Bands to Watch: Alleyes Path

From the 01/20/2011 edition

The whitewashed closet in Jared Young's cramped A-frame attic is barely big enough to stash a body. Yet it could tell stories.

Copywrite, Jakki Tha Motamouth and members of Thought Set have spit rhymes here. P. Blackk, Metro and others have flocked to this tiny cave filled with sound-proofing foam, brothel lighting and a lone studio mic.

In many ways, this is where unlikely hip-hop heroes Young, Michael Bridgmon and Danny Johnson started making waves as Alleyes Path.

They reached out to artists across the city. They came together to grind, pay dues, refuse to quit. Eventually the wily trio started believing they could take their game across the globe.

"I like to think that we're creating a new sound," said Young, the friendly, laid-back emcee and producer who takes the stage as Path. "I think we bring something very unique to the table - not just lyrical content but the overall sound, the overall package of everything."

Young and Bridgmon, known as Alleyes Manifest, started recording the day they met two years ago and never stopped. Johnson, who spins as Self Help, joined them in February to add extra oomph to a live show that had already started turning heads across Columbus.

The raucous stage presence and a solid handful of releases have proven that members know how to hone skills through solo projects, then return to the group with force.

This year, Columbus will see the same M.O. - only bigger, better, faster, stronger.

Bridgmon will release a solo album, drop an EP with Self Help, graduate from college and collaborate with artists from here to Seattle. Young will unleash a solo record, then offer engineering and production skills to L.e for the Uncool and others. Johnson will continue producing beats and hosting his monthly Dance or Die party.

But the principal project in 2011 will be a full-length Alleyes Path record that each member insists will put them on the national hip-hop map.

"You'll find groups where they'll be sweet people all together, but you know they can't function separately," Bridgmon said. "With Alleyes Path, I feel in general like we function separately and together the same way - a ball of energy."