The overindulgence of pop music sensibilities has forced Hip Hop music to once again turn to its youth for a regeneration of skills and street music values. Cassidy, a.k.a. "Da Problem," is the solution to the dilemma, but a major problem for all acts who rely on smoke and mirrors to mask their lack of microphone mastery. These qualities and respect for art are the reason Swizz Beats has knighted Cassidy as the debut act on his new label Full Surface Records.
As a pure lyricist cut from the same cloth as Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and Nas, the 20-year old Cassidy (Barry Reese) honed his abilities in ciphers and battles all over his native Philadelphia and New York. He has yet to lose.
"I've been rhyming all my life," states Cassidy. "Rhyming for me was just like how some people play basketball for the fun of it. It's an everyday activity."
"He's just young and hungry," adds Swizz Beats. "He can freestyle for hours, but he also has a large vocabulary. He knows how to blend words for effect in battles or songs. I have all the faith in the world in him."
Faith is what Cassidy has been living on since he 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 goodcompetition, but being challenged is exciting to me. And when callers would cheer me on that's when I started taking this thing [recording rap music] serious."
Cassidy's 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 didn't amount to anything as far as getting a