Sitting on the couch with the younger of his two children, Jordan Braun aka Alphabetics takes a sip of a full flavored Coors excusing himself from drinking the brew. He apologizes saying, “Spent all my money on Founders and Belle’s yesterday”. The glare of Sports Center beaming from the television illuminates Alphabetic’s glowing face as he exclaims enthusiasm for his newest project “Honey I Shrunk The Rappers”. Alpha reminisces about all the people, places, and events that have led to this moment of triumph.
It all started back in 89 when his dad gave the young Jordan Braun a gift that would change his life forever. Under the Christmas tree that year was a Beastie Boys cassette. The album Pauls Boutique, heralded as the groups crowning achievement of eclectic sampling and rapid fire lyrics would inspire Alphabetic’s love for hip hop, and eventual foray into the genre. He constantly listened to the cassette on his walkman reciting the lyrics, and dreaming about one day capturing the vibe that the Beasties pulled off masterfully.
Years later Alphabetics would be recording albums on a karaoke machine with his partner in rhyme and producer Poindexter. Selling cassettes out of the trunk of his Oldsmobile in the parking lot of Arthur Hill, Alpha was driven by ambition and passion. He didn’t want to be a rap star or cash large checks. Alphabetics wanted to make albums that would touch people’s lives and tell his story.
Jamestowne Hall was the genesis and proving ground of Alpha’s live show. Rapping on lineups with punk bands and alternative groups, Alphabetics showed that he could rock the spot without the help of a band. He would receive offers from local heavyweights Ghetto Records, but turn them down because he didn’t feel like his style of rap was right for the label. He may have been right because Saginaw in general was not ready for what Alpha had to offer.
Rapping and creating a buzz in the underground since the mid 90’s, Alphabetics never received the same accolades or attention gangster rap or pop rap got. It wasn’t until an alternative hip hop scene sprang up at White’s Bar with The Realness that Alpha began to turn heads and ring bells on a larger scale. This year he is up for multiple Review Music Awards including Best Performer and Artist of the Year. Alphabetics always had a strong and loyal following, but he is finally bubbling over and making impressions beyond his dedicated fanbase.
Alphabetics’ style is a mixture of freestyle battle rhymes and intricate story telling reminding listeners of Slick Rick more than his first influence, the Beasties. His latest effort “Honey I Shrunk The Rappers”, like his first album “Akward Artist, Primitive Poet” is an ode to 80’s nostalgia, getting older, drinking beer, and the rap life of a family man. The Album features original production provided by Adam Santoya, Capital-C, Poindexter, J-Dubz and others. Topics range from songs dedicated to his wife to tracks about The Goonies with laugh out loud punchlines and metaphors. Laced with more references to sports than an almanac, Alpha is clearly a fan of all things pro athletic, especially football.
Touring Alpha’s house, there is a noticeable infatuation with the Detroit Lions and Barry Sanders. His oldest child’s wall is smothered with Starting Lineup action figures and Lions posters. Similar to The Big Bad Barry, Alphabetics is rushing the local rap game and never dancing in the end zone. The crowd chanting his name and everyone from the hardest street cat to his father reciting his lyrics, Alpha has a wide appeal unmatched by many of his peers. Unlike his contemporaries who are the player of the game, Alphabetics has etched himself eternally into the Saginaw hip hop hall of fame.
Alphabetics’ new album “Honey I Shrunk The Rappers” will be released in late April/early May