The redemption story of a ‘Crybaby Gangster
By BRENDEN WHITT | 6/25/2014, 3:37 p.m.
When a story begins with the main character against all odds it, can go two ways. The protagonist can either fail or succeed. Cleveland native and Hip-Hop artist Crybaby Gangster, or Cry for short falls into the latter.
Cry was born on the lower east side in the neighborhood known as Down The Way in the Case Court projects. A product of his environment, Cry grew up with an alcoholic mother and never knew his dad. Cry got his name from the 1990 film Cry-Baby starring Johnny Depp. The film was about a teen who was sentenced for a crime he didn’t commit. Although Cry was guilty of his crime, the movie always stuck with him.
While incarcerated, Cry met LAD who ran a label out in Los Angeles but was serving time in Ohio.
“I thought he was just another dude blowing smoke” said Cry.
Cry had gotten a rep for battling other inmates on the yard. LAD was so impressed he offered Cry a deal when both of their sentences were up. And, although this seemed to be a wonderful opportunity, something else even more amazing happened.
Before Cry was released from prison, he met his father for the first time.
“I saw the name Gary Baker and thought, that’s what mom said my dad’s name was.” After going to speak with the older gentleman, Cry confirmed his suspicion. The two got to know each other and have remained in contact ever since.
After both Cry and LAD’s sentences were up, LAD kept his word and signed Cry to his first deal under the label LA Confidential. He remained in Los Angeles for six years until the birth of his son.
“It was a hard decision but I wanted to be there for my son,” he added.
Because of the distance, LA Confidential was forced to drop Cry Baby Gangster from the label. By then, Cry was ready to get his own label going and founded Rock N’ Roll City Records. To those trying to make it in the music business, he advises, “Take advantage of all relationships you have” he said.
“A company is a person and all the people they have a relationship with.”
Not too long after founding his label, he signed a distribution deal Island Def Jam.
When asked where he had gotten the name for his label, the answer was simple.
“This is the birth place of Rock N’ Roll, so the name was natural.”
With a few Cleveland emcees already with their foot in the door, all Cry could say about Cleveland Hip-Hop was “I love it” followed with a chuckle of happiness.
“Guys like Cudi, MGK, Chip, and Young Ray can put on for us and make the city look good.”
Cry still remains active on his hunt for his slice of the pie. His latest single titled simply “Music” is available now on itunes. His company is also set to release two DVD’s this year with American Felon, a look at both Cry and former drug kingpin Freeway Rick Ross’ lives as felons looking for redemption and Laugh & Hip-Hop where he and Chris “The Mayor” Thomas former host of BET’s Rap City show the ups and downs of trying to make it in show business along with comedian Reginald Ballard better known as Bruh Man from the 90’s hit sitcom Martin.
From felon, to emcee to growing his own label and brand Cry Baby Gangster’s story is one that tells of personal loss, sacrifice and resiliency. Cry even offered advice to anyone aspiring to accomplish any feat in life. “Everything starts with you. Energy is really important” he said.
“Nobody wants for you more than you.”
Crybaby Gangsta is one of the top performers on Sunday, June 29 from noon to 4 p.m. at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum’s 17th Annual Rock and Soul Festival. This festival celebrates the contributions of African-Americans to the growth and development of Rock and Roll music. Both national and local artists participate in this festival. This event is sponsored by KeyBank.