This article is a work in progress; It is currently not approved as canon.
Hailing from the massively mighty Nepleslian Military Machine, the voices and logs of the punk-rap/industrial hip-hop band Take The Lead, incorporating lots of cryptic and dark lyrics taken from wartime experience. War is a constant facet of each of the band member's lives, whether they took up arms with the Nepleslian Space Marine Corps, Nepleslian Star Navy, a gang, private military contractors, or off on their own battles.
Having formed during the First Mishhuvurthyar War informally aboard a Nepleslian Empire Navy ship, Steven Barnes and William Cheng were both soldiers involved in battles against Mishhuvurthyar in Nepleslia. Sometimes the fighting grew so intense that the gangs of Nepleslia went fighting with the soldiers. Worse still, Nepleslia was also fighting against the Reds, so fellow men were spilling each other's blood senselessly. All of these wars were fertile grounds for imagery that inspired Take The Lead's form of artistry.
Both Barnes and Cheng fought in those wars and spent their downtime rapping at each other, usually in fairly good-natured but highly aggressive rap slam battles. Soon, other soldiers were interested and started distributing videos of their performances at each other through the Nepleslian communications networks. When the Mishhu showed up for round two, Barnes and Cheng put their microphones down, picked up rifles, and found additional soldiers for their crew. Together, they got some new scars, wounds and experiences to sing about and discuss together.
With boxed crook Carl Hyde, engineer Daryl Keenan, and marine pointman Gill Fortesque as additions to the band, they continued working via communications to create new songs - though their deployments were in vastly different locales. Of note, Keenan was charged with misusing military-grade communications, but the conviction didn't stick when an officer saw the extent of the operation and what it was producing, noting that this is 'the right message' for Nepleslians. The band that'd lived through the birth of an Imperium and two wars against tentacled bastards decided to cement it by finding a record label and going, in Steven Barne's words 'go apeshit'.
In YE 34 though, William Cheng was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Funky City as he left the record company. Fans and the Take the Lead crew lamented his death, and kept on singing about fighting and war - because that's what Cheng would've wanted. However, a dirty rumour circulates that Steven Barnes had some involvement in Cheng's death, but they haven't been substantiated.
Here are the current and previous members of Take the Lead.
A hulking pure-blood ID-SOL vocalist and the leader of the band, using his natural talents at strength, a booming voice, and frequently appearing on stage shirtless and shrugging off smallarms fire with an artificial ribcage. His service record goes into all the shittiest battles of the Second Mishhuvurthyar War that Nepleslia had to face, and sometimes he even performs in his old FIRE.
He is known to share tea with Aoi Tanaka despite the two artists having vastly differing styles. He also holds degrees in mathematics and physics.
Secondary rapper who came from much less dignified, but no less spirited fighting stock. Having grown up around violence all his life in numerous gang wars and battles, Carl was caught by the long arm of the law and boxed into a penal unit. He managed to survive long enough to get a proper cut of the Marines, where he excelled as a competent grunt - as he always had been in the gang.
Carl enjoys playing sports too, and had ambitions to be a basketballer before gang violence dragged him down.
Tertiary rapper and keyboardist. Came from a richer family of mechanics and traders responsible for managing motorbike chop shops around Nepleslia, Keenan's Hot Rods. When he saw news footage in YE31 of one of his family's shops being destroyed, he had to take action. He served as an armourer and engineer for a few ships.
He often gets flak for being a softer member of the more hard-headed band members, but he has punched out his fair share of fans who bring up his cushy upbringing in negative.
Currently serving as the band's instrumentalist and mixer, he uses frequent samplings from the battlefield, such as explosions, whizzing bullets, crackling lasers, launching missiles, and stomping feet from power armour. He has post-traumatic from some of the things he's had to bear witness to, and one of his psychs suggested music therapy.
He is glad to have taken control of his condition with Take the Lead, releasing his experiences constructively.
William Cheng had served in both Mishhuvurthyar wars, being both NMSC and Navy, as well as having some serious proto-Nepleslian involvement in the colony ship that landed on what would become Funky City. He was known to have worked under Robert Davis. It was never cleared up what his exact involvement was, and he never talked about it much in public, only ever alluding to a time much more confusing and chaotic - a world without the Imperium.
Cheng was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Funky City in YE 34. A couple of years since his death, people consider Steven Barnes to be involved…
An ex-member of Take the Lead who tried joining in YE 33, because he felt as though he had something to say about fighting against the Mishhu in Yamataian controlled colonies. He was booed off stage by the audience on his first night on stage despite having sick rhymes. He flipped out, went berserk and ended up maiming three concert goers, concussing four more, and stabbing two others before being dogpiled, held down, and beaten to a pulp.
He had a Soul backup handy, but he still regrets his involvement with the band, and moved on to singing smooth jazz instead.
Take The Lead will perform wherever there's a stage and lots and lots of speakers
Luca created this article on 2016/01/04 01:11.
Listen to these bands and their songs if you want to get an idea of how Take the Lead sounds.