YEAR FORMED: 2003
HOME TOWN: New York, NY
They had it all… almost. Collectively known as Blestenation, the New York alternative hip-hop crew - comprised of emcees Werdplay, Various and producer/deejay FAFU –were sipping from the proverbial golden chalice of fame and fortune. From movie soundtrack contributions to making songs for porn stars to work on projects with some of music’s biggest talents – individually and as a unit these guys were making their mark in virtually every corner of the entertainment business. Blestenation started turning heads around 2003 after a series of underground mixtapes began circulating through the hip-hop scene. The group was quickly being courted by every major label in the industry and Fafu’s top-notch production skills were being heard on some of the biggest records in the business including releases by P-Diddy, Lil’ Kim, Moby, Method Man, and Tool's Maynard James Keenan. The sky was the limit in terms of opportunities, including a major label deal, major management with Goliath Artists (Eminem,50 Cent), plus landing a track on the Blue Crush motion picture soundtrack. But wherever Blestenation went… ego and excess weren’t far behind. Once described by Interscope honcho Jimmy Lovine as, “The most promising group I have signed since Nine Inch Nails,” The New York City based alternative hip-hop misfits were soon hung out to dry by the very same industry that once wooed them. Unraveling from within, Blestenation had only themselves to blame. "We didn't really give a fuck about anyone or anything,” candidly remarks Werdplay. “I remember meeting with Sony and we showed up an hour late and drunk off our asses. We were knocking shit over, tracking dirt on their white carpets and we were just laughing uncontrollably because we didn't care. On our way out of the meeting Various and I literally had a fist fight outside of the Sony offices, in the middle of Madison Avenue while everyone was just staring at us.” The group rapidly descended into an abyss of self-destructing behavior that rivaled levels of drug use and hedonism once only attributed to the 80’s Sunset strip music scene. Various had overdosed on pills, and Werdplay was under investigation for allegedly making death threats to Eminem's manager. Some members were caught with the label head's niece in a compromising position - at the girl's own wedding. Their resume of disastrous extracurricular activities didn’t stop there. On top of all of this, the group was kicked off of the 2005 Warped Tour for bum-rushing the stage during an Atreyu performance and pissing on the crowd. Then they somehow gained access into the Teen Choice Awards, only to get kicked out following an altercation with American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest. They had single-handedly pissed off and alienated everyone they came into contact with. The final straw was drawn. The band’s management and label quickly became fed up and directly terminated all agreements and contracts. In turn, the group was blacklisted by the industry, with all online postings having been removed, and phones calls went unreturned. Werdplay's anticipated guest appearance on a track with one of New York City's biggest DJs was also promptly cut out of the song. Despite being estranged from the entire business, Blestenation were determined to rise from the dead. "We thought we were about to take over...I mean..we still are gonna fucking take over make no mistake about it, but we thought this was it,” adds Werdplay. “Little did we know our heavy drug use and oversized egos were going to clash hard with the politics of the industry we were in." Much has changed since the guys lost an opportunity to sign a major record deal in 2004. Blestenation is back to follow up their string of underground mixtapes, DVDs, and appearances online, in video games, and on movie soundtracks. The boys from MBugout City have found a new label home with California based Suburban Noize Records. They’ve gone back to the lab to concoct what some are saying is the most dynamic debut from a rap group since Run DMC burst on the scene with "Sucker MC's with a brand new full length album of material that ranges from big heavy enormous arena rap anthems to dark melodic acoustic songs. The new album, appropriately titled "MBugout City", blends the group's underground hip-hop roots with a more refined sense of song writing and articulation. The rhymes are still crazy, the beats are still hard as nails, but there's a new melodic component to the sound that takes everything up a notch. Don't get it twisted, the boys haven't gone soft, they've just grown as songwriters and performers. Songs like "Never Let Your Guard Down" and "Just Walking By" explore the pitfalls of the City MBug, while "Sally", a ballad about crystal meth weaves stories of actual encounters with the drug. The group also touches on other topics like relationships ("Ghosts", "Permanent Scar"), blacking out from alcohol consumption ("Blackout"), and perseverance ("We'll Die").