By Cameron Lee
April 18, 2017
The Hamiltones have an energy much like brothers from a large Southern gospel family. Although none of the members of the Hamiltones, including Charlotte native and Grammy award-winning singer Anthony Hamilton are related, they have a genuine chemistry in harmony. The group, including Hamilton do share a very similar background growing up in North Carolina: J Vito is from Wadesboro, Tony Lelo is from Morrisville, and 2E is from Greensboro. Running in similar circles, and rolling with mutual friends at open mics and shows with the likes of Fantasia, Jodeci, and Leela James, Hamilton was introduced to the boys by his music director, Kenny Leonard. The group now shares Charlotte as a home base, despite the whirlwind of tours, viral videos and appearances across the world.
In October of 2015, the Hamiltones with the help of Anthony Hamilton recorded a raw studio cover video of Silento’s hit single “Whip/Nae Nae” and the internet ran wild. Articles in several national music publications and millions of views later, the group thought they might be onto something. In December 2015 the group shared a dabbed-out Christmas version of 2 Chainz’ “Watch Out” and the internet again went dumb. In a world where singular moments captured in photographs and videos turn into memes that go viral in a matter of minutes, the Hamiltones created a new sensation when Birdman of Cash Money Records infamously barged into Power 105.1 studio as a guest on The Breakfast Club show. Birdman demanded the radio hosts Charlamagne tha God, DJ Envy and Angela Yee to “put some respeck” on his name in April of 2016. A couple days after the incident, the Hamiltones created a short improv song, turning this odd and uncomfortable audio moment in hip-hop history into pure vintage soul gold. The internet again went crazy. “It was all a shock. We had no idea that it would take off that way. We were just having fun and doing something to entertain ourselves,” said 2E.
Now with more of the spotlight shifting to the group as a whole, the Hamiltones will be performing in Charlotte this week on Saturday at The Tavern to bring a rare contemporary variation and brand of soul to the city. You may be curious about what a Hamiltones show might sound like: “You can expect good old fashioned soul music. We bring out the live band and just have a great time. Expect to hear some classic cover songs, a few of the viral tunes, and of course some new originals. It’ll be good times, good vibes, and good people,” said 2E. Hamilton who has been very busy himself with continuous touring and appearances will also be featured in the new Gorillaz album Humanz out on April 28. No word yet on if he will be at The Tavern, but it could happen. The Hamiltones are also in the studio currently working on a new project scheduled for release later this year.
When the boys aren’t on tour hobnobbing with celebrities (their recent appearances include a spot on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the Breakfast Club, and The Steve Harvey Morning Show) you can catch them at places like Mert’s, Razoo’s and Wan-Fu just being normal guys. The Queen City may not be known for its soul, but on Saturday North Carolina will be represented in the most harmonious way, paying homage to sounds new and old in the heart of our city. You should definitely “put some respeck on it.”
Catch the Hamiltones Saturday, April 22 at The Tavern.