Doug E. Fresh, known to his family as Douglas E. Davis, is an American rapper, record producer, and beat boxer, also known as the Human Beat Box. One of the earliest recorded beat boxers, Fresh is able to accurately imitate drum machines and various special effects using only his mouth, teeth, and gums.
Born in Christ Church, Barbados, Doug E. Fresh moved to the U.S. as a young child. He made his recording debut in 1983, as part of the Boo-Dah Bliss Crew (with Spoonie Gee and DJ Spivey). He gained greater recognition the following year—appearing in Beat Street, backing the Treacherous Three. Later that same year, Fresh released his first singles as a solo artist: “Just Having Fun” and “Original Human Beat Box.”
His 1985 single “The Show” (which borrows the melody of the Inspector Gadget theme), and its B-side, “La Di Da Di,” are considered among the greatest hip hop classics. The single featured the Get Fresh Crew: DJs Barry B. and Chill Will, and MC Ricky D (who would later achieve fame as Slick Rick).
In 1986, Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew released their debut full-length album, Oh, My God! and was critically hailed for incorporating elements of reggae and gospel music. Besides “The Show,” other notable tracks included “Play this Only at Night” and “All the Way to Heaven,” the former of which incorporated the theme from the famous horror movie Phantasm. In 1988, another album, The World’s Greatest Entertainer was released, which appeared on Billboard magazine’s charts, due in part to the popular single “Keep Risin’ to the Top”.
Fresh is often called upon to host events for Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Bill Clinton and many other high-profile celebrities.
He currently resides in Central Harlem with his five sons, two of whom are in a hip-hop group called Square Off and are featured on Fresh’s recently released single “Left-Right.”
In 2008, his single “The Show” was ranked number 51 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.