Every summer, senior Saevon Ivy goes to Atlanta, Georgia to visit family. Ivy bought his recording materials in the middle of his junior year and started recording raps, but he never really knew what to do with them. Ivy would record and record, but he wasn’t very inspired, until one day in Atlanta it hit him.
“Why waste time when I have a studio right here? I see everybody else doing big stuff,” said Ivy.
Ivy then dropped his first mixtape, “Covers”, on Soundcloud, which received positive remarks.
“People were texting me back home saying ‘people like your stuff’ and ‘keep making music’,” said Ivy.
Soon after that, seniors Roe Warner and Keegan Keck would get on board for something big, a rap group called Circa 98. Prior to the formation of Circa 98, Ivy has been rapping since the 2nd grade. However, the trio has been rapping together since the 5th grade.
Possible names before Circa 98 included “Southpaw,” meaning people that are left handed and right-brained. “269,” the representation and area code of Kalamazoo. “269” is currently in their name, but it’s their side logo or mantra.
Ivy and Keck were driving one day after school and Ivy had his ID out which showed his birth year, 1998. From there, Ivy would come up with a great idea.
“‘How about Circa 98?’ Because everyone in the group so far was born in 1998,” said Ivy.
There are members that weren’t born in 1998, but that’s why they added “circa” because it means “around” or “about.”
Ivy came up with the name Circa 98 and Keck drew up the logo. Ivy took Keck’s drawing to photoshop and made the official logo which is the letter C wrapped around the 98.
Keck is credited for the “C98” logo, but all logos official and “unofficial” such as the “269” logo, the “Circa Sound” logo, and the “C98” logo are in the process of being copyrighted.
The three would get to get together to drop a track signifying the official start of Circa 98.
“The day I got back from South Haven we dropped ‘Intermission’,” said Warner.
The members of the band received positive critiques and they realized that Circa 98 was something more than “just for fun,” so they took it up a notch.
Junior Korean Nieves liked to rap and spit bars, so Ivy decided to hold auditions for people who wanted to join Circa 98 such as Nieves himself. Nieves would get into Circa 98 under the rap name “Young Kaapo,” as well as senior Marcuse Bowden. Circa 98 looked for someone who could do vocals in certain songs and Bowden was right for the job.
More members would then join Circa 98 such as junior Jonathan Wilson (J Clancy), and freshmen Anthony Villegas ($antana), Damon Allen Jr. (Ahmni Potent, Ahmni), and Bryce Salter (Kuzco).
The place where the band first started recording was in Ivy’s room, but there wasn’t enough space so they moved the studio to Keck’s home.
All members and affiliates of Circa 98 are under Rose Street Entertainment Records which is Ivy’s record label he made, that is also in the process of being copyrighted. Producers of Rose Street Entertainment are senior Saevon Ivy, and juniors Jonathan Wilson and Korean Nieves. The inspiration for the name Rose Street Entertainment was simple; Ivy’s home street, Rose St.
Affiliates of Circa 98 are seniors Parker Fields who is Marketing Executive and Co-managers Sabrina Nieves and Jaidyn Kynaston.
Circa 98’s mission is to have diversity in their group, and to do this they chose people who could each deliver something different than the others and bringing all their skills into one. They’re more than just a group, they are a family.
You hear about Compton, Detroit, Oakland, Cleveland and other places that rappers have managed to get mentioned a lot by various outlets, but not Kalamazoo.
“The main goal is to have Kzoo on the map,” said Ivy.
There have been a few minor setbacks in Circa 98 such as studio problems, but they plan to get that fixed soon.
Meanwhile, Circa 98 already has songs lined up to be released such as “Bam-Bam” (feat. K-Lanez). They’re focused more on the business aspect trying to look for a Business Manager that would be willing to manage their group and teach them how to get a bundle of shirts with the “C98” logo to sell. Circa 98 also plans on selling flags, stickers, hats, bandanas, ETC.
Senior Cameron Goodale is set to video produce Circa 98’s first music video. Circa 98’s plans for now is to take what they have and solidify it to achieve greatness.
“I feel like we’re moving slow because of school,” said Ivy, “If we didn’t have school, we’d probably be producing at a faster rate than everybody in Kalamazoo.”
Circa 98 welcomes all competition and local artist to feature in their tracks. For now, Circa 98 is waiting to get the studio problems fixed, but once they do they’ll be dropping song after song. In the meantime, all we can do is sit and wait.