Sky is blue like a pig's eye / Birds chirp like a lady that just got raped by ten guys / Nigga's die over rumors and lies / What a beautiful day. – Ali Vegas age 6. It was these prolific words from the mouth of a six year old, that prompted Tosha to put his young cousin's words on a t-shirt, documenting the first rhyme of an artist who would, one day, come to be known as one of hip-hop's lyrical legends.
With the coaching of his older cousins, Ali manipulated his affinity for poetry into a skillful display of lyricism as a rapper. At the age of twelve, Jamaica, Queens born rapper, Ali Vegas was already being compared to the likes of Nas, and Jay Z when he secured his first record deal with Trackmasters Entertainment under Columbia records.
As the eldest of four children being raised by a single mother, Vegas felt compelled to fall into a leadership role at an early age. Between the time that he spent with his grandmother at her high profile daycare, and his God-mother who was a teacher, he was inundated with books and made good use of his time and the knowledge packed between those pages. At home, the influences of Marvin Gaye and David Ruffin that his mother played, coupled with the realities of his surrounding conditions gave him a canvas for his newfound love of words and poetry.
Reading at a seventh grade level, and doing Math at a ninth grade level while he was in the first grade prompted elders to attribute to him an old soul whose ability for discernment contributed to his insightful reflections. For Ali Vegas, it was merely who he was born to be, a messenger sent here to deliver a message.
During the shooting of a documentary based on the life of his infamous friend Panama PI, a label executive heard the young rapper spit and insisted he come to the Columbia offices the next day. When the unassuming MC arrived that day, he was met by Mase, Nas and Kid Capri who had just stopped by to drop off a beat over which Ali Vegas flawlessly spat over.
When his mother saw the respect that her son received from the same artists that adorned his little sister's wall, it was the first time she truly understood how gifted her son was. Unfortunately not even his formidable lyrical prowess could save the Trackmasters from losing their deal with Columbia and his first recorded album wouldn't see the light of day. Ali immediately hit the pavement staying on the road and doing mix tapes and constantly feeding the streets with music.
After years of establishing his name as a staid force to be reckoned with, Vegas went back home to his roots and teamed up with childhood friend Lamar Odom and signed to his newly formed Rich-Soil Entertainment. Set to release the highly anticipated debut, Generation Gap 2, Vegas and his Rich-Soil family plan to plant seeds of greatness as they re-introduce a new generation of hip-hop. "The album I recorded for Trackmasters was going to be called Generation Gap", explains Vegas, "I always felt like that was a classic title and that album would've been a classic album had it been able to come out. Now I wanted to name this one Generation Gap 2 because I wanted to mend the gap between the teachers and the students because I'm a product of both. I come from both generations so that's how I put the album together. I put the teachers together with the students so we can learn from each other and take hip-hop to a better place musically. Like on production, DJ Premier is like the Principal and L.E.S is the assistant Principal, then you have Scott Storch and Cool and Dre who are teachers to the young hot students like J-Nyce. Other teachers and students on the album include: Nas, Akon, AZ, Styles P, Young TRL, Siamese Twinz”.
The first single "That's Nothing" produced by Scott Storch will be the introduction to bridging the hip-hop divide. Generation Gap 2 drops summer 2008.
By: Tom Atkinson
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