Hip Hop artists out of Detroit, MI continue to make waves and ripples throughout the music industry, with some of the most successful independent artists calling Detroit home. Some of the greatest present examples include Danny Brown, Black Milk, Guilty Simpson and Clear Soul Forces. And now another Hip Hop duo out of Detroit, The Regiment, is out to stake a claim as the next Detroit emcees to make their name known in the Hip Hop world. Their latest album, Live From The Coney Island, was released earlier this year and is available now on iTunes and in stores on physical copy. The duo also recently released their latest video for the powerful song “10,000 Strong” featuring El Da Sensei on YouTube. We recently caught up with The Regiment to get a greater take on their music, their mission and the positive yet real message they seek to convey through Hip Hop.
For those that are not familiar, explain the importance of the album title Live From The Coney Island as it relates to Detroit.
The album was dedicated to Detroit life from the struggler and overcomer state of mind. When founders of Coney Island came here from New York they made something out of nothing. One of the many authentic places in Detroit is the Coney Island restaurant. There are literally so many neighborhood staple Coney restaurants in Detroit that anyone from here immediately has one they prefer to another. Food for the soul that represents struggle and advancement.
How did The Regiment come to be? What was it that influenced Osi and IseQold to become a duo?
The original Regiment actually did not include IseQold. OSI was in the group with a different artist as a duo. We met in college playing video games. During this time Ise was a free styling battle rapper who never recorded music. OSI was already seasoned in the original duo. We were both finishing our degrees and were talking one day after an evening class we had together in 2008. After the group disbanded we linked up a few times and hit it off musically. We had some different plans in the works at first but after a lot of praying, conversing and even arguing on what to do, ultimately we reformed the group.
Describe the music of The Regiment for those who may not be familiar. Who would you consider some of your greatest influences in Hip Hop?
Well the first and foremost the important thing to us is God and sharing what Jesus has done in our lives with others. There are elements of other things we incorporate but the positive messages and the outside of the box approach is all God. As far as influences, far too many to name. The entire 90’s era of underground music would sum it up.
OSI: I spent a majority of my childhood on the east coast back when Hip Hop was the wave of the future. I listened to Hip Hop cassette tapes and drew artwork from the booklets of countless albums. You could say I fell in love from there. I would learn other artist patterns and eventually created my own schemes.
Ise: I listened to a lot of different forms of music growing up and actually first got into writing because my mother wrote music during the 90’s. My brother was a music head and I followed after him. I still write every verse hoping to impress him to this day.
In your estimation, what is the Hip Hop scene like in the city of Detroit presently?
Definitely alive and well. A lot of artists paved the way and get less recognition than deserved at times. Obviously J Dilla, Phat Kat, Elzhi, Apollo Brown, Black Milk, Danny Brown, Nick Speed, Guilty Simpson, Eminem, Royce da 5’9”, Slum Village and the list could continue. Every place has talent but we are slept on for breeding amazing Producers and Top 10 dead or alive MC’s.
The bio on your website pulls no punches when it comes to the state of Hip Hop. What are some of the things you both think need to be done to bring Hip Hop back to its former glory?
To be real, we believe it is a fan thing. Artists make music fans and the industry respond to. If more people supported the original sound of Hip Hop it would thrive more. Once there are more people buying albums and supporting artists who can rap well, we will see Golden Era music return. Until then if people support something different you get that different outcome.
How were you able to connect with such a storied and accomplished producer in Nick Speed to produce your entire album?
Nick is good people. At the time he worked with the same management company we used to work under. During a meeting we were just in the right place at the right time. It was a blessing.
What are some of the greatest challenges that The Regiment faces as artists that are completely independent?
Awesome question. To be real, time. As men with families and using other outlets to support the dream of music, it gets difficult to manage the clock. Father time has been generous to us but we still struggle like anyone else. Putting things in perspective and having support internally is key.
With your new video for the song “10,000 Strong” from the album, how important was it for you to feature regular, every day people from Detroit?
It was very important to feature the blue collar Michigander. Everyone in the video was not from Detroit in the video but everyone from here is blue collar. Strength and support in numbers and unity: That’s something that’s always worth showcasing.
Who are some artists and producers that you would like to work with or connect with in Hip Hop?
Wow, good question, for the sake of time let’s limit this to just a few: DJ Premier, Araab Muzic, Black Milk, Lupe Fiasco, Andre 3000, Timbaland, Phonte and Oddisee.
Can you talk about some of the upcoming projects that The Regiment has coming up that we need to be checking for and some of the artists you’ll be working with?
We have some things in the works with Hip Hop artists like Random aka Mega Ran, El da Sensei, Sadat X, Phat Kat just to name a few. But we will most definitely keep Sosoactive.com updated.