88-KeysView in iTunes
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Influenced in his teen years by Prince Paul's work on De La Soul's legendary album 3 Feet High and Rising, N.Y.C. native Charles Misodi Njapa became 88-Keys and made it his mission to become a hip-hop producer. First he became an intern and then an engineer at West Hempstead's famous recording studio The Music Palace, where he began networking and working with rappers like Large Professor, Nas, Q-Tip, and Pete Rock. The big break came in 1998 when one of his productions landed on the Mos Def and Talib Kweli album Black Star. The next year his remix of Macy Gray's "Why Didn't You Call Me" took things higher, and then in 2001 a track on Beanie Sigel's The Reason introduced him to Jay-Z and the Roc-A-Fella family. Work for the likes of Musiq (Soulchild) and the Pharcyde took the producer to 2008 and his debut full-length, The Death of Adam. Released by the Decon label, the album was executive produced by Kanye West and featured guest shots from Bilal, Little Brother, Kid Cudi, and Redman. ~ David Jeffries