Two Philly boys spit rhymes that speak to the heart of the streets.
Club 27, located on a tucked away street near Penn’s Landing, is popular in the high school and college nightlife scene. Distinguished by a small, brightly lit sign, this brick building almost blends in with the houses and apartment complexes in the area. On the night of April 15, Club 27 is spilling with young partygoers and music lovers.
The OCD: Moosh & Twist Live VIP Party has been advertised and promoted through Facebook, and word of the concert’s anticipated turnout has permeated both public and private high schools in Philadelphia. For months, tickets have been available online and through a select number of teenaged boys scattered throughout local schools. This event, run for kids and by kids, is finally materializing, and the excitement that has been accumulating bursts into yet another night of a dynamic duo proving that Philly has more than The Fresh Prince of Bel–Air and “wooder” ice. Philadelphia is the home of emerging talent.
At the front of the mayhem, on a small stage, are two young men. Microphones in hand, they rap while members of the crowd sing along. These petite performers are the reason for this large audience of 14–18 year olds. Dequincy “Moosh” Coleman–McRae and Oliver “Twist” Feighan stand side–by–side, one black, one white. One dark–skinned and calm, the other a dirty–blonde–haired “rocker.” Both standing only 5–foot–5 in height. Together, they are the members of OCD, and Club 27 isn’t the largest venue that they have rocked in their 18 years.
What began as two best friends recording songs on their MacBooks has expanded into a promising career in hip–hop. These high school seniors and Philadelphia natives are MCs who write and record all of their own music. “Up Before the World,” the group’s first and only mixtape, was released online in March 2011. Available for free at Facebook.com/teamocd and teamocd.com, the collection of 14 original songs created a buzz that bombarded the youth community, inside and outside of Philadelphia, with Twitter hashtags and Facebook statuses littered with the words “team OCD.”
“Team OCD” is the uniting name for the army of fans who have discovered OCD’s talent online, at one of their live performances or just in school as the two boys navigate through their days jotting down lyrics in their cell phones. The official OCD channel on YouTube, Twist135, recently garnered over 1,000,000 combined upload views. “Live it Up” and “City Kids,” the first official OCD music videos, have a combined total of close to 600,000 views.
In the past year, with the assistance of their manager, OCD has opened for artists including Mac Miller and Big Sean and have headlined multiple live concerts of their own at various colleges and small venues in the city, including the approaching April 30 concert at The Theater of Living Arts. Moosh and Twist worked to expand their already impressive accomplishments by releasing a third music video, titled “Black Forrest Gummy Worms,” through YouTube on April 19. “Black Forrest Gummy Worms are the best candies at Wawa,” laughs Twist. The title of their new single is a testament to their Philly–boy roots. OCD likes to keep their music fresh and fun, but their lyrical prowess is mature and intelligent, causing a song named after a candy to be a dramatic irony, designed to impress its listeners.
“OCD is a monster,” says Evan Reynolds, the group’s 20–year-old manager, a Wharton sophomore from Maine, as he snacks on a purple lollipop that he picked up from the bank. Moosh and Twist have a double appeal. Lovers of true hip–hop are lured in by the young artists’ command of the English language. Those who seek feel–good music are satiated by the positive messages and genuine excitement that is present in the passionate delivery of every line. Reynolds praises the group for the way in which they challenge themselves to maintain clean lyrics by thinking of “clever and witty” phrases rather than using profanity.
“The best feeling,” says Reynolds, “is being able to go home for Christmas and blast OCD in front of my little cousins and little sisters, without having to run and turn the volume down to hide a swear.” Moosh and Twist are both hard workers with unique roles in the outworking of their dreams.
The OCD “monster” was born in The Philadelphia School, a private school located in central Philadelphia. Starting in first grade, Moosh and Twist forged a friendship–turned–brotherhood, which ultimately became a business partnership. In eighth grade, originally an acronym for Oliver, Chanaiah and Dequincy, OCD formed as a creative experiment. “We never really thought it would go this far and we’re not gonna stop here,” says Moosh of his group’s success. As high school sent the group in three different directions, Moosh and Twist continued to nurture their lyrical chemistry.
“Oliver was always the life of the party, very outspoken with a can–do spirit. Dequincy is reserved. A lot of the times he’d just observe,” says Chanaiah Maxwell, the former third member of the group. Outside of music videos, during the time when they are not at the studio and not on stage, Moosh and Twist are Oliver and Dequincy: two boys with values, homework, senses of humor and stories that shape who they are as people rather than performers.
Born and raised in West Philadelphia, Coleman–McRae cannot help but emit a nonchalant Philly attitude. However, after listening to him speak it is evident that there is far more to him than the ability to spit slang over a unique beat. “Philly people have a certain style and swagger. You can always tell when someone is from Philly and naturally, I’ve adopted that,” he says. Unlike the average boy from West Philadelphia, Coleman–McRae has a particular fondness for poetry and Shakespeare; he’s exceptionally intelligent and creative enough to transform his book smarts into music that can be played on the street.
The other half of OCD, Oliver “Twist” Feighan grew up in Center City Philadelphia. After graduating from The Philadelphia School, he began attending Friends Select School, a private school also located in Center City. “Being from Philly taught me to deal with all different types of people. You have to fight for your own here,” says Feighan of his experience in his hometown. “The whole city is also thriving with various art forms.” Feighan is a true product of his environment, as he struggles to prove his own artistic dreams and aspirations as worthy of pursuit.
A fan of hip–hop, Feighan began making music of his own and found a passion that he could delve into wholeheartedly. “I have ADHD,” admits Feighan. “Music is one of the only things that I can focus on. I can’t wait to see where it will take us in the future, and I also can’t sit still in class.” Feighan takes a potential flaw and converts it into an asset by being hyper–focused on creating lyrics and recording songs that will add to OCD’s resume. “Music is spontaneous, and that’s why I love it. If I have a thought I can write it down immediately.” Feighan found his mental outlet in rap music and he gets a kick out of watching a career materialize.
Feighan describes the greatest part of OCD’s fruitage as “being recognized for something that we love to do.” “When we’re out of state and someone knows who we are, it’s the best feeling. When people know the words to our songs at a show, even if it’s just the first few rows, it makes me feel so good.” He finds equal delight in being able to impact the way that others feel. “Even if for only three minutes we can put a listener in a better mood then they were before, then I feel like we’ve accomplished something.”
Feighan is not just a rapper; he’s also a humanitarian at heart. Desiring to do anything that he can to spread joy and positivity, he hopes that one day his career in music will give him the power to change the lives of people around the world. There is more to this teenager than city boy swag and cool kid clothes. He adds a flavor to OCD that is like no other.
Still carrying his book bag and coming straight from class, Dequincy walks up the steps to the second floor of Starbucks in a commanding swagger. With sort of a stroll, but more of a hop, he navigates through the aisles and stops to take a seat at the table. He exudes a sense of efficiency as he sits down, almost immediately turning to the computer and saying, “Yo yo yo,” to ensure that the recorder is picking up his voice. Even those three words are rhythmic enough to sound like the beginning of an OCD freestyle.
The recorder application moves slowly as it saves the audio. “You see that?” he points out. “It’s taking so long because it’s recording my voice.” He smiles, flashing rows of bright white and straight teeth. With a stature similar to a miniature quarterback, he fits snugly into his grey hooded sweatshirt. A precisely tapered beard, which he rubs with his index finger and thumb, frames his otherwise–babyface, making it difficult to guess whether he’s closer to 15 or 25.
Oliver wanders into Starbucks six minutes early and is noticeably proud of himself for this manifestation of organization and professionalism. “Yo, I can’t believe that I’m on time. I’m always late,” he says, laughing and removing his red and black fitted hat. This same San Antonio Spurs cap blew off his head and out the window of a car in their December 2010 music video for the song “Live It Up.” A white v–neck t–shirt dips low, revealing the tattoo on the left side of his chest. “I got it about two weeks ago,” he says. The cursive letters rest dramatically over his heart. “It says, ‘Imagination is more valuable than knowledge.’ That’s a quote by Albert Einstein,” he nonchalantly states. “I was ready to get a tattoo. I needed one. It didn’t even hurt. Today is sunny, so I figured that I should wear something that would let it show.” He slings his book bag onto the floor and scans the room full of quiet coffee drinkers who are hunched over their laptops.
All of the items on the coffee table become Oliver’s toys. Stopping in the middle of a sentence, he brushes a piece of dust off the ‘delete’ key on my computer’s keyboard. Occasionally fumbling with his iPhone 4 no longer interests him. As he abruptly puts down his cell phone, he picks up mine. Sitting still is obviously a task. The discussion of his passions acts as a tranquilizer. He transforms his physical restlessness into answers that overflow with verbal mastery.Ω
“I’m not nervous, don’t worry,” he assures as the conversation progresses, although that statement is already quite apparent to anyone who is listening to him speak. It’s not nerves that widen Oliver’s large brown eyes and raise the volume of his half–man–half–teenager voice; it’s excitement for what the future holds for OCD that energizes him. In OCD’s most popular single, “City Kids,” together Moosh and Twist sing, “All I’m trying to say is that I live life pretty big. I gotta hold it down for my city kids.” With trips to Los Angeles and plans of a summer tour in Europe, OCD is taking Philly kids to a whole new level. “We were sitting on a plane, going to L.A. to discuss a deal and we were thinking to ourselves, ‘We are on a plane, being flown across the country, solely on the strength of our music.’ That is a crazy situation,” says Feighan. Only months after the release of their first mixtape, OCD is becoming a household name across the tri–state area. They can only imagine what will happen a year from now, or two years from now. With youth on their side, they have the time and the energy to ride out, with vigor, the surreal journey of a rise to fame.
“City Kids” is an anthem for their success. The song continues, “We’re on the road but you know where it’s at… We do it for our city, putting Philly on the map. No matter where we go, we’ll be bringing it back.” Oliver Feighan and Dequincy Coleman–McRae rep the City of Brotherly Love proudly in all that they do.