Paradise the Architect: Hip Hop Game Changer

By Jasiri X
December 2012

I had the honor of interviewing Paradise Gray for the Game Changers Project and Elite Studios in Pittsburgh, PA. Paradise has a long history of activism and has been an instrumental part of building unity in the community since moving to Pittsburgh. Paradise talks about his history in Hip-Hop and how he's using it to change the lives of young Black men.

Paradise Gray was raised in The South Bronx during the days of Reaganomics; the trickle down theory was in full effect. With live entertainment being financially inaccessible, the young people began to create their own forms of entertainment. This raw, new music scene crafted in the inner cities of New York is now affectionately known as "Hip-hop". Paradise was a young street D.J. mentored by some of Hip-hop's Legendary founding DJ's: Disco King Mario, Pete DJ Jones, The Grand Imperial DJ J.C., and D.J. C.C. Howard.

Paradise was manager of entertainment and host for The Legendary Hip-hop Club "The Latin Quarter" aka (The LQ). The Latin Quarter was the incubator of "The Golden Era" Of Hip-hop where legendary artists honed their skills. Those artists include: Eric B & Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-1, LL Cool J, Public Enemy and many others. Paradise and Lumumba Carson formed The BlackWatch Movement that spawned the group X-Clan. Dubbed The Grand Architech, Paradise was X Clan's main producer of both of The X-Clan's albums: "To The East Blackwards" and "XODUS. The X-Clan spoke before the Congressional Black Caucus and were nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

Paradise serves as The Executive Director of One HOOD, and he is a founding organizer of Pittsburgh's "Coalition Against Violence". He was awarded the 2008 Community Communicator Of The Year Award by the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation and was one of four artists to win the The Thomas Merton Centers 2009 "New Person Award". He is a board member of the Heinz Endowments African American Men and Boys Council, "MACOTI" Mothers Against Conviction Of The Innocent and a founder of The APA (Alliance for Police Accountability).


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