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It was no accident, according to energetic music visionary 88-Keys. The 29-year-old producer would be the first to tell you that he was always going to make his mark in hip-hop and beyond. For 88’, who has showcased his eclectic studio prowess for everyone from socially conscious Brooklyn rhymer/actor Mos Def (Black On Both Sides, The New Danger) to platinum R&B singer-songwriter Musiq (Juslisen, Soulstar), creating music would prove to be his destiny. It is a path he knew he would take when he first heard legendary Prince Paul’s groundbreaking, mad scientist production on De La Soul’s 1989 classic 3 Feet High and Rising. “It made me look at hip-hop as an art” recalls 88-Keys. “Then I remember walking home from my 8th grade class and hearing A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘I Left My Wallet In El Segundo’ on a car radio. And I’m like, ‘What was that?!!!’ Hearing someone like Kool G. Rap was a wake-up call but De La and Tribe was a bucket of cold water. I knew hip-hop music was it for me.”Read More...
Indeed, the kid born Charles Misodi Njapa in the Bronx and raised on Long Island, New York more than made good on his hip-hop ambitions. His early ’90s transition from eager intern to assistant engineer at West Hempstead’s The Music Palace recording studio insured that he would meet up with his heroes: A Tribe Called Quest’s charismatic front man Q-Tip; influential crate digger Pete Rock; and respected Nas producer Large Professor. It was L.P. who blessed Charles with his 88-Keys moniker after witnessing his budding skills on the ARS-10 keyboard. “I told myself if I ever make it in this business, that’s the name that I was going to use because I got it from one of the great ones,” 88‘ recalls.
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