CASSIDY FULL BIOGRAPHY:
Cassidy, a.k.a. "Tha Problem" was born Barry Adrian Reese in 1982 in Philadelphia, USA. He rose to prominence as a battle rapper and started appearing on many mixtapes, and was also a member of the hip-hop crew Larceny. Cassidy is known for his superb freestyling ability. He first came into national attention after battling the Roc-a-Fella rapper, Freeway. The studio session made its way to the streets and the internet, where interest in Cassidy grew. Cassidy is an example of how battling can still turn an unknown artist to a well-known personality. "I'm so nice I'd bet my life, I guess I got a gamblin' problem," says Cassidy.
As a pure lyricist cut from the same cloth as Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and Nas, the 20-year old Cassidy honed his abilities in ciphers and battles all over his native Philadelphia and New York. He has yet to lose. "Iíve been rhyming all my life," states Cassidy. "Rhyming for me was just like how some people play basketball for the fun of it. Itís an everyday activity." "Heís just young and hungry," adds Swizz Beats. "He can freestyle for hours, but he also has a large vocabulary."
Cassidy 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 good competition, but being challenged is exciting to me."
And when callers would cheer me on thatís when I started taking this thing [recording rap music] serious." Cassidyís 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 didnít 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 Swizzís father, Terrance Dean ; who was working with his brothersí 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 they were signed to Ruff Ryders together as a group, Larceny, on Swizz's own 'Full Surface' label distributed through J Records. 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.
Cassidy then appeared on tracks by Snoop Dogg and Wyclef Jean. He recorded his debut album 'Split Personality' in the year 2003. The record is divided into three parts. The first part is credited to Cassidy and reflects his pop side, the second part is credited to "Tha Problem" and is aimed at fans of his mixtapes, and the third is credited to 'B. Reese' from fans from his early days. The album was released on March 16 2004 and was a huge success reaching #2 on the Billboard 200 album chart and #1 on the Billboard R&B;/Hip-Hop albums chart.
Cassidy recorded the track and lead single "Hotel" with R. Kelly in Kelly's Chicago studios with a vocal contribution by Kelly - there is also a version featuring vocals by Trina. The song became a hit reaching the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 in February 2004 and the top 5 of the UK charts in May 2004. The song has also reached the Australian top 40 in late May 2004. The second single "Get No Better" featured a contribution from labelmate Mashonda did not do as well on the singles charts reaching #82 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Despite all this success, onn June 8th 2005, Cassidy's career looked like it was about to grind to a hault as a warrant for Cassidy's arrest was issued for the murder of a 22-year-old man during an April 15, 2005 shooting. Cassidy's attorney responded to the warrant stating that he expected his client to surrender on the morning of June 17, 2005.
MTV News has reported that three men, including Cassidy, were armed with .45 and .40 caliber handguns, 9 mm pistols, AK47 assault rifles and 7.62 mm rifles, fired on three other men during an hostile argument that occurred in the rapper's West Oak Lane neighborhood in Northwest Philadelphia just before 1 a.m. on April 15, 2005. One of the other men was Lebanese. It is likely that he lives in Detroit or Windsor, Canada because of fast access to the border.
As the case was taking place Cassidy then released his sophomore album, "I'm a Hustla", on June 28, 2005 on Swizz Beatz's J-affiliated Full Surface label. His latest hit, I'm A Hustla, features a sample in the chorus from Jay-Z's Dirt Off Your Shoulder. The album was a step up from his successful debut and proved his skills with the pen and the mic even truer than before, with this more grimey and street feel than previous. Cassidy is also featured on the latest edition of the Ruff Ryders album on the track "Aim 4 the Head" featuring Jin and J-Hood.
Cassidy's murder case took a turn when the primary witness withdrew his confession, stating, "I only told the police what they wanted to hear, because they wouldn't let me leave, and I had a bullet in my leg." This resulted in the Judge stating that Cassidy would only have to stand trial for a 3rd degree murder. On August 16, 2005, Municipal Judge Marsha Neifield ruled that prosecutors had sufficient evidence to charge Cassidy with third-degree murder, attempted murder charges, and weapons offenses. This was later overturned to the original, first degree charge - negating the possibility of parole.
On January 25, 2006 Cassidy was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault. He was sentenced to 11Ĺ to 23 months in jail and was credited with the 7 months he had already served. Cassidy was then released from jail March 2, 2006 after serving eight months.
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