I became friends with several rappers from Wu-tang, on down to Tupac, and met the Notorious BIG @keng_anthony
By owston, Dec 8 2017 12:33AM
#musicmoney sits down with to hear the incredible story of his music career so far. Sit back and enjoy.
I grew up making music at an early age but knew that Hip Hop would be my genre when I first I heard Malcolm Maclaren's song "Buffalo Gal" I knew what I wanted to do, so after much begging my mother she finally gave in and got me a small little drum machine from the music store for christmas one year and the nonstop practice began. After fine tuning my skills over time I got my first record deal by the age of 15 and although it was an indie Midwestern record label, we were backed by basketball players from the Indiana Pacers back during their Reggie Miller days.
In 1991-1992 I moved to Los Angeles, to Burbank actually, which was fascinating to me, seeing major movie and music stars at the grocery store late at night was somewhat mind blowing. I even saw Denzel Washington mowing his yard one day and he waved hello to me. Crazy right? and Will Smith playing basketball on a regular basis at Verdugo Gym during his Fresh Prince Of Bel Air days was quite interesting also, not to mention the fact that when I first got off the plane when arriving in Los Angeles I met Jeffrey Osbourn and got his autograph and quickly ended up hanging out with David Faustino "Bud Bundy" from married with children during his Grandmaster B phase and many more celebrities back in the Parker LewisCan't lose days, including hanging out with the star of that show as well. Everyone called me Casper back then. It wasn't, the greatest stage name but it was what it was :)
Within a couple of days of touching down in LA courtesy of my good friend Ricardo Broadus who at the time was a sound engineer for several major films like "Dead Presidents" and "The Inkwell" I was able to meet his cousin Derrick Perkins "Former professor at Full Sail University" music school, and I was asked to do a 30 second radio drop for Orlando Cruz who at the time was an executive at Delicious Vinyl Records and he loved the drop so much that I was offered a deal with his up and coming Indie label called "Brass Records" immediately after completing the 30 second drop. I knocked it out in one take and wrote it in the studio in the moment as well.
Orlando then hooked me up with everyone from The Baka Boys who at the time were major radio personalities in Los Angeles, as well as connected me with the artist's and producers who were hot in the game at that time, such as Dj Muggs, Tone Loc, Young Mc, The Brand New Heavies, Masta Ace, Booya Tribe, The Pharcyde, House Of Pain, Cypress Hill, and The Dust Brothers who at the time were The Beastie Boys producers, and the list goes on with regards to how many amazing creative people I was introduced to at that time, way too many to name. However, Orlando ended up not being able to continue with the Brass Records idea so we went our separate ways but I continued working with Derrick Perkins, writing and performing songs for a major children's television show, etc. and shortly after Derrick became the lead sound man for Stevie wonder I was able to spend a lot of time at Stevie's Wonderland Studio where I also began to work with Stevie's bass player Nathan Wattson a rap project that he was interested in completing.
I resided in North Hollywood which is now called The NOHO ARTS DISTRICT where those who are considered to be superstars of today and throughout the 90's were all flocked together in one centralized radius but nobody was famous yet. This includes artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Nia Long, Erick Bennet, Jessie Powel, Anthony Anderson, Brandy, Ray J, Terrence Howard, and Dave Chappelle just to name a few. We'd all talk about the direction we wanted to go in career wise, and what we wanted to be. My clubbing days back then included hanging out with Jada Pinkett, Tisha Campbell, Chris Tucker, and many more. I feel like I have met everyone, on down to a meeting with Jackie Jackson, micheals brother, to even meeting Michael himself and Janet Jackson as well. I even Hung out backstage with Rod Stewart after one of his concerts, Tevin campbell and his mom became great friends of mine, and I also became friends back then with several rappers from Wu-tang, on down to Tupac, and had the opportunity of meeting Notorious BIG as well. There's just far too many to highlight in one bio but let me end by saying that back then R&B superstar Omarion's step father at that time "Ozz Saturne" was managing me right when I had changed my stage name from Casper to "Rukus From Da WyldKingdom" I even used to babysit "Omarion," in fact I named him Omarion which you can read HERE in one of his USA Today Interviews . His real name is Omari. I wrote the rap for him that got him noticed also, and he still knows it by heart to this very day.
Back then DJ NU-MARK's house was my hang out because I was amazed by his production skills, and this is way before he had any albums out with Jurassic 5, he was just dedicated, and focused and he taught me how to use the Akai MPC-60 and the EMU EMAX, and with that I was sold on what gear I wanted to use to make beats with.
Sometime later around 1994 we had the BIG California earthquake which destroyed the apartments that I lived in and a friend of mine who knew Terrence Howard came to get me and said that I could stay with them for a few days until I found a way to get on my feet. Needless to say, Terrence was fascinated by my music production abilities, and we became great friends. He was not famous yet for anything much really at the time but an episode of the Cosby Show, and The Jackson 5 made for TV movie. However, I played my beats to him that I had made and explained my "Lack of music gear" situation by which he not only allowed me to come stay with him and his wife for a while but he loved my music so much that he offered to buy me some music equipment with his income tax check, which he did do, and the rest is history. He bought me an Akai MPC-60 and an EMU EMAX.. I then went on to making and selling beats throughout 1995 through 1996 selling them underground to survive, and then I made a demo with my new crew Da Wyld kingdom that shot us to the top of the bidding wars with major and indie record labels during the time of the Wu-tang, Tupac, and Notorious BIG Era thanks to David Esterson who paid me well for beats for his artists to demo, many of whom eventually signed with indie and major labels such as Disney and Universal MCA, etc. But most importantly I give thanks to David for hooking me up with Pete Manriquez who at the time was music director at Power 106 FM in Los Angeles and got us heard via a rap battle with one of our songs against believe it or not "Brian Austin Green" from Beverly Hills 90210's rap group.
Pete liked our overall material and took our demo and shopped it around to people such as Paul Stewart over at PMP Records when Montel Jordan's song on the PMP label "This is how we do it" was blowing up, as well as taking our material to several other labels who wanted to sign us but unfortunately we were shopping during the last quarter of labels having low budgets, but then somewhere around 1997-1998 Pete teamed up with a partner of his, as well as with Coolio and got Coolio a label deal with Beyond/BMG Records and then added me and my crew "Da WyldKingdom" to their talent roster which you can read about in BILLBOARD MAGAZINE where my groups name is also mentioned, and although the album didn't get to flourish due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, the highlight of that moment for me was two fold. The number one highlight was when the president of BMG Records approached me and asked me to go on the first stretch of the tour for the album, and then secondly, right after we performed for all of the executives of BMG worldwide in California "Chuck D" from Public Enemy approached me and said, "Da Wyldkingdom is the greatest".. and that we were going to blow up :) I had to add that because I was all so proud and humbled at the same tim