Supported by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz
Ginuwine was one of R&B's preeminent love men during the '90s heyday of hip-hop soul. Initially teamed with Timbaland, the most innovative producer of the late '90s, Ginuwine's sultry, seductive crooning earned him a substantial female following and made him a regular presence on the R&B charts, even after the futuristic production he favored was eclipsed by the more organic, retro-leaning neo-soul movement.
Ginuwine was born in Washington, D.C., on October 15, 1975, with the unlikely name of Elgin Baylor Lumpkin (after D.C.-born Basketball Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor). As a youngster, Lumpkin's interest in music was ignited by Prince and Michael Jackson, especially the latter's legendary moonwalking performance on the Motown 25th anniversary special. At the mere age of 12, he began performing at parties and bars with the local hip-hop group the Finesse Five. He later worked as a Michael Jackson impressionist and sang with another local outfit, Physical Wonder; in the meantime, he earned a paralegal degree from a local community college, in case music didn't work out. In 1996, he adopted the name Ginuwine and was discovered by Jodeci. In New York, he met up with young producer Timbaland and cut the track "Pony," whose slow, halting groove and impassioned vocals helped Ginuwine land a deal with Sony's 550 Music imprint.
With the strikingly inventive Timbaland behind the boards, Ginuwine cut his debut album, Ginuwine...The Bachelor, and released it later in 1996. "Pony" became a number one R&B smash, also reaching number six on the pop charts, and the album became an eventual double-platinum hit. It spun off several more R&B hits over the next year, including "Tell Me Do U Wanna," "I'll Do Anything/I'm Sorry," "Holler," and "Only When Ur Lonely"; it also featured an homage to one of Ginuwine's main influences in the cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry." In the wake of the album's success, demand for Timbaland's production services exploded, and Ginuwine became a bona fide sex symbol. He toured heavily in support of The Bachelor, and kept his name in the public eye in 1998 with his hit "Same Ol' G," which was featured on the soundtrack to Eddie Murphy's Dr. Doolittle. Late that year, he also made his acting debut on an episode of the CBS series Martial Law.
Ginuwine returned with his second album, 100% Ginuwine, in early 1999. Again produced by Timbaland, it entered the pop charts at number five, gave rise to another significant crossover hit in "So Anxious," and went platinum. "What's So Different?" and "None of Ur Friends Business" were also successful on R&B radio, and there was another cover of a Ginuwine hero, this time Michael Jackson's "She's Out of My Life." He followed it in the spring of 2001 with The Life, despite having to endure the deaths of his father (who committed suicide) and mother (a victim of cancer) within the same year. It was his first album helmed by producers not named Timbaland. Nonetheless, it was another success, debuting at number three on the charts and once again going platinum. Moreover, the ballad "Differences" -- the second single released from the album, after "There It Is" -- became Ginuwine's biggest pop hit yet, climbing to number four later that year.
In 2002, Ginuwine made his feature film debut in the gender-bending basketball comedy Juwanna Mann, playing (what else?) a slick R&B singer. That summer, Ginuwine returned to the Top Ten courtesy of his duet with P. Diddy on "I Need a Girl, Pt. 2." Around the same time, in a somewhat bizarre incident, police captured a Minnesota man who'd been impersonating the singer for the past few years and bilking money from business contacts. Though he didn't achieve as much success on the singles charts, both The Senior (2003) and Back II da Basics (2005) reached the Top Five of the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Even an unauthorized bootleg, I Apologize, managed to make a minor impact in 2007. The singer then switched from the Sony family to a distribution deal with Warner Bros. A Man's Thoughts was released in 2009, topped the R&B albums chart, and featured a reunion with Timbaland on "Get Involved." The January 2011 single "Batteries" -- a club track on which he was joined by Trina -- preceded his seventh album, Elgin. He then linked up with Tank and Tyrese for Three Kings, released in 2013 under the name TGT. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
Born and bred in Staten Island, New York City, Tristan Paul Mack Wilds does it all. The 26 year old singer, songwriter and actor made his TV debut at the age of 15 in Spike Lee’s Miracle’s Boys and wowed audiences as Michael Lee on HBO’s critically acclaimed drama series, The Wire from 2006 to 2008. He played a teenage heartthrob on 90210 for the next five years, and while fans saw him on the small screen every week, Mack Wilds was also secretly recording the entire time. In 2008 he met legendary producer Salaam Remi and the two worked together to complete Mack’s debut album New York: A Love Story. The EP was received incredibly well by fans and critics alike and was nominated at the 2014 Grammy Awards for Best Urban Contemporary Album. After the success of his first album, Mack Wilds is currently working on his sophomore effort. The first single, “Love In The 90z,” teams Mack up with two of the most prolific producers of the ‘90s, Teddy Riley and Scott Storch. Aside from working on his second EP, Mack will be starring in two series for network television this coming fall. In NBC’s Shots Fired, Mack will play Officer Belk, a young African American sheriff’s deputy in a small town in North Carolina, who after a police shooting is thrust into the national spotlight that pushes his life and young family into chaos. VH1’s The Breaks will be Mack’s second starring role this fall. Inspired by Dan Charnas’ book The Big Payback, The Breaks is a narrative history of the hip-hop business and follows follows three young friends fulfilling their hip-hop dreams in New York City in 1990. The series was picked up after the success of the critically acclaimed VH1 movie of the same name that aired in fall 2015 starring Method Man, Wood Harris and Afton Williamson.
Kid ‘n Play
Christopher ‘Kid’ Reid originally from the Bronx and Christopher ‘Play’ Martin from Queens New York met in the 1980’s. The pair were in rival Hip Hop crews The Turnout Brothers and The Super Lovers, and eventually formed their duo under the name The Fresh Force Crew. In 1986 ”She’s a Skeezer’’, “All Hail The Drum” and ”Rock Me” were recorded on Sultra Records By 1987 they had changed their name to Kid ‘n Play. Kid ‘n Play recorded three albums together between 1988 and 1991: ”2 Hype” (1988), ”Funhouse” (1990), and ”Face the Nation (1991). Super Producer Hurby “Luvbug” Azor, the producer for Salt ’n Pepa who was also a member of The Super Lovers with Play became Kid ‘n Play’s manager and producer during the early portion of their career. All three albums focused on fun lyrics backed by hot friendly instrumental tracks. Among the group’s most successful singles were 1989’s “Rollin’ with Kid ‘n Play” that reached #11 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs ”Billboard” R&B singles chart, 1990s “Funhouse” #1 on the Hot Rap Tracks ”Billboard” rap singles chart, and “Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody” another #1 rap hit. The group’s stage show highlighted their teen-friendly personalities, and dances such as their famous trademark Kid ’n Play Kick Step. Kid’s visual trademark was his high-top fade haircut, which stood ten inches high at its peak. Martin the fella with the low top fade regularly wore unique custom made jackets.
Before he was a Heavy Hitter, a Party Rocker or an International Club King, DJ Camilo was just a Colombian kid from Queens named Juan Camilo Sanchez. Introduced to the art of turntables at age 12, Camilo debuted his first mixtape, “CAMILO Vol. 1,” in the ‘90s and quickly made a name for himself in the NYC club scene. In 2001, he was invited to join DJ Enuff and DJ Threat’s new DJ crew: The Heavy Hitters. After earning himself a spot on Hot 97’s roster, Camilo began hosting his own Saturday night show called “Take It to the Streets,” which was so successful that it led to an additional show on Friday nights called “The Heavy Hitter Hour.” Camilo started to blend Latin urban music into the American radio market at Hot 97 – becoming one of the first influential DJs to merge both demographics live on air. Currently, Camilo hosts Hot 97’s daily top programming block from 4PM to 7PM, which is the number one show in the U.S. radio market in that timeframe. In late 2014, Camilo cemented his status as one of the country’s most in-demand DJs by signing to Roc Nation – becoming one of the first DJs to join the superstar talent roster. For three consecutive years (2013, 2014 and 2015), Camilo was named the top East Coast DJ by the Global Spin Awards. He has also been named Latin Mixx’s East Coast DJ of the Year, most recently in 2010. That same year, Camilo starred with DJ Enuff and Cipha Sounds in MTV2’s reality show “The Wizards NYC.” In addition to his domination of the radio waves and clubs around the world, Camilo has expanded his horizons to the hospitality industry by opening a Latin-fusion restaurant named Blend and a pizza shop called sLICe. Blend boasts two locations in Long Island City, with a third location scheduled to open in late 2016.