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Doug E. Fresh
Doug E. Fresh performing in Brooklyn in 2010
|Born||September 17, 1966|
|Origin||Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Beatboxer, rapper, record producer|
|Slick Rick, Vicious, MC Hammer, Teddy Riley|
Douglas Davis, better known by his stage name Doug E. Fresh (born September 17, 1966), is a Barbadian-American rapper, record producer and beatboxer, also known as the "Human Beat Box". The pioneer of 20th-century American beatboxing, Fresh is able to accurately imitate drum machines and various special effects using only his mouth, lips, gums, throat, tongue and a microphone.
Doug E. Fresh began his recording career as a solo artist and was among 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 singer Keith Sweat to ultimate fame). He and a new team of DJs known as the Get Fresh Crew (Barry Bee and Chill Will), along with newcomer MC Ricky D (who would later achieve fame as Slick Rick), came to fledgling New Jersey-based hip-hop label Danya/Reality Records the following year and recorded "The Show", which borrowed the melody of the Inspector Gadget theme by Shuki Levy. They also recorded "La Di Da Di", a tune that was completely voiced by MC Ricky D and backed by Doug E. Fresh's beatboxing for the entire duration of the song. The release of these two songs as a 12" single launched Doug E. Fresh (and Slick Rick) into stardom. Both sings are considered among the greatest early hip-hop classics. "The Show" peaked at #7 on the UK Singles Chart in December 1985.
Doug E. Fresh was interviewed in the 1986 cult documentary Big Fun In The Big Town. Slick Rick left the group almost a year after the release of the "The Show"/"La Di Da Di" single, reappearing in 1988 as a Def Jam artist and releasing his debut album, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick. Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew continued on, now officially signed to Danya/Reality/Fantasy, by releasing Oh, My God! in 1986, which included the hit song "All The Way To Heaven". In 1988, The World's Greatest Entertainer was released, featuring the song "Keep Risin' To The Top", which was named after Keni Burke's then-obscure 1981 hit "Rising To The Top" (which has since become Burke's signature song). Doug E. Fresh's "Keep Risin' To The Top" also samples the main chorus 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 MC Hammer's label Bust It Records and issued the album Doin' What I Gotta Do, a commercial failure despite some minor acclaim for the single "Bustin' Out (On Funk)", which sampled Rick James' 1979 single "Bustin' Out".
In 1993, Doug E. Fresh found a new home at Island Records-affiliated label Gee Street. However, he only released one single containing three songs: "I-ight (Alright)" (the main track), "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 E. Fresh in five years, it was almost immediately overshadowed by "Freaks", a dancehall tune beatboxed entirely by Doug E. Fresh and vocalized mainly by his protégé, a Brooklyn-born Jamaican teenage newcomer named Vicious. The song received major radio and club play, followed by video play in early 1994. Vicious would soon ink a deal with Sony Music's Epic Records for three years, although he would only release one album, Destination Brooklyn.
In 1995, Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh reunited for a track on an album titled Play, which received positive reviews; Bret Love wrote, "A welcome flashback to the days when guns, drugs, sex, and violence were not the genre's primary lyrical focus." Also on the Play album was "Freak It Out", which featured Uncle Luke, was produced by platinum producer Frankie Cutlass and was appeared on the Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood soundtrack. Play was certified gold by the RIAA.
In 2010, Doug E. Fresh resurfaced when rap group Cali Swag District brought back some of his trademark dance moves for 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 Doug E. Fresh's dance moves and created a song that would feature the dance, but also give Fresh his due credit.
On June 27, 2010, Doug E. Fresh performed with Cali Swag District on "Teach Me How to Dougie" at the BET Awards pre-show. He also performed a concert called "The Show" at the Paradise Theater on August 12, 2010. On November 8, 2010, 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 December 10, 2010, Fresh appeared on ESPN First Take to speak about the phenomenon of the Dougie as a sports celebration and voted on the best sports-related Dougie dances, selecting that of host Skip Bayless, though he rated Wolf Blitzer's Dougie at the Soul Train Awards as better but with no sports association.
On October 28, 2011 Doug E. Fresh performed at the Paradise Theater in a concert to benefit New York City's public hospitals; the show was part of "STAT! for NYC's Public Hospitals" to raise funds to reduce gun violence. On July 9, 2012, Fresh served as a celebrity judge on the Apollo Live TV show. Beginning May 25, 2013, Fresh hosted a classic hip-hop and R&B show called "The Show" on New York's 107.5 WBLS, which aired 9:00-11:00 p.m. Saturday nights until the final broadcast on December 31, 2016.
Doug E. Fresh is a member of the Church of Scientology. He performed for a large audience at the Scientology Celebrity Center's Anniversary Gala in 2004. He also performed two tracks on the Scientology music album The Joy of Creating (other artists appearing included Isaac Hayes, Chick Corea, Edgar Winter and Carl Anderson).
Fresh is the spokesperson for the Hip Hop Public Health Education Center at Harlem Hospital Center.
In April 2007, a storefront for Doug E.'s Chicken and Waffles appeared at the corner of 132nd Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in Harlem. Work continued on the location for over three years until the eatery finally opened its doors in November 2010. The location has since closed permanently, although the storefront remains in place. Doug E. Fresh has stated he has a club called Fresh.
Doug E. Fresh has six sons and manages Square Off, the hip-hop group of his sons Dayquan "Slim" Davis and Solomon "Trips" Davis. Square Off released their debut CD entitled "Money, Moet & Memories " in June 2011. The digital-only release was orchestrated completely by the brothers with little assistance from their father. "When he is involved in something, that's us coming to him...mainly everything we do is our concepts, our own direction," Slim said to the New York Daily News.