At 16 years old, Brooklyn’s Edward Archer released what is still one of the most recognized hip-hop songs of all time. In 1989, Archer released “I Got It Made” which was a catchy and free-flowing masterpiece. His debut album, “Youngest In Charge” also featured “I’m the Magnificent” and sold over a half-million copies.
Now that in itself is worth of recognition. Edward Archer or better known as Special Ed was just getting started. While never really having a hit as big as “I Got It Made” he continued to produce 4 more albums. The last of which (Still Got It Made) was released in 2004. While most classify Ed as a “one hit wonder”, I beg to differ.
You see, being an icon isn’t always based on what you did yourself. Sometimes it’s about how you influence the genre. And I challenge you to find a rapper alive, especially from New York or the east coast that doesn’t know who Special Ed is and credit him as an early influence. As a member of the Crooklyn Dodgers he even touched a whole new audience as the super group with artists Buckshot and Masta Ace led off the 70’s inspired soundtrack for the movie “Crooklyn”, a Spike Lee film. And while the group would later be brought back in different incarnations it was never as classic as the original. Special Ed is straight out of “Crooklyn better known as Brooklyn”.
Ed wasn’t a gun toting gangster. He wasn’t a baller throwing money around in every video. He was a hip-hop artist. He was an influence. BET was born on videos like his on the early days of Rap City. If not for rappers like Special Ed there would not be a rap game today. Hip-hop has gone through many incarnations. Nas claimed it was dead at one point. And while I disagree with that sentiment, Special Ed was there when it was launching into America’s main stream.
Groups like Sugar Hill Gang, rappers/MCs like Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Blow all got it started but it was rappers like Special Ed that took it to the next level and put it in every living room.
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