Of Binary Star & Subterraneous Records
There are many poets, and far too many rappers, but the mastery of One Be Lo’s wordplay, metaphors, story telling skills, and socially concious lyrics place him in a league above the rest. His ability to translate life experience into music, passion into performance, allows One Be Lo to command attention both on record and stage.
Born just North of Detroit Michigan, Raland Scruggs aka One Man Army would grow up in Pontiac where the once almighty General Motors Corporation would begin to shut down factories that employed thousands, leaving many jobless, and the city wounded. These blue collar origins, would teach him the meaning of hard work, and the impact of Motown in his home would unknowingly plant the seeds for a future artist.
He would end his brief career in jazz band, and he began writing rhymes for fun in 7th grade. By age 16 this aspiring producer was digging in his step-fathers record collection for samples, and recording with highschool friends, during what many would consider to be the golden years of Hip Hop.
The summer after highschool graduation, life would take a drastic turn when One Be Lo’s extra-curricular activities would land him in prison for 2 years and some change. While inside Lo embraces the teachings of Islam(changes his name to Nahshid Sulaiman), and along with fellow inmate Senim Silla they would study the music business and form a Hip Hop group called Binary Star.
Upon release Binary Star went straight to work, announcing to friends how they would produce and release their own music. They recorded a 4 song EP, and next an album titled “Waterworld” (1999), while still on parole. Once Waterworld hit the internet, online hip hop magazines and message boards would dub it a ” classic”. Without touring, publicity, marketing, or management, popular demand would soon prompt Distribution company TRC (San Francisco) to sign a distribution deal that would further push Binary Star (Motu 2000) into playlists across the globe. There are good things that come to an end, and within a 2 year period Binary Star would break up, citing creative differences.
In early 2000, he organized a production team(Trackezoids) and started a new movement/record label called Subterraneous. As an activist, One Man Army would speak to youth in schools, organize workshops, sit on a variety of panels, and work as an ally with student and community organizations across the U.S. As an artist he would produce and rap on Subterraneous Records projects(WaterWorld Too, 2001), that would also help to jumpstart the careers of other recruited Michigan artists such as Decompoze, Octane, Illite, and others. Under Lo’s guidance, The Subterraneous collective would build a reputation for destroying stages through out the midwest.
Since his days of little league baseball, Lo has always been a team player, but even then his voice and technique have always stood out amongst the crowd. Subterraneous would release his solo project, “F.e.t.u.s.”(2002). Without a manager, a booking agent, or industry connections, he would take his music/ movement to cities all over the US in true road warrior fashion, sharing the stage with the likes of Wu Tang Clan, De La Soul, Mos Def, MF Doom, Rakim, Dead Prez, Ludacris, Lupe Fiasco KRS One, and many more.
From constant Networking and relentless touring, the rising star caught the ears of FatBeats records(New York) and he would become the first artist signed to their label division. He would change his name from One Man Army to One Be Lo to avoid further confusion or potential legal tussles with a Punk Band who shared the same name. FatBeats released “S.o.n.o.g.r.a.m.”(2005), URB magazine cites One Be Lo in its “Next 100”, and after rave reviews One Be Lo would again earn critical acclaim, this time as a solo artist.
With a reputation as one of the hardest working artist in HipHop, National student organizations such as Hip Hop congress, and Community Organizations such as Iman(Chicago) recruit One Be Lo as an artist/activist/spokesman. Lo becomes a member of the World Champion Massive Monkees BBoy collective(Seattle), and is embraced by BBoy culture performing at international events such as Battle of the Year(Germany) and Freestyle Session(Europe, Asia, U.S.). The Vans Warped Tour(U.S.) booked One Be Lo as one of the few Hip Hop artists on its 60 city rock tour for 3 years. Again in road warrior fashion, Canada and Europe are added to his tour schedule, as well as a hosts of Music Festivals such as SXSW, Bumbershoot, D.E.M.F., CMJ’s, Scribble Jam just to name a few. Lo eventually outgrows FatBeats, and convinces them to release him from his contractual obligations.
Frequent travelling to Europe and the Middle East not only broadens exposure, but also his world view of culture and struggle. In 2007 he relocates from Michigan to Cairo. From a Pontiac prince to a King in Egypt, Lo now commutes to Europe and the U.S. To record and tour.
By this time, Lo has worked with Producers like the legendary Pete Rock, as well as Jake One, Vitamin D and Black Milk to name a few. With no label to call home and a new sound, Subterraneous partners with Integral music to release One Be Lo’s “R.e.b.i.r.t.h.”(2007)album. He spends the summer of 2008 in Seattle working on new movement called “B.a.b.y.” (Being a Black Youth). This multi-media project includes not only a documentary, a book, clothing, but toys as well. Being a black youth is not only a Bio of One Be Lo as a youth in Pontiac Michigan, but focuses on the many experiences of youth in school, amongst peers, family, the army, crime and much more all across America. The B.a.b.y. album features artist from all over the U.S. such as Zion I(Oakland), Devin the Dude (Houston), Royce da 5’9(Detroit), Freeway (Philadelphia), Jean Grae (New York), Phonte (N. Carolina) and many others. These artists help not only cosign One Be Lo to be a respectable lyricist, they also tell the story.
With the level of respect among peers, the adoration of fans all over the world, the support of various activists, grassroots organizations and schools throughtout… One Be Lo’s universal appeal and unforgetable voice will continue to be heard for a long time.
One Be Lo Recently did a Play List Review for XLR8R
Check it out here
One Be Lo will be performing with a full band at The Walnut Room on May 16th w/ MC Pigpen, Kosha Dillz, The Paradox & Whygee
One Be Lo freestyles in the lab with The North Starz