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Brooklyn-bred, Progressive-R&B Band Phony Ppl Joins Innocence Ambassadors!

By Innocence Staff

(L-R): Elijah Rawk, Aja Grant, Elbee Thrie, Matthew Byas and Bari Bass. Photo courtesy of 300 Entertainment.

The Innocence Project is proud to announce that the critically acclaimed and innovative soul-rock music band—Phony Ppl—is joining our roster of Innocence Ambassadors.

Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, this five-man band has garnered major attention on the local scene ever since its inception in 2008. In recent years, the group has become recognized as a true global talent, with an ever-growing fan base across the country and internationally. They’ve performed with major recording artists including Erykah Badu, Fetty Wap, Kali Uchis and The Roots. And in the past year alone, they went on tour with rapper Pusha T and sold out a month-long residency at the legendary Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City. Extremely popular on the international circuit, the group also headlined a music festival in South Korea with tens of thousands in attendance.

“Growing up in Brooklyn, we saw first-hand how the criminal justice system treats youth of color. Seeing our friends cycle in and out of the system and how it affected their families has made us committed to making change.”

Phony Ppl has written and recorded several hit songs and albums to rave reviews, including their latest compilation, mō’zā-ik., released in October 2018. The group was recently featured in Rolling Stone in an article titled, Phony Ppl: Rise of a Progressive Soul Force—How 2018’s most stylistically daring R&B/art-rock group went from a Crown Heights basement to international stages.

“The contemporary, upbeat sounds of this young group of talented musicians is both infectious and inspiring,” said Maddy deLone, executive Director of the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law. “We’re thrilled to have their energy, wit, talents and passion in our hub.”

Phony Ppl is comprised of lead vocalist Elbee Thrie, a former Manhattan School of Music student; Aja Grant, a trained composer who co-writes and plays the keys and produces string arrangements for artists such as the late Mac Miller; School of Rock alum guitarist Elijah Rawk, who is also a member of Princess Nokia’s band; Bari Bass, the band’s visual artist and bassist; and percussionist and former Music Conservatory student Matthew Byas, whose father is DJ Jazzy Jay of the legendary Zulu Nation.

“We stand by the Innocence Project and their work to not only free the innocent, but to also reform the policies that put innocent people in prison in the first place.”

“Growing up in Brooklyn, we saw first-hand how the criminal justice system treats youth of color. Seeing our friends cycle in and out of the system and how it affected their families has made us committed to making change. We stand by the Innocence Project and their work to not only free the innocent, but to also reform the policies that put innocent people in prison in the first place.” – Phony Ppl

Click here for more information about Phony Ppl.

View the full list of Innocence Ambassadors here.

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