Brown Bag Special brings the best together

by Heather MacIntyre

LABEL: Iconclast/Mightier Than The Sword

So it all started mid-2005 when international businessman Ty Bru ( returned to the US from working overseas in China, finishing his degree and touring Europe – so sure of his closure to participating in the music industry. When he came home however, he checked out Ed E. Ruger (, who was opening for Wu Tag Clan. They knew each other from just being in the same area and in the same scene for awhile, but never took the time to really check out each other’s talents. After a reawakening to hip hop, he couldn’t contain himself any longer, and returned to recording and performing, only to be paired with Ruger at a live show soon following.

DJ Phillie Phresh ( was initiated last into the trio, when Bru and Ruger were performing in New York City, and found themselves immediately impressed with his ability to turn tables and heads at such a young age – just shy of 21. New York would also be the setting for one of their favorite shows performed with Chuck D and the Wonder Twinz. “We had our whole musical family with us, the show was amazing and it was a great bonding experience,” says Ruger. “It was definitely a trip we’ll be telling the grandkids later.”

Ed E. is known for his online marketing and promotion for the North Carolina hip-hop scene – not just his own projects. Bru and Phresh agree he is the one that “runs the show,” so to speak. “He’s the one who keeps everyone happy, or at least tries to,” says Bru. But it’s not all about hip hop for these Triad-born and raised artists. When it comes to influences, they vary from Biz Markie, Steve Vai and Atmospheres, to Parish Smith from EPMD – even early Bob Dylan. Currently in their CD rotation: The Carter III, Lil’ Wayne’s newest release.

What about favorite local music? BBS recommends Jeremy Johnson (, Dreamkillers and 9th Floor ( They all agree that their friend and business partner Double J Jenius is one of the biggest influences as far as music decisions and attitude towards life. Bru admits, “If it weren’t for him, or Iconoclast, Brown Bag Special wouldn’t exist. That, and experience – the group practices two to three times a week for an hour or so, maybe longer, depending on how many conversational tangents they fall into, After all, they are friends too. These guys have reaped the hype from impressive live shows for quite a while now. Your next chance to check them out: July 18 at Somewhere Else Tavern ( for Sick Hip Hop 8. Don’t have the internet? Call 102 Jamz and request one of their tracks to hear for yourself.

What’s your favorite track they have up online? Write in for your chance to win an autographed copy of Brown Bag Special’s Volume One.