Ground Up discuss organic beginnings, songwriting and tour with OCD
Ground Up at Union Transfer | via

Philly’s Ground Up may have jumped into the realm of major exposure in recent years with songs like “Got Damn” and “Daps,” whose video views boast over 200,000 views. But it’s their summer smash “Lets Ride” that has captivated audiences and the those of us at The Key’s office. Bij Lincs, the mastermind and the creator of the group’s sound, is matched perfectly by MCs Malakai and Azar, whose lyrical prowess is both intuitive and witty. The guys are currently on tour but I caught up with them to ask where the inspiration on their newest songs came from and what they’re looking forward to about their upcoming hometown show.

On their first leg of their tour:

Azar: “Everything’s going well. We just did Toronto, Buffalo New York, and Ithaca the last few days and they were all a good time.  It was our first time in Canada, we had never performed north of the border before.  Toronto I think showed us the most love too, we’ve only been to three stops so far but that city’s beautiful.”

On “Wrath of God” and their song process:

Malakai: “It’s just a song about wanting to take over the world and destroy it. It’s very braggadocio and shows a lot of frustration.

Azar: “All of our songs don’t have a particular direction per se before the song’s made. Usually we’ll play a beat and we’ll vibe to it and go from there.”

On how they met:

Azar: “I grew up with Bij Lincs who makes our beats, Malakai and myself met actually at Temple orientation. We met our manager Frank there as well, its a real organic relationship.

Bij Lincs: “There’s more of us too, its not just us three: its also like family and friends, everyone’s a part of it.”

On their 2013 project Promiseland and next major release:

Malakai:Promiseland is the 12th project we’ve ever put out. A lot of them aren’t even on the internet anymore, but this one was meant to hold over the fans until the next major release.  We love the music on it and it was fun and made the fans happy so in the end that’s really all that matters. As far as another major project, there’s no date on it yet so we’re not sure really. We’re just working on music and want it to be awesome, so we’re just going to take our time and give the fans what they want in the end, good music. We know the fans want a 2015 release so that’s definitely our priority.”

On linking up with OCD: Moosh and Twist for the tour:

Azar: “It’s a small music scene. They’re talented guys and we’ve crossed paths a lot, whether it’s at shows or backstage at other people’s shows just being supportive.  I think everyone thought it would be a good idea for the city to just bring two talented acts together and just hit the road.”

On what they look forward to most for Friday’s show:

Malakai: “Being in the hometown, we get the most love here because this is where we’re from. Philly shows are great.”

Bij Lincs: “Philly after-parties are great too, those may be the best part, it’s like New Years.”

Azar: “We’re a big family so there are so many people responsible for putting us where we are that to be back in town and celebrate with them mean the most to us.”

The trio had definitely made it clear to me throughout our interview that the group known as Ground Up isn’t just solely comprised of three members,  its a conglomerate whose bonds go way beyond their music alone.  An organic relationship based outside of music that I believe goes a long way to make unique hip hop tracks that are different from the norm.  Bij Lincs, Azar, and Malakai definitely are headed in the right direction; with their tour alongside Moosh and Twist underway and their Philly stop coming this Friday, February 27th at the TLA, fans and Philadelphians couldn’t be any more ready.  Get tickets and more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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