04 January 2010

READ: The Life and Rhymes of Meuwl: A Tribute to Samuel Harshbarger

EDITOR'S NOTE: This week on the blog we will be doing a tribute to the life and music of our dear friend Samuel Harshbarger, aka Meuwl. We will be posting downloads, videos, photos and more as a retrospective of his all-too-short musical career as one of West Virginia's finest hip-hop and graffiti artists and most genuine people. To begin, we asked our good friend and one of Sam's best friends and producer Justin Leonard, aka Leno/L-No, to write some words about Meuwl. Here is that with a lot more to come, so we invite you to please check out the work of this incredible artist. RIP Meuwl.

The Life and Rhymes of Meuwl
On November 5, 2009, the West Virginia music scene and world at large lost a true legend. Samuel Bridges Harshbarger, known better as Meuwl or PSST passed away on that day - at only 29 years old, it was too soon. While most know Sam as an amazing artist, musically as Meuwl and half of the Rabble Rousers, or as graf writer PSST, I knew him as a friend. A best friend at that. I grew up skateboarding with Sam and have known him since the 8th grade. He was a special guy. One that excelled at anything he tried, first skateboarding and soccer, then music and art - he was always the best.

I first heard him rhyme at an open mic at the Empty Glass in late 2002. I bumped into a friend at the mall, who asked me if I was going to see him. At the time I didn’t even know he rapped. He had just come back to Charleston from Pittsburgh and we hadn’t hung out in a while. After that night, nothing musically for me would be the same again. I had been in several punk/hardcore bands but had always wanted to make hip-hop. I decided on that day that I would learn to make beats, and since I had musical experience and some stage presence, I would be his hype man. We went on to form Dayone Global Media together, and recorded two albums - 2004’s “Sooooo Hot Right Now” mixtape and 2006’s “The Chelsea Grin” as the duo Killer Affiliates. Sam went on with our friend/frequent collaborator B. Rude to form the Rabble Rousers and recorded “Tastes Like Crazy” in 2008. They played more shows than anyone I can think of between 2008-2009 and had an East Coast tour in the works, with dates in NYC, New Jersey, Philly, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and D.C., but unfortunately that won’t happen now.

As a graf writer, Sam got up more than your average writer. The now-infamous 120 counts of graffiti/vandalism he was served around 2002 is the highest ever in Charleston that I know. He was known for his signature PSST tag (which you could not avoid ANYWHERE on I-79 between Charleston and Pittsburgh for about two years), and the funk-bot character now immortalized in a number of tattoos. He was also a skilled glassworker and produced high quality glass pipes and jewelry (I’m still sporting a scar on my thigh from one of his pipes, a pair of cargo shorts and skateboarding with Seizeone about 20 beers deep.) He was an artist in the truest sense, and the musical side could not have existed without the visual.

As I said before, for most people, this was all they knew of Sam. I feel very fortunate to have thousands of memories of him that only a few people share. This was the guy who used to camp out at whoever’s parents were out of town’s house until they got back. The guy who I woke up hungover from one of said parties to find him finishing cleaning the house and chatting with my grandmother in the kitchen like it was his own grandmother. The guy who in 75% of the existing photos of him is wearing at least one article of my clothing. The guy whose last Newport was mine and vice versa.

Luckily, there are those of us who will help to keep him alive. Whether it’s B. Rude taking the torch and performing and recording new classics, or Ozker burning legal walls with the rest of the notorious RA graffiti crew, or me still acting as the glue to keep everyone together, we’ll never stop. We can’t stop, because if we do, then we’ve truly lost Sam for good and I can’t let that happen.

We love you man… Dayone/RA all day! LEGENDS NEVER DIE.

For more music and videos, check out youtube.com and search for “Meuwl”, or go to myspace.com/dayonemedia, myspace.com/wvrabblerousers or myspace.com/beerude.

Meuwl and L-No in the studio.


  1. We had the privilege of rocking/filming some shows with the Rabble Rousers. Anybody interested in checking it out can visit our YouTube page: youtube.com/mrsfreedom207

    Meuwl was awesome beyond words. The house cleaning/grandma greeting story is priceless.

    Thanks for sharing!

    PEACE from Miller-Mace

  2. he was a friend, a fellow hiphop artist, a co-worker, a visionary, and an all around good dude. the loss of meuwl cannot adequately be out into words