… a Biography of Rud’e Rae Raw
Trevon M. Donovan
Destiny’s child of the ghetto,
If it takes a village to raise a child, then it must take a nation to raise a village! I was born in mid-town Manhattan, (Ny, Ny,) and was raised right across the street from Lincoln Center, the world”s leading performing arts center. Living across the street, in Amsterdam Houses, I was a product of teenage parents, and spent most of my early years with my grandmother. Its Ironic, but you can not help but be inspired by such a place. It was like i was living the best of both worlds. It is rumored by family members that I was going to be special. I was dancing and entertaining family functions since i can stand, let alone walk.
Late 70’s, early 80’s, my mother and I spent a great deal of time traveling to and from mid-town Manhattan, Harlem, Washington Heights, and the Bronx. This was the most fascinating time of my life. I got to explore some of the cultures and walks of life, that would later shape and solidify Hip Hop as a culture. The graffiti, the dances, the fashion, the music, the language, the people who indulged in this way of life, were all taboo. Poverty stricken victims of the times, (the bastard child of Jazz, Blues, R&B, Rock&Roll, Disco, Pop, Reggae, and House music), Hip Hop was becoming a symbol of hope for inner city youth. For the first time in my life I understood the importance of creating something out of nothing. No matter what school can teach you, or someone can tell you, experience was is the greatest teacher of all. My mother and I moved to Spanish Harlem in 1980, where I lived and went to school up until I dropped out. A pretty decent student, I became bored with conventional methods of learning. I wanted more, I needed more. I remember finishing school assignments so fast I would spend the rest of the time drawing and doodling away. After bouncing school to school, my mother put me in a talented and gifted school. I learned a valuable lesson, the top was just the bottom of the next level. Went from dominating my school work at my last school to barely passing at my new school at the time.
Slightly embarrassed and going through puberty, I started hanging out with the wrong crowd. Though, I was accepted, this lead to a long line of bad decisions. Basically raising myself at this point in my life, I became a sponge for negativity. It was requiring too much energy to please so called good people. Negative people were easy to impress (well you know misery loves company). Then one day I met a man who was introduced to me through a mutual friend. His name was John F. Kilgore. He would forever change my outlook on life.By the time I met him, I was already known on the streets of Spanish Harlem as a dope M.C. He was looking for artist to manage and my name came up. I was sixteen with a bad attitude and manors.
Two years prior, a couple of parents in my neighborhood predicted I wouldn’t make it to fifteen. Every time I thought about, what I thought they; they thought about the me, would often make me cry, but sad to say, it was the greatest motivation of all. I remember meeting Big John on 149th street in the Bronx at a bar. After greeting one another, he asked what would me and my partner like to drink. My rap partner at the time Jay Low ordered a coke and I ordered a rum and coke. He was blown away by our conversation and my music journey began. Before we parted ways he asked me who was my idol, who did I looked up to in the Hip Hop game, and I said Big Daddy Kane. A year later I was recording a song with Big Daddy Kane, not to mention the first show I ever did with Big John was opening up for Big Daddy Kane at the Come in Peace concert in Jersey back in the early nineties. By the time it was time to go for a deal, I was already thinking about the business of music, and not just the music anymore. Hip Hop had survived and I thought it didn’t need more rappers, it needed more industry related people who came from Hip Hop backgrounds to maintain art form as well as the culture. So I introduced Big John to Trevel Coleman, who would later on became the Bad Boy recording artist G-Dep (Let’s Get it/Special Delivery fame). Out of all the experiences I shared with G-Dep, Hypeman, road manager, promoter, project developer, consultant. The greatest thing I believe I shared with him was a friendship. During my pursuit of true Hip Hop happiness, I have co written, arranged, and co produced songs with Gerald Levert. I have recorded with Sean Levert and the OJays. I have had theater experience. I also, co starred in a play called Stop cheating on Gods Time, staring Sean Levert, Cuba Gooding Sr., and Men at Large just to name a few.
Astounded, I made it past fifteen, I made a promise that I wouldn’t give up on those that didn’t give up on themselves. A GED with no college degree, this would be the challenge of a lifetime. Blown away by all the gang violence and turf wars, in 2010 I help start a youth outreach program in Providence, Rhode Island called the STUART network, which stands for strength through urban art. We allowed at risk youth from all sides of town to come to the studio for free and record music together in peace. I have had kids that have tried to kill one another in the same room together talking about life and living. As a kid i was told, you can not save everyone, but what they did not know was, it was my prerogative to try. The very thing that made this program special, was the fact that I allowed the kids to be themselves. In return they allowed me to teach them life skills in a way they could learn as well as enjoy learning. I also have a company called Corporate Corners/Hip hop Consultant. We do project development for up and coming and seasoned artist. As a kid in the streets of Spanish Harlem, I was giving the nickname ”Raw”, because of my ability to give it to you straight. Over the years I have learned to be more compassionate of other people’s feelings. My point, no matter how much you know, life is about learning and sharing.
Thanks for your time,
Mr. Trevon M. Donovan
President of Stashbox Radio LLC.