June 28, 2009
Hip-Hop Magic: The Great Ragidy Supreme
A lot of the hip-hop that gets heavy radio play is nothing more than profanity and violence geared towards a mature audience. But it often lands in the heads of little children. Every time I hear my first grade students singing the explicit lyrics of Snoop Dogg, my jaw drops. I can finally understand why my mom declared, “No more MTV!” after watching Madonna spread eagle in white lace. So it was refreshing to learn of a talented hip-hop artist with a kid-friendly spin.
Intrigued by illusion and disillusion, The Great Ragidy Supreme began doing magic in 1982; just five years later, he went professional. And after becoming more comfortable with his other artistic passions, it was only natural for the two to merge. Ragidy Supreme has a knack for showing the complimentary elements of music and magic: “My magic show is family orientated, consisting of theatrical music, audience participation, comedy, and, of course, amazing magical effects,” he says. Fire becomes roses and ropes run through bodies. Most of his shows are catered toward children and he’s performed for over a hundred schools and birthday parties, yet he’s anything but Romper Room.
Music is a huge part of Ragidy Supreme’s aesthetic and spirit; and the fusion was just the thing for him to stand out as an artist and produce a unique show. In 1989 he formed his first rap group and continued on with many others. Years passed and then something happened: “In 1995 I had a dream that I was playing guitar in the middle of a field of flowers. I told the dream to my girlfriend at the time and two days later she surprised me with a brand new guitar. I began studying and found myself beat-boxing along.” His self-discipline landed him in a rock band and contributed to his emergence as such a unique artist, able to bring hip-hop to a whole new playground.
Ragidy Supreme can freestyle with the best of them, from the streets to a gathering of artists in an understated apartment in Harlem. His lyrics come from life experience and are reflections of how the surrounding environment affects him personally. His music also derives from the simplicity of a beat. “I don’t force myself to write just anything. I take the time to analyze the beats. If the drum is knocking hard it speaks to me and tells me what to write. A hot beat instantly sets the mood for a song.”
Ragidy Supreme says most of his lyrics are geared towards an older crowd, but it is children who have brought him much of his success. Kids pushed him to write child-appropriate songs and produce a children’s CD.
For more information and clips visit Raggidy Supreme’s MySpace.
by Genette Nowak