Doug E. Fresh

Dubbed the "World's Greatest Entertainer" for his unrivaled ability to rock a crowd, Harlem native Doug E. Fresh began his musical career at age 13. The originator of the human beat box (vocally simulating the sound of drums and other musical instruments), he spawned an international hip-hop trend. Best known for the two-sided, multi-platinum hits "The Show" and "La Di Da Di," his groundbreaking successes include being the first rapper to perform in Africa and in the Caribbean, heralding the global popularity of hip-hop.

Throughout his 20-year career, Fresh has collaborated with the world’s top artists. He’s performed or recorded with fellow rap legends, including Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, Eminem, and Dr. Dre. He’s also worked with artists in reggae (Beenie Man, Sly & Robbie, and Poppa San); R&B (Prince, Roberta Flack, Chaka Kahn, and Stevie Wonder); jazz (George Benson, Grover Washington, and Bobbie McFerrin); and gospel (Rev. Robert Lowe & Generations).

Fresh has taken on the big screen, appearing in such films as Brown Sugar, Paid in Full, Whiteboys, and Let's Get Bizzee, while also writing songs for other movies, including Ghostbusters II, Get on the Bus, CB4, New Jack City, and The Sixth Man. He has performed on television, including The Chris Rock Show, New York Undercover, and Britain's Top of the Pops. Fresh has written music for McDonalds, Coors, Gatorade, and Tanqueray commercials. His hit "I-Ight" was selected by the NBA as the theme song for MTV's NBA Slam & Jam Wrap-Up Show.

As concerned with the welfare of others as he is with rockin’ the mic, Fresh has used his voice to speak out against a variety of social ills. A tireless hip-hop activist, he has fought against racism, drugs, illiteracy, police brutality, and homelessness in communities around the world. Along the way he has nurtured rising talent, including the likes of MC Ricky D, P. Diddy, Biz Markie, and numerous newcomers during his stint as host (and unofficial mentor) of It's Showtime at the Apollo.

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Jessye Norman