The history of Southern hip hop is replete with duos that have made an indelible mark on rap music and popular culture. Over the years, legendary artists such as UGK
, 8Ball & MJG
have moved crowds as well as millions of units while, at the same time, helping to set the foundation for the current explosion of Southern hip hop.
"We have listened to music all our lives and groups like 8Ball & MJG and UGK have been nothing but and inspiration to us! We feel like we want to continue the history and continue to take hip hop to another level along with these other great artist that have pave the way for us," says Cadillac Don. "We started out a lot like those groups hussling trying to become heard by someone who would just give us a chance!"
Born in the Northern Mississippi town of Crawford Mississippi, a small country town where everybody's knows everybody, both Cadillac Don (AKA Donald Sharp) and J-Money (AKA: Tiyon Rogers)
grew up poor in single parent homes where music like blues and R&B took center stage in their lives, but as the two childhood friends grew older they soon gravitated toward hip hop. Cadillac Don list hip hop stalwarts like Big Daddy Kane
as his chief influences while J-Money cites LL Cool J
as major influences.
Cadillac Don say his love for hip hop was so strong coming up that at the age of six he and his older brother would sneak out the house and hit the streets at night break-dancing in front of adults for money.
After finishing high school both guys attended college with full scholarships for baseball. They also pursued professional baseball, but the prospect didn't appeal to either one of them. An injury sidelined J-Money's dream, while the lure of a steady job as a high school art teacher benched Cadillac Don. While their dreams of becoming big time pro ball players didn't prosper the two decided to continue to develop their rap skills with the hope of one day becoming rap superstars.
"In my free time I was developing and typing raps between classes," says Cadillac Don, whose name is derived from his love of classic Cadillac cars –according to him he owns three of them. "I often said that being a black man from Mississippi I would have to make a choice that is either jail or make something of myself, so I followed my dream and, shortly I met Big Fruit, the producer, and he began showing me things on the keyboard and how to work the Triton and Pro Tools. After a short period of time I started learning to record myself."
Meanwhile his partner in rhyme was a member of a rap group called The Crawford Boys. The group became one of the town's most popular groups. While enjoying his time with the group, J-Money decided to pursue a career as a soloist. That's when Cadillac Don introduced him to Big Fruit.
"My man Cadillac hooked up with Big Fruit," says J-Money. "He always asks me to come by the studio but I was too busy. One day I decided to go by there, and when I heard the beats I thought they were unreal. I was like with his beats, my hype and Cadillac's flow we could go somewhere."
Initially Cadillac and J were going to be solo rappers, but because they were such good friends they would often do guest appearances on each other's songs. "We would sound so good on each other's songs that Big Fruit suggested that we should be a group," says Cadillac Don. "That's how we became a duo."
Under Big Fruit's direction the duo begin to carve out a unique sound that captured the ears of rap fans through out North Mississippi. Their sound also caught the attention of 35/35 Entertainment's CEO Clarence Weatherspoon, a native of Crawford Mississippi.
Produced by Big Fruit "Peanut Butter & Jelly," the album's lead single is built around a hypnotic joog beat and menacing piano chords and a steel pan melody, "Peanut Butter & Jelly" celebrates the supped up rides with the candy paint and tan leather interior.
With the initial success of their lead single "Peanut Butter & Jelly" and the response that many of their other songs are getting in the streets Cadillac Don & J-Money are more than confident that they are going to a major force in the rap game.
Listen to Cadillac Don and J Money "Look At Me" featuring Bun B!
(Streaming audio and/or video links may expire without notice)