Pooch of Cage1 Prepares New Album
by Gentle Jones
How many emcees in Delaware have been rapping since the 1980's, while steadily releasing relevant Hip-Hop music up to today? Some of the earliest releases came from folks who seemingly have fallen to the wayside, such as Doc D and Disco Beave. both emcees are rumored to have been waylaid by drugs and crime some years back. Those who prevailed comprise a short list: Grand G of Project X, Joey Juggaknotts of IOR, Grouchy Greg and Marchitect of the 49ers, and Pooch of Cage1.
Pooch, lead emcee from seminal Delaware Hip-Hop group Cage1, has nearly completed work for his forthcoming solo album “Will2Live”. The long awaited album will include production by some of the finest talents in the area including Big Mont, Roy Queenan, Cannon, and Gold selling production team Flex & Hated.
As a founding member of Cage1, Pooch has appeared with Gangstarr, Jesse Jackson, and his music airs on the hit television series “Run's House”. His first single “Straight From Cage” garnered worldwide acclaim since its vinyl release in 1991and has been featured on famous DJ mixtapes in the UK as well as Japan. A mint copy of this record fetches hundreds of dollars on ebay and is highly prized as one of the top independent Hip-Hop releases of its time.
Pooch recalls the record's reception in Delaware during the early 90's, “Everybody was liking the record around here. We had a big buzz before we even put out that record. Even in high school we were doing talent shows and different parties as Cage1.”
The name Cage1 is a reference to the Newark neighborhood Brookmont Farms where Pooch and DJ Cannon grew up and formed their first rap group, “The name came around because all the streets were named from birds, so we named it the birdcage, and we called it the Cage. We took the name and made a rap group and just blew it up from there.”
Despite the recognition, success has been elusive, with Pooch's releases becoming overshadowed by pressing concerns of the street life. Are we a product of our environment or do we choose our own path in this life? Pooch reflects on an experience steeped in the streets, “You keep being around it and eventually its going to become a part of you, or you're going to become a part of it. Its the company that you keep, people, places, and things.”
The “Park Legend” album was released in 2002 during a turbulent time for Pooch. “That album was kind of a rush job, because I knew I was going to jail, I just wanted to keep my name out there,” explains Pooch. Shortly after, Pooch was convicted and incarcerated for drug and weapons charges. He served his full 7 years sentence and was recently released.
A life in the streets is the harshest teacher. Pooch says his background set into motion a chain of events that made him who he is today. “My whole life I've always been around drugs, always been around guns, always been around violence. When I made the first record, my brother went to jail for cocaine charges, gun charges, all type of stuff. My other brother, he did 4 and a half years. Plus, I have two other brothers who did jail time. I have a brother who died of AIDS. I have a brother who was abducted and found dead in the Christiana River. My family, they inspire me to write my stories, to do what I do.”
Pooch is in the process of selecting the lead single from “Will2Live” and will release the track within the coming weeks on his new mixtape “Carbon Monoxide”.