Berkshire County, MA hip-hop artists Quintavious Walls (Carolina Black), Regi Wingo (Dominik Omega), Eric Shuman (D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C.), and Jackson Whalan collaborated to put out a full-length album called Corona Diaries, under the group name BRK BRD.
The album delivers 10 songs and three interludes, spanning the importance of family, racial identity, politics, pandemic, and more. The artists trade rhymes over classic-sounding hip-hop beats. Corona Diaries is supremely original, but spiked with the influence of A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, J Dilla, Souls of Mischief, Gangstarr, The Fugees, Dead Prez, and many more.
These artists have known each other for over 20 years. When Walls, Shuman, and Wingo were in their early 20s and Whalan was a young teenager they introduced him to rapping when they hosted a workshop at the Railroad Street Youth Project drop-in center in Great Barrington, MA. The drop-in center was a place where kids could stay out of trouble and explore what they were passionate about.
Back then, the three artists were releasing music of their own and performing frequently. Jackson’s personal journey with rapping transformed into a music career with encouragement from Walls, Shuman, Wingo, and other local hip-hop artists around Great Barrington in the early 2000s.
Over the years, everyone has stayed in touch, and this album is the result of things coming full circle.
Whalan co-produced the music for the album with multi-talented keyboardist and composer, Ian Evans, who is also local to The Berkshires. Shuman (D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C.) produced the beats for “Eat the Rich” and “Shame on You”. Live horns are featured in “Letter To My Fam” played by Tyler Gasek and Ian Stewart.
The majority of the songs were recorded in Housatonic, MA at Jackson’s previous studio. His studio was located in the building next to Cook’s garage. Cook’s is now abandoned, but is where all four artists recorded their music decades ago with music producer Pablo Zukowski.
The album was mixed by Ameen Rahman (A.Rob) in Philadelphia, PA, and mastered by Robert Macchiochi (Subvert Central Mastering) in the United Kingdom.
The project was recorded over the course of three years through the pandemic. Commentary on social unrest, police brutality, and the educational system, appears on songs like “Y’all Be Like”, “Notes from the 5th” and “Eat the Rich”. Other tracks are more about lyrical abilities, introspection, self-confidence, and the raw craft of hip-hop.
“This album is for the people who we grew up with. It’s a hyper-local project that carries on a legacy of hip-hop that has existed in Berkshire County for over 20 years. I hope people can hear the depth of our story in the music.” – Whalan
The first single from the album, “BRK BRD”, is out now on all platforms. Listen here
The full-length album was released on September 9th, 2022, and is now available on all major music platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube Music, Tidal, etc…) under the artist name BRK BRD. Follow BRK BRD on Instagram to stay connected for future releases.