“Cold Cash” Alexander III, Mario “Skeez” Burney and Blaine “Kid K-Zoo” Burnett began their musical careers in their hometown of Kalamazoo, MI. As high school students in 2004, they formed a group called “Triple Threat” and began performing at local venues while also producing their own demos. In 2007 they decided to change their group name to “Prime Suspects” because it more appropriately fit their style and image. That same year they released their first album “Til Death Do Us Apart.” Shortly after, they added a fourth member Brandon “Sino” Slaughter who brought his own sound and style to the group.
Prime Suspects have recently opened for many artists throughout the Midwest such as B.O.B., E-40, Bone Thugz N Harmony, Yo Gotti, Twista, Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Rittz, Nappy Roots, Lil Wyte, and many others. In 2014, the group members founded Prime Suspects Music Group LLC. Their first project from the new Independent Label was the mixtape “The Lifestyle on Liquor & Louds.”
Prime Suspects dropped their new album “The Take Off” on September 4th, 2015. Even if you’re hopelessly alienated from American rap and hip-hop, Prime Suspects is extremely hard to resist if there is a musical bone in your body. “The Take Off” sums up the qualities that make these guys irresistible: smart sampling, superb vocal hooks, maturity, sagacious rapping and finely attuned ears for infectious beats and rhythms. The lead single “We Gon Make It (ft. Charlee),” sums up all these qualities in just 4 minutes.
Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
Prime Suspects: I Kid K-Zoo, Skeez, and Sino grew up in our hometown of Kalamazoo, MI and Cash spent most of his childhood in Muskegon Heights, MI. We all have different influences and musical backgrounds that lead to our interest in music and rap music specifically but we all came together and started doing music back in high school when Cash moved to K-Zoo.
Exposed Vocals: How did you come up with that name? What was your inspiration behind it?
Prime Suspects: “Everywhere I go I’m A Suspect” not only is that a line from one of our new songs but it describes the way we have felt since we first got started. Thinking back to when we started and even to this day we have always been that group of people who grab your attention whenever we show up. From our younger days of running around causing trouble, being the life of the party and making moves with the music, we are the ones they talk about, Prime Suspects!
Exposed Vocals: What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?
Prime Suspects: At this point in our career music sharing has helped us. Word of mouth has always been and will continue to be the best form of marketing. When we gain a new fan, chances are their friends have similar interests and taste in music and they are more likely to check us out and become a fan themselves off of that recommendation to check us out from someone they know. Between albums we drop free mixtapes and singles. It’s important to give back to the fans that support us. They spend their hard earned money on our music and merchandise, so it’s only right that after we stop heavily promoting an album, we still give them something new from time to time to keep them engaged until our next album drops.
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
Prime Suspects: Network network network! Building relationships with promoters and local or web radio stations are key! Once you have those relationships you still have to outwork everyone. There are many talented artists out there but it’s the ones that work the hardest that will have the most success.
Exposed Vocals: Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
Prime Suspects: Yes, we are still human… but we rehearse and work hard to prepare for our performances and that helps us keep mistakes to a minimum. When they happen you just roll with it and keep performing giving 100%. You learn from it and try not to let it happen again, it’s not the end of the world!
Exposed Vocals: Do you tour? Anything interesting happen on tour that you think our readers would enjoy hearing about?
Prime Suspects: We have done many shows out of town and out of state but we haven’t had our own tour yet. With that said we are currently in the process of scheduling and booking dates for a tour to promote our new album “The Take Off” and hope to hit the road early 2016.
Exposed Vocals: Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process?
Prime Suspects: Inspiration can come from anywhere. A past experience whether good or bad, something you’ve seen, something you’ve read about… the opportunities for inspiration are endless. As far as songwriting it isn’t really a process. One of the good things about us being a group of four is that someone always has a new idea or concept. Some of us still write bars in notebooks, some on phones, and tablets. Sometimes you already have a verse that fits a concept and sometimes you write a new verse specifically for a new song.
Exposed Vocals: Do you have a band website? What online platforms do you use to share your music?
Prime Suspects: Yes, our official website is www.PrimeSuspectsMusic.com
Exposed Vocals: What are some really embarrassing songs that we might find on your mp3 player?
Prime Suspects: Nothing embarrassing but you may be surprised to find some 80’s rock on Cash’s playlist. Skeez listens to more down south hard bangers, Sino is the guy who stays in touch with the underground and knows about all the up and coming artists before the rest of the world. Kid K-Zoo, I listen to a lot of 90’s hip hop.
Exposed Vocals: If you were given half a million dollars and a year off, what would you do? How would you spend it?
Prime Suspects: A half a million and year off would allow us to make some big investments in our music career and be able to do music full time. We would definitely put that in to furthering our music and movement!
Exposed Vocals: Any planned studio upgrades? What are you working with now?
Prime Suspects: We record with DX the Flex at The House of Trees in Battle Creek, MI. I don’t even know the specific names of the hardware or software he uses, but the quality of our music is always on point.
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
Prime Suspects: Social media is always huge for promotion and tends to work the best if you learn how to effectively reach large numbers of people. Of course doing shows and music videos are big as well. We have also used Google and Bing ads, and targeted ads through popular music websites.
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
Prime Suspects: Right now we are heavily promoting our recently released album “The Take Off.” Next is planning “The Take Off Tour” to promote the album and reach some cities and states that we haven’t been to before.
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
Prime Suspects: We couldn’t see ourselves doing something other than music. This is what we love, this is our passion and our goal is to make a successful career out of music.
Exposed Vocals: How do you juggle the rest of your responsibilities while trying to stay ahead in your music life?
Prime Suspects: It is a relentless grind but working as a team and the support we have from the people who help us behind the scenes is what has allowed us to continue to push our music and grow. You’ve got to appreciate the people who work hard but don’t get the spotlight like we do, they are invaluable.
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in 2015?
Prime Suspects: Right now I would ask fans to buy or stream the new album. Come out and see us when our tour comes near you in early 2016. We have all new merchandise set to release within the next couple weeks and the launch of our online store at www.primesuspectsmusic.com We will continue to work hard and keep giving you the best music we can create. As always we appreciate all the love and support from all of our fans and thank you to Exposed Vocals for taking the time to interview us!