Rock Steady Crew 39th Anniversary with Nice & Smooth, Bahamadia, Doug E. Fresh and more

Nice & Smooth

Nice & Smooth was an East Coast hip hop duo from New York that consists of Greg Nice (Greg Mays) and Smooth B (Daryl Barnes). The duo released four albums from the late 1980s to the mid 1990s. Their first collaborate appearance was on the song, “Pimpin Ain’t Easy” by Big Daddy Kane on his album, It’s a Big Daddy Thing in 1989. Nice & Smooth’s biggest radio fame came from “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow…,” from the group’s second album, Ain’t a Damn Thing Changed, released in 1991. The song was a moderately somber rhyme with introspective lines about poverty, AIDS, and drugs that was set to the guitar loop from Tracy Chapman’s hit “Fast Car.” In the summer of 1992, the music video received heavy rotation on MTV. “Hip-Hop Junkies,” which featured a sample from The Partridge Family’s ” I Think I Love You” was also a hit, and it was once performed live on Keenan Ivory Wayans’ comedy/variety TV show, In Living Color. The duo is known for its humorous rhymes and catchy hooks. They often appeared as guest emcees on albums by the Beatnuts, Gang Starr, and Tony Touch among many others. They were represented by Reggie Osse. Another notable song by the group is “Funky for You”, off of their self-titled debut album.

Born Antonia’ Reed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Bahamadia was first introduced to Hip Hop culture as a DJ spinning at local house parties in the 80’s. A writer at heart, Bahamadia honed her skills as a poet and emcee with superior rhyme and delivery skills. Her work has been featured in electronic, progressive, jazz and experimental genres. Bahamadia’s eclecticism secured her rise to prominence on the hip hop and world music scene in the 90’s. In 1993 her regional hit, funk vibe (co-produced by DJ Ran of Power 99) caught the attention of G.U.R.U of the iconic rap duo Gangstarr. Bahamadia became his protégé and she was soon signed to his Ill Kid Productions where she recorded her follow-up single, Total Wreck which led to a recording deal with Chrysalis/Emi/Capital Records. In 1995 Uknowhowwedo the lead single to her classic debut Kollage was released. Kollage LP followed in 1996 and solidified Bahamadia’s place in world music’s history as the premier emcee for females in hip hop culture globally. Bahamadia returned to recording with appearances on golden era standards with artists such as Rah Digga, Talib Kweli, Jedi Mind Tricks, Lauryn Hill, The Roots, and more. In Spring 2013 Bahamadia released her self-produced project titled Dialed Up. Dialed Up is the first ever music project created entirely on a handheld mobile device (smart phone) AND recorded in a car—further evidence to support why Bahamadia is deemed a highly respected artistic visionary and forerunner of tomorrow’s music. Currently Bahamadia is finalizing her next project titled Here; slated for 2016 release on her B-Girl Records LLC imprint. She is also a creative ambassador and an active member on the Universal Hip Hop Museum’s Women’s Advisory Board.

Doug E. Fresh

The first human beatbox in the rap world, and still the best of all time, Doug E. Fresh amazed audiences with his note-perfect imitations of drum machines, effects, and often large samples of hip-hop classics. Fresh was born Doug E. Davis in Barbados, and his first appearance came in 1983 on a single for Spotlight called “Pass the Budda,” with Spoonie Gee and DJ Spivey. His introduction to most hip-hop fans, though, came one year later with his astonishing performance in Beat Street behind the Treacherous Three. His first solo features also came in 1984, with “Just Having Fun,” waxed for Enjoy, and “Original Human Beatbox” for Vinentertainment. By 1985, Fresh was one of the biggest names in rap music, and his first single for Reality, “The Show/La Di Da Di,” became a hip-hop classic. It was recorded with his Get Fresh Crew, including MC Ricky D (only later to gain fame as Slick Rick), along with Barry Bee and Chill Will. His first LP, 1987’s Oh, My God!, featured most of his showpieces, like “Play This Only at Night” and “All the Way to Heaven,” along with nods to reggae and even gospel. His second album, 1988’s The World’s Greatest Entertainer, broke into the Billboard charts thanks to another hot single, “Keep Risin’ to the Top,” but Slick Rick had already broken from the pack and his LP of the same year, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, did much better than Doug E. Fresh. Fresh took a break and wasn’t able to regain momentum with 1992’s Doin’ What I Gotta Do, released through MC Hammer’s Bust It label. He did reunite on a Slick Rick LP, and recorded again in 1995 for Gee Street.