DOUG E. FRESH

Dubbed the "World's Greatest Entertainer" for his unrivaled ability to rock a crowd, Harlem native Doug E. Fresh began his musical career at age 13. The originator of the human beat box (vocally simulating the sound of drums and other musical instruments), he spawned an international hip-hop trend. Best known for the two-sided, multi-platinum hits "The Show" and "La Di Da Di," his groundbreaking successes and firsts, like being the first rapper to play Africa and the Caribbean, heralded the global popularity of hip-hop. As concerned with the welfare of others as he is with rockin' the mic, Fresh has embraced hip-hop activism and used his voice to speak out against a variety of social ills. Along the way, he has nurtured rising talent, including the likes of MC Ricky D (AKA Slick Rick), P. Diddy, Biz Markie and numerous newcomers during his stint as host (and unofficial mentor) of It's Showtime at the Apollo. Throughout his 20-year career, Fresh has collaborated with the world's top artists. He's performed or recorded with fellow rap legends, including Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, Eminem, P. Diddy and Dr. Dre.

He's also worked with artists in reggae (Beenie Man, Sly & Robbie and Poppa San), R&B (Prince, Roberta Flack, Chaka Kahn, and Stevie Wonder), jazz (George Benson, Grover Washington and Bobbie McFerrin) and gospel (Rev. Robert Lowe and Generations). Widely in demand around the globe, Fresh has recorded with Rahzel and Japan's DJ Hasebe, a Swedish hip-hop group called the South Street Rockers, Italy's Claudio Risi and French rappers Supa Saian Crew. Fresh has taken on the big screen, appearing in such films as Brown Sugar, Paid in Full, Whiteboys and Let's Get Bizzee and writing songs for others (Ghostbusters II, Get on the Bus, CB4, New Jack City and The Sixth Man). He has performed on television, including on The Chris Rock Show, New York Undercover and Britain's The Top of the Pops. Doug E. has written music for McDonalds, Coors, Gatorade and Tangueray commercials, and his hit "I-Ight" was selected as a theme song by the NBA for MTV's NBA Slam & Jam Wrap-Up Show. With the same ease as he takes the mic, Doug E. takes on social responsibility. A tireless hip-hop activist, he has fought against racism, drugs, illiteracy, police brutality and homelessness in communities around the world. A vocal proponent of artists' rights, he's a hands-on board member of The Artist Empowerment Coalition.

He's also used his skills and clout to call to task gangsta rap posturing in his 1993 hit "I-Ight." "Hip-hop is supposed to uplift and create, to educate people on a larger level and to make a change," said Fresh. "Hip-hop artists need to grow to use it like that, not just to get some paper." Keeping up with the rap master is truly a challenge. A typical month sees him in the studio putting down tracks for his upcoming albums (one domestic, one international), working on a book on hip-hop and on animation of his new children's book (Think Again!, Scholastics), hosting events and rocking the house at concerts around the world - all while finding time to support his favorite causes. "My career has been a hell of a ride and there's so much more to come," Doug E. said recently. "People can look to me as a teacher, but I consider myself a student of hip-hop. I'm forever learning and that's why I'm always able to create new styles and new dimensions of hip-hop."

 

Artist Bio on Wikipedia

 

Douglas E. Davis (born 17, 1966), better known by the stage name Doug E. Fresh, is an American rapper, record producer, and beat boxer, also known as "the Human Beat Box". One of the early pioneers of beatboxing, Fresh is able to accurately imitate drum machines and various special effects using only his mouth, throat and a microphone.

Although he began his recording career as a solo artist as one of the last artists on Enjoy Records and one of the first on Vintertainment Records (the same New York-based label owned by Vincent Davis that would later make a name of Hip-Hop artist Joeski Love and bring R&B icon Keith Sweat to ultimate fame), it was when he and a new team of DJs known as The Get Fresh Crew (Barry Bee and Chill Will) along with a newcomer named MC Ricky D (who would later achieve fame as Slick Rick) came to fledgling New Jersey-based Hip-Hop label Reality/Danya Records the following year and recorded "The Show" (which borrowed the melody of the Inspector Gadget theme),[2] and "La Di Da Di", a tune that was completely voiced by MC Ricky D and backed by Doug E's beat box for the entire duration of the song. It was when both of these songs were released on a single (particularly 12" single) that broke him (and Slick Rick) into stardom. Both "The Show" and "La-Di-Da-Di" are considered two of the all-time greatest early hip hop classics, and, as such make up one of the first and only Hip-Hop singles to have two hit songs on the same disc.

"The Show" peaked at #7 in the UK Singles Chart in December 1985.[3]

Unfortunately, Slick Rick would leave the group almost a year after the single was released leaving many wondering what happened to him until 1988 when he became a Def Jam artist and released his debut album The Great Adventures of Slick Rick. Doug E. Fresh and The Get Fresh Crew soldiered on, now officially signed to Reality/Danya and releasing two albums from that period -- Oh, My God! from 1986 (which includes the hit song "All The Way To Heaven") and The World's Greatest Entertainer from 1988—both of which are now long out of print and extremely rare. The main single from the album The World's Greatest Entertainer was "Keep Risin' To The Top" which was named after Keni Burke's then-obscure 1981 hit "Keep Rising To The Top", which, thanks to being sampled in Doug E. Fresh's song, has become Keni's signature tune. Doug E.'s "Keep Risin' To The Top" also samples the main chorus phrase of Heatwave's 1976 classic, "Ain't No Half Steppin", which Big Daddy Kane also sampled that same year for his song of the same name.

In 1992, after a four-year hiatus, Doug E. Fresh joined with MC Hammer's label, Bust It Records and issued one album, Doin' What I Gotta Do, which (despite some minor acclaim for his single "Bustin' Out (On Funk)" which samples the Rick James 1979 single, "Bustin' Out") was a commercial failure.

In 1993, Doug E. Fresh found a new home at Island Records affiliated label Gee Street under their new division Gee Street Independent. At the time, he managed only to release one single which contained three songs -- "I-ight (Alright)", which was the main song, "Bounce", and "Freaks". Although "I-ight" (which originated the now-famous club chant "Heyyyyyy, YO!... I-iiiiight?") was slated to become the first major hit for Doug in 5 years, it was almost immediately overshadowed by "Freaks", a Dancehall tune beatboxed entirely by Doug E. and vocalized mainly by his protege, a Brooklyn-born Jamaican teenage newcomer named Lil' Vicious. The song received major radio and club play, followed by video play when the video was finally produced a few months into 1994. Lil' Vicious would soon drop the "Lil'" from his name and ink a deal with Sony Music's Epic Records for three years, although he would only sire one album, Destination Brooklyn.

In 1995, Slick Rick and Fresh reunited for a track on an album titled Play, which found Fresh back on his feet. Play received positive reviews; Bret Love wrote that the record is "a welcome flashback to the days when guns, drugs, sex and violence were not the genre's primary lyrical focus."[4]

On May 23, 2007, Fresh performed variations upon "The Show" with finalist Blake Lewis on the season-six finale of American Idol, the first ever hip-hop performance on the show.[5]

2010 saw Fresh make a small comeback in popular culture as rap group Cali Swag District brought back some of his trademark dance moves with their song "Teach Me How to Dougie." Members of Cali Swag District saw Texas college students doing a local dance created in Dallas called the D-Town Boogie. They recognized it as a modified version of Fresh's dance moves and decided to create a song that would feature the dance, but also give Fresh his due credit.

On September 27, 2010, Fresh came out and performed with Cali Swag District while they were performing their song Teach Me How to Dougie at the BET Awards Pre-show.

On Nov. 8, 2010 Doug E. Fresh appeared at the Soul Train Awards where he taught CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer how to Dougie on stage as part of the show.

On Dec. 10, 2010 Fresh appeared on ESPN First Take to speak about the phenomenon of the Dougie as a sports celebration. As part of the show he, Lomas Brown, and Skip Bayless voted on the best sports related Dougie's. The Dougie performed by Bayless himself on ESPN First Take was voted by Fresh as the best, although he rated Wolf Blitzer's Dougie at the Soul Train Awards the best but it had no sports association.

 

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