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AG
AG2

Birth name

Andre Barnes

Also known as

Andre the Giant

Origin

The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States

Genre

Hip hop

Occupation(s)

Rapper

Years active

1990-present

Label

Silva Dom (1999-2000)
Look (2005-2006)
Red Apples 45 (2010-present)

Associated acts

Black Sheep, Dialect & Despair, Diggin' in the Crates Crew, DJ Premier, The Ghetto Dwellas, Lord Finesse, O.C., Party Arty, John Robinson, Showbiz, Ray West

Andre Barnes, better known by his stage name AG, is an American rapper from The Bronx, New York. He is best known as a member of the hip hop duo Showbiz & A.G. with producer Showbiz, and he is also a member of the collective Diggin' in the Crates Crew. He made his debut on two songs from Lord Finesse's 1990 album Funky Technician, and first met Showbiz while working on the album. Showbiz & A.G. have had a partnership that has lasted twenty years and released four full-length albums.

After Showbiz & A.G. separated to pursue solo projects, Barnes had an inconsistent early solo career that began with the moderately reviewed and commercially unsuccessful The Dirty Version in 1999. Seven years later, he released the better received Get Dirty Radio, but was still unable to achieve much commercial success. After releasing a collaboration album with fellow D.I.T.C. member O.C. in 2009, Barnes founded the label Red Apples 45 with producer Ray West. Since his time on the label, Barnes has had a more illustrious career, releasing multiple EPs in the past few years. He also reunited with Showbiz, and the two have released two albums and an EP since their reformation.

CareerEdit

1988-1991: Early careerEdit

Barnes attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. In 1988, rapper Lord Finesse visited Barnes' high school and challenged any rapper there to a battle. Barnes went against him and left a strong impression on Lord Finesse, and the two became friends.

In 1990, Lord Finesse and his DJ Mike Smooth signed to Wild Pitch Records and began recording their debut album, Funky Technician. Lord Finesse recruited A.G. to appear on two songs, "Keep It Flowing" and "Back to Back Rhyming". The latter song was produced by Showbiz, and the two began working together as a duo under the name Showbiz & A.G.. The pair independently released the Soul Clap EP in 1991, and sold the record out of the trunk of their car around the New York City area. The record sold so well that they earned the attention of major labels, and they subsequently signed to Payday and London Records.

1991-1998: First period with ShowbizEdit

After signing to Payday and London, the pair's debut EP was rereleased as Soul Clap / Party Groove in 1992. That same year, the group released their debut studio album, Runaway Slave. It featured Showbiz and A.G. having a shared role on the album as rappers, while Showbiz predominantly produced it alongside contributions from Diamond D. Lord Finesse, Dres of Black Sheep, and Big L (making his first appearance on an album) make guest appearances. The album performed well critically but was not successful commercially, despite two high-charting singles, "Fat Pockets" and "Bounce ta This", which reached the top 15 of the US Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart. Around this time, the collective Diggin' in the Crates Crew, often known as D.I.T.C, was formed. The group consisted of Barnes, Lord Finesse, Showbiz, Big L, Diamond D, Fat Joe, Buckwild and O.C., who all contributed significantly during each others' projects during the mid-to-late 1990s.

In 1992, Barnes made a guest appearance on Lord Finesse's 1992 album Return of the Funky Man, with the song "Yes You May". He featured on Illegal's 1993 album The Untold Truth, and contributed to the 1994 compilation album B-Ball's Best Kept Secret. Also in 1994, Barnes appeared on the albums Non-Fiction by Black Sheep and Theme + Echo = Krill by The Legion. Barnes appeared alongside

In 1995, Barnes released his second album, Goodfellas, with Showbiz, who changed his name to Show. Show does not make any appearances as a rapper on the album, leaving rapping duties solely to Barnes. The album features the duo's most popular song, "Next Level", which is best known for its DJ Premier remix. The album again failed to sell well, and Showbiz & A.G. left Payday.

After not releasing any material in 1996, Barnes made a guest appearance on Diamond D's 1997 album Hatred, Passions and Infidelity, and R&B singer G-Man's single "Running 2 U".

In 1998, Showbiz & A.G. released the Full Scale EP on D.I.T.C. Records. It was expanded into a full-length album, Full Scale LP, for a release on Fat Beats later that same year. Following the album's release, Showbiz & A.G. decided to part ways to focus on their solo careers and work with D.I.T.C.

1998-2007: First solo releasesEdit

In 1998, Barnes released his debut solo single, "Hidden Crate / Hold Mines", on P-Jays Recordings. The two songs were featured on the Full Scale LP release that same year.

Barnes released his debut solo studio album, The Dirty Version, on 1999 on Silva Dom Records. It was preceded by its only single, "Rude Awakening". The album featured an all-star cast of rappers, such as Guru, KRS-One, Big Pun and fellow members of D.I.T.C. It was produced by Show, Lord Finesse, Buckwild, Diamond D and DJ Premier, amongst others. Also in 1999, Barnes began his prolific career as a guest artists on songs, appearing on the songs "True to Hip Hop" by Aim, "Definition of Nice" by DJ Paul Nice, "World Renown" by Tommy Tee, "The Vinyl Athletes" by Muro, "Rap Niggaz" by Grand Agent, "The Meanin'" by Chief Kamachi and "Rework the Angles" by Dilated Peoples.

In 2000, D.I.T.C. released their self-titled debut album on Tommy Boy. Barnes is featured on nine of the album's fifteen songs, tied with O.C. as making the most appearances on the album. Though not releasing any solo material, Barnes again appeared on multiple songs by other artists, including "Holdin' It Down" by Big L, "Straight Dirt" by Mykill Miers and "Same Shit" by Triple Seis.

In 2001, Barnes released his third solo single, "God Made Dirt", featuring his protégés The Ghetto Dwellas. He also released the single "R.U.G.D." with Ghetto Dwellas member Party Arty. Barnes made guest appearances on "Square Biz" by Square One, "Weed & Drinks" by O.C., and "How It Soundz" by D&D All-Stars.

In 2002, Barnes released two singles: the solo single "Street", and The Ghetto Dwellas collaboration "Back Street Rules / Get It Dusty". He appeared on the singles "Mach Mal Halblang" by DJ Desue, and "Queen (Hip-Hop)" by Soul Supreme.

In 2003, Barnes' only solo release was a remixed single of "Street", released the year prior. He appeared on "Kool Kat" by Kool Ski & Staffro, and "Future Flavas" by Soul Supreme.

In 2004, Barnes released the single "Chase Game", a collaboration with O.C. He made notable guest appearances on "It's Nothing" by The Beatnuts from their album Milk Me, and "A Day in the Life" by Handsome Boy Modeling School from their album White People. He also appeared on "Strategy" by Insight, "Deceived Me" by Thirstin Howl III, and "Poppin' Pockets" by Grip Grand.

In 2005, Barnes signed to Look Records. He was featured on a Look Records Sampler that same year, which featured his song "Take a Ride" featuring Party Arty and Aloe Blacc. He appeared on "Kill That Noize" by Form One, his only guest appearance that year.

Barnes released his second solo studio album, Get Dirty Radio, in 2006 on Look Records. It was released with the double single "Frozen / Hip Hop Quotable", produced by Madlib and J Dilla, respectively. It also featured production work by Lord Finesse, Show, Jake One, Oh No and Tommy Tee. He appeared on the songs "Low Coastin'" by Oh No, "Chicken Noodle Soup" by DJ Webstar & Young B, "My Life" by Dabrye, "Getyourmindright" by Belief, "Fahrenheit" by Doujah Raze and "Don't Talk to Me" by Joe Young & Mad Skill.

2007-present: Show reunion and Red Apples 45Edit

In 2007, Barnes reunited with Show to release the EP Live Hard. Barnes made guest appearances on "Can't Stop Won't Stop" by TomC3 & Prince Po, "It's Over Now" by Statik Selektah, "Rollin" by Marco Polo, "Norwegian Fever" by Tommy Tee and "Like That" by Rugged Intellect.

In 2008, Barnes appeared on the song "Call Me AG" by Inherit. Barnes' close friend Party Arty passed away on 4 December 2008.

In 2009, Barnes appeared on "Original G'z" by DJ JS-1, "Must Be Strong" by Tommy Tee, and "MC Remix" by El Meswy.

In 2010, Barnes founded the record label Red Apples 45 with Ray West and Abdul Jabar. His third solo album, Everything's Berri, was released later that same year. He appeared on "There Will Be Blood" by Celph Titled & Buckwild, "In da Jungle" by Sadat X, "Warsaw Outdors" by HIFI Banda, "Rotten Apple" by Snowgoons, "I Got the Wildstyle" by B-Doub and "Tu Non Puoi" by Bassi Maestro.

In 2011, Barnes released two EPs, The Pianos Companion EP and Pianos in the Projects, both with Ray West. They were rereleased in 2013 as part of the Pianos in the Projects compilation. He appeared on the songs "Words From..." by The Funk League, "Take a Look" by Mad Mic & Calibuz Wax, "Hustle" by Campeon & Brainiac Beats, "Do My Thing" by DJ JS-1, "We Don't Give a Fuck" by Ralph Dog, "The Berri Lounge" by Grant Parks, and "Chill Ruff" by Malus & Lyrical Waterside.

Show & A.G released their fourth studio album, Mugshot Music, in 2012. It was preceded by the release of a prequel album, Mugshot Music: Preloaded, that same year. Barnes also contributed to the album LUV NY as a member of the LUV NYgroup of the same name. Barnes appeared on the songs "All Real" by Beneficence, "I Am Legend" by Chasm and "Come On" by Freestyle Professors.

In 2013, AG released the collaboration EP Natural High with DJ Koss. That same year, he released the EP Dancin in the Rain, released as a posthumous collaboration album with Party Arty. He made guest appearances on "The First Letter" by Kid Tsu, "Stop Frontin" by DJ Dister, "Glory" by Marco Polo, "It's Nuthin" by Guilty Simpson & Small Professor, "Light Years" by DJ Skizz, "Double A" by Tony Touch, "Acura" by Kool Keith, "Killing Time" by Professor P & DJ Akilles, "Berrii" by Ray West and "Soul Music" by Roc Marciano.

In 2014, he appeared on the songs "Serenity" by Es-K, "Maracula" by Kool Keith, "Pain" by Diamond D, "Go Back" by Ray West & O.C., "Sample Abuser" by DJ JS-1 and "Diggin' in Vesuvius" by Sangue Mostro.

In 2015, Barnes released The Nickel EP with Ray West. He also appeared on the songs "48 Bars" by DJ Nice Toulouse, "Just Like Before" by George Fields, "Dreaming" by Flip, "No Mercy" by AKD & Deepstar, "Crooked Cop" by Ray West & Kool Keith, "The Bronx Is Best" by DJ Ready Cee, "Darkness" by N.B.S. & Snowgoons and "Without Hip Hop" by DT.

In 2016, Barnes released a second Party Arty collaboration EP, titled Live from the Balcony. D.I.T.C. reunited to release the album DITC Studios, with Barnes making contributions to 12 of the album's 15 songs. He also appeared on the songs "Me & AG" by Masta Ace, "Fall Back or Fall In" by Pawz One, "Testimony" by Discourse, "God Bless" by Ras Beats, "Right What I Write" by Truth, "Smooth Hardcore" by Benificence, "Hakim" by Vinnie Paz, "Micadelic Fur" by Blu & Ray West and "Gotta Get Away" by K-Def.

Show & A.G. released their fifth studio album, Take It Back, in 2017. Barnes also released two EPs with fellow Red Apples 45 rapper John RobinsonPenelope and They Watching. He also released the collaboration EP The 5th Beatle with DJ Crucial & Grap Luva. He appeared on the songs "Lost in Time" by O.C., "Here 'til Infinity" by Chan Hays, "The Art of Diggin" by Ray West & Dave Dar and "Darkness" by Grip Reaperz.

In 2018, Barnes released Epiphany EP with John Robinson. He appeared on Show's solo debut album, A-Room Therapy, on the songs "The Company" and "I'm a Ride". He also appeared on Apathy's song "Never Fall Off".

Musical styleEdit

InfluencesEdit

Barnes said that the first time he heard Eric B. & Rakim's "My Melody" being played at a local park jam was a life-changing moment, and he was inspired to make a record with the same impact.[1]

DiscographyEdit

Studio albumsEdit

Collaboration albumsEdit

Collaboration EPsEdit

ReferencesEdit