Under the context of The Washington Projects, brother/sister duo Jekob & Rachael Washington merge insightful hip-hop, scintillating soul, rippling R&B, old school funk and pure bred pop. It’s an astonishingly inventive merger that’s given them instant accessibility steeped in street credibility, while breaking down boundaries more than any other eclectic troupe in recent memory. And while this fitting moniker may appear to be a new force on the horizon, the pair previously comprised two thirds of the Word/Warner Brothers recording group SoulJahz, who took the industry by storm in the early 2000s with a jaw dropping spread of radio singles, press acclaim and prominent appearances.
For starters, the troupe performed alongside the lauded (and diverse) likes of No Doubt, Nelly, Counting Crows, Ja Rule, Ashanti, Garbage, Boyz II Men and Erykah Badu (to name a few) on a cross country tour in support of its major label debut The Fault Is History. That project also set a streak of precedents, making SoulJahz the first new hip-hop/funk/soul act in history to write, produce, executive produce and co-engineer a major label album, not to mention group member Rachael becoming the youngest composer/producer/songwriter in the history of Warner Brothers Records (she was 17, beating out Prince at 19). Extensive features followed on CNN Headline News, E!, Billboard, The WB, plus a slot on Sessions@AOL beside Christina Aguilera, 50 Cent, Shania Twain, Faith Hill and Red Hot Chili Peppers. But even with the tremendous amount of buzz and overwhelming fanfare, record label red tape soon wrapped itself around the burgeoning band, putting an extreme delay on what would’ve been its sophomore CD.
“Basically we had recorded a bunch of songs & turned in a partially completed record after being gone on tour for at least a year and a half on that first record, but the entire staff of our label flipped upside down in the process,” Jekob recalls of the incredibly trying time. “When it came time to talk with the new cats, they had a different thought process on where our sound needed to go and there ended up being a lot of problems. We basically had our second record shelved entirely and spent the next several years trying to get out of our contract.”
Despite the lack of a new CD, the band took trips to Iraq in 2005 and 2006 to entertain troops, though back home in America, their lawyers and a constantly switching staff of label executives were waging war of their own. Eventually the group was allowed to exit its deal, but at the expense of leaving the SoulJahz moniker in the label’s hands.
“As all of this went down, we literally retreated to Hawaii for a time because we have family out there, which were the bonds that helped keep us going,” Jekob contends. “But it actually all turned out to be a very good thing because we recharged our batteries and the break helped give us a fresh perspective and new start. SoulJahz has a certain amount of recognition as a brand, but The Washington Projects is a name that’s even closer to our hearts because no one can ever take it away from us!”
With the battle flames dying down, The Washington Projects hit the studio for its debut in this format Commanders of the Resistance, an enthralling soundtrack of hope covering just as many relevant themes as it does sonic spectrums. Both videos released to support the record quickly jumped to #1 on the Gospel Music Channel. The group toured extensively including an overseas tour of Europe supporting the troops alongside groups like The Nappy Roots and more..
The Washington Projects latest project is sure to change the way you hear Hip-Hop & R&B. The 11 song album entitled “Light Up The Dark” encompasses the true heart of the groups vision and goal. With the smash hits like “My Dream”, “Light Up The Dark”, “You Are Beautiful”, “Work” & “Justus”, this album is bound to keep The Washington Projects name on the lips of many listeners to come.