Published May 24, 2010
Words by Joi Rogers
Teddy Riley, P. Diddy, Doug E. Fresh: just a few of many talented musicians that reign from Harlem. Harlem as a whole, from both east to west side, has bred some of the world’s most reputable entertainers, artists and poets.
Born and raised in Harlem, Teeyon “Vado” Winfree grew up on 144th and Lenox. He picked up the pen and pad at 16 and was influenced by his famous jazz singing grandmother, June Tyson. By age 19 he’d chosen a new career path. Music was in his veins and he was well on his way to stardom. Vado appeared on a public access television show named “Mad Ciphas.” This was an outlet for a lot of up and coming artists from New York City. The show allowed them to showcase their talent in many different ways. In 2008, he first bubbled under the radar and released tracks with childhood friend, Jae Millz.
Early in 2009 he seized an opportunity that would prove pivotal in his career. He reached out to legendary Harlem rapper, Cam’ron. A friendship and artistic bond grew between the two, after first meeting on March 13th, at a studio in New York. That was only the beginning. As the story goes, Killa Cam was scouting for new artists and a bold new alliance formed. They submerged themselves in the studio, and Vado became the first solo act of Cam’s new movement, “The U.N.”
In August of 2009 the streets were privy to the fruits of their labor, and liked the taste. “Boss of all Bosses,” a mixtape hosted by DJ Drama, co-starring Vado and Cam’ron, was released, and was followed up with “Boss of all Bosses 2” in January of 2010. Vado’s innate talent and lyrical wit was thrust into the public eye. Fans ate it up. The hip-hop community embraced his sound, gripped by his delivery and lyrical dexterity.
A lot of artists say it, but Vado does it. He submerges himself in the studio day after day, week after week. Unwavered and determined, in a short time he’s composed with some of hip-hop’s most notable power players. He validates, “I just walked in, I haven’t even taken off my coat,” but fans have invited him in, rolled out the carpet and set a place from him at rap’s dinner table.
The self proclaimed “most hated,” is becoming one of Harlem’s most beloved as the past year has proven itself remarkably rewarding. “Boss of all Bosses 2.5,” “Slime Flu,” and “Guns and Butta,” are just a few of the projects scheduled for release in 2010, along with a host of videos from the Boss of all Bosses 1 and 2. As hype still begins to swirl and the industry’s all a buzz, the 25 year old MC has performed at venues across New York City. He comes to conquer. His resume is spotless.
On those streets of Harlem, Vado has walked in the footsteps of the giants that came before him and will pave the way for pioneers to follow. With his autonomous group of mentors and partners, the future is looking bright for this young rapper. The world is tuning in and turning him up, as we make a new addition to that list of Harlem’s greats: Vado.