Benny Starr and Rodrick Cliche

Black music and southern culture not only intersect with deep roots in hip-hop, gospel, jazz, blues, rock?—?they’re woven into the fabric of a rich, textured history, resiliency, and storytelling; Black music serves as accompaniment for questing, having a storied history in answering higher-callings in those who connect with them. The music created by South Carolina Lowcountry rapper Benny Starr and harmonious singer, songwriter, producer, and multiinstrumentalist Rodrick Cliche is the same. Hailed for a live recording of Starr’s solo project A Water Album (featuring band The Four20s) at Charleston Music Hall, Gullah artists Benny Starr and Rodrick Cliche joined talents and birthed the innovative partnership, Native Son. Free Times historically named Benny Starr’s A Water Album “SC’s Best Album” in 2019. Starr is more than his musical accolades; he is someone who cares greatly about his community. He wants to be known as a truth-teller?—?one who stands on the side of people. Cliche, too, is no stranger to moving a crowd. He grew up playing in the church, and aligned with Raphael Saadiq through a close mentorship, where he was given opportunities to work and tour with artists like Joss Stone, D’Angelo, and Common (to name a few). Cliche’s debut album “Zero Point Energy,” was released this year. Formed in 2020, Native Son is redefining what it means to create music that captivates audiences, while engaging with the beloved community. Their hope is that listeners feel both familiarity and inspiration; that their songs serve as soundtracks to experiences?—?providing the impetus to connect with cause, striving, and rootedness in deeper senses of self within the context of culture. Native Son’s music serves as a guide that navigates and catalogs histories, the beauty of their South Carolina communities, and the proximate and emerging possibilities of their people.