Before the Gravediggaz there was ….
So Prince Paul [gotta drop the name] hit me up and said words to the E.F.F.E.C.T. of “Bob, you need to contact my guy Rich, he has a dope early 90’s project you might like..”
Then this project happened….
Here is the straight-lifted Wiki page for Brothers G.R.Y.M. – it’s on point [like bathroom tiles yo] >>>
The Early years:
The first incarnation of the group was formed around 1989 in Amityville, Long Island, New York, although the family grew up in Wyandanch, Long Island. The family of four brothers (Anthony, Richard, Joel, and Edward) and one sister (Dawne), of which Poetic (Anthony) was the eldest, were born to Trinidadian parents who moved from Trinidad and Tobago in 1971, making their first residence in Queens, New York for a short time, then moving to Wyandanch. John Berkeley (a pastor and a local businessman) and Ela Berkeley (a homemaker, cook-nutritionist, and teacher) were both singers and artistic in general, and they encouraged artistic expression in their five children. The family was well-rounded musically, singing gospel and R&B up to their early teens all around New York, other states, and Canada as “The Berkeley Singers”. Anthony (Poetic), Dawne, and Joel (Brainstorm) sang, accompanied by Richard on the drums and Eddie (E-Sharp) on the piano or keyboard.
Poetic began rhyming in his early teens in Wyandanch, and was known by many names, the first of which was MC Supa Flea of the Wyandanch Crew The Phantom Squad, rolling with many other local crews of the era and building a name for himself as a lyrical battle MC. He changed his name to Poetic around 1985, and in 1986 he formed the crew known as Too Poetic, who in 1988-89 released a modestly popular single called: ?God Made Me Funky/Poetical Terror, under the DNA/Tommy Boy Music imprint. The group was composed of his two DJs and childhood friends – DJ Capital K (Fred Cox) and DJ Woody Wood (Randy Woods). Too Poetic alluded to Two DJs and One Poet. The radio personality called DNA had been his manager and the host of the Hank Love & DNA Radio Show on 105.9FM WNWK of hip-hop underground radio fame. The group’s relationship with Tommy Boy Records eventually panned out for various reasons, scrapping the album and making Poetic very displeased, an early casualty of the politics of the music business. Many artists who are not marketed properly have this attitude with their former labels.
While Poetic was just beginning his formal hip hop career in 1987?89, Brainstorm was attending college at the State University of New York at Farmingdale, Long Island, where he was the roommate of Brooklyn?s own Super DJ Richie Rich (who had been in Third Base, Clark Kent?s Supermen, and the movie Juice). The college-based MC-DJ party collective called The Group Home Posse was loosely formed with Brainstorm and DJ Richie Rich to include his childhood friend The DJ-Rapper J.A.T. (Thomas Allen James), DJ Nike, Diamond Jay AKA Americas Favorite DJ (EPMD, Gravediggaz, Beyonce Knowles), and Diamond Shell (Biz Markie’s brother) all of whom attended Farmingdale University between 1987 and 1989. The university was host to many hip hop artists as visitors for parties and to do shows like Rakim, EPMD, Producer-Super DJ Clark Kent, and Biz Markie.
After Brainstorm finished his college run in 1989, he took time to learn many aspects of the music business and attempted to record a solo demo with Marcy Projects’ Rapper-Producer The JAZ (Big Jaz, mentor of Jay-Z), and was found in many rap circles with Long Island’s KMD and other conscious MCs of the time, but in 1989 he and Poetic mutually decided to pair up with a hardcore lyrical edge, original word play, and acute metaphors, after many collaborations between them since 1985. Thus, Da Bruthas G.R.Y.M. was born shortly after Too Poetic’s deal with DNA/Tommy Boy had soured. The energy and high chemistry between these true by-blood brothers at the time was, simply put, natural.
The 1989/1992 years
In the first Bruthas G.R.Y.M. era (c. 1989-1992), the brothers Poetic (Brother One) and Brainstorm (Brother Two) garnered much respect on the underground hip hop scene of New York whose dubs from underground radio shows were boasting lyrics beyond what was known at the time. Their first official demo featured the underground bangers Bruthas G.R.Y.M., Circle-Circle-Dot-Dot, the politically charged Popcorn and Livin In Hell (Had To Survive), the name-calling Turtle Soup, and a neighborhood favorite, the battle rhymes of GRYMnastics. The demo featured production mastering by Nate “NATO” Tinsley, their in-house producer Semi-Automatic (Pedro Sims, Mr. Semi, Gravediggaz), and the brothers themselves. After blazing underground radio and live shows around New York City with their lyrics and knowledge of self-based content, they were listed in The Source magazine as the best unsigned rap group of 1989. The crew was then managed by longtime friend Jack Pope (Jack Sprat, Starving Artists Entertainment), who later became the road manager of the Gravediggaz. They acquired many long-term relationships from Poetic’s various musical ties, as well as with Amityville locals like DJ-Cut Monitor Milo of Leaders of the New School (The Case of the PTA), Posdonous of De La Soul, and Doo Doo Man Records Crew (Prince Paul’s Def Jam Imprint) Resident Aliens.
These cassette tape dubs floated around the New York streets in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and their demo eventually made their way to the seasoned musical ear of fellow Amityvillain Prince Paul (Stetsasonic, De La Soul, Gravediggaz) from his association with the local Long Island artists who had met the brothers and saw their raw talent. He was hooked on the brother’s metaphoric flare all living in Amityville, Long Island, at the time. In 1990 Prince Paul decided to fund and executive produce further demos, finding various other known and up- and-coming producers for the unnamed project, as well as being the tentative DJ for the group, after which they were very close to closing a deal reaching seven figures within a year’s time, with bidding by well-known record companies propositioning for their lyrical artistry.
Then the unfortunate happened being disenfranchised by the politics and games of the music business and life in general, Brainstorm just quit altogether for personal enlightenment, before any formal deal could solidify. According to him, it was not about the money, it was about my personal growth and spiritual maturity. Poetic understood about Brainstorm’s personal path at that stage in his life, but was silently devastated because they were so close to sealing a major record deal that would have propelled them further into Hip Hop history. Prince Paul was even more puzzled, not fully realizing the reasoning of Brainstorm’s sudden move but he was still optimistic that a future project would be possible. Their original demo, even today, is still one of Prince Paul’s favorites. It was not until 1992 that Poetic, after Brainstorm quit pursuing a Hip Hop Career in 1991, that it is said that Poetic fell on hard times, including a short period of homelessness. Brainstorm would continue to write for leisure and therapeutic reasoning, but never to seriously pursue a music career, moving to Brooklyn New York and later down south to various states; in fact, Brainstorm was so finished with Hip Hop that he gave Poetic all of his original rhyme books to use at his own discretion some lyrics ending up on Gravediggaz projects.”
R.I.P. Anthony Ian Berkeley (November 15, 1964 July 15, 2001)
Thanks to Dee & Bazz for everything…
1 How Do Ya Do?
2 Circle, Circle, Dot, Dot
3 Bruthas G.R.Y.M.
4 Ain’t Tryin To Hear It
5 Turtle Soup
7 Livin’ In Hell (Had To Surive)