Rebel Music Collective (RMC) is an entertainment label that was created by Kane Tabiri in 2011. The idea for the Collective came as Kane realized the arsenal of talent that he was surrounded by, namely in his sister, Ama, and his close friend, Charles Tyler. By 2015, Ama joined Kane and Charles Tyler to form the hip-hop/R&B group now known as Lo Village. The group is based out of their hometown, Gaithersburg, MD, a well-known breeding ground of hip hop and R&B legends ranging from Logic to Wale. Taking a new approach to modern day hip hop, Lo Village blends neo-soul, old school R&B, go-go, and traditional rap into a striking sound that instills both nostalgia and irresistible head-nodding in every listener. Kane wrote the following letter describing the story behind Lo Village and the birth of RMC:
Lo Village, to me, is a dream come true.
The group and its accomplishments are milestones that I have envisioned for as long as I can remember.
The three of us, myself, my sister Ama, and our close friend Charles, have a special chemistry that makes Lo Village, well, Lo Village. Even though we’re all different ages (Ama is 21, Charles is 26, and I’m 25) and traveling through different parts of life, we have always come together in our music.
If Lo Village has taught me one thing, it’s that embracing individual differences can create something inspiring. Lo Village has inspired me, and I hope we have inspired our fans as well.
Charles and I first started making music together back in 2011 when we were in high school, going by the name ‘Rebel Music Collective.’ We found common ground in music based on our shared experiences growing up as eldest sons in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area.
Much of our earliest material came as a result of us talking for hours at a time about the similarities we experienced growing up as young black males in Montgomery County. As Charles went to college and I finished high school, The bond we formed early on helped us keep our music alive when life took us in different directions.
We sent beats back and forth throughout the year and during winter and summer breaks, staying up for days at a time recording in my makeshift, in-home studio.
We set the studio up in my mom’s basement, had acoustic soundproofing panels on the walls around the microphone, and ran through a gang of beats, recording every day, all summer long. Freestyling was strange at first, but before we knew it, our flows became second nature.
Many of our best and most memorable lyrics were born out of studio freestyles. Having Charles as a rapping partner created competition in the studio and jump started the high level of energy that we try to capture in our music.
While our personal and professional lives progressed, we did our best to keep up with the music. We were in college in different states with mismatched schedules, and while we definitely struggled, I still look back on those earlier years as some of our best.
Even though we hit a few obstacles, nothing would compare to the challenges of becoming an adult. Back then, we were just kids making music. The obstacles we ran into as teenagers paled in comparison to the very real legal trouble that came in the following years.
In what now seems like years ago, I had my fair share of run ins with the law.
I started selling, we’ll say, “flowers” throughout high school just to have spending money in my pocket.
But, as Lo Village grew and required more funding for production and recording expenses, I was selling flowers more and more.
As usually happens, things were looking pretty good at the beginning and middle, but by the end, I found myself slapped with three and a half years of probation and a $4,000 fine.
Now, nearly everyone experiences hard times.
I know it sounds corny, but life really is what you choose to make of it. No charges, fines, or time spent on probation were going to get in the way of what I knew we could do with the Collective.
I channeled my entire being into music and created some of my best work to date. I learned difficult lessons when confronted with the law, but every situation gave me a glance into what my future could look like if I didn’t make changes fast.
Even though that period in my life was extremely difficult and disheartening at times, I wouldn't alter the way things unfolded. Slipping up taught me a lot about myself and how the world works. It helped me better understand the consequences of actions, and that’s a life skill I wouldn’t trade for anything.
With the majority of my legal troubles behind me, Charles and I focused on developing our artistry and brand before ultimately thrusting ourselves into the public eye. We started working more with my sister, Ama, who had an incredible voice, even at age 18.
The idea of her joining what was then Rebel Music didn’t cross our minds at the time, but looking back, bringing on Ama would be one of our best decisions. She added the strong female presence that we would desperately need later down the road, but also could do things as an artist that Charles and I couldn’t.
We also recruited Kwess, a male artist who skillfully combined his emceeing style with R&B flows that blended seamlessly with mine and Charles’ style. Together, we agreed on the name ‘Lo Village’ and rebranded Rebel Music Collective as an indie label that would govern Lo Village and, down the line, support multiple artists.
Kwess only stayed with Lo Village for about a year, but we released two complete projects – Last Summer in 2016 and For the Birds in 2017 – before parting ways. Ama was featured on several tracks on Last Summer, and officially joined the group for For the Birds.
Our team runs on strictly vibes and energy, and through the last seven years, I have learned that we all need to be on the same page before any creative juices flow. Once our energy is aligned, we can immediately translate the connection into the sonics of the music.
When we come together as Lo Village and create, it feels less like a hobby or interest and more like an incredible convergence of energies. Music comes so naturally to us that we have to credit what we do to a higher power.
Fast forwarding to January 2019, Lo Village has been revamped.
We’ve come under new management, grown into our artistries, and expanded our original team of two into a team of eight brilliant individuals who are more passionate than Charles and I could have ever imagined. The opportunities presented to us this year come with more pressure, but we’ve surrounded ourselves with the perfect team and infrastructure we need to succeed.
Even though we’ve channeled our energies into something great, the future can be intimidating because it embodies the unknown. I, probably like many others, used to suffer from a sort of paralysis thinking about the future, even though the situations would always be out of my control.
Once I figured out that no one is in total control and that all we can do is live our lives fully, the paralysis subsided. My love for music and the Lo Village team have taught me lessons that I would’ve had a tough time learning without enduring my early tribulations.
Welcoming the future always seems scary, but realizing that it’s inevitable and a part of evolving is critical.
The future is unknown, yes, but depending on how you approach it, the only unknown is how far you will succeed.
It’s been real,
Joe Banania - Managing Partner
Nishant Karvinkop - Manager
Bethany Thomas - Public Relations
Kojo Tabiri - Digital Marketing/Consultant
Benny Harps - Photography/Creative Director
Shane D - Creative Consultant
Eric B - Consultant/Liaison
Mek Nwakibu - Video Content