Barry Adrian Reese, 7 July 1982, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Despite being only 20 years old at the time of his debut albums release in 2004, rapper Cassidy exhibited rhyming skills of someone much more mature. Brought up in Philadelphia, Cassidy was influenced early on by artists such as Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, and Nas. By junior high school, he was appearing on a local radio station, where he battled the then current rhyme champion, resulting in the youngster winning week after week and focusing on a rap career more seriously. A demo was assembled soon after, which led nowhere, but a chance meeting between Cassidy and the father of rapper Swizz resulted in the up-and-coming rapper signing on with the Ruff Ryders. Initially, Cassidy was part of a group, Larsiny, that the label had assembled which also included fellow rappers Shiz Lansky and Cal Akbar. Despite the trio completing well over an albums worth of material, the set was ultimately shelved.
Subsequently, Cassidy waited patiently for his big break, keeping himself busy by guesting on Ruff Ryders releases. He eventually switched to Clive Davis J Records and worked on his debut album, under the watchful eye of producer Swizz Beatz. Even before the album was issued, a buzz began to circulate, when Cassidy and fellow Philadelphia rapper Freeway staged a rhyme battle in the studio. While the battle did not appear on the finished album, 2004s Split Personality, it did include quite a few guest spots by other renowned rap names, including Snoop Doggy Dogg, Jadakiss, Styles, and even R&B artist R. Kelly on the Top 10 pop hit Hotel. The album was a commercial success, reaching number 2 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Cassidys second album followed in summer 2005, but despite a promising start on the charts Im A Hustla was ultimately less successful than his debut album. Cassidy was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault in January 2006, relating to a shooting incident the previous April. Having already spent 7 months in jail the rapper was behind bars for a further two months before being released on parole. In October, he was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.