The streets weren’t crowded on a night last February in downtown San Francisco near the Montgomery BART station. The nearby alley street Maiden Lane hid the quaint Otis Lounge, dimly lit and full of industry insiders whispering over drinks. The insiders were BayMous (Bay Area Famous) A-listers, including local bloggers, photographers and radio personalities. All were gathered to “meet and greet” the members of a rap-trio called the Rej3ctz.
The Rej3ctz, from Los Angeles, made their debut in 2008 with their song “Rej3ct Stomp” and have since created the latest dance craze “Cat Daddy,” a dance that involves crossing your arms, pulling them by your sides and then circling your arms – as if you’re spinning the wheels of a wheelchair – as you squat to the ground. Justin Bieber and Ellen Degeneres danced the “Cat Daddy” on Ellen’s show, and Chris Brown danced in the Rej3ctz official music video for the song, which has over 10 million views on YouTube.
Brown, a huge supporter of the “Cat Daddy” dance, brought the Rej3ctz to Black Entertainment Television’s (B.E.T.) show 106 & Park last year to demonstrate the correct way to “Cat Daddy.” P33 W33 – pronounced Pee-Wee – the smallest rapper in the trio, jokingly described meeting Brown for the first time.
“I was getting some Cookies ‘n Cream ice cream at Baskin-Robbins and I dropped it on the ground. Chris Brown walked in and he slipped on it. He said he hurt his back, and then he said he hurt his neck and his back,” P33 W33 said, laughing hysterically with Boun3e – pronounced Bounce – and Mowi3 – pronounced Mow-wee.
“Naw, we just playing,” said Mowi3, decked out in tattoos, a tongue piercing and multiple colors in his hair. “We been knowing Chris Brown since he had a four-x, royal blue T-shirt and shooka shooka sweats, and he walked into fly style’s house before he was Chris Brown. That’s our brother.”
Just as their “first encounter” with Brown, the Rej3ctz song “Cat Daddy” is light-hearted, with references to children’s cartoons like SpongeBob.
“(SpongeBob Squarepants) loves his job like we love our job,” Boun3e said, explaining the reference.
Despite their historical, gangsta-rap beginnings in LA, which is known as the birthplace of such rap because of the group Niggas Wit Attitude (NWA) and their members – hip-hop heavyweights like Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube – the Rej3ctz don’t feel pressured to make violent music.
“You think about the West Coast gangsta rap. You look at us, and it’s the total opposite,” Mowi3 said with intensity, arguing that the Rej3ctz make music that isn’t about the usual rap topics of violence and hedonism.
P33 W33 believes it’s not important to tell everyone what they already know.
“We don’t have to portray being gangster or live the hood life because we really be on Vermont and 88th,” P33 W33 said, referring to a dangerous part of LA.
Nevertheless, Mowi3 and the other members do their best to let their music reflect real life.
“Hip-hop reflects the culture, and it reflects the youth. And I think, nowadays, most of the stuff is phony; it’s fake,” Mowi3 said. “It’s something that isn’t tailored…. They’re not born with it, and what gravitates the kids towards us and the youth towards us is that this shit is real.”
And as the Rej3ctz continue to do club events in Los Angeles with their friends, including Chris Brown, nothing is more real than being true to yourself.
“For all the kids out there, listen: Being weird is another way of saying special. Being special is another name for being different. What I wanna say is that it is okay to be different cause I am very different,” Mowi3 said. “Be an individual. Stand out. A man with no imagination has no wings to fly. Fly as high as you can.”