Think of a cobra and most people think of a highly venomous snake that kills it's victims using a lethal dose of poison administered by fang like teeth. In Dancehall Reggae circles, this is not necessarily so. The name Mad Cobra is associated with a man who is classed as a year to year DJ (continually having songs on nearly every Dancehall Reggae riddim released) and an established artist in this musical genre.
Born Ewart Everton Brown, Mad Cobra got his name from the villain in the cartoon GI Joe. He was born twenty-nine years ago in Kingston, Jamaica and discovered his leaning towards being a DJ at the age of fourteen.
Although he had his dream of being a recording artist, Cobra still attended school including, amongst others, Hillside, Tivoli Comprehensive High School and Portmore Art Academy. He achieved in his education by becoming a qualified architect.
Despite his qualification, his love of music inspired him to get into the business and he looked up to artists such as Bob Marley, Stanley and the Turbines, Delphonics and Techniques. As he put it 'any of the veterans in the dancehall' gave him inspiration, namely 'Shabba Ranks, Josey Wales (and) Brigadier Jerry'.
He first started recording in 1990 after getting his break from the acclaimed song writer and producer Dave Kelly. This was for Penthouse Records, but in 1992 he released an album, 'Hard to Wet, Easy to Dry', through Columbia Records that catapulted him into the international limelight. The smash hit single 'Flex' came from that recording and it made it's mark by going gold. The album also followed this path and went gold.
Although Columbia Records was the label he was signed to when he did his gold selling album, he is now freelance. His decision to leave Columbia was based on management and A&R not getting on creating 'a conflict of interest'
Writing such smash hit songs comes from experiences he sees and has in 'every day life'. Reminding us that he keeps in touch with the ghetto and the poorer people of Jamaica, he explains 'anything that the ghetto people talk on de street, that is what I write about. Things that affect the poorer class'.
Although he talks about various things within his music, Cobra does not target one set market or age group. He is universal and sees music as something that has a vibe and 'whatsoever de vibe dat is there, then that is what I put out'. His earlier leaning towards lyrics that were heavily gun influenced came from television. However, his female fans will be quick to tell you that he has numerous woman-friendly songs out there including 'Tek Him' and 'War'.
His inspiration to do women-oriented songs stems from not wanting women to come to his shows and feel 'disrespected' He says he would rather 'go tell dem about a next girl (and) your style looks better' than put them down in his songs.
Cobra is no stranger to stage shows, he has performed in all the major Jamaican shows such as Sting and Spectrum, but feels he gets a good response wherever he performs, world-wide.
In the early days of his career he was known for clashing a lot with another artist, Ninja Man. He fondly recalls that back in the day he sounded a lot like Ninja Man, hence the promoters of such shows as Fresh and Sting would put the two together on stage. They were branded as 'spontaneous performers' and as such could freestyle anything on the spot regardless of topic.
When asked whether he would ever clash Ninja Man again, he states 'we are friends' and also the fact that Ninja Man has now changed to Christianity vetoes that option as they would not be able to clash on the same level as they used to. However, if Ninja man was to request it, Cobra says he owes Ninja Man that first clash 'to give him a comeback'.
Other than Ninja Man, Cobra has worked with a plethora of artists and producers including Jeremy Harding, Shocking Vibes and Penthouse to name a few. His American artist resume includes the likes of soul diva Toni Braxton, R. Kelly and hip-hop group the Ghetto Boys. Jamaican artists are not omitted from his line-up as he names people like Beenie Man, Bounty Killer and the late great Dennis Brown amongst others.
His spare time is filled with playing soccer, hanging out with his friends, writing lyrics, listening to vintage music and developing a young crew that includes artists such as Singer Jay, the Brixton Boys, Madd Sam and Fridgey Banton.
He has many plans for the future namely owning his own record company, a major radio station and to promote less fortunate artists. He has already started doing this by having taken Singer Jay on the tour with him around England in June of 1999.
On his success and achievement in the industry, Cobra states that he is 'grateful' because the 'efforts... really pay back... musically' and not just in the monetary sense.
His final message for his fans is for them to stay 'drug-free', set their goals and 'try to achieve them'. What has been his key to success? 'Put God first (and) honour Mom and Dad'.
Judging by the level of his success in the business so far, his parents must have a model son...
You can book Mad Cobra by telephoning (Jamaica) 876-989-7114 or faxing (Jamaica) 876-989-9811.