Keepers of the Culture

presented with the New Haven Hip-Hop Conference

Supreme Easy A.D. of the Legendary Cold Crush Brothers and Nikki D the first female emcee signed to Def Jam Records engage in an in-depth conversation sharing a rare glimpse into the birth of Hip Hop as a culture & their inside perspectives of Hip Hop's contribution to the world and the music industry.

Ideas talks are going on all Festival long! Read our advice on how to get the most from these explorative conversations >

Supreme Easy A.D.

As an original member of the Legendary Cold Crush Brothers, Supreme Easy A.D. is a trailblazing pioneer of Hip Hop as an emcee with countless awards and performances in diverse venues domestic and abroad. On stage A.D. possesses a strong, captivating youthful energy and star power that has been drawing audiences in since1976. Off the stage A.D. encapsulates a keen musical ear and entrepreneurial genius that catapulted the success of the Cold Crush Brothers. With a high selling single “Punk Rock Rap” A.D. and the Cold Crush Brothers were the first to combine Hip Hop and Rock breaking the color barrier in Hip Hop, the first to provide the opportunity for collaboration between an independent label and major company, and were featured in the first Hip Hop movie ever made, Wild Style. The most successful Cold Crush single to date is "Fresh, Wild, Fly & Bold", released in 1984, which sold 16,000 units in its first week of release back in the early 80's that was a big deal. With the ability of foresight, it was A.D.’s idea to have Tapemaster Elvis Moreno record all of their shows live, with high quality audio engineered with perfection, to ensure that duplication on cassette tape would still sound crystal clear. The clarity of the tape recording provided a virtual experience bringing the true essence of the party and Hip Hop culture to life for the listener allowing them to feel as if they were in attendance at the performances of the Cold Crush Brothers. In later years A.D. added video recording to further document the live Hip Hop experience. This marketing strategy, the brainchild of A.D., enabled their music to be distributed worldwide including to the armed forces around the world, which led them to be the first Hip Hop group to tour in Japan and Europe. These historical appearances have been preserved through A.D.’s vast collection of treasured Hip Hop artifacts in their original form which have been on exhibit at the LA Grammy Museum, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Bronx Museum, Harlem YMCA Aaron Douglass Room, the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington, and most recently, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (a Smithsonian Institution museum) in Washington, D.C.. As a Hip Hop veteran, A.D. continues to preserve the history and culture of Hip Hop through several business ventures and he mentors young people to help mold the next generations of Hip Hop. In most recent years, Easy A.D. lends his expertise as the Education Director for the nonprofit Hip Hop Public Health, Research Coordinator for the Columbia Neurological Institute, Hip Hop Health Ambassador for Harlem Hospital, Hip Hop Historian for the Apollo Theater Oral History Project, a celebrity judge for Hip Hop competitions, celebrity tour guide for the Hip Hop Hush Tours throughout New York City, and as a keynote speaker and lecturer for colleges and universities throughout the United States and abroad. A.D.'s speaking engagements and appearances include but are not limited to K-12 public schools, Boston College, and the ArtsucationTM Academy Network's New Haven Hip Hop Conference held at Southern Connecticut State University and Neighborhood Music School in collaboration with the International Festival of Arts and Ideas.

Nikki D

Nikki D, the first female emcee signed to Def Jam Records, was born in Newark NJ. Nikki D later moved to Los Angeles, California where she signed with Def Jam in 1989 and released her debut single "Lettin' Off Steam" the same year. In 1992, Nikki D released "Daddy's Little Girl", which appeared on the Indie film Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. soundtrack and reached #1 on the US Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart. Nikki D has recorded songs with Moby, Queen Latifah on the Set It Off soundtrack, with Redman for his Muddy Waters album, EPMD, Naughty By Nature, Flavor Unit and Suzanne Vega, to name a few. In 1998, Nikki D became the vice president of A&R at Flavor Unit Records and was the marketing manager at "Phat Fashions", the apparel company that houses Phat Farm, Baby Phat, and Atman. Currently, Nikki D is a guest speaker on Hip Hop culture, the music industry, talks to teens about life and music, and is a highly sought-after personal trainer New York City.

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