Locals: Fly Union celebrates Small Victories on new LP

From the July 3, 2014 edition

Fly Union has been a Columbus hip-hop mainstay longer than one might think. No group has represented the city’s shift from underground/record-store culture to fashion culture better — and they did it first.

But the group’s first album, The Greater Than Club, was released more than three years ago, and Fly U fans have been left wondering when the group’s next full-length project would drop.

In 2012, the collective — consisting of producers Iyeball and Jay Swifa and rapper Jerreau — released Zenith, a compilation project and seventh edition of their Value Pack EP series. Along with the recently released four-track EP, Loose Releases, it’s been the only full-group musical project to come out since early 2011.

Fly Union has spent most of its time in the interim focusing on pursuits outside of recording. In 2012, the group toured with Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock, and has since seen its music placed in NBA commercials and “NBA 2K14,” one of the all-time highest grossing sports video games. The group’s characterized these feats as Small Victories, a phrase that assumes the title of its new album, which is out Thursday, July 3.

Over cocktails at Northstar Café recently, the group talked about its second studio album, which many have viewed as a long time coming, but to them was just another accomplishment in the grand scheme.

“It’s all small victories, pun intended,” Jerreau said. “There are certain things you’ve got to step back from and say, ‘Wow, I did that,’ and acknowledge that it’s an achievement.”

The 13-track album features production from Iyeball and Swifa, who stress the project’s key is its sense of progression. The collective’s growth is something they hope fans will understand.

“Every beat on this project sounds like it’s from a different producer, and it wasn’t really on purpose,” Jay Swifa said.

“I think our journey is really in the album,” Jerreau said. “It’s different from the first project, and hopefully people will take it as an independent body of work because it’s not The Greater Than Club.”

Richie Clayton photo