A musician is more than just an individual with an aficionado for making and selling music. He is an observer. He is proactive. He is a commander of his craft, a virtuoso. He is a soloist and a band, all at once. An artist is his producer, his colleagues, and his enemies. He is his success and his failure. He is resilient and driven. He is zealous without even realizing it.
Long Island native Joseph Ayindé Hye still hasn’t caught on yet.
Ayindé was first introduced to music as a child in the church. By age 10 he was actively participating in the music program and it was there that he learned to not fear an audience and to command the energy that music emits in people—two skills that would later prove to be vital to his success and his survival as an artist.
Ayindé teamed up with childhood friend Jordan “Kemizt” Hartley after a seventh grade chorus class cypher, and together they developed a common goal bound together by an unbreakable brotherhood. The duo wrote and developed two demo mixtapes entirely on their own; these attempts gave them the most important aspect of performance for any musician—an audience willing to listen. Production began on the duo’s first official release not long after. Backed by the management of the duo’s father’s and on the cusp of the birth of Infamilia Music, the team’s first official album, Lyrical Peace EP, was released in June 2005. Lyrical Peace EP (with work from Kevin Deane, Dark Shadez and DJ Maniac) was a compilation of politically conscious, comedic, and club tracks and would serve as the first formal introduction to ReKon. Adopting a grassroots method of promotion, it earned them local respect and built a solid foundation for future, more widespread success. Unfortunately, with glory comes guts.
Not yet sober from the high Lyrical Peace EP had provided, ReKon suffered a large blow that would alter their DNA as a unit forever. On September 21, 2005, president and founder of Infamilia Music, and Kemizt’s father, Elvis Hartley was killed in a case of mistaken identity. In a single moment, the swell the group had been riding on came to a sudden halt. “We were lost,” Ayindé explains. “Aside from losing Kem’s father, my second father, we lost our leader. Everything was planned out. We basically lost everything, our direction.” Refusing to let life interfere with the dream, pain became motivation. The hustle became more than just a dream. It became a lifeline.
Two years and a high school diploma later, Ayindé enrolled in SUNY Oneonta in upstate New York majoring in Sociology. Suddenly forced to operate as a solo artist, the seclusion of the small town has given Ayindé little else to do but focus on his music and seek the companionship of artists interested in developing. A self-taught producer, Ayindé has developed an extensive collection of original and sampled beats. He’s written several R&B songs and worked with local on-campus artists to promote them. The collegiate atmosphere has allowed Ayindé to team up with other artists—rappers, singers and producers alike—to create a team of unsigned talent all focused (and fully capable) of capturing the attention of music lovers on campus, online and abroad. Ayindé’s first solo release, No Slices, is an intensely personal and collaborative effort. Old fans will notice real growth—content and flow-wise. Apperances from old partners such as Kemizt, S-Caliber and E. Louis—and new ones—MAE, Bryant Stewart—give the project a nostalgic tone combined with an evolved dream. The project is a manifestation of the past, evidence of a journey, and an affirmation of a strong future. No Slices will be released online in March 2010.
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