Photo by Ruth Morgan

DOUG E. FRESH 

Hip-Hop Innovator

“If you’re fortunate enough to be in a position to make a positive difference, on or off stage it’s your duty and responsibility to do just that.” 

—Doug E. Fresh

Harlem born and raised Douglas Davis, better known as Doug E. Fresh, a.k.a the “World’s Greatest Entertainer,” elevated hip-hop to a higher studio and live performance level in 1985, via his gold double-sided hit single, “The Show/La Di Da Di,” also featuring Doug’s then Get Fresh Crew partner in rhyme, MC Ricky D, a.k.a. Slick Rick.

 

Fresh’s dynamic beatboxing, microphone rocking, crowd moving live-on-stage magic captivated critics, invigorated fans, and inspired his hip-hop peers.

 

Born September 17, 1966, and just 13 when he began rapping, Fresh is the originator of the human beatbox (vocally simulating a drum machine and other instruments), which spawned an international trend, and gave Doug a unique rap signature that still thrills audiences today.

 

In addition to conquering America as leader of the Get Fresh Crew, Doug was the first rapper to perform in Africa and the Caribbean, helping to fuel hip-hop’s global embrace.

 

His hit 1987 album Oh, My God, and 1988 debut solo set, The World’s Greatest Entertainer, became, and are still, collector’s items.

 

Dedicated to the well being of those less fortunate than him, Doug performs for and donates to many charities, and consistently speaks out on vital social and political issues. “As a hip-hop or any other kind of successful artist,” notes Fresh, “if you’re fortunate enough to be in a position to make a positive difference, on or off stage, it’s your responsibility to do just that.”

 

A former host of “Showtime at the Apollo,” Doug nurtured the early careers of Slick Rick, P. Diddy, and Biz Markie among others. He’s also performed and/or recorded with such musical icons as Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, Eminem, P. Diddy, Dr. Dre, Chaka Khan, Prince and Stevie Wonder.

 

On the big screen Fresh appeared in Beat Street, Paid in Full, Brown Sugar, Whiteboys, and Let’s Get Bizzee. Plus, he penned songs for the soundtracks of Ghostbusters II, Get on the Bus, CB4, New Jack City, and The Sixth Man.

 

Expanding the scope of what it means to be a positive, progressive hip-hop artist over his phenomenal 20-year career, Fresh is not your typical materialistic rap star. “Hip-hop artists need to grow,” he concludes, “to use it like that, and not just to get some paper.”

 

Clearly, Doug E. Fresh is a genuine Harlem hip-hop legend. 

—by CHARLES E. ROGERS