Kid 'n Play is a hip-hop and comedy duo from New York City that was popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The duo was composed of Christopher "Kid" Reid (born April 5, 1964 in The Bronx, New York City), Christopher "Play" Martin (born July 10, 1962 in Queens, New York City), working alongside their DJ, Mark "DJ Wiz" Eastmond (born March 21, 1966 in Queens, New York City). Besides their successful musical careers, Kid 'n Play are also notable for success in acting.
The pair met while performing in rival high school groups The Turnout Brothers and The Super Lovers, and initially formed their duo under the name The Fresh Force Crew. In 1986 She's a Skeezer and Rock Me were recorded. By 1987 they had changed their name to Kid n' Play.
Kid 'n Play recorded three albums together between 1988 and 1990: 2 Hype (1988), Kid 'n Play's Funhouse (1990), and Face the Nation (1991). Hurby "Luv Bug" Azor, the producer for Salt-n-Pepa who had been a member of the The Super Lovers with Play, served as Kid 'n Play's manager and producer during the early portion of their career. All three albums focused upon positive lyrics backed by pop-friendly instrumental tracks. Among the group's most successful singles were 1989's "Rollin' with Kid 'n Play" (#11 on the Billboard R&B singles chart), 1990s "Funhouse" (#1 on the Billboard rap singles chart), and "Ain't Gonna Hurt Nobody" (another #1 rap hit).
The group's stage show highlighted their teen-friendly personalities, and dances such as their trademark, the Kick Step. Reid's visual trademark was his hi-top fade haircut, which stood ten inches high at its peak. Martin regularly wore eight-ball jackets.
Kid 'n Play were also notable for their dance known as the Funky Charleston, or affectionately known as the Kid and Play Kickstep, influenced by the 1920s-era dance move, first seen in their video "Gittin Funky". The Funky Charleston featured the New Jack Swing-aerobic dance moves typical of late 1980s urban street dancing. Unlike the original Charleston, The Funky Charleston/Kid and Play requires two participants instead of one. This dance also was made quite popular in the movie House Party, in which Kid and Play have a dance competition with Tisha Campbell and A.J. Johnson.
In addition to their music, Kid 'N Play starred together in four motion pictures, all of them based around hip-hop characters and themes. The duo also appeared on the soundtrack albums to these films. Three of the Kid 'n Play films were entries in the House Party series. The first two House Party films (1990's House Party and 1991's House Party 2) also featured the then-relatively unknown Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell, later stars of the TV sitcom Martin. House Party 3 featured hip-hop/R&B girl group TLC.
Class Act, produced in 1992, was a comedy in the same vein as the House Party films. For that film, Reid traded his trademark hi-top fade in for braids instead. The haircut is used as a plot device in the film.
Kid 'n Play even had their own NBC Saturday morning cartoon, Kid 'n Play, for one season from 1990 to 1991. On the show, Kid 'n Play were regressed to teens, but their recording careers remained intact, as did their comic personas.
Kid 'n Play appeared in live-action wraparounds of the cartoons, but voice actors (again including close friend Martin Lawrence) took over for the animated versions of the duo. The show stressed positive role models, teaching kids how to get along and stay out of trouble. A 1992 Marvel Comics comic book based on the cartoon lasted nine issues. They also shot some segments for the PBS math show Square One TV and Sesame Street. They appeared on the animated special Freaknik: The Musical as themselves on Adult Swim.
Reid continued acting, guest starring in a number of television sitcoms, including Sister, Sister, and hosting shows such as It's Showtime at the Apollo and Your Big Break. Martin became a born-again Christian, and devoted his time to working on Christian-based hip-hop music projects. He eventually took his industry experience and founded HP4Digital Works, a multimedia company that provides pre- and post-production for film, digital, and live theater productions. He also founded Brand Newz, an online syndicated magazine focusing on positive community leaders and events.
Martin became a professor (teaching a class on the history of hip-hop) at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina and at FAMU in Tallahassee, Fl (where he now resides). Martin was also a judge for the 8th annual Independent Music Awards. The duo is currently on a tour of the House Party anniversary along with other rappers such as Salt n Pepa
In 2009, State Farm released a commercial featuring LeBron James dancing to the music of Kid 'n Play. In October 2009 the duo appeared on the BET Hip Hop Awards where they did their trademark dance. On Feb 9, 2010 the duo appeared on The Mo'Nique Show. On June 23, 2010 the duo appeared on Lopez Tonight and performed 'Rollin' with Kid 'N Play' from their album, 2 Hype.
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