Cincinnati-based hip-hop duo Round2Crew hit the scene in a big way this year, and you need to know their names! Comprised of best friends Justin Brown and Chase Martin, the duo started working together after bonding over a shared love for both sports and music. After some work, the friends began developing their own unique style of music that blends the relaxed stylings of modern rappers like Mike Posner with rousing hooks and bright pop sensibilities.
The duo struck straight magic with the release of their 2014 single “Booty Had Me Like,” and the track propelled them into the public eye with a bang. Armed with a sexy beat and playfully brazen lyrics the track blew up on social media. After their whirlwind introduction, Round2Crew released their debut EP and took their music on the road, joining nine other acts on Johnny Wright’s Pop Nation Tour.
PopWrapped had the opportunity to talk with the dynamic duo during a Cleveland stop for the show, and they filled us in on all things Round2Crew! We got all the details on life on the road, what it’s like onstage, and plans for the coming months. After our conversation, we have come to the conclusion that Round2Crew are poised to build off the momentum, and we can only hope to keep up!
The Pop Nation Tour gathered together ten of the most promising new faces on the music scene and hit the road for a series of epic performances across the United States. Before joining the show, Round2Crew was familiar with some of their fellow acts including Katelyn Jae, Sweet Suspense, Carson Lueders, and After Romeo, and they grew close to all of the other acts as well.
Touring with so many other acts may seem a little daunting, but that’s not the case on the Pop Nation Tour! “It’s been a lot, but it’s been really good,” Round2Crew said about their experience with the tour.
Since the show turned all of the acts into such a tight knit group, we decided to play Superlatives with Round2Crew to get all the details about who is who on the road! They selected fourteen-year-old Daniel of The Bomb Digz as the Class Clown, while Sweet Suspense’s Millie slayed the Best Dressed and Most Cheerful categories. When it came time to award the prize for Future President Justin and Chase were split between pop sensation Carson Leuder’s and the Foo Conspiracy’s manager. “Whoever does great” they decided diplomatically. #Round2Crew2020?! Kanye may have some competition!
One element that may get a little trying occasionally is travelling; “You gotta wait for people to get on the van,” the guys explained. Although it can test your patience, Round2Crew was quick to declare that it wasn’t too awful. “We have movies, phones, and things like that. We’re with other people on the bus, and it’s definitely fun.”
Social media has played a huge role in the development of Round2Crew, so they love getting their daily dose of phone time. “We’re always on our phones on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.” Twitter took the crown as the group’s favorite platform, because it connects everything together. Better yet, it provides yet another connection to their fans.
The tour also provided the group with a great opportunity to interact with as many of their fans as possible. They cited Pittsburg as one of the biggest stops for them. “We have a lot of fans there, and it was great to be back. Every night there are new faces [in the audience]. It’s cool meeting people from Twitter too. It’s like ‘oh yeah, I’ve seen your profile.’”
Interacting with their fans is the best part of being on the road for Round2Crew. The athletic duo enjoyed getting a workout from their high-energy sets, but they really came alive for their fans. “When you see everyone jumping and singing your lyrics at the same time it’s just a good feeling.” Fans who are having a great time with the group onstage also need to know that Round2Crew prepared their show on their own. Talk about a true labor of love!
“We make all our set. We add the intros and time it all out, then we put the songs together and start practicing.” It can be tough to curate the perfect set, since it’s hard to make everyone happy. “People are like why didn’t you do this one song,” the guys explained.
On the bright side, Round2Crew always keeps their performances fresh. “We try to interact with different people each show to get them more involved.” Since they’re performing similar sets every night we were curious if things ever got repetitive, but the guys pointed out that it wasn’t really the same. “It’s a new crowd every night!”
On a typical night on tour with Round2Crew things are pretty calm before the guys hit the stage. They don’t have a particular pre-show ritual, opting instead for a prayer and some light stretching before hopping in front of the lights. Once they get up there, it’s like they are naturals! “After the first song we look at each other, and we’re like ‘Yup!’” Round2Crew is in the house, and the fun has just begun!
Since they finished up their stay with the Pop Nation Tour, with a sold out show in Los Angeles nonetheless, Round2Crew have kept busy with some solo projects. First and foremost on their mind is putting the finishing touches on their new EP. “Right after we released our last one we started working on this one. This is some of our best work yet, so we’re excited!” Sounds like Round2Crew has quite a few more hits up their sleeves, and they may be a little different from “Booty Had Me Like.”
In a way “Booty Had Me Like” is a first introduction to the group that beckons fans to look a little closer at the dynamic group. “It [“Booty”] wasn’t as serious a song as we thought it was going to be. We thought let’s just make a fun song and put it out, and it just got a whole lot of attention. That opened opportunities for people to see our other music.”
Round2Crew followed up their successful debut with the release of their current single “Wait For It” while on tour. The visual gave the group a chance to collaborate with the likes of Tom Green and Andy Milonakis, and as a result it is easily their favorite video thus far!
While on the road this summer Round2Crew managed to release another fun song that follows the outrageous tones of “Booty Had Me Like” on their Soundcloud account. Titled “What Are Those,” Round2Crew spit their verses over an addictive horn, proclaiming “my grandma fresher than you.” Adding to the fun is a featured verse from fellow Pop Nation alumni Chris Miles! Although this sample definitely gave fans something fun to listen to, it’s safe to say that the new EP will be welcome!
Working in the studio may seem like a chore to some artists, that’s far from the case here! Justin and Chase explained that the recording process really allows them to vibe off one other while creating their next hot track. “We just write. We always have a producer in there with us making beats, and we just vibe off everyone.” The guys were quick to add that “it’s all about being creative!”
Round2Crew cites Big Sean and Drake as some of the most influential rappers for when they hit the studio, and we can attest that Drake’s Meek Mill kiss-off “Back to Back” got a lot of love in Cleveland. They also expressed an interest in working with Mike Posner. “We really appreciate him; from a writing standpoint he makes his own beat and everything.” Current hitmakers Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber also got some loving from Round2Crew, and these are all collaborations that need to happen sometime soon!
Although the focus is on their new EP, Round2Crew won’t be staying away from the stage for too long. “Usually it’s put out music then tour,” the guys explained adding that “it’s always fun to travel around and do all that. We’re best friends, it’s fun just rocking out every night!” Before they hit the road again we can probably expect a few more interviews. Before any of this can happen though, Justin and Chase have a homecoming to pull off!
Later this month Round2Crew will be making a triumphant return to their hometown, and they’re celebrating with a show! Dubbed the Finally Home Show, the Cincinnati based duo will be turning things up with family and friends. Talk about the perfect way to celebrate a successful summer!
Pick up tickets to the Finally Home Show and keep up to date with Round2Crew by following the band on their social media. They can be found at their official website, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.