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Sullee forth (continued)

But, says Sullee, "I wanna bring whatís going on in the suburbs to the forefront. I want people to look at where Iím from and not go, ĎOh, those people have the best lives in the world.í Because Iíll give you 20 people right now who have the worst lives. What about the suburbs, where the kids are just as poor, have just as much problems? If I make it big, Iím gonna go where kids can connect with me. The kids in the inner city arenít gonna relate to me. The kids in the suburbs will, because thatís what Iím gonna talk about. And theyíll see that my life is a lot like theirs."

Still, it has to be asked: what if all this doesnít work out? What if, after all this effort and all this money, it just doesnít end up happening? For a nanosecond, Sullee looks vexed. "If all this ends up not working out? I have to say that ..." ó then he breaks again into a huge, open smile ó "I got some problems on my hands, and do you need an assistant?" He laughs. "If this doesnít work out now, Iíll probably go back to school. If any of my old teachers heard me say this, theyíd slap me, but I really have always wanted to be a history teacher."

Thereís a decent chance that wonít have to happen. Angela Thomas, founder of PRANA Marketing, the New Jersey firm thatís helping get out the word about Sullee, has worked with everyone from Public Enemy to LL Cool J to Cypress Hill ó and she likes what she hears in this white kid with the Boston accent. "My take on Sullee is that you can be clean-cut," she says. "You donít have to go the Eminem route. He is who is. He is true to who he is, and thatís what I like. He knows heís from the suburbs. He may not curse in his records, but heís not trying to compete with the hardcore rappers. I think heís just a fun performer. He is a product of his environment. Why canít a kid from Hingham, Massachusetts, do a Hingham record? Hip-hop is open to everybody. You donít have to be from the streets to do it. Bobby knows where heís from. He is who he is, and heís comfortable in his own shoes. Thatís what I respect." Better, she says, other people are agreeing with her. "Already weíre having some play. We have him plugged in. Heís getting into the mix of things. I think he has a great shot."

Beyonder thinks so, too. "I think a lot of kids in America can identify," he says. "Everyone listens to hip-hop now. Itís not just kids in the city, or black kids. Itís everyone across the board, wherever they come from. Eminem blew up so much because of kids in the Midwest, who grew up on a farm, who can identify with Eminem more than 50 Cent. I think on that level thereís a chance for an artist like Sullee to actually make it." He echoes Thomasís assessment of Sulleeís honesty. "The music industry has made a lot of rappers scared to be themselves. A lot of so-called gangsta rappers, thugged-out rappers, are so scared to be themselves. They say the most crazy things on records that you know are just not true. But artists like Kanye [West], just showing a smidge of realism, insecurities, and things like that in life, him blowing up opened a lot of doors for hip-hop artists." Sullee, he thinks, could be one of them.

Riley agrees. "I think whatís going to happen for him is if he keeps doing what heís doing, heís going to get the great music. Heís going to get Dr. Dre, which Iím actually going to be plugging for him. Heís going to get the great producers. Iím going to pull a lot of those favors in for him. The best way I can help is to plug him with the right people. He deserves it."

More than his skills, more than his high-profile help, more than a no-bullshit father ready to go to the mat for him, itís Sulleeís honesty and integrity that are his greatest attributes. If success comes knocking, he wonít even know how to let it go to his head. Even if heís a millionaire, he says, heís sticking close to home. "I would never go to New York, because theyíre all Yankees fans. I canít even speak with them. Iíd rather live right on Beacon Hill. Thatíd be nice."

In the meantime, Bobby Sullivan will keep writing lyrics, keep telling his lifeís stories. "Even the toughest guys in the world are sad about something. I have no problem showing me. And Iíve always said, this is how I live. Without Bobby Sullivan, there is no Sullee. But without a Sullee, there is a Bobby Sullivan. Iím always gonna be Bobby Sullivan, no matter what happens with my career, whether Iím sweeping the streets or whether Iím triple platinum. Iím still gonna be Bobby Sullivan after the check gets written out. Bobby Sullivan is the one behind everything, so thatís who I have to be real with. I have to be myself, because then Iíll turn into something Iím not. And then I canít eat dinner with my family because they wonít let me in my house."

Information on Sullee can be found at www.sullee.com. Mike Miliard can be reached at mmiliard[a]phx.com

page 6 

Issue Date: December 17 - 23, 2004
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