Meet the 5 Key Players of FX’s New Docuseries ‘Hip Hop Uncovered’

Autumn Simon

“I said-a hip, hop, the hippie, the hippie

To the hip hip hop-a you don’t stop the rock.”

Hip-hop’s timeline officially began in the 1970s when Wonder Mike uttered these iconic lyrics into a studio microphone. Along with his other Sugar Hill Gang members, Big Bank Hank and Master Gee, Wonder Mike released the trio’s single, “Rapper’s Delight” in 1979. The first radio rap song became a chart-topper and globally put the genre on the map. The pioneers of party hip-hop have since been rewarded with titles, accolades and even an induction in 2014’s Grammy Hall of Fame. However, general audiences aren’t aware that the credited force behind this pivotal point in music was singer and record executive, Sylvia Robinson.

 

To this day, audiences aren’t aware of Robinson and her husband, Joe’s contributions. The mogul-made couple had ties to the Harlem streets, and utilized their connections and hustle to lift their creative project off the ground. Having both gangsta and mob ties, the duo’s underground world was forever linked to the beginning of hip-hop.

Rap has reached new heights since the 70s and is now considered the most imitated industry of all time. With the outside world constantly imitating rapper’s personas, colloquialisms and mannerisms, many fail to realize that hip-hop is more than a costume. The biggest misconception of the urban genre is that hip-hop is street culture and it wouldn’t be what it is today without the hidden hood players who kept one foot in the zone and the other in the studio.

Executive producer Malcolm Spellman and production company Lightbox wanted to share with this era the untold story of how America’s streets helped shape hip-hop culture. Told from the perspective of the industry’s most need-to-know figures, Big U, Deb, Trick Trick, Bimmy and Haitian Jack, ‘Hip Hop Uncovered’ showcases the shadow world that helped shape rap today. Meet the five music industry’s elitists whose rap sheets are just as long as their rap contributions.

[blockquote text=”“Hip hop is the voice of the streets and it will always be the voice of the streets, no matter what happens.” -Dr. Dre” show_quote_icon=”yes”]

Eugene “Big U” Henley

[qode_simple_quote simple_quote_text=”“If I was to describe the Big U’s role in rap, he would be the Godfather! He has been around for a really long time and I don’t know anybody who has touched many superstars as he has.” -Wiz Khalifa”]

With a reputation that precedes him, Big U is one of the most familiar names and faces in Los Angeles. Like many Black males raised in South Central, Big U’s life took a turn with the explosion of gangs in the area. As a youth, he along with ten other boys formed what is now known as the Rollin’ 60s Neighborhood Crips. Standing over 6 feet tall and known for being a fighter in the streets with an interest in martial arts, it wasn’t too hard to spot the notorious 60s member. After being sentenced to 56 years in prison and serving thirteen years (where he also spent three years and nine months in the ‘shu’), he returned home and sought redemption in the community. To distract himself from going crazy in the hole, Big U educated himself by reading various books and reflecting on his past life in the streets. Musically, Big U contributed to the stories of Westcoast rap by having affiliations with the CEO of Death Row Records, Suge Knight, and boosting the careers of Kurupt and the late Nipsey Hussle. The reformed philanthropist also spearheaded a non-profit program called Developing Options, where their goal is to empower the community to strive for a safer, thriving environment for their youth. 

Debra “Deb” Antney

[qode_simple_quote simple_quote_text=”“My stuff didn’t start with this music, I’ve been in the streets. I’m from that world of hip-hop. People don’t understand the culture which his hip-hop.” – Aunt Deb”]

As one of the few female faces who excelled greatly in the industry, Debra “Aunt Deb” Antney is a required source in the telling of hip-hop’s story. As the oldest of eight children, Aunt Deb was born to be a leader and had to become an adult at an early age. Her adulthood took a turn when the rise of drugs hit New York and specifically targeted her family with several disturbing instances including an accidental overdose. Business savvy at a young age, she worked several jobs before officially moving to the south. As a single mother of five, Deb’s survival instinct kicked in and she found an outlet in the music world, working with Atlanta artists Ludacris and Lil Scrappy. She broke the careers of several high-profile artists, including Gucci Mane, French Montana, Nicki Minaj and her son Waka Flocka, with her own company, Mizay Management. Today, Debra Antney is most recognized for her appearances on reality tv shows such as “Love and Hip-Hop” and “Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta.” Passionate, prominent and known as a “pitbull in a skirt,” Deb has gained the respect of her clients and the entire hip-hop industry. 

James “Bimmy” Antney

[qode_simple_quote simple_quote_text=”“Bim had this whole Hollywood thing about him! Bim is a bigger celebrity than the celebrities, but he’s been like that.” -Cory Rooney”]

If Big U is the Godfather of Westcoast Rap, then Bimmy is undoubtedly New York’s Godfather of Hip Hop. The Atney’s weren’t afraid to make their names known in the streets of New York. James “Bimmy” Antney is the younger brother of Deb, and the love for music’s apple didn’t fall far from the family tree. Growing up in Jamaica Queens, New York, Bimmy’s childhood was similar to his sister’s, but as the younger sibling, he felt the weight of the family’s poverty a little more. To make extra money Bimmy started selling drugs at a young age and became a street lieutenant for the organized crime crew, The Supreme Team. The New York music scene wouldn’t be what it is without the reputation of cliques like the Supreme Team, which were used as inspirations for films like “New Jack City.” As a member, he managed to stay away from trouble by using music as an outlet to build connections. Bimmy had a hand in the early days of Def Jam and ran around with Hip-hop’s earliest legends, Run DMC, Slick Rick and LL Cool Jay. He also helped his sister grow the careers of her company’s artists.

Christian Anthony “Trick Trick” Mathis

[qode_simple_quote simple_quote_text=”“Trick Trick, he’s mayor of Detroit. I don’t care who you are, if you go to Detroit check in with Trick Trick, if not don’t go to Detroit.” -Parlae”]

What artist do you think of when hearing Detroit? One of your choices may not be Christian Anthony “Trick Trick” Mathis, but he is still considered the most prominent player of the Michigan area. After a brief stint in prison on a first-degree murder charge, the Trick tapped into his families’ musical roots and decided to pursue hip-hop. As a rapper and producer, he had various hits under the group Goon Squad, but his big break was teaming up with fellow Detroit rapper, Eminem for his Anger Management Tour. The seasoned performer remained active for years in the underground scene and even produced his own films, scores and performed voice-overs. By staying in the streets to help younger artists, Trick Trick became one of the most respected OG’s in all of Detroit. As the city’s main enforcer, he is also publicly known for issuing a “No Fly Zone” policy for out-of-town rappers visiting the state. One of the most notable artists to feel the wrath of this new issue was Florida rapper Rick Ross, who was blocked by Trick Trick and his mob from performing at the Summer Jamz concert.

Jacques “Haitian Jack” Agnant

[qode_simple_quote simple_quote_text=”“If I don’t talk about it someone else is going to talk about it and play a different light on me. If I stay quiet it’s not helping me either “I need to get out there and I’m going to stop you from running away with this story.” -Jacques “Haitian Jack“ Agnant”]

The most infamous name on this list of contributors, Haitian Jack is here to set the record straight on all the rumors. Most recently, many will remember the off-putting character of Nigel featured in the Tupac biopic, “All Eyez on Me.” This character was labeled as the person who framed Tupac’s harassment charges and set him up in the shooting/robbery at Quad Recording Studios. This character was based on the one and only, Haitian Jack. Jacques “Haitian Jack” Agnant was born in Haiti and moved to Brooklyn after the death of Papa Doc. Beyond the language barrier and stress of living in a new country, the young outsider was met with racial slurs from the neighborhood kids. Surrounded by stuck-up kids and bullies, Haitian Jack had no choice but to fight back and turn to the street life for respect. He became a well-connected nightlife promoter and a celebrity-magnet who was linked to Madonna, The Notorious B.I.G. and his oldest friend, Mike Tyson. He was also a consultant for Atlantic Records and Relativity Records. Later in the 2000s, Haitian Jack’s tyrannical reputation allowed him to become many top industry players’ bodyguards. After a shooting charge in 2004, the New York figure was ultimately deported to Haiti in 2007. Now, it’s finally Haitian Jack’s turn to tell his own version of events that led to one of hip-hop’s biggest rivalries and regrets.

Whose story are you excited to learn more about? Let us know in the comments below. 

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