Fla-Fla, the MC of the crew, also known as the Brooklyn born, Bronx bred nomad from Baltimore was amazed at hip hop when it was in its toddler stages. Growing up in the Bronx he was there at the park jams, at least until it got late and he had to go in the house. Even then he would listen from the window. Fla-Fla says, “We lived on the 13th floor and our window faced Clark Park. So when I was supposed to to be sleep, I was listening to the music and the MC rhymes in the park. I was also pouting because my older cousins were at the park jam and I was too young.” Hip Hop has ALWAYS been a major part of Fla-Fla’s life. But at 14, Fla’s grandmother passed, which forced him to stay in Baltimore permanently with his mother. Hip Hop was not as big of a deal in Baltimore then, but with the help of family the fire kept burning inside of Fla. He says, “My cousin would record the Kool DJ Red Alert radio show and sometimes Mr. Magic’s radio show every week, make a dub, and send me a copy.” But in the late 80 early 90’s hip hop really began to flourish in Baltimore. And Fla-Fla was a part of it. Rap groups began to emerge such as: The We Rock Crew, Z3 MC’s, Level 4, The Numarx, and others. Fla-Fla was determined, and felt it only right, to get in where he fitted in. Being a skilled dancer he began touring with The Numarx, in which music mogul Kevin Liles was a part of. Fla Fla saw this as an opportunity to infiltrate the industry. But his opportunity came at a later date.
Just as hip hop is indigenous of the New York scene, and Go-Go music is that of the Washington, DC scene, what emerged in the early to mid 90’s in Baltimore was Club Music. And Fla Fla experienced the emergence of this music as well. He says, “I worked in a record store with Scottie B who is considered the God Father of Baltimore Club Music. I was in the studio with him when he was creating this sound and preparing it for his first release. And to be honest, at that point I did not believe in it.” Fla Fla was a known MC at this time and for reasons unknown he was invited to be a part of a now historic 12” which featured a Baltimore Club Music record called “Booty Mission: Yo, Yo Where the Hoes At”. This Baltimore Club Record made so much noise in Baltimore that it gained national attention and the attention of music executive Virgil Simms (FRESH + SLEEPING BAG) whom is a Baltimore native. Virgil Simms signed on as management and Fla Fla who was then part of a group called The Runaway Slaves, was signed to Savage Records a subsidiary of BMG. Savage Records was the home of legendary rocker David Bowie and classic hip hop artist Just-Ice. As a part of the Runaway Slaves, Fla Fla toured opening for the likes of Black Moon, Brand Nubian, The Geto Boys, and others. The Runaway Slaves even recorded a full-length LP, which the world MIGHT get to hear one day if Fla Fla would be so gracious. But the album was never released because the label folded. But during the album’s recording Fla Fla had a friend in college who said he knew a GREAT producer and asked him to listen to some of this producers work. And this is when Fla Fla met 12. Fla Fla says, “Every beat Dre (12) played was AMAZING. At the third beat I knew that Dre needed to be showcased on the Runaway Slaves album.” After the label disbanded, so did the Runaway Slaves; one member, Ty Flex becoming a DJ and the other Shawn Caesar beginning a record label that would eventually push Baltimore Club Music to a national audience and then to a global audience.
After the disbanding of The Runaway Slaves, Fla Fla was a little discouraged but continued to communicate with 12 on a regular basis; listening to beats and just kicking it. Then Fla Fla had an epiphany, “We have the same musical influence in mind, why don’t we band together?” It was almost automatic. These guys didn’t even have a name. Fla Fla and (Dre)12 just began creating music. Fla first created the name East Coast Avengers; corny. But one day on the way to work while listening to a Marvin Gaye album entitled “Here, My Dear” a song played called “Sparrow’s Song”. This song not only sounded amazing on the surface but it invigorated Fla Fla’s soul. After work he immediately called Dre (12) and said we are Sparrow. And (Dre)12 said “word!”. This DJ and rapper duo went on to create one of the most sought after 12” vinyl records ever entitled “Physics b/w Rhyme Impotence”. This record was released on Unruly Records as its first and only hip hop release. As this was the label created by Runaway Slaves member Shawn Caesar to showcase Baltimore Club Music. But Physics went on to gain national as well as international acclaim. Physics is the title track of a previously unreleased album that will be released in 2013. Sparrow also released another highly sought after 12” on Da Hill Records entitled “Inheritance” b/w “The Chase”. Another previously unreleased album entitled “Love & Violence” will be released in 2013. Inheritance was originally the lead single for this album. The issues of life and Fla Fla learning the music business from the inside out caused a stall in Sparrow’s Movement, but new music is on the horizon.
SIX2SIX Records, the new home of Sparrow The Movement, has set the stage for the world to now hear what a journey sounds like; the journey that forged The Jacob Theology. The Jacob Theology holds the premise that man will NEVER come to a true understanding of God until he wrestles with Him. The wrestling is in the logical mind represented by the flesh and the spiritual mind represented by the Spirit. The two are at odds. Simply put, you have to question the status quo. You have to study and then question what you have been taught. Jesus did. Until death he challenged every belief, every tradition, every ritual, and every idol. He broke a lot of “rules” in the process as well. But do not think the Jacob Theology will be some Gospel or Christian album. It will be a HIP-HOP album; beats, rhymes, and life. Fla Fla says, “Public Enemy did not put out Muslim albums, Big Daddy Kane and Rakim did not put out Nation of God’s and Earth albums. They released HIP HOP albums.” Fla’s songwriting will deal with issues of faith such as sex and attraction, sexuality, anti-pacifism, disposition, love, and hate. And it will be done over a musical collage of jazz, soul, gospel, and rock music in a way that holds true to Sparrow’s authentic 90’s hip hop sound.