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“There are people still in the hood—I understand their struggles and what they are going through because I lived it,” says Leonard Grant, also known as Uncle Murda, “…the voice of those trying to survive in the hood and those trying to make it out of the hood.” With a promising rap career that spawned from the guttered streets of Brooklyn, New York, Uncle Murda is the embodiment of the rags to riches dream. Known as the voice of the streets due to his hardcore lyrics about his real life experiences, Uncle Murda is living out his mandate as one of the most powerful authoritative voices of Hip Hop, painting a detailed mural of his past life in the streets relating to the everyday struggles of those in the hood.
Uncle Murda and his longtime manager/producer, Cooch (Tuneheadz), secured his first record deal with Ruff Ryders in 2002. After some initial success with the label, Uncle Murda and Cooch were ready to stake a bigger claim in the music industry, joining forces with the late great Chris Lighty of Primary Violator in 2006. The relentless MC went on to garner mainstream attention in the underground rap scene in New York and beyond with the release of his two widely successful singles, “Bullet Bullet,” and “Run the City,” produced by Tuneheadz - the single that ultimately caught the attention of Jay Z. The Brooklyn bred rapper/CEO signed Uncle Murda to his label, Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella Records in 2007 and immediately, Uncle Murda went to work, landing a coveted spot on his label mate, Fabolous’ song,
“Brooklyn,” (From Nothin To Somethin) alongside Jay Z. The hit song, along with the success of his trailblazing mix tapes, evolved Uncle Murda from the underground music scene to achieve more commercial appeal. “Unfortunately, the record deal didn’t work out when Jay left the label,” the MC reveals. “Jay and I are cool, he’s still that dude. I appreciated the opportunity, and know that everything happens for a reason.”
Following the success of his two hit singles, Uncle Murda turned the streets up once again with three popular mix-tapes (Hard to Kill, Back On my Bullshit, Summer Time Shoot Out) later followed by New York’s underground street anthem, “Warning.” Uncle Murda’s resilient hustle continued under the tutelage of Lighty--ultimately landing a record deal with Epic Records under music mogul, LA Reid, at the end of 2011. “I knew that if I continued to beat up the streets up with my music,” Uncle Murda says, “Chris would go get that deal, and that’s exactly what happened.”