All Roads Lead to Harvard Drive


The four members of Harvard Drive met while working at the Apple store at Fayette Mall.

Becky Feigin

New artists are having their music discovered every day, but it’s not often that a group of new artists come about who are ready to take the scene by storm.

Damon Saunders (Stōōp), Ej Karnell (Kärnəl), Rob Baker (Yazoo) and producer Elias Masharbash are the four men behind Harvard Drive. The group met while working at the Apple Store in Fayette Mall in 2015.

Although each member got involved with music at a different time in their lives, they were all looking for something bigger than themselves at the time that they came together.

Baker, 27, first started rapping in 2001 when he was 12 years old with Karnell and Saunders not starting until 2010 and 2012 respectively. In high school Karnell would write pre-game raps before football games, but he started taking it all a bit more seriously after his stepbrother passed away in 2010.

Saunders used to play baseball at UK. Once his baseball career started winding down in 2012, he turned to rapping.  Saunders was the last addition to the group before becoming Harvard Drive. Karnell and Baker had already worked on several songs with Masharbash prior to Saunders joining.

“I remember Eli and I went out to his car one day and he showed me some music that all of them had been doing and I was so impressed,” Saunders said, adding that later that night marked the group’s first journey into the studio.

When Masharbash was younger, he was in a band that did their own pre-production before going into bigger studios. After the band broke up, he was looking for a way to bring music back into his life, leading to Masharbash getting involved in producing.

According to Masharbash, there’s strength in numbers, and he couldn’t envision following his passion of music without his comrades from Harvard Drive by his side, adding that if he were to charge each member separately to record in his studio, they would barely be able to afford it and it would make it more difficult for their voices to be heard in the music world.

“I’d rather go off friendship and talent because that’s more valuable anyway,” Masharbash said.

Masharbash’s studio is located on Harvard Drive, leading to the group’s name. Harvard Drive’s is currently prepping for their first live show, which is at The Burl on Saturday, April 1 with Indianapolis’ Sirius Blvck and fellow local artist Devine Carama. All four members of Harvard Drive are anxiously awaiting the show and their first opportunity to share their artistic vision with the community.

“It’s the first test. A lot of our friends have heard our stuff, but it’s going to be a different crowd,” Saunders said.

While Harvard Drive is group, each member also possesses their own signature styles, with the group’s sets consisting of original solo and group songs.

“We all rap different and we all sound different,“ Baker said. “You won’t mistake us for each other. We have diversity, that’s what makes us stand out.” 


Sirius Blvck, Devine Carama and Harvard Drive

When: Saturday, April 1 at 9 p.m.

Where: The Burl – 375 Thompson Rd.

Tickets: $5-7, 18+