Teyland performs at ArtRat Gallery.

Saturday, Feb. 17, ArtRat Gallery welcomes back RAP AVE, a showcase of West Michigan talent created by 616 Records and hosted by Chasin’ Summer!

RAP AVE 6: Valentine’s R&B Edition runs 7-9:30pm at 46 Division Ave. S in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. (Admission $5; tickets available from Eventbrite.)

Founded in 2018, 616 Records boasts a multidisciplinary team of performers, makers and engineers who create music and multimedia and provide creative services to Grand Rapids and beyond.

Recent performance highlights include an ArtPrize performance hosted by SiTE:LAB at Calder Plaza. 616 Records CEO Teyland was recently featured in REVUE magazine’s list of “10 Bands to Watch in 2023.”

Ahead of the show, ArtRat asked Teyland about the series and the special guests who’ll appear this month.

You’ve brought five RAP AVE events to downtown Grand Rapids and hosted a Who’s Who of emerging hip-hop artists from across the region. How has the series evolved over the past six months?

RAP AVE has evolved in the way we select the artists, manage performances, document the shows, and encourage artists to network. Every one improves upon the last, and I’m excited to show that again with RAP AVE 6!

Tyrell J performs at the beach.

RAP AVE 6 will switch focus to contemporary R&B artists, and 616 Records includes both hip-hop and R&B. How do these genres work together at your label and at Grand Rapids venues? 

Since the early ‘90s, Rap and R&B have gone hand in hand. As 616 Records has signed artists from both genres, it’s only right our events reflect that. 

There don’t seem to be many R&B events in Grand Rapids venues; we aspire to influence a change in the level of support for high-caliber artists in that lane. ArtRat is the perfect place to enjoy smooth R&B and incredible art, so this coming together really just makes sense.

Ja'Leeyna portrait from EP cover.

Who are the performers on tap for RAP AVE 6? What excites you about welcoming them to the series? 

 Kicking off, we have Tyrell J., an incredible vocalist, artist, and all-around amazing person, actively contributing locally and volunteering in Africa. Second is Savion, a remarkable singer and entrepreneur hailing from Kalamazoo.

Then there's Ja’Leeyna, a powerhouse vocalist who's been dominating the scene for years. Finally, we're thrilled to have 616 Records' own Shane Edwards on the bill performing some of his new material for the first time! 

Shane Edwards performs in red zoot suit.

What’s new at 616 Records in 2024? What can fans look forward to from your team? 

616 Records has been extremely busy. Fans can expect a lot of new music and media, bigger and better events, and more exciting things I can’t announce just yet.

What I can announce is that Shane Edwards has an album coming up, material from which he’ll be performing on Saturday (including the two singles that have already been released). We also have the sequel to our “Live in the 616” show coming up in April. And of course, we look forward to continuing and building upon the RAP AVE concert series with our friends at ArtRat!


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