Brothers From Another Are Lovers & Fighters

In other words: hard-asses with heart.

The Situation On a recent Wednesday evening, I'm at Oddfellows drinking hot chocolate with the local hip-hop duo Brothers From Another: Cole Deleon Jones and Isaiah Sneed, who both just flew to Seattle for Christmas break from California, where they're sophomores in college, Jones at the University of San Francisco and Sneed at Whittier near Los Angeles. The first thing I notice when they walk through the door is their vertical contrast—Jones is a lanky 6'2" and Sneed stands tall at 5'2". "I get 'You were a lot taller on YouTube' a lot," he laughs.

How They Got Here Jones and Sneed met as 13-year-olds in Little League, when they played on archrival teams. "We hated each other for a little bit," Jones says. "And I had my ears pierced, and I had one of those big fake diamond earrings, and he was a little jealous of that." They ended up at the same high school, where they started making music together.

These days, although they're in different cities most of the time, they depend on e-mail and video chat to make it work, with each other and with their various collaborators. A couple of guys in New York send them beats, and their DJ lives in Pennsylvania—all also old high-school friends chipping away at degrees. I tell them I think it's nice that they're all going to college. "Our moms made us," they each tell me at different points in our conversation.

Shop Talk BFA, about to celebrate its third birthday, has released four records, the most recent being September's Quality of Life, which features production from Seattle hip-hop heads like Justo from the Physics, as well as Blue Scholars' Sabzi. Songs like "Beeba Vision Part II," for which they shot a video earlier this year, are breezy and smoothly rhythmic, dealing with subjects like summers in Seattle, babes, and life as 19-year-olds. "I've always wanted to [do an angry rap], but I don't think I could pull it off," says Jones. "People always say I sound like I'm smiling when I'm rapping."

BTW: I couldn't think of a better name than Brothers From Another for these two easygoing, obviously close friends, but of their Little League beginnings and collegiate lifestyles, Jones says, "We're not your traditional rap story. We need more street cred! The Villains! The Delinquents!"

We really want street cred," agrees Sneed, forking the marshmallow out of his hot chocolate.

"I jaywalked on the way here," says Jones.

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