Harlem may be getting hit hard in this economy but Rap artist Doug E. Fresh is reinvesting in his hometown with a brand new restaurant and more. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
After more than 25 years in hip-hop, rapper Doug E. Fresh is still going strong. The popular recording artist, who calls Harlem home, is spreading his wings in his old stomping ground. With concerns about the how the economy is hurting his hometown, the celebrity has just opened a restaurant on 132nd Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard called "Doug E's."
"Really even in this whole Obama initiative, and everything that’s going on with the economy, the only way to jump start it is we have to give each other opportunity. That’s the only way to make it work," says Fresh.
Doug E. Fresh it putting his money where his beatbox is. Young people in the neighborhood get to work part-time after school, dishing out scrumptious soul food and Caribbean cuisine.
"I understand the kid that, you know, he needs some money because he gotta get back and forth to school," says Fresh.
Doug E. Fresh says he understands the challenges because he was one of those kids, until he hit the big time when he was still a teenager.
Young Doug E. Davis transformed himself into Doug E Fresh and rose to instant fame with "The Get Fresh Crew" in the early 1980s when he learned how to mimic drum beats.
Doug E's restaurant is just the beginning. The 44-year-old rapper also has a state-of-the-art recording studio around the corner and on the next block he has immediate plans to open a comedy club. It's also a family affair. His wife is very involved in the business and parents regularly pop into the restaurant.
Meantime, the rapper says he still considers himself one of the homeboys.
"I could still walk the street. I don’t have to have no massive security. I mean if I'm in the street, it's so serious here, people come up to me, 'Yo man, you want me to walk with you up the block?''says Fresh.