Arts and Culture

You can try to pin down the style of music The Homies puts out, but then you wouldn’t get the full story. 

“We pride ourselves on being multifaceted, very versatile artists and, you know, having a lot of creative influences,” said Chauncy “Ace Pro” Craighead, a member of the hip hop group. 

The artist, engineer and producer stressed that The Homies members are “very eager to push boundaries and make waves of our own.”

“We’re gonna take what we’re influenced by and turn it into a whole brand new thing that you may have not seen or even maybe polish something up that people may have overlooked.”

The Homies performed at Waterfront Park Friday for Forecastle Festival, the first one since before the COVID-19 pandemic. And The Homies is one of the few musical acts with Louisville ties on the lineup, according to a festival spokesperson.

An ‘organic’ musical beginning 

The Homies started making music together around 2012. Group members Marquis “Quiiso” Driver, Dawoyne “2forwOyNE” Lawson and his twin brother, DaEndre “Shloob” Lawson, were students at the University of Louisville then. 

“I wanted to come to a new dorm and kind of meet some new people,” said Driver, who raps and sings for the group. “First face I saw, literally, was 2forwOyNE’s in there. We made a connection. I saw that he was making beats, and I went ahead and started gravitating towards him so we could start doing production as well.”

Most of them had musical backgrounds already. 

Driver said his mom sings and dad rapped and did production. 

“Music has always been around for me… always in the forefront of my mind,” he said. 

Producer, engineer and artist Dawoyne Lawson, who has played a slew of different instruments throughout his life, said, when they all started making music together, the connection was immediate. 

“It was pretty organic,” he said. “Our energies wasn’t colliding or interfering with each other’s growth. We all had the same goals and aspirations. So we were just putting our heads together.”

They felt stronger as a unit than as individual artists.

And in 2018, they released their first album, “Umbrellas.”

Their recent album is “Honest Living,” which came out in early September. 

They consider it their most mature work yet. 

“The production was more polished, the lyrics was more polished, the concepts and everything,” Craighead said. “So everything was a little bit more fleshed out.”

The Homies like to keep everything in-house, writing, producing, recording and engineering their own music. That’s how they keep their music true to themselves. 

“It is a little bit easier to get your creative visions out when you’re doing it in-house versus outsourcing to other people,” Driver said. 

On Wednesday, they released a new single called “Shake.” 

The track has a lot of early 2000s influences and is packed with local ties, Craighead said 

“The name of the song is called ‘Shake,’ but it’s a derivative of ‘rey shake.’ If you’re from Louisville, you know ‘rey shake’ means I’m ready to leave. So yeah, we turned that and made it a dance record.”

A voice that pops up often on songs released by The Homies is Louisville rapper Jack Harlow. The Homies and Harlow are tight. They’re all part of the Private Garden collective, a close-knit group of Louisville hip hop artists. The collective members, which also includes producer and writer Nemo Achida and photographer Urban Wyatt, are collaborators and close friends. 

Looking ahead

As for what’s next, the artists said they’re taking some time to hone their skills and stay open to new opportunities. 

But for now, they’re enjoying the weekend, and taking the stage at Forecastle. Craighead said it feels special to play an event like this in the city they call home, and he hopes it can inspire others. 

“People out in the crowd can actually just look up and be like, ‘Hey, I see them often enough where I can be where they are, if I just put my head down and get to what, you know, I’m passionate about, whether it’s music or anything creative.’”

Stephanie Wolf is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.