By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – A trio of Tupelo performers have a shot under the bright lights in the big city.
Collectively known as Outta St8 Boyz, Aaquil “CaliBoy” Brown, 18, Khalif “Kid Krunk” Brown, 17, and Jemiah “Lil Pantz” Middlebrooks, 15, earned the chance to appear on live television.
The young hip-hop artists will be on the BET show “106th and Park,” which airs live from New York City at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“We went to Memphis, where they had the tryout,” CaliBoy said. “There was like 40 groups. It was a slim chance of us making it. The crowd didn’t know us, but we made it.”
Now, they have an opportunity to impress a much wider audience. Lil Pantz said he wasn’t worried.
“No, I’m not scared,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this too long.”
“We’ve got to just do what we do,” CaliBoy said, “but my heart’s going to be beating right before we go on. That’s when I’m going to be scared.”
CaliBoy and Kid Krunk are brothers who moved to Tupelo from the Los Angeles area after their mother, Bernadette Walker, got out of the Army. With her influence, they naturally gravitated to hip-hop music.
“They had a makeshift studio in the living room,” Walker said. “They started making recordings and putting them on YouTube.”
A couple of years ago, Kid Krunk met Lil Pantz on the basketball court. He shared the Brown brothers’ passion for putting rhymes to beats.
“I was performing for my family, and anybody who would listen,” Lil Pantz said.
The Outta St8 Boyz have performed at Tupelo’s Juneteenth celebration at Ballard Park, and they’ve shown off their moves on stages in Baldwyn and Fulton, as well as in Memphis and Union City, Tenn.
In New York, they will have one minute and 30 seconds to make an impression with “Party Animal,” an Outta St8 Boyz’s original.
“It’s a fun song,” CaliBoy said.
“It’s a party song,” Kid Krunk said.
“It’s for everybody, because everybody parties,” Lil Pantz said.
They’ve put together their own choreography, complete with jumps and spins. As of last week, both the song and the dance moves were evolving, so the guys can fine-tune their performance.
“We keep doing it,” CaliBoy said. “Do it until it’s second nature.”
“We’ve got to do it until it’s …” Kid Krunk said.
“Synchronized,” CaliBoy said.
The Outta St8 Boyz will go up against two other groups on “106th and Park.” With a good showing, who knows? Big things could be in store for them.
“They want a record deal,” Walker said. “That’s what they really want.”
But first, they need to shine in the big city, and they’d appreciate knowing the people back home have their backs.
“We’re three guys from your city that you know that have a big opportunity to put on,” Kid Krunk said.
“It’s a big chance to represent Tupelo and bring it up,” Lil Pantz said.
Wish them luck.
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.