MVP                                                By Kate Watkins

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Hip Hop’s ‘Most Valuable Playas’ like to keep it real and know that they are just at the start of a long career. Vice Verse and Stagga Lee sit down for a chat with The Situation.

Remember when hearing your favourite hip-hop music involved going to the club and hitting the dance floor with your buddies to hear the latest tracks? The guys in Most Valuable Playas or MVP do and are trying to bring that element back to today’s music scene. “When we got together, we blended different kinds of music together and wanted to focus on the club scene,” Vice Verse a.k.a. Victor Masos said. “We wanted to take Hip Hop music back to the club and make music that is club oriented. So much of what is out there right now talks about guns and how many rims there are on cars,” he continued. “We wanted to give people who like going to clubs and dancing a reason to go back.”

The group prides themselves on being able to bring Hip Hop and rap music back to the dance floor. While much of the current scene is inundated with rhymes about gunplay, MVP are injecting their interpretation of life into their music. The multi-cultural group, which includes Vice Verse, Stagga Lee a.k.a. Eric Newman and Fatts Bronson are still street. They embody what is current in Hip Hop culture. They grew up outside of Manhattan in the boroughs of the Bronx, Queens and Harlem, and still bring their upbringing into their music. “Our music definitely brings images of where we came from,” said Stagga Lee. “We are from certain parts of New York but we aren’t regional. We want to reach everyone from everywhere.”

It was DJ and producer Robert Clivilles who put the group together. In his 15- plus year career, he has earned numerous awards including a Grammy for his work with Whitney Houston on ‘The Bodyguard’ soundtrack. Clivilles was a part of 1990s dance phenomenon C & C Music Factory, so it isn’t terribly surprising that dance music and club tracks are at the core of his latest musical project.

The track ‘Roc Ya Body (Mic Check 1,2)’ reached the top ten in the UK singles charts, and has been widely successful Stateside. Vice Verse credits the track’s diverse ethnic nature and general appeal as reasoning for the track’s success. “It’s a classic track,” he said. “It’s a mix of tribal, funk, Hip Hop and everything rolled into one classic track. It’s a great club track.”

MVP’s music is eclectic. Elements of Hip Hop, dance and even some Latin layer their tracks. Even though the club feeling resonates with much of their music, MVP still credits Hip Hop’s founders for their inspiration. “Old school Hip Hop has opened a lot doors [musically] to do what we love,” Vice Verse said. “Our music uses old school Hip Hop and we put a little bit of our world into that old mix.” Stagga Lee adds, “If people like old school Hip Hop, they will like our music”.

MVP spent the month of June with Nelly for the UK portion of his tour, and joined Snoop Dogg on his recent tour of the UK too. They have been very well received by both Nelly’s and Snoop’s fans. “Touring is cool,” Stagga Lee told The Situation. “There is no better feeling than doing a show. It’s tough though. I’m really health conscious so I try to eat well and exercise but it’s really hard to when you go from one city to another and don’t know what day it is,” he explained. “The fans [in the UK] have been great. They have been really respective.”

Stagga Lee spoke of his ambitions to achieve the kind of success that Nelly and Usher have: a kind of Hip Pop icon. “I would love it if people said, ‘I don’t listen to Hip Hop but I listen to MVP’,” he said. “That’s what people say about Nelly and Usher. Yeah, we want to be successful.”

As far as experimenting with other genres in the future, Stagga Lee is more than willing to look at different things but wants to make sure his music is grounded in his Hip Hop roots. “My work is Hip Hop driven,” he said. “But I don’t want to go through life saying, ‘I wish I had done that’. I wouldn’t be opposed to doing something with a reggae or rock feel.”

Although their base is Hip Hop and club tracks, MVP want to make sure that people still continue to go after their dreams, just as they did. “Never give up on your dreams,” advised Stagga Lee. “People tell you you can’t do that and you need a back up plan. People slowly fall back on those plans and give up on their dreams. I came into this game with no back up plan. I wanted to make it, so I did.”

So if you are into Hip Hop and want to keep the club tradition alive, MVP is an act you should definitely check out this summer.

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