Down For Decades: The History Of Backyard
The Legendary Backyard was founded in 1992 by Snap (Razormack) and Ron Mc (The Hip Hoptimist). The brothers had been involved with Hip Hop from the moment it spread across the nation’s underground in the early 80’s. However, when some relatives of theirs from Tennessee bought a keyboard and began recording songs as a group, the two in Little Rock decided to team and create Backyard Productions. The first album by Ron Mc (Ron Mc #1: Brother From Around The Block) marked the debut of the business.
The company performed and recorded Hip Hop and R&B music and provided freelance artwork. There were a handful of other rap artist in central Arkansas who performed alongside or around the time Backyard started doing shows. One On One, Mo B, Frontyard, and DJ Lloyd were making moves. The BYP was the opening act for many recording artists who came in to do concerts. Local rappers as well as t-shirt shops called the organization for design and airbrush work.
In 1993 the Backyard Demo Recording Studio was opened. With a consumer line keyboard bought by Snap, musical tracks were created and sold to talent show contestants, r&b artist, and rap acts. Many of the people who came through Backyard would get the preproduction instrumentals separated into ADAT format at other studios like 2nd Street Studios and Dog House Recordings and would call Ron Mc to mix the songs.
A portable portrait and caricature art stand was set up in 1994. Charcoal portraits were drawn on the spot at occasions like Worldfest, Riverfest, and craft shows. Caricatures were drawn at sporting events, birthday parties, and school functions. At McCain Mall in North Little Rock The Backyard was subcontracted to do artwork at a portrait kiosk.
1995 was the year the business began broadcasting on the airwaves. The Brother's In The Backyard Radio Show had a Hip Hop format and was used to break new music, play local tracks, and spin anything that was considered fresh. The brothers thought of the show as a venue for artists and a way to increase their brand. So hosting events, promoting the Underground Explosion Talent Shows, and performing in major concerts were added benefits that came with being on radio.
The organization began presenting spoken word readings and conducting writing workshops in 1997, after Stacey James (McAdoo) officially became a partner. The Backyard began publishing poetry chapbooks, anthologies and designing murals that same year starting with Stacey's first book, "Sweet Melanin Messages." Although the studio, the radio show (which was named The Bangin' Backyard), and talent shows still were happening, the spoken word scene became Backyard's priority in Little Rock.
Snap moved to Atlanta, GA to go to Clark in 1996. While there he continued the Backyard brand by recording artists in his dorm room and releasing a compilation/mixtape called The A.U.C.'s Finest in 1998 which featured talent from across the Atlanta University Center. Snap also changed his name to Lil Mack.
In Little Rock in 1999, The Writeous publication and The Writeous Live companion spoken word cds busted on the scene. The magazine and recordings were released every quarter and showcased poetry from around the country along with the writings of Arkansas spoken word artists as well as original art from Ron Mc.
The company put together The Backyard Hip Hop Awards ceremony and The Backyard Writeous Awards ceremony in 2000. It was based on a ceremony done annually on the radio show called The Jerome Awards. Recording artists, Djs, Producers, writers, poets and performers were highlighted at these events and given a Backyard Award.
That year the Backyard also became the host of their own television show. Pyramid Fine Art Gallery invited Ron Mc and Stacey McAdoo to help produce "Art and Literature in Motion." This show was designed to give Arkansas a black youthful perspective on creativity and culture.
2002 marked the unveiling of the Backyardonline.com website which was designed to give general information about the company. 2005 was the debut of both the website Razormack.com and the name change from Lil Mack to Razormack. This site was designed to uplift the local Hip Hop community.
The company created and became the official host and sponsor of Mind Blazin’ Conversation in 2000 as well. The concept was turned into a tv show in 2009. The Blazin' was an organized but open forum about subjects brought by participants. Discussion and opinions were given a place and process. An internet tv show titled The Shlytz Ohera Show was created during that year too. It was an urban comical look at Hip Hop culture through the eyes of an outrageous character played by Razormack.
In 2016, Backyard began partnering with The House Of Art (a venue for all arts) and organized events like mulicutural festivals, art shows, workshops, The Backyard Open Mic Night, and youth talent shows. The company is able to help support the community and provide a safe place to meet.
To date, the Backyard continues to entertain, publish, produce and provide services in the fields of music, writing and art. B