Mashpee Wampanoag Hip-Hop Artists Create Anti-Opioids Anthem with The GroovaLottos

Hip-Hop/Spoken-word collective, Soul Poet's Syndicate debuts with "FLIPPIN" for national anti-opioids campaign.

"Flippin" or 'Flipping Bags' are street slang for selling heroin, a significant problem in communities throughout the USA. Among the hardest hit are Native American communities with the Mashpee Wampanoag having the highest per capita rate of deaths due to opioid overdoses. A collective of young Mashpee Wampanoag MCs, dubbed the Soul Poet's Syndicate and a pair of native record producers decided to 'flip the script' and used the term as the title of their anti-opioids campaign anthem.

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"… you've destroyed people's lives and messed up their health. You've done irreparable damage, I hope you're happy with yourself…" – The Z.Y.G. "Flippin"

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"… the numbers of deaths are so outrages, the people who sell this stuff are really gonna hate us, but honestly I don't care how they rate us…"- Young $umo "Flippin"

After attending the sixth funeral, in as many months of a tribal member who lost their battle with addiction, Mashpee Wampanoag tribal member, Mwalim DaPhunkee Professor (Morgan James Peters) and production partner Eddie Ray Johnson (Choctaw) came up with the idea of producing a song, by young members of the community that addressed the local heroin dealing head on. Mwalim, a multi-award-winning songwriter and producer as well as a member of the band and production unit, The GroovaLottos began approaching various members of the tribe who were into MCing about participating in the project.

The GroovaLottos decided to develop the project through their affiliated non-profit organization, Song Keepers, Ltd which also has an artist mentoring and development component. Through Song Keepers, LTD the band members sought and received support from a number of sources including the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, the Osborne Foundation, and individual philanthropist, Rachel Carey- Harper.

The GroovaLottos had the young spoken-word artists use a journalistic approach to creating their verses. They had to research the topic, the statistics, the effects, the causes, and the results. They also required that the writers could not curse in the song. According to Mwalim, "We had about 9 folks who were interested, but when it came to putting in the work, three were ready." Mashpee Wampanoag tribal members Keon Jackson (Young $umo), Morgan "ZYG" Peters (The Z.Y.G.), and Jahiem Frye (J Dolla) took out their phones, got behind the mic, and represented.

"… the community's got issues and we can't resolve them. Your whole game is played and you're part of the problem…" – J Dolla

The track was initially produced in Down Streeter Studios in Mashpee, with additional production and mixing at Area Twenty-Two Studios in Plymouth. The track will be released on the LM3 and SKL labels and will be made available as a free download.

The Soul Poet's Syndicate is a collective of affiliated MCs and spoken-word artists under the auspices of the Sonh Keepers, LTD's artist mentoring program. Young Sumo, The Z.Y.G., and J-Dolla are all tribal members who are very serious about developing their careers as performers and producers. Young Sumo is a traditional singer and drummer as well as an MC who rocked the crowd of attendees at the Standing Rock fundraiser held in Boston last December. The ZYG who is an award-winning jazz drummer, featured three years in a row as a headliner at the Boston Jazz Fest has also been moving crowds all over New England as a street performer who can rap and play drums at the same time. J- Dolla, who recently relocated to North Carolina, is an aspiring producer and MC with a significant underground following on Soundcloud.

The GroovaLottos are a regional soul-funk-blues band who are quickly gaining an international following after they were selected to open the Gathering Of Nations Powwow this past April, performing in front of an estimated 48,000 people live and 1.5 million world-wide via webstream. With their critically acclaimed debut album, "Ask Yo' Mama" making the preliminary round of The Grammys in six categories, including best producers for Mwalim and Eddie Ray; another focus of the band has been producing other artists. While they are primarily known as soul, funk and blues players, both producers are quite familiar with hip-hop from it's foundation. Growing up in the Bronx, Mwalim's involvement with hip-hop goes back to the 1980's, serving as a session player on a number of old school hip-hop projects out of Jazzy Jay's Recording Studio among others. As a touring drummer, Eddie Ray has provided beats for numerous lyricists live shows.

"FLIPPIN" - Soul Poet's Syndicate (Feat. Young $umo, The Z.Y.G., and J-Dolla):

"Sharing songs between tribes is a long standing tradition. It's only right to share this with all of Native America." Stated producer & percussionist Eddie Ray Johnson, "The next phase of the project is to complete a music video for the song and to take their message nationally, recognizing that First Nations communities throughout North America are enduring the same battle with opioids."

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The GroovaLottos album "Ask Yo' Mama" Being Considered for The Grammys

Genre bending debut album by powerhouse soul-funk-blues band, The GroovaLottos enters preliminary of The Grammys in six categories: Best Blues, Alternative, R&B, Pop, Country, and Best Producers

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"Ask Yo' Mama" is the debut album by The GroovaLottos and it has been finding its way onto over 150 radio station rotation lists throughout the USA and Canada, and was recently the "album of the week" on BBC Manchester in the UK. Now the album has made it into the preliminary round of The Grammys in six categories: "Best Contemporary Blues Album"; "Best Alternative Album"; "Best Traditional R&B Performance" for the song "Autumn Moon"; "Best Traditional Pop Performance" for the song "Ask Yo' Mama"; "Best Contemporary Country Performance" for the song "Do You Mind(IfWeDanceWitYoDates)?"; and "Best Production" for the production work of band members Mwalim & Eddie Ray Johnson.

This has been a landmark year for The GroovaLottos who are quietly making the rise from New England regional alternative band to an international act. They were selected to open the Gathering Of Nations Powwow this past April where they performed in front of an audience of 48,000 people live and 1.5 million via webstream. Their highly successful "The Phunk Hits" summer street concert tour on Cape Cod raised their international profile as tourists from all over danced in the streets to their music.

"Ask Yo' Mama" can be heard on Spotify. Add it to your playlists by visiting:

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The GroovaLottos Bring 'The Phunk' LIVE FROM CENTER STAGE in September

Grammy nominated band The GroovaLottos to perform a concert  on LIVE FROM CENTER STAGE on Sept 22. Reserve your tickets now!!!

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LIVE FROM CENTER STAGE presents The GroovaLottos in concert on Friday, September 22 @ 7PM. Doors open at 6:30. 17 Shad Hole Rd in Dennis, MA. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

LIVE FROM CENTER STAGE is a popular concert series that offers live performances of bands from all genres of music. Audiences can come see the concert live at the studio or watch the stream via the shows website.

On September 22, the multi-category nominated band The GroovaLottos will be phunking up the stage with their brand of soul, funk and blues. Since early July, The GroovaLottos have been on a street concert tour called "The Phunk Hits" in support of their Grammy nominated debut album "Ask Yo' Mama".

"Ask Yo' Mama" made it into the preliminary round of the Grammy's in 6 categories: Best Contemporary Blues Album; Best Alternative Album; Best Traditional R&B Performance for the song "Autumn Moon"; Best Traditional Pop song for "Ask Yo' Mama (Ima GroovaLotto); Best Contemporary Country song for "Do You Mind(IfWeDanceWitYoDates)?; and Best Producers for band members Mwalim DaPhunkee Professor and Eddie Ray Johnson.

Advanced tickets are $12 and can be purchased here:

The GroovaLottos Turn Cape Cod Streets Into Dance Parties with The Phunk Hits

Cape Cod arts organization, Song Keepers, Ltd. introduced Cape Cod to a roving performance series called The Phunk Hits, bringing the music of The GroovaLottos to the streets of the cape in celebration of a legacy of iconic venues.

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 "The Phunk Hits" is the name given to a touring street concert organized by Song Keepers, Ltd in an effort to liven up the streets of Cape Cod with a little authentic soul, funk and blues music by the Grammy nominated band, The GroovaLottos. Starting on July 8th, the tour hit Harwich, Provincetown, Wellfleet, Orleans, Dennis, Falmouth, Mashpee, the Onset Blues Festival, Marion and the Boston Jazz Fest.

The idea for "The Phunk Hits" came about when it was noticed in the summer of 2016 many town had outdoor musical performances by local and regional acts, mostly geared towards the perceived tastes of older audiences, featuring jazz, folk, and light rock acts. Meanwhile, regional soul-funk-blues band, The GroovaLottos recognized that these same audiences were coming to their shows; a fact that a lot of the decision makers were over-looking.

Song Keepers, Ltd, a non-profit arts and education organization co-founded by members of The GroovaLottos submitted proposals to the local cultural councils of the 14 towns of Barnstable County as well as Wareham, Marion and Carver for The Phunk Hits allowing The GroovaLottos to perform up close and personal with their audiences. Truro, Wellfleet, Orleans, Brewster, Harwich, Dennis, Mashpee, Falmouth and Marion gave the green light to SKLs vision and on July 8th, The Phunk Hits kicked off with a performance on Main Street in Harwich Port.

"Cape Cod has an unfortunate history of segregation, but from this history also comes a legacy of self sufficiency for businesses and artists of color. When venues, and arts foundations say 'no", but the average person in the street says 'we love your music!'. you eliminate the middle-man and go directly to your audience." - Billie Atkins, President of Song Keepers, Ltd

From the 1950s to the early 2000s Cape Cod was home to a number of legendary venues for blues and soul music, where national artists such as Bobby Blue Bland, Muddy Waters, Rufus Thomas, James Brown; and regionally-based artists like Weeping Willie, the Jonzun Brothers, Tavares, and Richie Rich (of Parliament Funkadelic) were regular performers at such long-gone venues as Joe Pete's, Zach's, Joe's Twin Villa, On The Rocks, Johnny Yee's, The Plantation, and the Mill Hill Club. With the exception of places like Grumpy's Pub in Falmouth and Gilda's Stone Rooster in Marion, the current local venues and their management are of a very different ilk, as The GroovaLottos can attest, where bands are mostly background noise for watching television and drinking.

"Based on the number of hits we've had on social media, direct CD sales and downloads of our album in the last several weeks... not to mention the cash in our tip bucket, I'd say our audience has found us."- Mwalim DaPhunkee Professor of The GroovaLottos

By the end of September, "The Phunk Hits" will have had about 21 presentations. So far, the program has drawn a collected audience of over 7000 people live and the performances have appeared in approximately 900 Facebook and Instagram live-streams by spectators from around the world.

Song Keepers, Ltd plans to further develop The Phunk Hits for next summer to include more artists and more locations, hoping to increase the buy-in from other towns and collaborations with the chambers of commerces that stage summer concerts. Meanwhile, The Phunk Hits will continue to keep folks dancing in the streets from Provincetown to Bourne until the end of September when the party will move inside.

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The GroovaLottos: NDN Soul & Funky Blues

The GroovaLottos: NDN Soul & Funky Blues

You can’t help but dance to the funky blues and soul sounds of The GroovaLottos, whose chart-climbing new single, “Do you Mind…? The Phunk,” earned them a nomination from this year’s Native American Music Awards.