After seeing these guys perform before in the past couple of years, it feels real good to see them get the spotlight.
The Tidewater area of Virginia is highlighted by many things. It has a grand military presence that brings together cultures from all walks of life, and a disturbing, if not rich, history rooted in segregation and civil rights. Separatism is an ironic trait of the area, as it is divided into seven cities (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, Suffolk, and Chesapeake), yet melts every piece of them into a legendary piece of music history — from Teddy Riley to Pharrell Williams to Missy Elliott. It is also the same connective tissue that brought together a few friends from different sides of the same city in Virginia Beach to form RBLE, one of the most promising new groups in music.
RBLE (pronounced “Rebel-E”) consists of a ragtag group of Virginia Beach born and bred twenty-somethings, who all met at different times but shared the same visions: “It’s ironic how we all went to different schools in different sides of the city, but it was God’s plan that we all found each other,” said member Artel Carter. Their founder, 30-year-old rapper Ced Hughes, created the group as a means to get his rap career off the ground, while bringing his buddies with him. They started out as Rebel Entertainment, which he founded with his friends during his time attending East Carolina University: “I was just trying to make a collective of dope people, with creative ideas,” he said. The posse would only grow bigger when he met members like Max Fullard, Justin Battle, and Gabe Niles when he moved back to Virginia after college. RBLE’s reputation grew far and wide in the Ghent community of Norfolk, VA, where they are known for their crazy house parties and open mic events that served to shine a spotlight on the more “hip” community of the Tidewater area. “[Our events] just raised awareness, and opened the door for us,” said producer and artist Niles, explaining that the group “wasn’t trying to impress anyone in Virginia,” but actually forged their own path.