Local Music: Fly.Union

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The concept behind Fly.Union's debut album "The Greater Than Club" is simple. The execution is anything but.

"It's a club, I guess," explained Iye, one-third of the Columbus hip-hop group. "It's a loose gathering of likeminded people. It started with shallow beginnings, but it evolved into a lifestyle of being great regardless of what you do - school, work, music, art, whatever it is."

Few artists live up to the common mantra "Be all you can be" like this crew has with "The Greater Than Club." The album feels like a dream, a densely layered cruise through the trio's collective headspace. Each track presents a snapshot of ambitious young socialites looking to get rich, bed women and rule the world.

All the excess feels strange coming from a group that once released "Gold Chain (On Credit)," a smart critique of rappers who buy jewelry before paying their bills. But with powerful fans like LeBron James, who frequently tweets about his love for Fly.Union, they could be on their way to payday after all. And if they've embraced the aspiration approach, they've done it with finesse; lead lyricist Jerreau finds countless ways to reinvent and rephrase affluence rap.

Lush layers of keyboard and smartly snared samples lend an almost literary quality to Fly.Union's tales of young women, old champagne and too much money. As producers, they've come a long way since fledgling 2007 compilation "Kill Fly.U."

"There's a lot of music in it," Swifa said. "It's not just straight drums and a snare."

Guest spots from Dom Kennedy, Pac Div and B.J. the Chicago Kid lend "TGTC" some blogger cred, but it's truly Fly.Union's event. Appropriately, they're celebrating in a big way this week, with a show in Atlanta on Thursday followed by a concert with Lil B Friday at the Newport. Look for more big gigs on the horizon.

"The more music we put out, the more shows we get," Jerreau said. "We're just ready to hit the road and rock out."

Download it:

"The Greater Than Club"


See them:

Newport Music Hall

7 p.m. Friday, April 29

1722 N. High St., Campus