Review The Artist (66)
The overindulgence of pop music sensibilities has forced Hip Hop music to once again turn to its youth for a regeneration of skills and street music values. Cassidy, a.k.a. "Da Problem," is the solution to the dilemma, but a major problem for all acts who rely on smoke and mirrors to mask their lack of microphone mastery. These qualities and respect for art are the reason Swizz Beats has knighted Cassidy as the debut act on his new label Full Surface Records.
As a pure lyricist cut from the same cloth as Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and Nas, the 20-year old Cassidy (Barry Reese) honed his abilities in ciphers and battles all over his native Philadelphia and New York. He has yet to lose.
"I've been rhyming all my life," states Cassidy. "Rhyming for me was just like how some people play basketball for the fun of it. It's an everyday activity."
"He's just young and hungry," adds Swizz Beats. "He can freestyle for hours, but he also has a large vocabulary. He knows how to blend words for effect in battles or songs. I have all the faith in the world in him."
Faith is what Cassidy has been living on since he started taking rap music seriously in 1996. In junior high school, Cassidy battled for fun while turning to the streets to economically keep himself afloat. After being challenged by a friend to take rapping seriously, Cassidy assigned himself to battling the champion of "The Cipher" show on Philadelphia station 103.9 FM. Cipher host Zulu soon crowned Cassidy the new champion. "I was winning the battles week after week," states Cassidy. There was goodcompetition, but being challenged is exciting to me. And when callers would cheer me on that's when I started taking this thing [recording rap music] serious."
Cassidy's victories on the Cipher caught the attention of Delfonics founder and lead singer William Hart, who wanted to break into the rap game. "We recorded a few songs for a demo," Cassidy remembers, "but it didn't amount to anything as far as getting a deal. It did give me studio experience however."
One year later, a chance meeting in a Philly barbershop with Swizz's father, Terrance Dean; who was working with his brothers' Dee and Wah Ruff Ryders label, brought Cassidy to the Ruff Ryder family. "I was 16," remembers Cassidy, "and this dude came in talking about he worked with Ruff Ryders and wanted to hear me rap, so after the shop closed I spit a verse. Then I just started spitting for an hour and some change. He took my number down and said he would get with me. Two days later, I was in class and my mom paged me and asked me if I met someone for Ruff Ryders because they wanted me to come out to New York today. I was in 11th grade." Cassidy made the trip to New York with fellow rhymers Shizz Lansky and Cal Akbar and were signed to Ruff Ryders together as a group, Larsiny.
Though not really a group, the trio recorded almost twenty songs before being put on the shelf because of the large roster Ruff Ryders had accumulated. For two years, Cassidy watched from the sidelines while occasionally performing ghostwriting duties or making guest appearances on mix tapes and songs for Ruff Ryders Ryde or Die Compilation 2 and 3, and Nas remix of "The General" featuring Fat Joe. When Swizz Beats got the green light for Full Surface, he wanted Cassidy down with his team. "I knew he had talent," says Swizz. "I just want to give him his shot to show everybody what he can do. This guy is incredible."
While working on his album, Cassidy made a huge waves in the underground when word got out that he and fellow Philly native Freeway had a battle in the studio. That battle was recorded for prosperity, and Cassidy emerged victorious. "That wasn't just about me and Freeway. It was real Hip Hop," states Cassidy. "That's how you sharpen skills. Battling is a part of the culture for MCs."
So far Cassidy and Swizz Beats have recorded about 25 songs for the as-yet-untitled debut from Cassidy. The album will include tracks from Rockwilder, Battlecat, Drop, Neo and a few upcoming producers from Swizz stable of beat-makers.
Many have called Cassidy a battle rapper or a punch line rapper, which disturbs him and Swizz to no end. All those stereotypes will be laid to rest once the album drops, "I made my reputation by battling, but there is more to me than that," Cassidy relates. "I knew how to rhyme to a beat, but I wasn't really used to rhyming in a rhythm and pocket and chorus. Swizz taught me a lot about riding different beats and different grooves. I was used to riding a basic knock or simple drum tracks. He taught me how to use different flows on various tracks; like bouncy beats, hard-edged beats, beats that include more horns or keyboards than say a guitar or drum. He helped refine the way I hear music, in order to record songs differently. I'm a lyricist, so that helped me with flows and coming up with hooks for the different types of songs. It wasn't hard at all, but it was an adjustment."
"I also understood the need for stories and how to write them to music. I can bring more emotion across when I'm telling stories - but it's all in the wording. For instance, when you are in 6th grade and the teacher asks you to read a story, you just read the words. Later as your skills improve you understand the emotion and punctuation and begin reading the story like it should be told. The delivery, the expression, enunciation and emphasis on words make it clear what the situation is with the characters or plot twists."
Fully prepared to initiate the changing of the guard, Cassidy represents the embracing of MC culture, at the same time modernizing those values to fit in the industry of recording.
Really, I just have to think longer than before, but I think the whole process of working with Swizz and learning more about music has only made me better at what I do. Where rap music has become commercial in abandoning artistry for mass replication of the latest trend, Cassidy can lead the movement to right the wrongs of his predecessors by simply being the raw, arrogant street cat that he is.
Swizz has a lot of faith in me to make my album the debut on his label. So like any player in their rookie season, you have to earn your starting spot on the team. I'm coming out scoring."
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B.A.R.S. | Reviewer: kaybee | 10/16/13
Yo wht up Cass...jus wntd 2 holla at u fo a minute...dawg I got much respect for u coz u knw xactly wht to say in yo rhymez n u neva stop...luv the freestyle u did on Cosmic Kev show wit AR-Ab..tht shit wz dope...I knw meek mill iz being tryin to throw a few against u nigg..bt he aint gon'shake u...me n my lil bro listen to u all the tym here in South Africa..we sho need spittaz lyk u on this side nigg...keep doin wht u doin n let these dumb ass niggaz get lost in fame...lol...much respect Cass..
inspired | Reviewer: rayne | 10/5/13
i've been listening to ya music cass,dope as hell,m a 16 year old boy from south africa........u da illest ish alive,u trashed err rapper u battle......big love for ya man,keep doin wat u do,talent is wat u have,'not like these other fake rappers in music....peace,ama be like ya sumday
Got Sense thats why I got Dollars$$ | Reviewer: SilllyWheets | 2/7/13
I cant thank you enough man. Youre bars resinate with my mind, Im no rapper but listening to you so much has made me speak differently, and write differnetly; Your music has been refrenced many times in several term written assignments.
Keep doing what you Cass, and after Meek gets his fucking food took, rustle up some words with weezy and see if you can get him off a skateboard and back in them B.A.R.S
-Vermonts #1 Larsiny Fan
illest word smith alive | Reviewer: slimphllly.. | 11/3/12
dear barry reese...since i started listening 2 u, av bin d sickest in ma hood..u spit shit lyk anus..,u r ma shit-spiration lol. I does rap 2..and am up coming d street dnt knw wat d r mising by nt listening 2 u..u r sent 4rm heaven 2 do real hiphop,u r fukin different 4rm d rest phoney modafukas in d industry..al them rappers are just singing..u d best ma niga..i lyk d fear of God u gat..dats y u gat a whole lot of guts..i luv u cass..u wil hear me spit soon and i wil rep u 2 def blive me.. Am 4rm nigeria..dreaming 2 do a trak wit u..4real..wen i hear d words dat coms out of ur mouth, i wonder! Am slim phil,no mata how slim, the world wil fil me..4 real..
Ca$$idY the BADDEST RAPPER ALIVE! | Reviewer: NJ_Finest-101 | 8/11/12
LET ANY FOOL TRY AND TOUCH A MIC, AND CASSIDY GONNA KILL EM. I DON'T LISTEN TO ANY OTHER RAP BUT C-A Crooked Letter Crooked Letter I, D Y cus he the best and who ever better died.
Review | Reviewer: A V MICKYVELLY | 1/31/12
Cass,ur whol rap shit is amazin.am so silent abt ur punch lines,rhymes n stories cuz dier sick n dead.man,i jux wanna b lyk u. u r really a 2rue gangsta hustlin 4 almst half ur lyf -dat inspires a lot!
Cassidy da hustla...i rate u man | Reviewer: Neezy | 10/21/11
Hey cass, dis is neezy no1 fan and inspired by u.my best tracks r...werz cass, she addicted, face 2 face, monstar, wer mi niggaz at nd many more. Ur flows killz me especialy dat say wen u say...u flow inna pipeline.im frm south africa nd mi music is similar to u coz u condemnd me nd helpd me. One of mi lyrics dat cn make u c how great u are r....i spit flames lyk projectile sendin on em, i cn engage 5gage nd blast yo stomough on em, il rape ur mom bruise ur thumz havin gun on em, i speak mi rhymmez tired da lungz make a shout on em. Il make u cry ,make u die put poison on em. So many hey, thankz cass
RAP GANGSTA.. | Reviewer: kelvin | 9/29/11
sup CASS ..?luv ur everything bout u dawg ..u very artistic and that makes u different from the others ..my best line is :I GOT TOO MANY FANS NOW ..EVEN PEOPLE WITH NO HANDS SAY AM THE BEST HANDS DOWN ..MAN UP ..,STAND UP OR STAND DOWN ..,XPECT THE UNXPECTED ..,MOOK THEY FANS NOW ..real talk cass ..
ya punchlines and metaphors | Reviewer: zahkiim | 9/16/11
yo your rhymes has some type of flow a lot rappers dont have and its alot of haters out there tryna bring u down man,but i know u just on da grind just worrying about you and ya fams fam.But yo i just want u to do a huge favor me and get in that dipset anthem beat and get it in.ONE.BY THE SUN OF DA GOD OR AKA FLY ZAH.P.S. U GOTTA HERE ME SPIT ON A TRACK WORD UP.
ya punchlines and metaphors | Reviewer: zahkiim | 9/16/11
yo your rhymes has some type of flow a lot rappers dont have and its alot of haters out there tryna bring u down man,but i know u just on da grind just worrying about you and ya fams fam.But yo i just want u to do a huge favor me and get in that dipset anthem beat and get it in.ONE.BY THE SUN OF DA GOD OR AKA FLY ZAH.P.S. U GOTTA HERE I SPIT MY FLOW.
GREAT | Reviewer: michael hanes | 7/31/11
dear cass, my favourite line in ur freestyle is ( if batman was to take the belt on his waist off, come around me acting tough i will blow his face off) im ur biggest fan. URE THE BEST RAPPER ALIVE!!!
dear cassidy | Reviewer: trevor | 6/26/11
cassidy yu are a inporation to me i love your music yu inspired me to do me and yu are diffrent then oter rappers unque you have the best punch lines ever and your vocabuary is on point and yu tell good stories that you been throw i respect that and i personily love your love songs the stuff yu say to girld is carzy like the song cassidy ft mario how do i breath your verse on it was crazy i dont know how yu come up with stuff like that to say but anyways keep up the good work by your number 1 fan iight pace fam
Get no bet | Reviewer: Joel hassan | 4/3/11
Yo! cass l luv ur style 'n' ur rhymes ,u flow beta than fake rappers 'n' l'm ur biggest no 1 fan , l'm 4rm nigeria am bless wit a talent dat will get me far but i got nobodi dat will help i wrote almost 250 songs dats yet release due to lack of money .
Bo | Reviewer: Bo Hannum | 10/13/10
Cassidy you have always been my role model the way you represent yourself in your music and your extensive vocabulary. I make music myself and i have been trying to take it to the next level for a littl bit ive been cyphering since i was 12 and i have alwasy wanted to meet you and hear your advice in person and your story i respect it
Cassidy | Reviewer: Areil | 9/8/10
Dear Cassidy, you are a hell of a rapper .. Althouqh I cant judge as to who's better as a rapper, I can say that you are one of my elite rappers .. Considerinq all that you havv been throqh I find your couraqe and talent to be off the richter scale .. I wish you the most success happiness and luck as you continue to be one of the rappers who's heart beats music .. Hip hop is alive !
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