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Dem Franchize Boyz 

If you listen to Dem Franchize Boyz's On Top of Our Game, you'll realize that the Bankhead quartet is more than just another "snap music" act. With the exception of a handful of songs, the production is hyped up, and the group throws bows all over cuts such as "They Don't Like That" (as in "Hell naw!/They don't like that shit!") and "Stop Callin' Me" (as in "Stop callin' me, bitch!").

And they may be gangsta, but Dem Franchize Boyz -- Gerald "Buddie" Tiller, Bernard "Jizzal Man" Leverette, Maurice "Parlae" Gleaton (who co-produced "Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It") and Jamall "Pimpin" Willingham (who produced "I Think They Like Me") -- are still entertainers. In concert, the group does two-step and ensemble dance routines, leaning and rocking to the beat. "We just know each other to where we ain't even gotta rehearse. We just give eye contact, mention it, or whisper it, and it goes down from there," says Jizzal Man.

"When you take a hungry group from nowhere and put them on stage, they gonna do they best," says Parlae. "It's not for the money. We do it because we like to. That's why we have so much fun when we do it."

The quartet became friends while attending Frederick Douglass High School. "Me and Pimpin, we used to be on the same high school team," says Parlae. "Right before the games, we used to be in the locker room, and just rap about the game." The first track they made after forming Dem Franchize Boyz was "White Tee," a local hit that drew the attention of Universal/Motown.

Dem Franchize Boyz issued a self-titled album near the end of 2004, but industry observers consider On Top of Our Game to be their real introduction to the world. In contrast to its poorly promoted debut, Dem Franchize Boyz's new album is being heavily pushed by its new label, So So Def, an imprint of Virgin/EMI. "In 10 years," says Parlae, "we hope to have grown from Dem Franchize Boyz to Dem Franchize Men."

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