The real deals 

You know the term "Keep it real." You’ve heard it used by some of the realest – and the fakest – people in the world, depending on how you define it. Well, when it comes to hip hop, an Ypsilanti-based group has figured out how to keep it "ReAl" in a way that everyone can understand.

One year ago, Jon Robinson decided to leave his post at area hip-hop imprint Federation Records and launch his own music enterprise. He approached Chris Williams, also known as the Infamous PMC, and the two launched ReAl Entertainment. Copying a page from the Hair Club for Men, not only is Williams president of ReAl, he is also the label’s hottest-selling artist to date.

"PMC has sold 1,700 units in three months," says Robinson, who appears on PMC’s Mindscapes EP as Money Mogul. "Our biggest concentration is on the Internet (realent.artclique.com). On the Net, we’ve sold in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. And we’re just hitting Illinois." Other well-known locals appearing on the album are S.U.N., 1999 Source MC Battle winner Proof, Brown Bomber and S.W.A.T.

Pushing ReAl is a crew of people who are by no means strangers to area hip hop. Robinson/ Money Mogul is an old-schooler who’s rocked with Detroit’s Most Wanted (DMW’s Motski Ski also appears on PMC’s CD), DJ Los and EZB. ReAl’s first release was a Mogul single called "Keep it Hot."

"We put that out just to get a buzz," Robinson says. "It was an attention getter."

The biggest obstacle facing ReAl is the suburban issue. As long as it took Detroit to get on the hip-hop map, the city has had the nerve to front on outlying suburbs in the past. Robinson gives this obstacle little energy. "A lot of people think the burbs ain’t got words. But we got words."

ReAl’s first-year track speaks for itself. PMC’s album is selling well. The group has initiated talks with Sony 550, Power Records in Atlanta and Noo Trybe regarding production and distribution deals. All labels have expressed interest. ReAl also helped produce the first official documentary on Detroit hip hop, entitled The Laust Werld. Upcoming musical projects include an album from Detroit mainstays 5 Elementz, featuring Proof. An R&B singer named Markeba is also set to get some studio burn.

"We don’t want anybody getting hung up on where we’re from, because we represent Michigan," says Robinson. Khary Kimani Turner covers the hip-hop nation for Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com

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