Queens MC, Grammy winner and Lost Boys member best known for his hit Lights, Camera, Action! with QB legend, producer MC and Nas mentor.
MR. CHEEKS / LARGE PROFESSOR
Mentored by his uncle, the famed jazz poet, soul musician and author Gil Scott-Heron, Queens-bred Terrance Kelly was destined to pursue an artistic path. Claiming the tag Mr. Cheeks as his own, he began as a member of the seminal rap group The Lost Boyz, with Freaky Tah, Spigg Nice and Pretty Lou. Their brand of non-inflammatory NYC hip hop garnered praise and commercial success, with the singles “Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless” (1994), “Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz” (1995) and “Renee” (1996), off the smash albums Legal Drug Money, Love, Peace & Nappiness, and LB IV Life. Mr. Cheeks started his solo career in 2001 with the debut John P. Kelly, honoring both his cousin and grandfather of the same name. This LP included the touching track “Till We Meet Again,” commemorating the life of Freaky Tah, who died tragically in 1999, and the reggae-tinted “Mama Say.” His next effort, 2003’s Back Again!, contained a bouncy, groove-enthused titled track, and “Crush On You,” an R&B-infused slow jam. The following year, he put out Ladies and Ghettomen, and then focused on a partnership with longtime friend Stephen Marley (son of Bob). He continues to bring his commanding presence to the mic, touring and collaborating with a host of eminent artists.
Born in Harlem and raised in Queens, local legend William Paul Mitchell has been a staple of the NYC hip hop sphere since the ‘90s. Now known as Large Professor (and Large Pro and Extra P. in some underground niches), Mitchell burst onto the subterranean hip hop scene in 1989, representing the New York portion of the mostly-Canadian group Main Source (alongside Torontonians K-Cut and Sir Scratch). The crew’s debut, the scientifically-minded Breaking Atoms, boasted several hits, including “Just Hangin’ Out,” “Looking at the Front Door,” and “Live at the Barbeque” (featuring the first-ever recording of Nas). They were then tapped to record “Fakin’ the Funk” for the hit film White Men Can’t Jump. Large later went solo, signing with Geffen/MCA, as he recorded his first unaccompanied album in 1996, The LP. Over the following twenty years he would release four more full length records: 1st Class, Main Source, Professor @ Large and RE: Living. With undisputed success as a producer, Large Professor has crafted tracks for industry giants Busta Rhymes, Masta Ace, The X-Ecutioners, Tragedy Khadafi, Big Daddy Kane, Mobb Deep and old friend Nas (among many other ‘90s mainstays in hip hop).