Andre The Giant - AG

Portrait 1

When you hear the name Andre the Giant, your initial thought is a great, larger than life, groundbreaking, strength-defying man. That name is synonymous with Legacy. A.G. (Andre Barnes) was born in hip-hop’s originating borough - The Bronx. The year was 1988 and a young and eager Andre began his rise to acclaim the day Lord Finesse showed up at his school to challenge any lyricist that dare to battle. A.G. stepped up to the challenge using his gift of rhyme to fend for the reputation of his school and successfully made an impression.....

Soon thereafter, A.G. was asked to contribute to Lord Finesse’s LP, titled The Funky Technician. On that fateful session, A.G. met Showbiz. Bringing back some much-needed swagger and soul, the forming of Showbiz and A.G. is what some might call the rebirth of the Bronx. Show and A.G. became a collaborative intricate part of the superb Diggin’ in the Crates Crew; an elite team of MCs and producers who can claim much influence on genuine East Coast Hip-Hop (DITC members included Showbiz & A.G., Diamond D, Lord Finesse, Fat Joe, O.C., Buckwild and the late Big L). The character and quality of Rap’s forefathers can be felt in the gritty influence of the crew’s pioneering sound. In 1992, A.G. and his counterpart Showbiz, released their debut single Soul Clap; a self-titled EP. Their debut album, Runaway Slave, followed and is seen to date as a hip-hop essential. In 1999, A.G. released his much anticipated first solo debut, The Dirty Version, which featured guest production from Show, Lord Finesse, Buckwild, Diamond D and DJ Premier. Guest MC’s included a slew of lyrical geniuses such as Fat Joe, Diamond D, O.C., Guru, KRS One and Big Pun. A.G.’s second solo album, Get Dirty Radio, was released in 2006.

Flash-forward to 2009 and almost two decades after A.G. not only made an impact but a dent in hip-hop; he has overcome the tragic loss of Big L, Party Arty and Roc Raida. A.G.’s prolific contributions to the culture have assembled a cast of devoted, hungry and aggressive artists that parallel his own talents. Including his protegee’s - a dynamic duo by the name of 950 Plus, that brings you back to the grit, honesty and drive that also fueled an early Showbiz and A.G. A.G. has gained momentum, rather than settling for being a rapper that once was. Joining forces with O.C., they release the album titled Oasis in November 2009. A.G. is also an intricate part of the group Trinity - comprised of himself, Sadat X (Brand Nubian) and DJ Jab (Fat Beats), gearing up to bring back the old school in 2010 with their dedication to hip-hop purity. A.G. is without a doubt one of hip-hop’s disturbingly underrated artists.

Still modest, passionate and talented beyond years, a Giant in his art form, to say A.G. carried a legacy is an understatement. He created one. While many come and go, to have true staying power is key. When you think of A.G., you think of Rap Royalty and only the strong survive.