Taurean Steele X Sentry X Who's Sonikley
Written by: Lauren Demir
London artists Taurean Steele (rapper/singer/producer), Sentry (rapper) and Who’s Sonikley (producer) released their EP ThunderGround, earlier this year. The friends decided to release a joint project after continuously working with one another. ThunderGround, solely produced by Who’s Sonikley, successfully incorporates their individual styles and influences smoothly. The result? A blend of rap and rnb, or a genre which they call ThunderGround. We met up with them to learn more about who are they are and what they are about.
“We’re all the same person but different at the same time. We think the same. Outside music, politically we think the same, socially we think the same, in the ends mind frame, we think the same."
Taurean Steele: (left) "I’ve known Sentry here since I was about twelve. We met in year seven and used to make music and we had a little group back then and what not. Grew up, went collage together. Musically we kinda went our separate ways kind of thing. Before I didn’t really sing, I'd just rap and do my little grime and what not. Then I think it was like five years ago, I met Sonikley through a friend who was my producer at the time and he let me know like ‘I got a friend from school whose so cold, he’s this, that’"
Sentry: (middle)"Me and Taurean we never actually made music together per say, like we made one or two songs I got introduced to Sonikley, these lot knew each other prior musically so I came into the equation, you know."
Who's Sonikely: (right)“We’re all the same person but different at the same time. We think the same. Outside music, politically we think the same, socially we think the same, in the ends mind frame, we think the same. But we’re different as well though. So I think if we didn’t link on that level musically (we would still be friends)”.
"I actually appreciate different types of genres. I don’t want to say equally. I can draw something from each genre"
Taurean Steele: "I’m going to say Michael Jackson from the jump. I listen to a lot of music. I listen to different types and I actually appreciate different types of genres. I don’t want to say equally. I can draw something from each genre and put it into my kind of style innit. But 90’s RnB heavily. You know SWV, Escape, Total, Genuwine, them man there. Who else? Timberland, Timberlands whole camp; Missy Elliott, Aaliyah."
Sentry: "I have loads of influences. One person who I can say in a nutshell would be Jay Z. Just the way he conducts himself, I like the way he moves and the sense of his business acumen. Obviously yeah there is loads of others, but thats just one of them."
Who's Sonikely: "I make beats so its more of genres. For me its Neo Soul, Hip Hop and RnB up to 2007."
Taurean Steele: "Rah this guy is precise, that was specific."
Who's Sonikely: "Nah the sound changed mad, in terms of one producer just ripping throughout the whole thing. We were discussing how 'Ahh this feels like Timberland and Aaliyah and Static Major.' Obviously when Aaliyah came out or Missy’s stuff they were just working. In the 90’s it was known for a producer and a artist to work from top to bottom and right now you have guys who are just taking beats from all over the place and you can hear that. It doesn’t sound cohesive. So with this tape the reason why, every tune sound different but as a whole it sounds cohesive because we worked from the start to the end. And the Jamcaian stuff like Bob Marley, Vybz Kartel and them man there Popcaan."
Taurean Steele: "What about Dilla you ain’t mentioned Dilla?"
Who's Sonikely: "Oh my days Dilla. I am so sorry fam."
Sentry: (Laughing) "He had to apologise."
Who's Sonikely: "I had to fam, hes a great definitely. But yeah 90s rnb, hip hop, neo soul the most tho. Thats my genre definitely."
MAKING THE EP
" I have a lot of friends that don’t listen to UK music day to day... So I kind wanted to make something for them as well"
Taurean Steele: "So ThunderGround. The noise of the underground, does that make sense? It's the ones who know about the unknown. Does that make sense? Do you know Justice League? You know who Batman is, You know who Superman is, You know who Wonder Woman is you know they all do their own thing. But then the Justice League (assembles)."
Sentry: "ThunderGround, so the name of the tape is a way of life. WE ARE NOT A GROUP. WE ARE NOT A GROUP. (laughing) I’m playing but nah seriously. If he does something its ThunderGround, if I do something its ThunderGround its the ying and the yang."
Taurean Steele: "In terms of the whole ying and yang thing, initially we were going to call the tape heaven and earth. When ThunderGround came about, the reason why we wanted to call it heaven and earth is because we were trying to mess with the base sounds but with like a melodic kind of."
Sentry: "Hard and soft."
Who's Sonikley: "Like hardcore, the low end just dirty and the high is really pretty. We’re serving two differnret entities as one. Mashed together, obviously you heard the tape and the reason why it's different is because of that. We didn’t want to be boxed in at all. We wanted it to sound new. We’re not conforming."
Sentry: "And another thing what motivated me to make the tape as well, is the fact that I have a lot of friends that don’t listen to UK music day to day. I don’t have friends that will be in the car and just put on Grime and even UK hip hop for that matter. So I kind wanted to make something for them as well, people that don’t listen to UK music. Because I’ve had a lot of people that have said 'Yeah, I don’t really listen to the UK stuff but I’m feeling this (tape)."
"Not our personal perception per say but as we got older its like its a joke ting. Like i can’t play grime to my mum."
Taurean Steele: "I’m a Caribbean man, not to say we are trying to make club music, but when I go to clubs and stuff I can hear black music from every country in one club. From America, from Jamacia or the Caribbean, Bashment or Soca, Afrobeats. I don’t want to diss anyone, but me personally, once I hear something from here thats Grime, I’m like 'Yo' this killed my vibe.' I can’t take Grime to Jamaica and expect them to (vibes), you know what I’m trying to say. I can take afro beats to the Caribbean, I can take soca there."
Who's Sonikley: "Let me just get my section out there quickly. I know its kind of weird but when it comes to Grime I don’t know nothing about Grime. I don’t know the latest artists in Grime, I would even say UK music at all. The only ones I know would be Chipmunk, Wiley and then stuff would get hard for me after that. My older brother just used to play RnB and Hip Hop and in my house thats all we play, so obviously thats influenced me. My friends and that were into the same things that I’m into, so I never had an opportunity to listen to others."
Taurean Steele: "I used to do Grime, I was going to say something but its gonna sound like I’m gonna diss the thing. I used to do grime and then I grew up basically."
Sentry: "Not our personal perception per say but as we got older its like its a joke ting. Like I can’t play grime to my mum. Its funny back when I did Grime, people liked it but I remember one of my friends mums was like 'The video looks nice and stuff, but whats he saying, I can’t hear him the beats are sounding a bit mad.' You can’t really take it in."
Who's Sonikley: "I’d like to say for all 3 of us we do accept that Grime is a part of UK culture, we support it but me personally I never understood it. So I stayed to the RnB and the Hip Hop."
Taurean Steele: "We’re going to work on our solo stuff. I got my Self Help, that should be dropping some-time, I’m not going to say soon, just sometime."
Sentry: "I'm just at the early stages. His tape is basically ready to go really."
Taurean Steele: "Ish, I still don’t know if I’m going to install it or if I’m going to drop it as one body of work. And then we got Thuder- Ground, the 2nd one."
Sentry: "Download the bludclart tape, go get the tape, go get the tape, go get the tape!"
Who's Sonikley: "And watch the video as well."
"Download the blud-clart tape, go get the tape, go get the tape, go get the tape"