The best songs, records, and bands transport you back to the first moment you heard them each and every time they play.
Whether you caught a house party gig after Better Than Ezra formed in 1988 at Louisiana State University, heard “Good” on the radio once it hit #1 during 1995, became a fan following Taylor Swift’s famous cover of “Breathless” in 2010, or saw them headlining sheds in 2018, you most likely never forgot that initial introduction to the New Orleans quartet founded by Kevin Griffin [lead vocals, guitar, piano] and Tom Drummond [bass, backing vocals].
Those hummable melodies, unshakable guitar riffs, and confessional lyrics quietly cemented the group as an enduring force in rock music. How many acts can boast being the inspiration of a classic Saturday Night Live skit?
Speaking of incredible accomplishments, they occupy rarified air with spots on Billboard’s “100 Greatest Alternative Songs of All Time” and “100 Greatest Alternative Artists of All Time” as of 2018. Additionally, 2018 also marked 25 years since the arrival of the breakthrough album Deluxe. Maintaining a steady pace forward, the new single “GRATEFUL” garnered acclaim from Billboard who praised its “highly commercial, anthemic sheen that certainly pairs nicely with the approach of Deluxe.”
The story of Better Than Ezra began before the nineties explosion they remain so often associated with ever even happened. Griffin and Drummond comprised the core of the band at its onset as they hit the road and won over one fan at a time beginning in 1989. This fan base would go on to be known as “Ezralites” by the time the first pressing of Deluxe landed independently in 1993. As the audience dramatically grew, Elektra signed the boys in 1995 and officially released Deluxe. A fixture on radio and MTV, “Good” captured #1 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks Chart and went multi-platinum. 1996’s Friction, Baby yielded definitive anthems such as “Desperately Wanting” and “King Of New Orleans.” A string of fan favorite albums followed, including How Does Your Garden Grow?  and Closer .
2005’s Before The Robots represented another creative high. Its lead single “A Lifetime” peaked in the Top 15 of the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart as “Juicy” went on to famously soundtrack a Desperate Housewives campaign. Paper Empire followed in 2009 and then the band released their latest album in 2014, All Together Now. Produced by Tony Hoffer [M83, Beck,] it spawned the hit “Crazy Lucky,” which notched 10 million-plus streams.
Celebrating 25 years of Deluxe in 2018, the guys reissued the record on double vinyl. Detailing the release, Forbes summed up the group’s influence beyond the nineties scene it helped define.
The outlet wrote, “So many of that decade's most influential, like supernovas, burned up fast... New Orleans alternative rock trio Better Than Ezra defied those odds.”
In the end, you’ll never forget the songs on Deluxe or any other release from their discography—and that’s better than anything.
True Hip-hop trailblazers since 1991, Arrested Development has been cultural champions of consciousness and empowerment across the planet. Their representation of eclectic and vibrant African sounds and clothing has produced a unique clash of rhythms and style that continue to contrast the expected look and sound of Hip-hop culture.
Arrested Development have been supporters of important groups and movements like the National Coalition of The Homeless, and the African National Congress (ANC).
With numerous album releases, and world tours, Arrested Development has been ground-breaking in Hip-hop culture. Their album, “3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of…”, earned them two Grammy awards for Best New Artist and Best Rap Single (Tennessee), 2 MTV awards, a Soul Train Music Award, and the NCAAP Image Award. Rolling Stone magazine named them Band of The Year in 1992, while VH-1 named them one of the greatest Hip-hop artists of all time! The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame even named the AD smash “Tennessee” one of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. Sharing the stage with such important figures such as Nelson Mandela, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Hilary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, AD are the categorical definition of legends.
The band continues their forward march of curating great music that is about self reflection and igniting change. Their new album, ‘For the FKN Love’ is no exception. The 17-track album features a selection of legendary musicians including, Big Daddy Kane, The Sugar Hill Gang, Masta Ace & Monie Love and is executively produced by Speech for Vagabond Productions and Configa. ‘For the FKN Love’ brings incomparable positive lyricism, storytelling, and cognizant awareness delivered in a fashion only Arrested Development can carry through!
Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Nappyness: In a climate projected as one of
divisiveness, Nappy Roots has joined the rest of the nation in trying to understand and
work through these struggles. No stranger to challenges, this four-man collective from
Kentucky tackled their obstacles and, in the process, their self-honest work emerged in
form of 7 studio albums and 14 mix-tapes. As usual, Nappy Roots examine our
alienable rights, reason, and truth through lyrical originality and voyage. Since Nappy
Roots entered the music scene in 1998, they have remained real, humble, talented guys
with inherent, undeniable southern swagger.
After the international success of Watermelon, Chicken, & Grits, selling over 3 million
albums, the members of Nappy Roots were flying high while still acutely aware of how
far it could be to the bottom should they fall. It is that practical and genuine presence of
mind that helped them sustain touring as a group these last ten years. Building a vastly
loyal fan-base nationwide, fans and friends can be used interchangeably when referring
to their army of followers. For most people, it is normal to only share intimate moments
with friends, but for the members of Nappy, it is no different when in their living room,
studio, or on stage, as they possess the gift of honesty and deliver that message with
charisma. That truthfulness is especially reflected in this compilation inspired and
written for this moment in time.
After severing ties with Atlantic Record and going independent, Nappy Roots had no
choice but to keep it moving and did so as smoothly as possible. As the saying goes,
“the show must go on,” and so it has, obstacles included. With a heavy heart and no
major label record deal, Nappy Roots knew they had to remain in pursuit of their destiny
and, thus, Nappy Roots Entertainment Group was formed.
The members of Nappy Roots were facing foreclosures and a mountain of stress in the jobless economy, but still they remained positive and pushed on, while never forgetting where they came from
and what they had accomplished. With fans constantly communicating with the
members online and at shows, the guys realized they weren’t the only ones having
With the release of their tenth mix-tape "SH!T'S BEAUTIFUL" and the departure of Big
V from the group, as he left to pursue a solo career, Nappy Roots forged forward.
Between touring and recording, the four-man group focuses on consistently putting out
quality hip-hop. A weak man with no vision, no diligence behind the vision, and no faith
behind the diligence would have given up, but Skinny Deville, Fishscales, B. Stille and
Ron Clutch did, can, and will handle this and more, all in the name of Nappy Roots.
This is evident in their two part Saga The 40 Akerz Project and Another 40 Akerz,
released in 2015 and 2017, respectively.
To celebrate 20 years in the game, Nappy has earned yet another GOLD RECORD with
“GOOD DAY”. That, along with 40 plus placements in movies and commercials have
given the group the continued propulsion to maintain the Nappy Lifestyle and
connection to their fans. This has provided a perfect platform to transition into another
passion. In 2018 Nappy celebrated opening their own NanoBrewery call ATLANTUCKY
BREWING COMPANY and have already taken the craft beer world by storm garnering
rave reviews for their first two public offerings.
This journey of great beer and great music will be coming to a small screen near you with the release of “40 Akerz and A Brew” a show that is sure to be a BLAST!
One cannot travel through the triad of North Carolina without hearing the name, or voice, of J Timber.
Hailing from Queens, New York, this power house brings a soulful performance to every event. Whether he is playing guitar, drums, cajon, djembe, or singing in either English or Spanish, there really is no other sound like his around. From being discovered at an in store acoustic performance to attending the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy, he continues honing in on his craft. J Timber has shared the stage with the likes of House of Fools, Boyz II Men, Leon Russell, Elle King, Shelby J., Thunder Jackson, Afika Nx and more.
J Timber puts his heart and soul into every performance, playing more than 220 shows (accompanied by Joel Henry) a year without wavering in quality all while continuing to write new music and reinvent his sound. A staple of Greensboro, J Timber is no stranger to contributing to the community and has been involved with United Way. With a contagious, positive personality, an unstoppable work ethic, and unmeasurable talent it is easy to conclude that Jonathan Timber will remain a facet in the music industry for years to come.
One word comes to mind through it all. Passion.
Vinny Esposito is going in to his 13th season as the official game day DJ for the Carolina Panthers at bank of America stadium. He is also the co-owner of Split Second Sound (along with Diane who works the Roaring Riot section at halftime in 525), the largest mobile DJ Entertainment company in Charlotte.
Along with handling many of the other events for the team or players (draft day, Fan Fest, Play 60’s, Super Bowl Pp Rally, etc), Vinny has opened up for Justin Timberlake, Zac Brown, FloRida, Steve Miller, Big & Rich, Tony Bennett, Rae Sremmurd, Chris Tucker to name some.
Split & Vinny have entertained at private events like the weddings of Dale Jr, Stef Curry, Stephon Gilmore, Roman Harper, Tre Boston, Willie P, Kyle Bailey to events like the NBA TNT road show with Shaq, NASCAR intros and Trackside live, Major league Lacrosse draft to Gold cup soccer games and more.