COURT OVERTURNS $1.5 MILLION JUDGMENT
Juno-Award winner and rap/reggae singer Snow is off the hook after a court in New York overturned a jury’s order to pay $1.5 million (U.S.) to his former friend and associate.
In 1994, DJ Marvin Prince sued Snow, who was born Darrin O’Brien, for breach of agreement and damages claiming he was never fully compensated for his role in turning O’Brien into a star.
Snow’s 1993 debut, 12 Inches Of Snow, sold three million copies worldwide and his smash hit ”Informer” spent seven weeks at Number 1.
His troubled life inspired much of the album, which was released as he finished serving a year in jail for assault.
In 1997, an 11-member jury awarded Prince $2.1 million, an approximation of the value of his services. At the time, Snow’s managers and record label were based in New York.
The idea of a white guy from Canada named Snow singing reggae raised plenty of eyebrows when “Informer” came out in 1993.
Especially since the rise and fall of rapper – some would say novelty act – Vanilla Ice was still fresh in people’s minds.
But once most ears heard the Toronto dancehall reggae artist’s rapid-fire delivery (the video for “Informer” had subtitles) and smooth singing, there was no denying the music came from a real place.
His brushes with the law and general tough times in the housing project where he used to live in Toronto added to his mystique.
Otherwise known as Darrin O’Brien, Snow, 27, has made plenty of trips to Jamaica since dropping his multi-platinum single, “Informer” and his triple platinum (300,000 copies) debut album, 12 Inches Of Snow.
Despite being dissed into that special section of hell only white rap stars seem to occupy, Snow – aka Darrin O’Brien – is relatively happy with the way his life has been going lately.
“The key word here is positive,” he says during a recent phone interview, his two-year-old daughter burbling in the background. “Positive music is the music of the ’90s.”
This can’t be the same guy who wrote Informer, a bitter rant disguised as a Jamaican dance-hall ditty, from a jail cell. Since that first huge hit, there have been more newspaper articles about Snow’s alleged crimes than his rhymes – assault, attempted murder, uttering death threats, and we haven’t even touched on the traffic tickets.
Insisting that it’s all behind him now, Snow named both his daughter and his latest album Justuss, because, as he explains, “I never had justice before, so this was the first justice I really had. Justice was never in my corner. All the time I got in trouble.”
Four years ago Snow took the world’s music charts by storm with his tongue-twisting, rapid-fire rap hit Informer from his debut album, 12 Inches of Snow.
Snow’s story — his real name is Darrin O’Brien — spread quickly. The young thug, who had grown up in a Toronto housing project, had written the ditty from behind bars about the informer who ratted him out for a crime he denied committing.
O’Brien beat the rap — attempted murder charges were dropped — and emerged an international star after recording the prison-penned hit. If it sounds right out of a movie, check local listings. Well, not quite yet. Author George Seminara, who directed the Informer video, has written a screenplay about O’Brien’s life and apparently there’s high-level interest at Miramax, a production and distribution company owned by Disney.
‘I want that guy from Romeo and Juliet,’ says O’Brien, naming the young actor Leonardo DiCaprio as his No. 1 pick to play himself. Seminara would appear the man for the job. He’s made a name for himself chronicling the criminal deeds of the rich and famous. His most recent book is called Celebrity Mug Shots: Celebrities Under Arrest. O’Brien says the script, at least at this stage, is based on his life on the streets in his pre-Snow days.
Apparently Snow has stopped stormin’. The Toronto-based rapper is best known for his chart-topping 1993 hit, Informer, and his reputation as violent-tempered lawbreaker. Now 27 and the father of a two-year-old daughter, Snow says his wild ways are a thing of the past.
‘I have been out of trouble and all that kind of stuff. I just think about goodness now,’ Snow says over the telephone. ‘I’ve grown up a lot more. I’m more my dad now. I’m thinkin’: Move out and get a white picket fence, but still live in Toronto. I look at life different now. When you have a little daughter, you’re mostly living it for her.’
Indeed, Snow — whose real name is Darrin O’Brien — named his third and latest album, Justuss, after his daughter. This is a pivotal album for Snow: His second album, Murder Love, sold considerably less than his 1.3-million-selling debut, 12 Inches of Snow. He needs to show he’s not a one-hit wonder. Not that he’s upset some shine has rubbed off of his once-rising star.
‘I’m not up on all that fame and glory,’ he says. ‘I don’t hang around and go to all them parties and stuff. I still have the same old friends, still live in Toronto. I’m the same old person.’