Up and coming Rap Group trying to make it big


Elena Perez

Rap group attends El Camino College, go by the name Free Bäs. Photo credit: Elena Perez

Listening to and creating beats all night, it was difficult for them to sleep. The beats were the soundtrack to their dreams that night. Studio days may turn into all nighters because they never know when the project is complete. There is no rush when it comes to a project because its done once they are finally satisfied with it.

The group wearing their vibrant FreeBäs hoodies, gathered around the table with their laptops making jokes and sharing beats. Muhammad Abdullah, 19, English major shares his vision of how they should all wear durags and do “wave checks” and do trendy dance moves for their next performance.

While Muhammad is playing his “Splash” beat, a song he wrote in five minutes, he says “This is where Kev would come in.”

“There’s literally like 3 genres of music in there,” Kevyn Mccurchin, 19, English major says.

This rap group attends El Camino College. They go by the name FreeBäs “because we’re dope.”

“We’re creative, we’re colorful, we’re imaginative and we’re most definitely authentic. And we’re all different kinds of people,” Muhammad says.

Jonathan Labriel, 20, illustration major brings his creativity and art to the table as he is the creative director for FreeBäs.

“They’re open minded. There’s nothing I can’t bring to the table and they’ll be like ‘that’s not it,'” Jonathan says.

So far, Jonathan has painted watercolor cover art for Muhammad’s mixtape “Off-White.” He is currently doing mock ups and single covers.

Qadir Johnson, 19, economics major, is the producer for FREEBÄS.

“I’ve been playing drums since I popped out,” Qadir says.

He always had an ear for percussion. As a child he would play on the kitchen floor banging pots and pans.

“When I found out I could just put my drums and my ear to the computer and create music, it’s amazing,” Qadir says. “It’s a certain feeling you get when you hear what you wanted to.”

Muhammad and Kevyn are the rappers of FREEBÄS but they also produce.

Muhammad and Kevyn met through Twitter after Kevyn tweeted “I’ma drop the best mixtape in the world.”Muhammad followed by challenging him and tweeted back “Look man, I don’t know who you are but I’ma find you.”

He went to school the next day and saw Kevyn sitting with his friends. “Yo bro, I’m about to end this man’s whole career,” Muhammad says. Muhammad only knew Kevyn on Twitter.

Muhammad walked up to Kevyn and started rapping to him and they have been close friends ever since. The rest of the group met each other by attending the same high school and having mutual friends.

Kevyn’s older brother was a big fan of rap and introduced Kevyn to rap in the second grade. In high school his brother tried to become a rapper but let go of his dream.

“The family I come from is not very encouraging creatively,” Kevyn says.

To this day, his music career is kept a secret from him family.

“That’s kinda how it went in my childhood. Like ‘nah don’t do this, be an engineer,’ thats the answer for everything,” Kevyn says. “Obviously you gotta be defiant towards your parents so I was like ‘nah fuck that, I’ma be like the worst thing that you want me to be, a rapper.”

Muhammad would always write poems in his poetry journal.

“Qadir’s actually the reason I started rapping,” Muhammad says.

One day Muhammad went to Qadir’s house where he was making beats on his phone. Muhammad just happened to be reading his poem at the same time the beat was playing. Qadir told Muhammad to say his poem to his beat.

The group was created through Muhammad and Kevyn texting. Thats when they decided they should come together to form the rap group. Coming up with a name took a while.

The name FreeBäs came from Kevyn listening to the rapper Two Chain’s mixtape “Freebase.” It was Muhammad’s idea to add the umlaut above the letter a.

“As a group we’re a melting pot,” Muhammad says. “This group is one of those things where it works for no reason. We’re all individuals and we all bring our ideas to the table and we melt them together somehow.”

Muhammad lives in Inglewood, Kevyn lives in Gardena, Jonathan lives in Hawthorne and Qadir lives in Crenshaw.

They have the music planned out individually and execute their project when they come together to work. An idea is either integrated or abandoned. They work best on their own which works fine because their schedules collide.

FreeBäs performs at shows and gets free studio time through a company called Vill Media. Tee Smith, 20-years-old, founder of VillMedia, and Kevyn went to middle school together. He heard Kevyn’s mixtape “Gardena’s Finest” and reached out to him. Kevyn introduced Tee to Muhammad and attended one of their shows.

Tee invited them to his studio and they have been going there to record ever since. “I can’t turn a blind eye to good talent,” Tee says.

The group is so dedicated that the studio has become a second home. Muhammad spends the night at the studio when there is a lot of work to be done. He’ll go straight from El Camino to the studio.

He even has his own blanket and change of clothes and will stay until he finishes all of his projects.

“We get a lot done even if we just see each other for 30 minutes. We knock out like three songs, four courses, a whole bunch of art,” Muhammad says. They meet at the studio, school and at each others houses.

“If you really look at who’s coming up in the game, you don’t really have a lot of people who are too focused on the context of their content,” Tee says. “And I feel as though FREEBÄS will be, if they aren’t already, profound artist. I think they each have talents that are far beyond their years.”

The group realized there was a lot of talent in their area but it wasn’t being cultivated.

“It wasn’t the stereotype they painted on young black people or Hispanic kids,” Muhammad says. “We understood that our dope music is able to reach that type of audience.”

They all want to become individual artist but their plan is to grow with each other so they can make each other strong as individual artists.

“We understand that even though we’re in a group right now, the group is only a representative of a base point for our growth,” Muhammad says.

Kevyn, Muhammad and Johnathan have already branched off and done solo projects while still apart of the group. Qadir is working on a solo tape aside from also working on a FreeBäs mixtape tape.

They are all confident and comfortable on their own but they are still able to bring what they have to the table to make the group work.

“That’s how real life friendships work anyways,” Muhammad says. “As a kid you’re with your best friend everyday, but as you get older, even though you guys are in the same lane, just like we’re all in the same lane, we all drive different cars.” They all have their own approach to things and sometimes they have to go on their own.

“We not next up. We up now,” Qadir says.

Rap group attends El Camino College, go by the name FreeBäs. Photo credit: Elena Perez
Rap group attends El Camino College, go by the name FreeBäs. Photo credit: Elena Perez
FreeBäs rap group, record in a recording studio in Gardena, attends El Camino College. Photo credit: Elena Perez
Rap group attends El Camino College, go by the name FreeBäs. Photo credit: Elena Perez
Abdul Qadir Johnson, 19, economics, is in group “Freebäs”. Photo credit: Elena Perez
Kevyn McCurchin, 19, English major, is in group “Freebäs”. Photo credit: Elena Perez
Kevyn McCurchin, 19, English major, is in group “Freebäs”. Photo credit: Elena Perez
Rap group attends El Camino College, go by the name FreeBäs. Photo credit: Elena Perez
Rap group attends El Camino College, go by the name FreeBäs. Photo credit: Elena Perez