Hip Hop Icon Mr. Cheeks To Be Honored At The 2014 Underground Music Awards on 9/21/2014
Before establishing himself as a solo artist in early 2001, Grammy Award winning rapper and actor, Terrance Kelly a.k.a Mr. Cheeks, made a name for himself in the early 1990’s as a member of the seminal, platinum selling rap group the Lost Boyz.
Along-side band members Freaky Tah, DJ Spigg Nice and Pretty Lou, the original dreadlocked South Jamaica, Queens rap quartet the Lost Boyz gained world-wide critical acclaim following the release of the certified Platinum and highly acclaimed debut Legal Drug Money (Uptown / Universal 1996). The classic hip-hop album produced five Billboard Hot 100 and Top 40 singles featuring the hit song, "Lifestyles of the Rich & Shameless", the gold-status single "Renee", as well as "Music Makes Me High", "Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz" and "Get Up". In 1997 , the Lost Boyz released another certified gold album entitled Love, Peace & Nappiness (Uptown / Universal) which featured another Hot 100 hit single, "Me & My Crazy World" and one of the groups most famous single , "Beasts From The East" which featured A+, Redman and Canibus. Deemed underground favorites, the Lost Boyz enjoyed success, toured the world, blessed stages overseas, and participated in countless projects. The group additionally contributed its "Renee" single to the ‘Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood’ movie soundtrack, were featured in the hip hop documentaries ‘Rhyme and Reason’ and ‘Statistic’, and appeared in Sprite's "Obey Your Thirst" television commercial.
On the night of March 28, 1999, at a birthday party for Mr. Cheeks, and at the height of the Lost Boyz success, LB member Freaky Tah was shot in the head while exiting the Sheraton Hotel in Queens. Tah was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:20 am, at the age of 27. When Freaky Tah met his unfortunate demise, the remaining Lost Boyz members finished their third album LB IV Life (Uptown / Universal 1999), paying homage to their fallen soldier. The Lost Boyz split-up soon after the release, and Mr. Cheeks went into retreat, taking a long hiatus.
Developing a reputation as one of underground hip-hop’s pre-eminent lyricists, in 2001 Mr. Cheeks resurfaced , crafting an intelligent and more aggressive , raw, raspy solo rap style , releasing his debut solo effort John P. Kelly (Universal) . Named for both his cousin and his grandfather , the album featured the massive hit "Lights, Camera, Action!" featuring P. Diddy and Missy Elliot as well as production by a broad roster of producers including Bob Marley’s son Stephen Marley, Bink!, and Easy Mo Bee. This time Cheeks came with a more mature outlook on life that informed his rhymes with a greater sense of knowledge and truth than ever before. John P. Kelly went on to sell over 600,000 units and featured a heartfelt tribute song to Freaky Tah entitled, "Till We Meet Again” featuring Stephen Marley, and the reggae-flavored favorite "Mama Say".
In 2002, Cheeks embarked on a world tour with N’Sync and P. Diddy, catapulting his name into the spotlight. Cheeks followed up with two more back to back solo albums Back Again! in 2003 for the Universal label, and Ladies & Ghettomen, an independent release that hit streets in 2004. That same year, DJ Spigg Nice of the LB crew was tried and convicted of multiple bank robberies in New Jersey and was sentenced to 37 years in prison. In response, the remaining Lost Boyz members released a compilation album Lost Boyz Forever released in 2005 (Contango Records). The compilation featured previously unreleased LB tracks, past hits featuring the original LB members, as well as unreleased vocals from Freaky Tah himself.
In 2005 and 2006, The Lost Boyz chief rapper continued on with his solo career, and appeared on various singles including as featured MC on Lil Kim’s hit song, "The Jump Off" and acting in the independent film , ‘Brewster Project’ released by Madness Films. Known as the “King” of remixes , Cheeks also touts countless remix productions, including ‘I’m Going Down’ for Mary J. Blige , ‘You Remind Me’ a Lost Boyz remix for Usher, ‘Hands High’ featuring Elephant Man & Pee Duble, ‘Stress Ya’ featuring Jadakiss and Pharrell , and ‘Get By’ featuring the vocals of Kanye West, to name but a few.