The intro on Hollyweerd's four-song EP Welcome to Hollyweerd says the group comes from "where the rain is purple and the flowers are dead." One member even goes so far as to say they're "around the corner from St. Elsewhere, up the street from Metropolis and next door to Stankonia."
Sure, you can say the supergroup made up of rapper the Dreamer, Jaspects saxophonist Jaye Price aka Stagolee, and City of Ink tattoo artists Tuki and the Love Crusader make hybrid music likened to Gnarls Barkley, Janelle Monáe and OutKast. But the humble Lithonia studio where they record is no fantasy land.
In a room the size of a handicapped bathroom stall, all four members and their producer Sterling use fold-out chairs and computer desks to sit when they aren't burying their noses in the corner to rap into a mic that's more state-of-the-heart than it is state-of-the-art. With barely enough space to dump cigarillo ashes, it's a wonder how any room is left for inspiration or creativity.
"This is a mild session," Tuki reveals after writing a verse in his iPhone and laying down vocals for a new song about time travel, "Tick Tock." "We usually knock out six songs a day."
Today has still managed to be eventful. They filmed an impromptu video for "Tick Tock," and got a phone call saying their street secret, "Have You Ever Made Love to a Weirdo," just got played on the Durtty Boyz 107.9 (WHTA-FM) show.
"We make cinematic music, so the topics may vary," Dreamer says in between recording takes of "Party All the Time," a pipe-organ-laced cautionary tale about good-time girls that borrows from Eddie Murphy's and Rick James' infamous 1985 collaboration.
Having performed at Aiko, Django's and Velvet Underground, the three-month-old group has already developed a growing fan base that includes everyone from pretty girls at Broke & Boujee parties to Big Boi of OutKast.
"Everybody's crew is attached to it," Stagolee says. "Our music is about changing and taking you out of your comfort zone."
Hollyweerd performs its EP-release show at Sloppy Seconds. Midnight. Sat., Feb. 2, at MJQ.