The Lacs -Dirt Rock Tour
Hard Target, Crucifix, nate kenyon
1212 Regent St.
Madison, WI, 53715
Doors 6:00 PM / Show 7:00 PM (event ends at 11:30 PM)
This event is 18 and over
The LACS—short for Loud Ass Crackers—have a proven formula for success. Mix 65 percent country music storytelling with 20 percent hip-hop attitude, add in 15 percent rock 'n' roll plus 100 percent hard work and you have a multi-format duo that defies definition and oozes opportunity.
The duo, which is made up of hip-hop artist Clay "Uncle Snap" Sharpe and lead vocalist/guitarist Brian "Rooster" King, doesn't easily fit into any predetermined box and that's exactly why The LACS unique blend of music appeals to America's iPod generation. "When we make a mix CD on our computer, we don't put together 30 songs that are straight country," explains Sharpe. "We might have 10 country, 10 rock and 10 rap songs. We knew our kind of people would like it."
The LACS' unique blend of music is on full display on Keep It Redneck, the duo's latest release. "Our music is not one dimensional," Sharpe says. "We take the good out of rock, the good out of country and the good out of rap and mix them together and create something different. We build from scratch."
Born and raised in South Georgia, the pair met when King moved to Baxley, a rural town more famous for its sawmills and turpentine stills than its music scene. "We call Baxley a big town, but its just now got four lights," Sharpe says with a knowing laugh. "We got a Walmart a few years ago, so we're moving up."
In a town with only four stoplights it's not hard to spot a stranger. "I saw him riding around town and I didn't know him, so I just stopped him one day and said, 'who are you and what you got goin' on?'" Sharpe recalls of his first meeting with King. "We ended up hanging out that night. He pulled out the guitar and I did, too. We've been making music together ever since."
"We figured out we liked the same kind of music and our friendship just built from there," adds King. The pair quickly connected and began creating their musical legacy.
They pooled their money and went into a local studio to record. "We knocked out 20 songs in three days," Sharpe says. "Even the studio guys were surprised."
Sharpe and King pressed the music onto CDs and, along with a few friends armed with CD players, began peddling their album in Walmart parking lots. To their surprise, people liked what they heard. "There were days we'd sell a thousand CDs and come back with five or 10 thousand dollars and we realized, 'We might have something here'," Sharpe admits.
Buoyed by their early success, the teens took their show on the road, so to speak. "We loaded up and went to every small town in Georgia we knew of and hit every Spring Break imaginable," says Sharpe. "We drove all over Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama. Anywhere we could sell CDs, we did. We probably pushed 28,000 CDs out of our trunk."
The LACS recorded five CDs on their own. "By the second or third CD our fans would start to ask, 'When are you coming out with another one?'" King recalls. "That's when I realized that me and Clay could have a fan base. We never thought it would get this big."
The duo is successful because its music is authentic. Sharpe and King share stories about what they know best: country living. "We ain't no gangsters, we ain't never killed nobody so we can't rap about that," Sharpe says. "We just started rapping about down home stuff like riding dirt roads and hunting and fishing."
"We love hip hop as much as we love country, but we were born in a country place," says King, whose influences include Mark Chesnutt, Randy Travis and Tupac Shakur. "We love doing country things, but hip hop is just as good as country. We grew up on both."
While they are no doubt hick hop pioneers, the duo says they're following in the footsteps of the greats. "What we're doing is what Johnny Cash did on 'I've Been Everywhere'," says Sharpe, who counts Cash, Hank Williams, Jr., the Beastie Boys and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony among his influences. "He was pretty much rapping on that song. Charlie Daniels has done it, and David Allan Coe did it on 'The Ride.' That's the evolution of hick hop."
The LACS eventually caught the attention of noted producer and Average Joes Entertainment label head Shannon Houchins, who was working with musical maverick Colt Ford. "We let him hear one of our CDs and he invited us to his studio immediately," Sharpe remembers. "He said, 'I'd love for you to be part of our record label.' We thought about it a couple of days and we said, 'let's do it.'"
The duo has released two successful albums on Backroad Records, a subsidiary of Average Joes. As with their parking lot outings, The LACS have connected with a growing fan base. "Kickin' Up Mud," from their album Country Boy's Paradise, became a viral sensation despite little or no radio airplay. "That's a song we didn't expect to do anything and it's got over nine million YouTube views now," Sharpe says.
The LACS continue to challenge the status quo on their new album, Keep It Redneck, which features the duo's trademark in-your-face musical magic as well as a few new fresh variations. "Every style of music has got to progress or people are going to get tired of it," says Sharpe.
The bouncy and beach-themed "ReLacs," which features Sarah Ross, is a new direction for the duo. "We've never really had a beach song before," says King. "We're all about stepping out of the box and approaching subjects that we haven't approached before."
Meanwhile, the laid back "Get Lost" explains, "Exactly how we operate in the South," says Sharpe. "A lot of guys and girls go by off by themselves and get lost in the woods. Sometimes it's important to be alone."
"Kick Dust," which features Noah Gordon and which is sure to become a workingman's anthem, is about ending the week on a positive note. "The song talks about being ready to get off the highway and hit a dirt road and chill," says Sharpe. "Anybody can relate to that."
But not every song on Keep It Redneck is introspective. "Shichya" is a party starter, while "Field Party" is all about getting down and dirty dancing. The latter song features label mates Colt Ford and JJ Lawhorn.
What began on a street corner and continued in Walmart parking lots all across the South, has now grown to fields filled with fans primed to hear The LACs' latest.
The duo regularly attracts thousands of fans to its show, which have included an appearance at the Atlanta Motor Speedway prior to a NASCAR race. "That's like the Super Bowl for us," Sharpe says. "That's the biggest redneck sport in the world."
"More and more people are showing up to hear us and that's amazing," adds King.
They've come a long way for sure. "Now Walmart is selling our CDs inside, so we don't have to sell them in the parking lot," Sharpe says with a chuckle. He's being humble. What started organically has spread. The duo has been featured in a genre-defining Wall Street Journal cover story and their previous album, 190 Proof, remained consistently on the Billboard Country Albums chart for over a year.
Not bad for a couple of guys that have a gift for connecting with their growing legion of fans. And they're not done yet.
Hard Target is a southern hip hop based group that is more than unique and is quickly emerging onto the music scene. The group consists of three members; Dustin Bennett, born in Waycross, GA, has been making music since 1998. He has been a featured artist on AXS TV and he has shared the stage with some of the GREATS throughout the years such as; Ludacris, T.I., Rittz,
Rehab and more. Dustin's style and flow is unmatched. His southern tone comes backed up with some real knowledge of hip hop and places himself in the ranks with the best Emcee's to have graced the microphone.Wesley Breit, native of Tampa, FL, was born to a long line of musicians. His grandfather was a country singer, songwriter, and a world class fiddle player. His father, a southern rock guitarist and his mother a country singer have all lead to his Country / Hip Hop style. His productions have been featured on many major prime time television shows including; Keeping up with The Kardashians, The Real World, Total Divas, and many more. Wesley Breit is quickly emerging as a world class producer.Finally, Ryan Fleming, the Michigan born, Florida raised, musical talent from which the name originates. Ryan has been known for over a decade as "Hard Target", a solo rapper, who has toured the world, and has been recognized on many different platforms. From TV, Radio, Social Media and even catching the attention of Limp Bizkit's front man Fred Durst. Having a southern influenced sound combined with an unforgiving skill with the pen, Ryan has made a name for himself throughout the years that remains unstoppable.Ryan and Wes have collaborated for many years on numerous projects. Wes introduced Dustin and Ryan, and from there, the three have been an uncontested
music making machine cranking out song after song in what seems like a truly effortless manor. All fine tuned with a unique sound that can't be placed into any one specific genre. So the three decided the only thing left to do would be to assume one single identity and never look back……and here we have the group……Hard Target!
Born in Atlanta Georgia, raised in Central and East Africa, Crucifix spent much of his early childhood bouncing from continent to continent, soaking in a wide influence of music, language and culture. By the age of 18, he was native to fifteen different countries, fluent in English, French, and Swahili, and dabbling in German and Finnish. But it was his unveiling passion for music that would soon take center stage in his life. At the age of 8, he had begun to make a name freestyle battling on the street corners of Decatur Georgia, a dance that soon became a full blown love affair with hip-hop. At the age of twelve he moved to Africa where he began teaching himself the piano, writing and producing his own music. And quickly discovered the power of pouring out his heart into song.
Within a year, he found himself recording his first album, from the comfort of his bedroom, making his own tapes with little more than a tape recorder and a keyboard. Designing the covers by hand and selling them at school and on the dusty streets of Rwanda. But his rendez vous with local success would be short lived. In April of 1994, Rwanda would break out into one of the worst genocides in modern history, leaving over a million dead in its wake. Crucifix and his family found themselves on the front lines… a broken road of burning cars and mangled corpses, the only path between them and safety. With nothing but a Bible in their hands and a prayer in their hearts, the family pushed towards the border, escaping with their lives under a hail of gunfire as they slipped through the roadblocks of machete wielding mobs, out of Rwanda and into the neighboring country of Burundi.
The memories of Rwanda made a lasting imprint on the life and music of Crucifix from that point. It soon became the canvas for his pain, medicine for his heart. In 2005 he released his controversial double disc debut, "My Life's Prayer" under the alias BabyBlue, and year later, in 2006, he was hired on as co-producer, editor and musical mind behind the Atlanta underground film, "Crackheads Gone Wild". In 2009 his life story was published in the book "Your Own Jesus" by Mark Hall, of the multi-platinum, Grammy, Dove and American Music Award winning group, Casting Crowns. In 2010, the Blue Crucifix story went international, as "Your Own Jesus" was translated into its second language for release in Europe.
In July 2010, he released his follow up sophomore album, "Cruce Signati", as well as teaming up with Southern HipHop legend Sean Paul of Youngbloodz forming the group Slumdogz. In 2011 his music appeared in VH1's "The T.O. Show" and wound down the year by venturing into the Dead Zone of Chernobyl to film his newest music video and upcoming documentary "Road To Chernobyl". His third album "Acid Reign", produced by Phivestarr Production is set to drop in mid 2013 and promises to be his best work to date, featuring Bubba Sparxxx, Nappy Roots, Sean Paul of Youngloodz and Big Rube of Dungeon Family.