Local rap group that ‘made Suffolk into a music world’ releases 5th CD

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The word &uot;ill&uot; is usually used to describe those a bit under the weather.

In slang, however, it can mean a few other things: cool, awesome, neat, or half a dozen other positive synonyms.

At least, that’s what members of the Suffolk rap group, Ill Indies, think.

Email newsletter signup

And judging by the band’s success, they are quite accurate.

The three-man band, whose name is short for &uot;Ill Individuals,&uot; got a standing ovation at the Manhattan Center this past July. Their words were heard on the Atlanta radio station 107.9, and locally on 102.9. They performed at the Royal Peacock facility in Atlanta, which was depicted in the 2004 Ray Charles bio movie, &uot;Ray.&uot; They wrote the rap songs played before Nansemond River and Lakeland high schools’ boys basketball games. They just put out their fifth major CD, Yo Indies, last month.

The group began in the halls of Lakeland in 1999.

&uot;It was me and two other guys,&uot; said Theotis Porter, whose rapping moniker is 5ive Stars (not Five Stars, which will be explained shortly). &uot;It was just a hobby at first. Then we played around and got better at it.

&uot;We got serious, and we wanted to do CDs.&uot;

Eventually, the membership changed around; it’s now Portis, Jeffrey Cook and Cook’s brother, Tavaris Mitchell.

Porter’s nickname is something of a family offering.

&uot;My dad was a drill sergeant,&uot; said the 2001 Lakeland graduate, &uot;and my friends used to call me ‘General’ to tease me.&uot;

Since the top generals wear five stars, Portis said, &uot;I changed my name. It means something special.&uot;

Mitchell, known as &uot;Ghost&uot; came to the group first, followed by Cook, who took the name &uot;Spook,&uot; to follow in Mitchell’s hip-hopping steps.

Ideas for the most recent 12-song musical creation, Cook said, &uot;come from the smallest things or the biggest things.

&uot;We made Suffolk into a music world. We just write about whatever motivates us at the time.&uot;

They’ve spent some time attempting to motivate more of Suffolk’s youth, performing and speaking at many middle school Black History Month events.

&uot;We just want to show how kids can use their talents without being negative,&uot; Porter said. &uot;A lot of people look at rap and give it a bad name, but rap can be a tool to educate people sometimes.&uot;

For more information, or to buy a CD, call 739-4566.