Sunday, May 4, 2008

Check out what my freinds in Revere are up to...

Hip-hop has new jump off in Revere

By Dan O’Brien/The Daily Item

REVERE - Since United Front Company first opened four months ago, co-owner O-Ry-N says many local hip-hop artists have found a place for their music to “jump off.”

O-Ry-N, 29, whose legal name is Mahmood Ghafur, opened the business, which is a combination of a music recording studio, graffiti art gallery, clothing store, tobacco accessories shop and martial arts facility at 318 Squire Road, along with Saugus native Jill Brandenburg, 28.

One of their many goals is to provide a launch pad for local hip-hop artists, especially urban youths.

“We let inner city kids from Lynn, Revere and Boston record here for free,” Ghafur said. “The reason why we’re doing it is because there are a lot of talented people under 18.”

Ghafur says the young artists don’t just get an opportunity to record tracks, but a chance to learn.

“We teach them how to structure music and mentor them in the music business,” he said. So far, 13 adult artists began using the studio and eight teenage artists have joined.

With the help of producers V-Tek, Pda, O-Ry-N and Y-Not (Tony spelled backwards) the teen artists put together a compilation mix tape.

“It’s a pretty clever way to cross promote each other,” Ghafur said.

The teens will perform together at the All Asia bar in Cambridge on April 20.
The adult artists, who range in age from 18 to 60 years old, pay about $35 an hour for recording time. A typical recording studio costs $70 an hour, Ghafur says.

United Front also holds exhibits for paintings done by the artists, and hosted an open mic hop-hop contest in February that attracted about 70 people.

United Front isn’t just for musical acts.

“The focus of our company is to get exposure for artists of all kinds,” Ghafur said.

Sometimes Ghafur and Brandenburg clear out the store so graffiti artists can legally put their talents to use.

A mixed martial arts instructor was hired to teach classes at United Front. The style is a mix of Kenpo, Jiu jitsu and others.

Ghafur announced that hip-hop inspired poet Jasen Sousa of Somerville would soon move his workspace into the digs of United Front. In addition to creating new poetry, Sousa plans to promote United Front in publications.

“I just wanted to collect people to help me move (the business) forward,” Ghafur said. “We did all of this with a little money and the support of our friends.”

He and Brandenburg recently quit their full-time jobs to start United Front. She also gave birth to their baby boy, named Freedom, who is now six months old.

For more information on United Front Company, visit its Web site or its MySpace page at or call 781-520-1119.

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