Dirty South parties — loud music, abundant dancing, call and response lyrics — are a staple for any state south of the Mason Dixon line. For two years, the company E.Z. Mo Breezy has brought the spirit of the “dirty south” party to New York City, finding steady success along the way. As they prepped for their first ever two-night “Grits & Biscuits” weekend, the founders of E.Z. Mo Breezy sat down with theGrio to talk about the origins of the company, and why they wanted to bring this unique style of partying up north.
TheGrio: Can you tell us who each of you are and what your roles are?
ALZO SLADE: My name is Alzo Slade and I’m one of three partners in E.Z. Mo Breezy. The E is for Erika Lewis, the Z is for Zo that what people call me, and the Mo is for Maurice, my brother. My role in the squad is pretty much the mouthpiece. I’m the one that writes all the copy for the fliers. I’m the one that’s emceeing the events, making sure the crowd is where they need to be and I’m up on stage with my brother as he deejays. I give him a break for about an hour and then I deejay for a bit, but my main role is like public relations, so I’m the voice of the squad. … Erica’s role started from the beginning, and she is like the brains behind the operation. She handles all the venue relations.
MAURICE SLADE: My role in the group [is] deejay. I [also] do a lot of the creative work as far as creating the fliers. … We kind of intertwine between each other‘s roles, but I would say that’s my main role.
How did the “dirty south” party concept get started?
AS: Basically, this is the party that the three of us always wanted to go to in New York. We live here … and all of us are from the south. The music that they would play [at New York parties] would be top 40 … and it’s just like, if they could just play a little something so we could shake: a little Weezy, Luke, Too Live Crew, UGK … but it would never happen. It was one of those things.
I have friends back home who deejay, and that would send me [songs] and every time I go home, I would come back with these mix CDs because I would be like, give me the latest and the greatest of the “dirty.” Erika and I were in the truck one day listening to one of the CDs and [we] were like, how many people out there are like [us]: in New York, from the south … and just want to be able to get loose and have fun? We were like, let’s see.
My brother deejays this crawfish boil every summer, and he was deejaying the spot and he turned it out. … I asked him if he wanted to get down and he was like, for sure, and … E.Z. Mo Breezy was made.
When did you realize that you had something profitable, and that this could actually work?
AS: It was never really about the profit. … We wanted to throw a party that we wanted to go attend, so the first party … we were just praying that we would break even. We didn’t know who was going to show up. We sent out to emails just to the friends that we had on our personal email blasts. We didn’t have a list serve, we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter… We didn’t have any of that. Just word of mouth. It was just a blessing that people showed up and they had a great time, and from there we just continued to keep the pace and giving the people what they asked for, and that’s how we grew.
Were you guys blown away at the response after the first party?
AS: Yeah, I didn’t expect that many people to show up for sure, and I know that everybody else didn’t expect that many people to show. As my brother said earlier, we were just hoping that we broke even and enjoyed ourselves. We just threw the party for us and our friends to come and enjoy themselves. It wasn’t supposed to be this big thing, so we were super surprised.
ERIKA: I think from the very first party it was just … I can’t even describe it. … Outside of putting our hearts and our souls into it, and being genuine to who we are, and being authentic, there was not a whole lot of strategy outside of that. … The people that showed up, I think there was just automatically something that clicked to them, that this is what it would be like to go back to college and that’s what we wanted. We always promote our events as a safe place to get loose, and we mean that.