In the early 2000s, four young men, Markus Free, Chris Voice, Anthony and Royce P., met at a park on the east side of Atlanta. The men formed an R&B group, Hamilton Park, aptly named after the park where they honed their gifts and dreamed about creating albums and selling out shows.
After reaping success early on and landing a deal with Atlantic, the quartet took a four-year hiatus. Now, Hamilton Park is back and poised to redefine the feel and sound of R&B.
Their sound is fun, distinct, fresh and melodic. The Atlanta natives site current heavy hitters Migos, Future, Bryson Tiller and Chris Brown as key influences while their delivery echoes Jodeci nostalgia. Lyrically, unlike ’90s R&B, Hamilton Park takes a new approach to heartbreak. As the group eloquently put it in our interview, ‘yeah you broke my heart but darn it, we finna party so what’s up?’
Hamilton Park is ready to take the baton and lead the evolution of R&B.
How would you describe your sound and do you write your own music?
Markus Free: Of course we write our music. The first time around when we got our deal with Atlantic, we wrote a lot of those records with the team we were working with. We learned a lot about the industry, like royalties, so this time around we wrote on all of our songs, along with our team Adrien of “The Press” [that] helped write this EP. We didn’t want to stray too much [from our original sound] because our sound before was real Jodeci and real r&b. We wanted to be more authentic to who we are now so it has more of a hip-hop, futuristic, fresh sound of r&b. We used to describe our sound as southern home cooking but now it’s like southern home cooking with a side of pineapple juice and some exquisite sushi. We freshened it up and wanted to stay current with [where] we are in our lives and be as genuine as we can for our fans and our followers.
What would she know about the song “Leave It In”?
MF: We don’t want to get too detailed with the title because it’s kind of self-explanatory. We wanted to be true to who Hamilton Park is. It has that Jodeci vibe, but still a current hip-hop feel with the freshness of how Migos would do it. But at the same time, we did not want to say it in a sense that it would be offensive to women. The verses we have are very tasteful with fresh, vibrant lyrics that can relate to all generations, to kids our age and people older than us. You can relate to what we’re talking about from “Jumpin Off” to “Leave It In” to “Love Me to Sleep” and if you look at all the music it creates a storyline around each other.
What does Hamilton Park offer that the music industry is currently lacking?
Anthony: The music industry is not lacking anything to be honest with you. I think it’s oversaturated but it’s not lacking anything. The thing about Hamilton Park is that we fit right in, not with the oversaturation but we fit right into what’s needed. You’re hearing what’s wanted and what’s expected but now we’re going to give you what’s needed.
Why did HP go on hiatus and what’s different this time around?
Anthony: It was necessary. When you’re developing, when you’re maturing sometimes it’s necessary to take a pause, analyze the situation, process it, come up with the concrete plan and then execute. That brings us to this point. We’ve stepped back. We’ve analyzed. We’ve processed. We came up with the concrete plan, a great philosophy, and now we’re executing.
Royce P.: Without being fake about it, everybody has their own dreams and aspirations and one of the hardest things in a group is that everybody has a different direction and trying to always stay on the same page can be difficult at times but I think what’s different is the fact that folks need each other. When you put that call out it’s like Captain Planet. I think that we all tried to do our own thing and [we’re] back working together because we need each other and that’s what it is. I think the difference now, if anything, would be a level of respect that we have for each other that we always need to be mindful of [as we] continue on this path.
MF: On top of what Royce just said, we’re doing our own business this time around. With Lost In Music, we signed ourselves to our own label. We teamed up with Playtime Management. They’ve been doing a great job managing us. With the visuals, J. Couture Productions [is] really hands-on with us with coming up with the storyline [for the videos]. It was very hands on this time around.
What can we expect from HP?
Chris Voice: We’re very excited this go around. Everything is done in-house this time. We’re working with [each other] and being very expressive with our pen and with our ideas and with the visuals that we’re pushing out there.
Royce P.: You can expect some real s—, real music. We just want to do music and we hope that you all enjoy it. Obviously, we have a specific listener that we’re targeting, but at the end of the day, we just want to live and do music. “It Was Necessary” the EP is on the way and we got some shows on the way.
“Leave It In” drops today on VEVO and “Leave It In” audio will be available everywhere on Friday, Nov. 3.