified Paralegal, Publicist, Owner of MIKODreamz PR, co-owner of 504Diffusion, writer, producer, and jack of all trades, who is heavily involved in her community as well as serving as Media Advisor for New Orleans Union for Entertainment (NOUE), Member of the NOLA Music Awards from 2012-present & Member of the Press Club of New Orleans. Her work is published across the web. Her PR work has been highly recognized & awarded. She was/is publicist for the late great BTY YoungN, 0017th and more. She is also working on her first novel & aspires to turn it into a film & is currently writing the authorized biography of the legendary Pimp C of UGK. She can be reached via email at Arlene@theheatmag.com. Follow her on Twitter - @CategorySeven & Instagram - @hurricanearlene.
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