Cormega and His Comebacks
"I'm an emotional chameleon. See how I adapt to pain."
Despite rejection and career setbacks, Cormega has risen to the top of the rap game with his slice-of-life descriptions of the violent inner city lifestyle. From crime and poverty to feuds with other rappers, his rhymes have so far encompassed a wide spectrum of subject matter.
Born and Raised on Books and Rhymes
At the tender age of 4, young Queens resident Cory McKay was orphaned by his mother and moved in with his dad and stepmother. It was that same stepmom who forced reading on the soon-to-be Cormega, a habit that he would later on credit for sparking his interest in writing rap rhymes.
His first forays into the music industry didn't have him topbilled. In the 1980's, his performances were limited to just guest appearances and collaborations. While he was a featured artist in Going Straight Up by Hot Day and Set It Off by Blaq Poet, he didn't release any work as a primary artist during this period.
Love from Nas
One of the first mentions of Cormega in mainstream rap didn't even come from the rapper himself; Nas, a fellow emcee from the same Queensbridge neighborhood as Cormega, mentioned him by name in One Love, a single from Nas' 1994 Illmatic album. After Cormega's release from jail in 1995, he promptly teamed up with Nas to create Affirmative Action, a track for the latter's sophomore album It Was Written.
The Firm, composed of Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ and Cormega, was a group that came out of the Affirmative Action collaboration. Steve Stoute, Nas' manager, became a producer of The Firm but quickly got into a disagreement with Cormega. As a result, Cormega's spot in the firm was taken by Nature, leading to Cormega's falling out with Nas. Cormega's would-be debut album The Testament, which was supposed to be released on Def Jam records, was also set aside because of the conflicts in that period.
F*** Nas N Nature
Right after he was released from his Def Jam contract in 2000, Cormega set up his own label, Legal Hustle Records. He then went on to produce the mixtape Never Personal (Fuck Nas N Nature). This was followed by his 2001 debut album The Realness, where listeners noted recurring themes of disappointment and betrayal of trust.
The two releases were part causes of half-decade Cormega-Nas feud. It was a conflict fought with tracks and mixtapes instead of bullets. Whether it was Cormega attacking with his album The True Meaning or Nas retaliating with his track Destroy and Rebuild, the battle was one that was broadcast for all the music industry to hear.
In the wake of Cormega's grandmother's death in 2005, he publicly announced that his bitter battle with Nas was finally over. Further burying the hatchet, Cormega performed onstage in one of Nas' 2006 live performances to show that the two were once again on good terms.
After the dust from the feud had settled, Cormega went back to work. He expanded his collaborations to the West, resulting in projects with the likes of Mob Figaz and Lakey the Kid. His latest effort, Born and Raised, is currently in the last few stages of production.
Did You Know That Cormega...
Next Artist: DMX