You may have heard their hit single, Nah Boy, on the radio, or seen the high energy video circulating online. For Mark Hardy and Yung Rudd, this is just the beginning.
Isaac “Yung Rudd” Rudder and Marcus “Mark Hardy” Braveboy—part of Xplicit Entertainment, a collaborative group of music producers, songwriters and performers—met in studio in 2011 and have been working together ever since.
“Marcus’s energy, you see Marcus right now, he’s happy and inviting, so it was really easy to work with because I’m like that too, I like comfort,” Rudder said during the interview on May 20. He added, “From then on we just realised we have a really good creative energy.”
The respect they have for each other is obvious, and it’s easy to see where the energy in the viral videos for their singles Pumpin’ and Nah Boy come from. While the artists have very different styles—Braveboy’s is more of a chant, heavily influenced by dancehall; Rudder’s follows traditional rap techniques—the two have found a way to balance and complement each other.
“When Braveboy might be writing one verse I might give him some rap advice and when I might be doing something he might tell me, ‘nah you should flow it like this. It sounds better,'" said Rudder. "So it's perfect. I think our styles help us grow and learn new things.”
He added, “I think the fact that I was also a metal fan made me like really intricate lyrics. So when it comes to the songwriting part I like to go a long way with it and also I like smooth, chill melodies.”
Both Braveboy and Rudder come from musical families, but they got their start in rap at different stages. Braveboy, now 29, got into the genre at 15 when he met Ken Holder, the then producer for the now defunct soca group 3Suns. His father, television personality Hilton Braveboy has always supported his musical endeavours.
Rudder on the other hand admits that as a child he didn’t even like rap. In his teens he used songwriting as a way to process feelings and didn’t even consider rapping until his early 20s.
Even though he’s a son of calypso legend David Rudder, he has still managed to carve a space for himself on his own.
Rudder, 25, prefers to play down his heritage, but Braveboy thinks it’s worth sharing.
“I mention it because it's a story people like to hear,” he said. “You know like how Damien Marley is the son of Bob Marley? I think people like legacies passing on.”
Braveboy and Rudder’s next project is a studio album entitled Trinidad and Tobago Trap music or TTT.
The album will include their two radio singles Pumpin’ and Nah Boy and a genre they describe as trapso—Atlanta trap music with local kaiso and soca flavours.
From the title go down, Braveboy and Rudder have filled their collaborative album with local pop culture references.
“I think people in the generation that coming up they don't know about TTT, Mastana Bahar, things like that. So we kind of using those Tan Tan and Sagaboy, stuff like that we grew up on we trying to educate young people on it but in a cool way,” said Braveboy.
For them the album is a way to remain connected.
“We want everybody in Trinidad to feel included into this new wave of making Trinidad cool,” Rudder said. “We want them to feel included in it. It's not just for the younger generation; it's for the older heads as well.”
This theme of inclusivity runs through the range of artists Braveboy and Rudder plan on working with for the upcoming album. Braveboy has already collaborated with the rock band 5 Miles to Midnight. Big names like Kevon Carter of Imij and Company and Nebula868, as well as upcoming artists like Inzey and 3Kings will join the duo on TTT.
“It’s just friends,” Braveboy said. “Especially from the younger generation of artistes, we want to bring everybody together. Show unity. I support you, you support me. We do projects together, you in my video, I’m in your video.”
The duo is being received well. Their individual Facebook fanpages have healthy audiences and the videos have several thousand views each. The songs are getting airtime on the all major urban radio stations and they have performance gigs lined up for June, July and August.
“Before we would still have to reach out to people and say, ‘ay you know we sing and we do this’, but now people are reaching out to us,” said Braveboy. “It's a nice feeling to know that you making progress and being rewarded for your hard work.”
The album, Trinidad and Tobago Trap Music is expected to drop some time around September 2014, and fans can expect a new single in early June.
You can find out more about them at bit.ly/yungrudd or by visiting their Facebook pages at facebook.com/markhardymusic and facebook.com/xplicitentertainment.