By Mike Romero
Wednesday, July 13th, Salt Lake City-based rap collective House of Lewis made an appearance on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. The group consists of rappers Donnie Bonelli, Rhyme Time (Atheist), Apt, Chance Lewis, and DJ Skratchmo.
This was House of Lewis’ third performance in the America’s Got Talent selection process and their second performance in front of the panel of judges. AGT hopefuls are initially screened by producers before being sent on to perform for the celebrity panel and a live audience. If they do well in front of the judges, they will be called back yet again for the Judge Cuts round, where 2/3 of all AGT contestants are eventually sent home.
House of Lewis was sent on to Judge Cuts after their performance of “SHAKEFACE” – complete with Rhyme Time in his signature bath robe. That performance never made it to air, but footage from it was used in teasers for the show. Out of roughly 50,000 acts that auditioned this season, House of Lewis made it to the Top 80.
Unfortunately on Wednesday’s episode, both House of Lewis and popular internet rapper Zach Sherwin (known for his frequent appearances on Epic Rap Battles of History) were unceremoniously shut down. Both Reba McEntire and Simon Cowell were particularly harsh, criticizing both acts for their song choice. Sherwin performed a cringe-inducing track about a stuffed plush pig with a uterus he had as a child. While most of Sherwin’s music relies on cringey experiences for the sake of humor, it wasn’t well received. He got an X from Simon Cowell.
While they avoided receiving an X from any one of the judges, House of Lewis didn’t fare much better. They performed “We’re All Gonna Die” – a macabre track poking fun at humanity’s shared mortality. The track is full of dark humor, and unfortunately proved to be a potential turn off for those unfamiliar with their humor-injected Hip-Hop. This was a real shame for both acts, given their extensive library of songs to pull from. House of Lewis’ “Funky Braggadocious” and Sherwin’s “Legato Gelato” would have been much better choices.
Despite not making it on to the next round, it’s still a remarkable achievement to make it on to Prime Time and House of Lewis recognized this. Both on air and off, the rappers have been nothing but humble and appreciative of the experience, which is refreshing to see. After their performance, the guys engaged in some good-natured humor, poking fun at themselves like they always do. That’s part of what makes House of Lewis so appealing.
The latest House of Lewis album, Lickity Split, is available on Bandcamp. They also released a remix of Donnie Bonelli’s “SHAKEFACE.” Rhyme Time’s album, GNARLY, comes out on August 8th. Make sure to like House of Lewis on Facebook and watch their AGT performance below.