The first MC of significance to be supported by Swizz Beatz's J-affiliated Full Surface label, Cassidy is a fresh-faced Philadelphian who gained a lot of attention as a battle rapper -- with a successful bout against Freeway as one of the first feathers in his cap. People who had been following him through several mixtape appearances were more than a little surprised by the angle taken on his first solo single, "Hotel." Rather than build on his street credibility, Cassidy used the song -- with vocal hooks courtesy of R. Kelly -- to establish himself as an MC who could just deliver a fluffy chart-aimed hit with equal ease. "Hotel" more or less piggybacked Chingy's "Holidae In" as a like-themed tune into the upper reaches of the singles charts, all the while being as light musically as the same rapper's "One Call Away." Split Personality, Cassidy's debut album, arrived just as "Hotel" was peaking, in March of 2004, and debuted at the number two spot on the Billboard album chart. The following year, the MC returned with the harder I'm a Hustla, which was released roughly two weeks after he was charged with a murder that took place in his Philadelphia neighborhood. The extra attention had no negative effect on his career, with 2007's B.A.R.S.: The Barry Adrian Reese Story bowing in the Top Ten of the Billboard album chart; its lead single, "My Drink 'N My Two Step" (also produced by Swizz Beatz), peaked at number 11 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop chart.

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Ras Kass
American rapper Ras Kass was born John Austin IV in Watts, California in 1973. A voracious reader throughout his youth, he adopted his stage name in honor of Ethiopian emperor Ras Kassa Mercha. After releasing a pair of independent singles, Ras Kass emerged as one of the most highly regarded new rappers at the time, winning particular acclaim for his skills as a lyricist (in the space of six months, he twice earned Rap Pages magazine's Rhyme of the Month award as well as The Source's Hip Hop Quotable honor). His long-awaited debut LP, Soul on Ice, arrived on Priority Records in 1996. The album included the singles "Ordo Abchao (Order Out of Chaos)" and seven-minute history lesson "Nature of the Threat," as well as a guest spot from Coolio. His sophomore effort, Rasassination (PatchWerk/Priority), followed in 1998, landing in the Top 100 on the Billboard 200 and peaking just outside the Top Ten of the R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The album produced one single, "Ghetto Fabulous," with guests Dr. Dre and Mack 10, as well as the fan favorite "Interview with the Vampire." In addition, Ras was joined by Kurupt, Saafir, Jazze Pha, Xzibit, Twista, RZA, and more. The release of his follow-up, Van Gogh, was delayed by label mergers and bootlegging, and Ras was forced to shelve the project. Another project, Goldyn Chyld, also failed to materialize.

Ras shifted focus to the HRSMN, a rap supergroup formed with Kurupt, Killah Priest, and Canibus. The foursome issued their debut, The Horsemen Project, in 2003. Still embroiled in label disagreements, Ras released the mixtapes Institutionalized (2005); Revenge of the Spit and Eat or Die(2006); and Institutionalized, Vol. 2 (2008). A mixtape project titled The Quarterly was self-issued in 2009 on Ras' website and featured spots by Killah Priest, Mistah F.A.B., and producer Pete Rock. A crowdfunded project, A.D.I.D.A.S. (All Day I Dream About Spittin), was released in 2011. Barmageddon followed in 2013 and featured guests like Too $hort, Ice-T, Monie Love, Yukmouth, Kendrick Lamar, and more. Blasphemy, a collaborative album with producer Apollo Brown, was issued in 2014 and recruited Royce da 5'9", Pharoahe Monch, Xzibit, and others. That same year, Ras released Barmageddon 2.0. In 2016, a flurry of activity resulted in the release of two additional mixtapes and Intellectual Property: SO12, which featured KRS-One, RZA, Bun B, Onyx, and more on a sprawling 26 tracks.

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Ruste Juxx
Ruste Juxx is the newest sensation coming out of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. After several years of collaborating on Boot Camp Clik projects, such as Sean Price's, 'Monkey Barz', 'Master P', and 'Jesus Price Supastar' albums, along with being featured on Boot Camp Clik's 'Casualties of War' album and touring with the likes of Sean Price, Ghostface Killah and Jedi Mind Tricks. Juxx released his first solo project, entitled "Indestructible," October 2008 on Duck Down Music Inc. Ruste Juxx blazed the hip hop scene with his single "Vic Flair," which received heavy support from New York's HOT 97, and the accompanying video became an underground favorite online. 'Indestructible' is Executive-Produced by Sean Price and is spearheaded by the lead tracks "Wipe Off Ya Smile," and "Get Up." The production on the album is from PF Cuttin, Dan the Man, and Black Milk. After years of grinding, In 2010 Ruste Juxx teamed up with producer and labelmate Marco Polo to release 'The eXXecution' Marco Polo handles the entire production on the album and it also features guest appearances DJ Revolution, Black Moon, Rock of Heltah Skeltah, Freddie Foxx and Smif N Wessun. Ruste Juxx is finally seeing his hard work and dedication to what he loves paying off. With this project he proves that success is the only option. The album title means he's too strong to be destroyed!!

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Jake Palumbo
Jake Palumbo is a producer, emcee, recording & mix engineer, DJ, dry humorist, perv, & the proprietor of SpaceLAB Recordings – an independent hip-hop imprint who has currently released 36 titles independently since 2003 & operated a busy, full-service recording & production studio located in Midtown Manhattan since 2011.

A resident of Brooklyn, NYC for the last decade, Jake Palumbo began his pursuits of music in the unlikely location of Johnson City, TN. Feeling geographically detached from the hip-hop culture he fell in love with was at first an obstacle, but it allowed him to develop an honest, eclectic production style & humorous, unnerving rhyme persona all his own – “too abstract for the hood, too hood for the hipsters”, he jokes in one song.

He has received miscellaneous accolades like being ranked in the Top 100 Hip-Hop Artists in NYC by The Deli magazine, being featured in the pilot episode of CNBC’s The Profit, accepting the Independent Album Of The Year Award at the Underground Music Awards (for his work with Shabaam Sahdeeq’s highly-acclaimed Keepers Of The Lost Art LP) and popping up on a variety of year-end Top 10 lists across the web. With a dedicated underground following, & growing online exposure, success to Palumbo comes not from fame or traditional accolades but from being his own boss, creation, producing artists to be their best, satisfying his audience, having independence & creative freedom & being fulfilled by the experience – aka, having fun doing it. “I think because of my other skills & things I’m appreciated for, I’m not banking on just rapping alone to be able to make an impact in the music business, so it lifts a weight off my shoulders to some degree; I can make the records I want to make, that sound dope to me – stay in business with an audience that cares, & do it on my own terms. ” Palumbo told DJ Myster on EmbassyNYC Radio 88.7 FM recently

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Smoke & Mirrors: DMT (Definitive MetaGod Trilogy) is a collection of some of Cambatta's best songs from his critically acclaimed Smoke & Mirrors series, plus 5 brand new songs. DMT is a culmination of years of devotion, experimentation and soul searching through Hip Hop and psychedelic drug use.

Beginning with The Porch in 2013, Cambatta reinvented himself and entered the scene with a style of lyricism comparable to greats like Andre 3000 and Jay Z. Following up with his EP The Womb and The Crackbaby in 2015, He pushed his flow and pen game even further displaying a talent for deep story telling ("Escape From The Womb"), explosive metaphors ("Ghost In The Machine") and conscious spirituality (Blessing From God) while still maintaining the swagger and grittiness expected of an East Coast rapper raised in the streets of New Haven, Connecticut.

Asked about his writing process by veteran Hip Hop journalist Rob Markman, Cambatta says, "I got really good at becoming one with death. I'm able to push myself to the brink and come back, filling up my word bank with as many words to explain the things people can't explain. Everything we do as people is all communication, it just so happens that I'm born in a time where the most popular form of communication is rap music." With the comedic, smoked-out single "Too Loud" the unbelievable title track "DMT" and the collection of classics, Cambatta once again raises the bar, explains the inexplicable, and takes old and new fans for a potent, lyrical ride.

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Kwaw Kese
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