Grand Daddy I.U.
A lesser known MC from hip-hop's golden age, Grand Daddy I.U. had the smooth player image. Always donning a suit and tie, his verbal execution was aptly calm and collected; he had the skillful hardcore rhymes and produced his own urban-polished beats. However, he never really attained the same prestige, or popularity, as his Cold Chillin' labelmates and peers Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane. Born in Queens but raised in Long Island town Hempstead, Grand Daddy I.U. entered the hip-hop business with the help of his brother DJ Kay Cee, who convinced him to put together a demo tape. They eventually got the tape into the hands of Biz Markie, who signed Grand Daddy I.U. to Cold Chillin' in 1989. Containing Cold Chillin' favorites "Pick Up the Pace" and the smooth, hook-laden "Sugar Free," Smooth Assassin was his debut album in 1990. Although he and Kay Cee produced the entire effort, Biz Markie got the publishing credits for every song, which created tension between the two and fostered Grand Daddy I.U.'s hostility toward the rap industry. Nevertheless, he proceeded to work for the label, ghostwriting and producing for Roxanne Shanté and Biz Markie. His second album, Lead Pipe (1994), never got any real promotion due to the fact that the label had been going downhill since it lost their distribution deal with Warner. The disgruntled rapper dropped away from the mic booth for almost a decade afterward and continued to write and produce for other artists. Some of his productions appeared on albums by Das EFX, Heltah Skeltah, KRS-One, and Ice-T. In late 2007, with a renewed interest to record rhymes again, Grand Daddy I.U. finally returned with his third LP, Stick to the Script, which also featured producers Large Professor and Marco Polo. Distributor Traffic Entertainment also re-issued his Smooth Assassin debut that same year. ~ Cyril Cordor
- Queens, NY