Born Percy Chapman to a single mother in the projects of Queens, NY, Tragedy Khadafi grew up surrounded by music, and even though his childhood was tough, he found inspiration in it.
When he was nine years old he first heard hip-hop, which itself was just beginning to develop in the South Bronx and other New York neighborhoods. It was when he heard LL Cool J's "Rock the Bells," however, at a community function in Astoria that Chapman knew that he wanted to rap, too. Calling himself Jadeski, he hooked up with DJ Hot Day and, as the Superkids, they self-released a couple of songs in 1986. These caught the ear of Marley Marl, who eventually ended up encouraging Chapman to split from Hot Day and join his influential group, the Juice Crew. He recorded some tracks for Marley's 1988 album, In Control ("The Rebel," "Live Motivator"), but before he could see their release he was sent to the Elmira Correctional Facility for three years, at just 16 years old. While in jail, Chapman began reading the work of Malcolm X and upon his release he entered community college with the intention of studying black history; he was still interested in hip-hop, but he wasn't planning on pursuing music as a career. However, after meeting Joe Fatal at a show, Chapman was convinced by the MC to get back into rap. Signing with A&M, he released two albums under the name Intelligent Hoodlum, the 1990 self-titled record and 1993's Tragedy: Saga of a Hoodlum. Changing his name to Tragedy Khadafi, the rapper began to work with other artists, even discovering the duo Capone-N-Noreaga on the streets and helping to conceive their spectacular 1997 debut, The War Report. Despite all his accomplishments and talent, the rapper never quite got the recognition that many of his peers did, and his next solo album, Against All Odds, though it was supposed to come out in 1999, was pushed back two years. In 2003 Still Reportin' hit shelves, followed by Thug Matrix in 2005. ~ Marisa Brown, Rovi