The Story of Langston Hughes III
Langston Hughes III is an American Hip Hop group from Charleston SC. The group consists of Renaissance men Chawle Dawk Da Superstar, Maximillion, Choc Da Bully and Da Moja DJ Cory B. The group's music is a natural progression of the "golden era" of hip hop music they have termed Adult Contemporary Head Nod Music. "We are not stuck in the 90's but we also do not move to the beat of the current drums" says Chawle Dawk DA Superstar. The group took its name from Harlem Renaissance leader, poet and activist, Langston Hughes." Langston Hughes was a Renaissance man... from merging his poetry with Jazz to fashion. His suit game was crazy! We embody that same creative energy." says Maximillion. Langston Hughes's poem Dream Deferred also stands as the foundation and motivation for the group re entering the music industry 20 years later.
LH3 got its start in the early 90’s under the name Madd Phlayva by Jermaine Benjamin, Chris Whitty and Herman Rice. “We were two separate groups who met at a club trying to open for a Pete Rock & CL Smooth concert. I already knew Chris as a dancer but found out he was a nice MC that night. We freestyled together that night and the rest is Our Story”, says Herman Rice aka Chawle Dawk Da Superstar. The trio decided to become a group after recording a couple songs together a few weeks later.
Madd Phlayva started recording a demo in a local studio and the glue started to stick. After finishing the demo EP, the studio owners felt the trio had something big and decided to start a record label around the group and shop for a nationwide distribution deal. This lead them to Jack The Rapper, a popular Hip Hop convention. Madd Phlayva was scheduled to perform on the up and coming artist stage but after a powerful sound check performance the group was moved to the big stage as an opening act for the majors.” They actually let us on the kiddie show as a spoof because they were thinking rappers from SC? This should be funny. We showed them very early we were no joke” says Chawle Dawk. The group went from opening the show to actually closing the show amidst hip hop luminaries from Tupac to Run DMC. The group was asked to come back to perform the next night after moving the crowd performing after Run DMC, the show’s headliner. The Jack the Rapper performances and the group’s single Niteliphe landed them a national distribution deal with SOLAR Records. SOLAR Records was responsible for Soul Train and numerous R&B artists from The Calloway Brothers, Lakeside and Shalimar to name a few.
Going Back to Cali
Da Phlayva headed to Los Angeles to record its debut album 6 months after the group formed. The group recorded in SOLAR studios which a year earlier housed Dr. Dre for the recording of The Chronic. A month later the group finished recording Phlayva 4 Dem All and had to drop the Madd because a group on Priority Records already released with the name. The group then became Da Phlayva. The album showcased bass heavy melodic beats from producers Jahmes Wizard and Robert Dyches as well as the lyrical prowess of the hick city slicks. The album cover displayed a controversial rendition of the confederate flag laced in the African liberation colors of red, black and green. The album released spring 1994.
The group hit the road for a nationwide tour to promote the album. In the midst of touring, two major events occurred. OJ Simpson and his Bronco and a fan of Da Phlayva wore a t-shirt to school with the group’s album cover photo and was suspended for wearing “offensive clothing”. The suspension sparked a local race relations buzz that quickly took to the national stage. The high school student as well as the record label executives appeared on numerous national talk shows and from this controversy gave birth to the clothing line Nu South which graced the pages of GQ Magazine.
Industry politics stalled the group’s project and they made their way back to SC where they became heavily involved with the local Hip Hop Scene. “As soon as we entered the door we got pushed back out” says Chawle Dawk. The group then started recording independently and working with other local artist. . The trio then started a radio show which played underground hip hop as well as local artist. The group members started a recording studio giving local artist an avenue to create and started promoting parties and shows throughout the Carolinas. They also took the best MCs from Charleston and formed the supergroup Da Carolina Pathfindaz.
Langston Hughes III: A project whose time has come.
Spring 2014, Chopped Herring Records based out of France contacted the group looking to release a limited edition vinyl of the group’s 1993 album. “We found out we actually had a following internationally based on that one album that was released pre internet! exclaims Maximillion. Due to a resurgence of interest in the group’s whereabouts internationally, Chawle Dawk and Maximillion has decided to step back on the music scene under the moniker Langston Hughes III with their brand of Adult Contemporary Head Nod Music. “Imagine that 90’s boom bap all grown up talking grown man business over grown man beats… that’s us baby!” says Chawle Dawk. Langston Hughes III has just moved from dream deferred to dream expedited.