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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."