MELLOW MAN ACE
The story of Mellow Man Ace begins in Cuba. Born under communism in Cuba, Mellow Man Ace became his families' ticket to freedom and passport to the United States. At that time in Cuba, having a child meant a family became eligible for an exit visa. “I was the third born and my number hit the lotto, although we didn't get to leave until four years later due to politics. My family gives me the credit for being here enjoying our freedom in the U.S. ” Upon arriving in America , the family was greeted in Miami , moved to New Jersey and ended up in South Gate, California on Cypress Avenue where it all began. “At 15 years old, it hit me that I was put here in the U.S. for a reason, I had a purpose,” says Mellow Man.
Mellow Man first got into rap music in 1983 after hearing The Treacherous Three for the first time. As he says, “It wasn't really happening out here yet, we were still pop locking and break dancing. When I first heard rap, I knew I had found my calling.” Writing as many rhymes as he could and cutting demos with his brother Sen Dog and B-Real, he still hadn't found his exact niche within Hip-Hop. From then on he began his journey of creating and perfecting bilingual songs. “I was ecstatic to realize I could fulfill my dreams and represent for my Latino people all in one!”
Havana-born Ulpiano Sergio Reyes (Mellow Man Ace) and older brother Senen Reyes (Sen Dog) formed a rap quartet DVX (Devastating Vocal Xcellence) with Lawrence Muggerud (DJ Muggs) and Louis Freese (B-Real). In 1987, Mellow Man dropped his debut 12" single "Do This" on Delicious Vinyl before releasing his first full length LP Escape From Havana on Capitol Records. The remaining three members formed the group Cypress Hill, named after Cypress Avenue, the street in South Gate where they all grew up. Mellow Man created a unique style of rap that traded off between his native tongue Spanish and English. He called it “Spanglish”. Mellow would not only be the creator of “Spanglish” and Spanish rap, but also the first Latin rap artist to reach Gold and Platinum sales in the U.S. and Latin America . This achievement would open a non-existent door for a host of other groups such as Control Machete, Big Pun, Fat Joe and The Beatnuts to name a few.