When East Bay California friends Bread, Nic Nac, Riggz, Fess, Goose and Big Steve decided to make a video for their “Thirsty” song back in 2009, they were doing it simply for fun. Recording as the group Starting Six, the longtime friends didn’t expect to get much of a reaction when they posted the clip on YouTube.
“I was just juiced that we did it,” Bread says. “I thought only our families were going to see it, that the most we’d get is like 100 views and that would be all from relatives and friends. But when the week was done and we already had 10,000 views, it was like, ‘Whoa. What is going on? Who’s watching this video?’ We had no idea that people were noticing us like that.”
As word spread virally about the video – which now has more than 1.5 million views – the high energy clip for “Thirsty,” which featuring Starting Six hosting a party and getting with a bevy of shapely women, the crew started going to parties where people would play the “Thirsty” video to get their own party hyped.
Then, the sextet started getting booked for shows. “We were broke and they said they would pay us, so it was kind of like, ‘Why not?’” Nic Nac says. “Once we started doing performances for people, we were forced to keep doing it.”
Prior to “Thirsty,” Starting Six were randomly making songs with no set schedule. Producer-rapper, Nic Nac was producing rappers on the side, Riggz was attending UCLA (and now attends USC law school), Fess was dealing with his garbled English (he’s half Peruvian and his mother doesn’t speak English), Goose was busy staying out of debates (he’s also known as “Middle Earth” and “Gray” because he always remains neutral), Bread was focused on hoops (the group gets its name because they’re six of them and they all played on the high school basketball team together) and Big Steve was busy cracking jokes, making stupid faces and rapping and making beats.
So the friends who grew up listening to the Ying Yang Twins and such Bay Area staples as E-40 and Mac Dre decided to get serious about making music. It helped that their creative formula wasn’t particularly stressful. They’d get intoxicated, hit the studio, listen to beats, come up with song concepts and feed off of each other. Within a few hours, a song was typically in the can.
Given that Starting Six party virtually every day, it’s no surprise that the group’s music often has an energetic, feel-good vibe. “We set out to make music that we would like to hear,” Bread says. “There’s times on the radio when you start hearing artists or songs that sound hella generic. We were tired of slapping music we didn’t want to listen to. So we’re like, ‘We’ll make our own music, stuff we want to play at parties, that we want to ride around to, smoke to, drink to, party with girls with.’”
With the video for follow-up song “Yogi” (the group’s code word for having sex without a condom) garnering hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube, Starting Six decided to record an actual project. Released in July 2011, the free mixtape Let’s Talk About S6x was the crew’s first official release.
Let’s Talk About S6x single “This Ain’t Water” appears to be the group’s first radio smash. Featuring Los Angeles rapper Mann, the club-ready cut has already been getting radio play throughout the West Coast, including Power 106 in Los Angeles, 99.7 Now in San Francisco and B95 in Fresno.
In order to better pursue their music careers, Starting Six moved to Los Angeles in June 2011. They’ve got a second mixtape coming out soon and are in discussions with television networks about having a reality show focused on the group and its culture.
What started out as something to do with each other has quickly morphed into something much bigger.
“We were doing it just for us,” Bread says. “Now that people are hella liking it, why stop?”