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Bakery Boys: Being Ambitious Kids Every Day.

March 24, 2015

BakeryBoysOnline01Text by Tyler Horst. Images by Darragh Dandurand.

Two of the three members of the Bakery Boys relax at the kitchen table in a friend’s apartment. Quinton “Q” Russ (aka  Diabolicool) and Mark Ryan sit, waiting for the last member, Russ’ cousin Alexander Ruffin (aka Ace Bangaz), to arrive. When Ruffin finally walks in, Russ jumps up to show his cousin his retro Stone Cold Steve Austin “Austin 3:16” shirt, which leaves Ruffin cackling.

BakeryBoysOnline02“Your wardrobe is so weird,” Ruffin says. Then, with a straight face, he continues, “No, but I got like two of those at home. I’m not hatin’.”

The way the group gets along, it’s easy to tell they’ve known each other for a long time. While growing up uptown, in the neighborhoods of North Philly, the guys’ first real connection with each other was through skateboarding, most often at LOVE Park.

Each had at least a fledgling interest in hip-hop but it wasn’t until they started tooling around in Ryan’s basement that things started coming together. With their own space to explore musically, their formation as a unit didn’t have to be a conscious choice. It just kind of happened.

“I had a basement where we could all hang out, smoke weed and fuck around,” says Ryan. “And that’s what happened. It’s the classic rap story. I had a place for us to figure ourselves out.”

Having lived in Philadelphia their whole lives, the guys are well-versed in the city’s idiosyncrasies and strange characters. For instance, a street performer once brought a PA system to LOVE Park and let them borrow it for a few minutes to perform. It’s what they would come to call their first ever gig.

“Philly is a weird planet,” says Russ. “It’s a parallel universe.”

But the Bakery Boys accept this weird planet as their home, especially North Philly. Instead of doing skits for their recent release, The Package, Ryan clandestinely recorded the group moving around their stomping grounds on his smartphone. There’s the sound of change hitting the counter of a Chinese corner store as they argue over what to buy in “Us,” and the familiar “chirp-chirp” of the crosswalk in the background as they take a break from skating to chat with a friend on Broad Street at Cecil B. Moore Avenue in “Peeps.”

“This is where the stories are being made,” says Ruffin about North Philly. “It’s storytelling. Our true stories are interesting enough that we can tell them to people and they’ll listen.”

North Philly is their home, for better or worse. Ruffin’s least favorite memories of recording their first effort, First Batch, were leaving Ryan’s basement at the end of the day. Partly that’s because it was such a comfortable space and partly because it wasn’t uncommon to hear gunshots on the walk home.

“We talk about grimy shit but it’s not to glorify it,” Ryan says. “It’s just like, be aware. Be conscious. As a group, we’re pushing for our lane.”

They’ve started their own label, B.A.K.E.D. Recordings, to house both their individual efforts and showcase the talents of other local artists, like Mick Raw (pictured above with Bakery Boys) and Javin Lessane.

After leaving Philadelphia to live in Denver for several months, Lessane discovered that most people outside of the city have the theme song to “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” as their only cultural reference.

“It’s cool but at the same time it’s like… yup! That’s it,” he says about other cities’ knowledge of Philadelphia.

Lessane thinks artists like the Bakery Boys are more representative of where Philly is at now and it’s about time the world knew.

It may come across as nothing but stoner whimsy but B.A.K.E.D. actually stands for “Being Ambitious Kids Every Day.”

“We strong,” says Russ. “You may not know yet, but we are strong.”

One Comment
  1. March 24, 2015 6:21 pm

    Reblogged this on Humongulous.

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