Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
In 2003 when Omega Redd introduced Kwin MD to Sal Graci and Va'Les the S.O.A.z movement had been started. "Self Owned Artists" or S.O.A.z for short was thought up by Va'Les. On night, after moving units on the Streets and freestyling they were in the Basement (Va'Les, Omega Redd, and Kwin MD) when they thought of some new concepts. One thing these 3 realized was that, even though they had many other artists involved with the S.O.A.z movement, they where the main 3 on most of the songs on each CD...
They were the founding members of the S.O.A.z and they decided that they needed a name for their "3 headed monster" when the 3 of them did a song. The first song they did was in September of 2003. The week that Tampa Bay beat the Eagles in the first game of their new stadium Omega Redd, Va'Les & Kwin were supposed to go to Jacksonville, Florida to see Champain (who just got out of jail and had been in there for almost 2 years) to record with him and enjoy Florida. Redd and Kwin were on their way to G-Town to pick up Va'Les and Kwin's car broke down in South Philly. One week later, they recorded a song based on this called "Still Laughin"....This was the first time that these 3 MCs where on a song together (with out another rapper). They did songs like the "Rose Bush" when other MCs where also on the song, or they would do a song with Va'Les and Kwin, Omega Redd and Va'Les were partners before they met Kwin, or Omega Redd and Kwin...."Still Laughin" was the first Common Ground song.
In the Basement at Kwin's cribback in 2003 they decided to call themselves "Common Ground" when teamed up as 3 on a song. They had thought up some concepts, "Virtual" was one of the first song concepts for the Common Ground album they planned on making. Each MC would do a verse on their perspective and outlook on life. They continued on marking the S.O.A.z and really didn't go "all in" for Common Ground. When they were the most involved in the music thing together, Common Ground was always an afterthought. They were setting it up for something they would go "all in" on later on maybe down the road....
Omega Redd has always been in the Chester, Pa area. Va'Les lived in Germantown from 2003 to 2005. Va'Les and his family moved to South West Philly in 2005. Kwin MD lived in Glenolden, Pa (which is in between S.W.P. and Chester) West Philly (2004) then moved to Clifton Heights, Pa (near Glenolden), then moved to Yeadon Boro (which is in between Upper Darby and Darby but on the border of West Philly and S.W.P.)....Why is this Geography part of the Common Ground BIO? It's Ironic. When Va'Les stayed in G-Town from 2003-05 he lived the farthest away from Chester, yet all 3 would meet up in G-Town most of the time. They had more meetings about the music in G-Town than anywhere else. In 2005 when Va'Les lived closer to REDD and Kwin, they met up less. Redd went out to California for a while in 2005 and Kwin had gotten married in 11-05....But again, Ironically, when Va'Les lived closer to these 2, they all met up less. G-Town was a good 45 minute ride from Chester, and a good 30 to 35 minute ride from Glenolden. West Philly (where Kwin lived in 2004) was about 20 minutes (or less) from G-Town. S.W.P. was only a 10 minute ride from Clifton Heights, and about a 20 minute ride from Chester. So in 2005, Va'Les lived significantly closer to these 2. They would all meet up at Va'Les crib, mainly because he was usually home.
These 3 brought an Organ up 3 flights of steps when Va'Les lived on Walnut Lane in G-Town. One of Kwin's neghbors donated this organ to the S.O.A.z movement. The biggest significance in this story is it was snowing real bad that day, and they took this organ across town in the snow up 3 flights of stair. The "S.O.A.z Flavor of the Month" song "Cut Throat Players" was done by Va'Les playing that same organ on it. He used it on a few other songs too. How many unsigned, underground rappers got an Organ (not a Synthesized fake Organ) a real Organ player on there song?
They weren't having many meetings about music after 2005. Most of the time, you would see 2 together, but never 3. Many times Kwin and Va'Les would chill, but music wasn't the main thing they talked about. Redd and Va'Les would chill, drink some beers, play video games, or do whatever but music was not the reason for hanging out. Redd and Kwin would go hang out some where but they didn't talk too much about music since 2005. The whole thing changed when Kwin sold his Roland 880 EX in 2004. They still would every so often go to M.A.U. Studios in West Philly and record. Va'Les went there solo often, some times Redd would go there solo, some times them 2 would go there and record together.
In 2006 Va'Les and Kwin would meet about 2 or 3 times a month. Kwin used Va'Les as an advisor to help decide what songs would be Flavor of the Month. Va'Les and Kwin worked together a lot in 2004 selling the CDs on the Street. They also worked together making productions calling themselves B.I.P. or Black Irish Productions when they would make a track together.
Since 2003, these 3 would take many road trips together to Virginia. That same car that broke down on the way to Va'Les crib to go to Florida, used to be the car they'ld head to Virginia in to hang out, have a good time, and Sell CDs down there...They used to make the money for travel expenses off CD Sales while in Virginia. They used to Party Down there. Since 2003, the Common Ground 3 went down to Virninia many times. May 5th (Cinco De Mayo) was the last time that these 3 wet to VA together. It may be the last trip to Virginia Kwin and Redd ever would take with Va'Les (more on that when the Va'Les story/BIO comes out next week)...
Some time after that Cinco de Mayo trip (in July) The Common Ground 3 went down to M.A.U. studios to record some music. It was July of 2007, they recorded the song that will be "Jan. 2008 S.O.A.z Flavor of the Month" and it is called "S.O.A.z Reign Supreme" by Common Ground beat made by GNP from Northern Ireland. They thought that this might be the last song that Kwin MD and Omega Redd ever record with Va'Les.... Since then, Omega Redd and Kwin met up once time in October of 2007 and one time in September 2007. They were just hanging out and chillin mostly, the music thing didn't really get brought up too much, they are both hoping Va'Les and his family will be okay. In 2008, Va'Les was released from prison and put on house arrest with probation. In 2010 his house arrest was over and he was able to go anywhere he wanted to. Then in 2012 he went back to jail sometime around November. It's tough to post blogs about, because the truth is still unknown... We are not able to tell what Va'Les status is currently. The rumors out on the street are that he had got 8 years back in 2012 but there are others that say he didn't go to court yet, so it's hard to know for sure. He recorded "home away from home" in 2010 in Sluggerville Studio 7 with Singutter, with his case in mind. Free Va'Les! We miss you!