|Like the infamous 1972 blaxploitation icon from whom
he takes his nickname, Soopafly has been deep in his own
hustle for a minute, hooking up beats for the DPG family,
and one soundtrack album after another, waiting for that
big score that will catapult his bubbling talent to national
recognition like so many producer/rappers before him.
Like his cinematic namesake who yearned to leave behind
a life of pushers and pimps, and the strangle-hold it
had on his ambition for a better life, Priest "Soopafly"
Brooks is on a mission to leave behind old record company
politics that kept his full potential from being celebrated
on a world stage.
Now signed to Snoop Dogg's Doggy Style Records, Soopafly
looks to his new label home as a fresh start after his
previous solo project on Death Row was stalled. The
saucy "Like It Or Not," the track that was
to be his debut solo album's first single, ended up
a single off the album "Suge Knight Represents:
Chronic 2000." Two years later, with the full support
of Snoop and his new Doggy Style family, Fly is looking
toward a solo future filled with multi-platinum hits
and unlimited possibilities. He's putting the finishing
touches on "Dogghouse Allstars," a forthcoming
compilation album designed to give fans a preview of
the kind of heat available from the label's talented
roster. "It's also to hold us over until our solo
things get done, and keep some hot shit out there for
the whole summer," says Soopafly of the compilation
that features Doggy Style artists Mr. Kane, LaToya,
Johnny Chronic, Lady of Rage, E White and others.
The oldest of three kids, Soopafly was born and raised
in Long Beach. He can remember first being touched by
music while watching the gospel musicians play during
church. His father, who would later oppose his son's
musical pursuits, gave his young boy a keyboard to emulate
the piano player he's watch in church. "I just
started learning on my own," says Fly. "I
got a little older and a lot better at it." Ironically,
the better he became, the more his father looked upon
his son's dreams with a furrowed brow. "I don't
think my dad believed in me. He didn't believe in that
music stuff. He wanted me to get a job and do something.
I had a couple of jobs here and there, but music was
always #1, whether the money was there or not."
Things turned around for young Fly when he met up with
Snoop as a teenager. "He was in his Death Row thing,
and he liked what I was doing as far as playing keys.
Then I hooked up with Dr. Dre, and that was really like
my first project, playing as his keyboardist on Death
Row before I was really even making my own beats."
His talent for creating beats would be revealed in
1994 when Fly gave his first produced track to Snoop
for a listen. The slow-noddin', closed-eyed thump of
Fly's beat became the song, "Who Got Some Gangsta
Shit?" off the 1994 soundtrack, "Murder Was
The Case." "I started making more and more
music," says Fly about his sudden flood of production
work. Then when I hooked up with Daz, that was really
it. We started being a team and making our own beats."
Once the DPG camp knew he was tight, Fly began churning
out beats throughout the mid-nineties and into 2000
for Snoop, Daz and Kurrupt of the Dogg Pound, The Twinz,
Dru Down, Mack 10, the Whoridas, Nate Dogg, and even
reggae artist Barrington Levy. He also contributed to
several soundtracks including "Thin Line Between
Love and Hate." "Nothin To Lose," "I
Got the Hookup," "Rush Hour," "Caught
Up," "Gridlock'd" and "Gang Related."
Soopafly says the creative seeds for these beats come
from various sources of inspiration. "I could be
driving down the street, that's when I hear a lot of
things, when I'm in the car by myself playing different
CDs. Usually I can come up with a whole rap while I'm
driving. Some of the days I just have those beats on
the back burner. They might help in projects I have.
I just pull em on up, finish em up and get em done.
In the midst of this production flurry, Soopafly signed
a one record deal with Daz's Death Row subsidiary, DPG
Records in 1996. But his album, "Like It Or Not,"
was pulled and shelved by Death Row at the eleventh
hour. In 2000, Daz and Soopafly left and began contributing
songs to other labels, such as "Your Gyrlfriend
2" with Mac Shawn, and songs for Tha Eastsidaz,
Xzibit and Silkk that Shocker albums. Throughout all
of the drama, Soopafly's dedication to his craft remained
steadfast. With paperwork now secure on Dogghouse, Soopafly
can focus 100 on taking his career to the next level
with an album in the pipeline, his young r&b dynamo
LaToya waiting in the wings, and a decade full of pent-up
musical energy now free to be unleashed. "I'm coming
hard, and it's gonna be terrible," he says. "It
ain't gonna be nothin' soft."