Photo by Elaine Rackley
Da Famous Boyzz performed during the third annual Atlanta Caribbean Spring Festival held in McDonough last month. Malik Ashley, David Bishop Jr., Michael Belcher and Branden Barkley were summoned to return to the stage on the McDonough Square for an encore performance.
HAMPTON — “Ladies and gentlemen! Time for the party of the year. We have a guest list, and if you ain’t on it, you can’t come in,” declares David Bishop Jr., vocalist and keyboardist for the Da Famous Boyzz.
The lyrics are from a bouncy hip hop single entitled “P.H.P.” [Private House Party], which is on the newest album of the same name. The four Dutchtown High School seniors are making waves in the music business. They have been performing together for six years, and the group is increasing in popularity.
Da Famous Boyzz, composed of musician Branden Barkley, rappers/vocalists Michael Belcher and Malik Ashley, and Michael Bishop Jr., are back in Henry County after completing a tour in New York City this spring.
The group is busy this summer and they are booked through the fall, said Rosalind Bishop, the group’s manager. She said she is the former manager of Arrow Records, which is owned by the wife of Rev. Creflo Dollar, Taffi. She’s the mother of David Bishop Jr.
“With my experience in the recording industry, I am familiar with all of this,” she explained. “For me, seeing all of the fame unfold before my eyes, I know I am watching my husband’s vision for Da Famous Boyzz unfold. That’s what keeps me going and pushing. ... I started the label to support and protect Da Famous Boyzz from all the evil that is out there in the music industry.”
Da Famous Boyzz’s video “P.H.P.” has become a “viral sensation,” according to the group’s manager. The group has a radio show on Blog Talk Radio.com on Sundays from 6 p.m., until 7 p.m. They are scheduled to appear Sunday, July 15, at the National Black Arts Festival. They will be in concert Saturday, July 21, during the “Feed My People Back to School Giveaway” at Red Oak United Methodist Church in Stockbridge. Later the same day, they will be in concert for the Connecting Henry “Parent Expo 2012” at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The group is scheduled to perform at Dixieland Fun park, in Fayetteville, on Sept. 1, during its Labor Day celebration.
The multicultural group has known each other since their days at Dutchtown Middle School.
Group members said they were motivated by the loss of their mentor, David Bishop Sr., a former New York disc jockey, to make their “P.H.P.” video.
“We found one of his cards, with “Private House Posse” on it, so instead of crying over his passing away we put all of our [energy] into the song,” said his son, David Bishop Jr., 17. Some of the other tunes on the CD include, “Take Your Girl,” “Boom,” and “My Life’s Amazing.”
The Dutchtown youngsters, like other artists, have gotten the ultimate recognition for their work, PHP and their other songs are being played on major national music radio stations.
Members of Da Famous Boyzz admitted it is rewarding watching people enjoy their music, but they had no idea how popular “P.H.P.” had become.
“I was in the Walmart, and someone walked up to me singing the song,” said Ashley, 18. “The same thing happened to me while I was in school, too. I’ve always wanted to have a hit song. It made me realize that we have to work even harder now that our music is exposed.”
“The first time I heard the song on the radio, I was like, wow!” exclaimed Belcher, 17.
“I felt like we were one step closer to our dream,” said Barkley, 18.
“It’s good to know that my grandmother, mother and entire family can listen to our music without hearing any profanity,” said Bishop, Jr.
Da Famous Boyzz are returning to the recording studio to work on a new single.
“We want to make good music while in the studio,” said Barkley. “We are looking for perfection from each other.”
“There’s bigger things for us to do, so now it’s time to work harder,” added Bishop Jr.