Founded by New York producer Marley Marl and late radio personality DJ Mr. Magic in Queens, the Juice Crew featured some of the most influential MC‘s of Hip-Hop’s “Golden Age” of the 1980s. Long before the mega-crews like Native Tongue, Wu-Tang Clan and Boot Camp Click dominated the landscape, the Juice Crew was one of the first Hip-Hop collectives to burst onto the national scene. MC Shan, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap (together with DJ Polo), Roxanne Shante, Biz Markie, Craig G, Tragedy Khadafi (formerly The Intelligent Hoodlum), crooner TJ Swan and Masta Ace were all under the production tutelage of Marley Marl. The entire collective were signed to Cold Chillin’/Warner Bros. Records, with Kane becoming the largest commercial success of them all. Kool G Rap and DJ Polo were met with critical acclaim over their four albums on the label. Shan and Shante were the early stars, with the Biz maintaining his own burgeoning following. Disbanding in 1991 after an eight-year run, the Juice Crew acts would find themselves attempting to find fame without the crutch of the group to rely on. Some members enjoy steady, if not highly visible, careers to this day. Other members have since fallen from the limelight.
TJ Swan ( On The Left)
Future, T-Pain, even the late Nate Dogg, they all owe a debt to TJ Swan, the vocalist of the Juice Crew. Besides some attempts to find him by UnKut, does anyone know where this OG Hip-Hop crooner is?
Roxanne Shante was the first act to appear under the Juice Crew banner. Known for her scathing beefs on wax with UTFO and rival The Real Roxanne, besides never earning Ph.D. like she claimed, Shante remains a beloved figure.
Shan’s Marley Marl produced ode to his native Queensbridge projects “The Bridge” sparked a response from Bronx upstart KRS-One. Shan isn’t involved in music much these days (dropping a single last year), but scored big as a producer in the early 1990s with Canadian reggae artist Snow, producing the track “Informer.”
Kane possessed one of the best rap flows on the planet during his career’s height. Although he hasn’t dropped an official album since 1998, BDK still tours extensively and does cameos and one-offs on the regular and recently formed a supergroup called Las Supper.
G. Rap (On The Left) DJ Polo (Right)
G. Rap proved that even rappers with a lisp can flow, long before EPMD‘s Erick Sermon. G. Rap is still making music, releasing an LP in 2011 and working alongside horrorcore rapper/producer Necro on a joint project.
Craig G didn’t make a splash early in his career, but went on to become an underground rap icon. Famous for his notorious freestyle battles with rival Supernatural, he is still dropping new music. The Queens MC released the slept on LP Ramblings Of An Angry Old Man last year.
What Biz Markie lacked in lyrics, he made up for with a zany personality and formidable beat boxing skills. With a few mild hits here and there, the Diabolical One has enjoyed a great career as a sought after DJ.
Tragedy The Intelligent Hoodlum/Tragedy Khadafi
Tragedy was a junior member of the Juice Crew but frequent jail stints stalled his career. Changing his name to Tragedy Khadafi, the QB soldier was responsible for introducing the world to celebrated rap duo Capone-N-Noreaga. Tragedy has been active in the 2000s and still records.
The fact that he opened up the all-star classic posse cut “The Symphony” speaks to the Brownsville rapper’s MC pedigree. Ace is still doing his thing, dropping MA DOOM: Son Of Yvonne, which featured beats from fellow old-school vet MF DOOM, last year.
Marley Marl gets props for being one of the first producers to really use samples heavily on his beats. At 50 years of age, Marley is spinning on WBLS and did manage to release a few projects with former mentee Craig G and past rival KRS-One.