The summer heat brings a new energy to the Harlem atmosphere. Whether it is the start of street basketball tournaments or a variety of outdoor concerts, the neighborhood is buzzing with activity. These attractions make Harlem a dynamic community that it is known worldwide. Rapper Herb McGruff knows Harlem well and is poised to return to the scene. McGruff began his career in the 90’s as a member of the Harlem rap group Children of the Corn, partnering with legends Cam’ron, Ma$e, along with Big L, and Bloodshed. Ma$e and Cam’ron went on to achieve larger commercial success, Big L was killed just as his fame began to grow and Bloodshed had his career cut short by a fatal car accident. Gruff maintains ties with his former partners and understands where he came from.
Speaking on the early times running with Children of the Corn, “We were young, dumb and having fun. Everyone was running the streets, but at the end of the day we all made it. (We) All had solo deals and got to represent Harlem,” says McGruff. Music has taken Gruff around the world, with passport thoroughly stamped from travels abroad to prove it.
Mindful of his past he has eyes set on the future, “It’s open season. The game is wide open in terms of New York City rap. This is the home of the spitters and I’m bringing that back,” he says. McGruff has been growing his presence in this new generation technology era, “Everything is digital, I’m in tune with the new wave.” Between the twitter page @THEREALMCGRUFF and website herbmcgruff.com, Gruff is reaching out to the people. A new mixtape titled Past & Present hosted by DJ Kay Slay is available via digital download on Datpiff.com. Check the the streets because he also has plans of releasing more music this summer.
McGruff is not blind to the changes taking place in Harlem. “There’s all kind of new condo’s being put up, new economy, but there are still real people left and it’s all love”. This Harlem native is still in touch with the neighborhood, “Rucker Park, Grants Tomb, Citywide tournament on 145, Harlem BBQ, Talay nightclub, Gruff will be there this summer.” McGruff stands proudly behind Harlem and the people have responded well to his return. Already a legend in his own right, with his return McGruff looks to take his legacy to the next level.
By Nicholas Thompson