Angie MartinezView in iTunes
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Part of the New York City hip-hop scene, Angie Martinez got her start working in radio. Raised in Brooklyn, Martinez was first introduced to music via her mother's diverse musical tastes (who was a program director for a jazz radio station). Eventually Martinez discovered hip-hop, and after a short stint at a Miami radio station working the phones, she moved back to N.Y.C. and began working at the popular dance station Hot 97. Rapper KRS-One encouraged Martinez to give hip-hop a shot herself, impressed by Martinez's improvisational rapping skills. This led to a successful collaboration with Redman, "Heart Beat," as well as working with Mary J. Blige and performing on the Grammy-nominated single "Ladies Night," alongside Missy Elliot, Lil' Kim, Left Eye, and Da Brat. Martinez was signed shortly thereafter to Elektra, issuing her debut album, Up Close and Personal, in 2001. ~ Greg Prato