Alfamega to release I Am Alfamega
Grand Hustle Entertainment, the Atlanta-based label launched by rapper T.I. and Jason Geter, has partnered with Capitol Records/EMI for the release of I Am Alfamega, the debut of street-certified sensation Alfamega. This unprecedented alliance, coupled with T.I.’s existing relationship with Atlantic Records, affirms Tip’s position as King of the South and Capitol’s reputation for setting the trends—and the bar—for urban music. Says Capitol president Lee Trink: “Launching this incredible artist with Grand Hustle couldn't be a better collaboration. Alfamega has everything it takes to be a truly important artist and a cornerstone of Capitol's urban music.”
Title: I Am Alfamega
Release date: 10/14/08
Label: Capitol Music Group
Buy at: Amazon
Meanwhile, Grand Hustle lives up to its name with a nationwide tour headlined by ringleader T.I. and opened by Alfamega; after stops in D.C. and Detroit, next is June 13 at the Columbus Civic Center in Columbus, GA. Already boasting an all-star lineup including T.I., Young Dro, and mixtape maven DJ Drama, Grand Hustle now adds Alfamega, he of inimitable hood cred and voluminous writing rep. Having recorded consistently since 2002 —including his 2005 collabo with Tip, “Southern Boyz”— Alfamega crashed the national consciousness in 2007, when he appeared alongside Busta Rhymes on T.I.’s blazing single “Hurt.” A spirited performance on the BET’s Hip-Hop Awards left the fans wanting more.
More comes in the way of I Am Alfamega, which balances lithe lyricism and pot-boiling puissance. Says T.I. of his new label-mate: “Alfamega is not only a good story teller, he has a unique story to tell. Not many people have experienced or have walked in the shoes that he has.”
The story unfolds almost cinematically: street single “Headbangers” with Busta has paved for the way for relentless lead single “Uhh Huh” featuring T.I. and Nitti, who also produced the track. I Am Alfamega is slated to transform the game on September 16th. Concludes Grand Hustle co-founder Jason Geter: “We are looking forward to launching Alfamega with Capitol and showing the world what he has to offer.”
Born and raised in Atlanta's Techwood housing community, ALFAMEGA learned fast that he had odds stacked against him. Techwood, the first housing project to ever exist in the United States, quickly became synonymous with crime and desperation, as did ALFAMEGA himself. In and out of jail since the age of nine, ALFAMEGA's hunger for more started with an innate hunger for childish things.
"I used to steal boxes of Twinkies," ALFAMEGA reminisces. "I was always the type to do it big. I didn't want to just steal one candy bar, I wanted the whole box. I'd eat some of them, and sell the rest."
As ALFAMEGA grew older, his life eventually rivaled that of an action movie and it was only right that Hip Hop played a soundtrack to it. Like most people his age at the time, ALFAMEGA listened to music from Kool Moe Dee, Run DMC and especially LL Cool J. In fact, it was LL that sparked ALFAMEGA'S infatuation with the culture to the point where he began not only writing raps in his spare time, but wanting to emulate the icon as well.
"I jumped into the streets because I wanted the fly shoes, I wanted to dress like LL Cool J everyday," he says in his gravely whisper. "I was getting money and after while, I got to where I didn't want to be like LL. I wanted him to be like me."
With rap still considered a hobby in the midst of his fast-lane lifestyle, ALFAMEGA didn't take the craft seriously until it wound up being the only thing he could focus on. After running the streets of Atlanta for nearly a decade, ALFAMEGA's ways finally caught up with him for the last time, resulting in him serving a sentence that he remembers as "7 years, 4 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 16 long-ass seconds."
Choosing to do his time and not let his time do him, ALFAMEGA made the most out his situation. Inspired by both spare time and his frustration of seeing other rappers live his life vicariously through their lyrics, ALFAMEGA began penning songs while in prison. Writing about everything from being forgotten about to looking forward to his first day back home, ALFAMEGA amassed 1700 songs that he had registered and copywritten. Word of his talent eventually spread with ALFAMEGA becoming somewhat of a star behind the wall, known for his rhymes and enigmatic freestyles.
"The first person who believed in me was Mac Dre," says ALFAMEGA, remembering his first encounter with the deceased Bay Area Hip Hop martyr. "He told me I had skills, and that if I didn't get a record deal when I got out, the game was rigged."
ALFAMEGA's reputation preceded him to the point where when he was released in 2002 he could have signed his first deal two weeks out of prison. ALFAMEGA landed an opportunity to rap for Roc-A-Fella recording artist Beanie Sigel. Off impulse Sigel offered up a spot on his State Property label once he heard him. Insisting that he was a boss just like Beanie, ALFAMEGA declined the deal.
The next opportunity that came, a deal with Universal Records, was one that ALFAMEGA did not turn down. Hoping to capitalize on the Crunk phenomenon at the time, the label pulled ALFAMEGA away from his reality rap roots to pair him with producers such as Lil Jon and David Banner for what was supposed to be his debut album, South of the Mason Dixon.
"The powers that be wanted me to go into the direction of what was popping at the time," admits ALFAMEGA. "But I did it because I wanted the deal. Plus I didn't want to go back to prison."
A long string of creative differences resulted in the album being shelved. An amicable split followed and then in 2004, ALFAMEGA ran into a childhood acquaintance, platinum-recording artist and Grand Hustle CEO Clifford "T.I." Harris. After notifying T.I. of his current free agent status, he immediately signed ALFAMEGA to his label, giving him a recording home where he can be himself. Says T.I. of his new label-mate: "ALFAMEGA is not only a good story teller; he has a unique story to tell. Not many people have experienced or have walked in the shoes that he has."
After stealing the show alongside Busta Rhymes on T.I.'s 2007 single "Hurt," ALFAMEGA is primed to show the full range of his skills on his epic introductory album I Am ALFAMEGA. Comprised of songs that he wrote in prison and songs he's written while out of prison, I Am ALFAMEGA will showcase the towering emcee's tribulations, as well as his celebrations.
Songs like "4 or 5 Ways" feature ALFAMEGA in his aggressive beginnings, painting a cautionary tale for people who think they can lie and cheat their way through the streets. With "Snakes" he offers a three-scenario story about the dark nature of people. Then on "Wouldn't Change Nothing" ALFAMEGA reveals that even with all of the pain he's encountered in his life via living in urban blight and the prison system, he feels that it has made him the strong person he is today.
Building off that strength, ALFAMEGA also enjoys the lighter side of life on the club anthem "500 Bottles" where working and living hard is rewarded by playing hard. He continues on that path with his lead single "Uh Huh" where he sprinkles his street skewered content over a Nitti-produced track, featuring T.I.
"There are songs on this album that will touch people, and even offend some people too," says ALFAMEGA. "I'm not necessarily shooting to change someone's life, but I think this is an album that will touch a lot of people."
Semi-true to its author's name, I Am ALFAMEGA indeed captures the life and thoughts of a man who had a rough start, but the chapters that follow tell a story that does not have an end in the near future. In addition to the 1700 songs he wrote while locked away, ALFAMEGA also wrote three screenplays and hopes to delve into moving making in addition to recording albums. Though ALFAMEGA has let go of his past, he hasn't forgotten it, founding KOTU Global, amongst other initiatives to help people and families affected by incarceration.
Fittingly, from beginning to end, ALFAMEGA's offering of music displays a spectrum of emotion that only a man who's been through hell to get to heaven can exhibit. So unlike your typical book that simply ends after it runs out of events, I Am ALFAMEGA shines light on a life story that got interrupted along the way and can only be done justice if sequels follow.
"I Am Alfamega" by Alfamega - release date: 10/14/08..