The 54 is possibly the least likely export of Morehouse College which has produced the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Spike Lee, and Samuel L. Jackson, or are they? When the three longest standing members (Mercury, Walter, and Enye) met each other on campus, the climate around the Atlanta University Center appeared unwelcoming with T-Pain and Soulja Boy ruling the airwaves and campus party scene. The only public outlet they found to experiment with their acoustic sound was at an on-campus Open-Mic spoken word/poetry night which was held every Thursday at Jazzman's Cafe. Their unique approach to contemporary sounds inspired enough curiosity in audiences to have moderate success writing, self-producing, and releasing a 10 song EP entitled "10 Ways to Slay a Giant" under the band name Emerje.
With the acquisition of the fourth member, drummer Michael Jones, and brand new electric guitars to replace the old dusty acoustics, they set their sites on further developing an edgier sound that displayed what was becoming increasingly absent from the Rock scene: honesty, rawness, and showmanship merged with hints of what they liked most about hip-hop and R&B. Other influences would not be spared, including a little reggae (Tiny Little Cups), jazz (She's Sexy or their cover of Feeling Good), as well as blues. One thing that remained clear however was that in spite of the varying influences, the sound achieved was no fusion project. It was inarguably rock music.
At this point, only one thing was missing: a name. They experimented with several ideas: Chucks and Forces, StereoTip, Better than Sects... Nothing was striking a chord, until it came: The 54. While the reason for choosing this name (or number) is still unknown to many, no one can deny that with it came a new attitude, confidence, and a deeply rooted desire to transform the Atlanta music scene into a living, breathing, snarling beast that devours all other popular notions of contemporary music with animalistic killer instincts. One of their undeniable strengths is their ability to merge different sounds with an explosiveness that inspires listeners to respond with the same uncontrollable, unapologetic impulsiveness. With lyrical content to expose the pre-historic definitions of fun, music, celebration, and honest human expression, The 54 shows signs of becoming the relatable rock band by which every other band claiming to be "of the people" must measure themselves. Having developed a cult-like following in Atlanta, the band has their eyes set on national and international ambitions. The 54 is soon to let the world know what they've been missing.
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