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). After a few years Mellow Man was signed by Delicious Vinyl and then Capitol Records to launch a solo career. The remaining three members formed the group Cypress Hill, named after Cypress Avenue, the street in South Gate where they all grew up.
With the debut of his first LP entitled Escape From Havana on Capitol Records, 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” on wax 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.
A #1 hit; “Mentírosa” (Liar) became the recipe to follow for Latin artists who wanted to rap in Spanish. The best in the business were brought in from the likes of The Dust Brothers, DJ Muggs and Tony G. working with such sample wizardry as Santana, War and James Brown. A rigorous touring schedule through the U.S., all over Latin America, Europe and Japan brought him together with musical giants Celia Cruz, En Vogue, A Tribe Called Quest and others. Countries like Columbia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Argentina and Chile had never experienced anything like a Hip-Hop show let alone a rapper who spoke in their native tongue.
As success grew, songs like “En La Casa” and “Welcome to My Groove” were featured in the motion picture, Marked For Death, as well as writing “Real Estate” for Cypress Hill's first album Cypress Hill which went on to Platinum sales. Soon after the follow up LP entitled The Brother With Two Tongues was also released on Capitol Records. The LP proved that Mellow Man Ace had matured not only lyrically but musically as well by bringing something different to the Hip-Hop table.
The next few years Mellow Man took a partial hiatus from the limelight. “I felt I needed time to refocus myself and rebuild my energy”. During this “hiatus” he appeared on various compilations, motion picture appearances, motion picture soundtracks, television appearances, commercials, public service announcements and various charity events including the MTV Red Hot and Latin album. Soon Mellow Man was centered and ready to go back to his first love.
Mellow Man Ace reunited with his Cypress Hill family on his third LP From The Darkness Into The Light. Mellow Man started with DJ Muggs overseeing the production of the album and finished with his brother Sen Dog and B-Real for guest appearances. Some of the songs included “Guillotine Tactics” which was featured on an episode of NBC's hit television series ER. “Ten La Fe” (Keep The Faith) was featured in the motion picture and soundtrack for Crazy Beautiful, starring actress Kirsten Dunst, and on the Fox television show Fastlane.
Mellow Man went on to write six songs and guest appear on the Cypress Hill Spanish album Los Grandes Exitos de Cypress Hill which received Billboard's Latin Rap Album of the Year 2000 and a Gold Album in Mexico. He then looked to expand his horizons on brother Sen Dog's solo project SX-10 Mad Dog American. This rock-meets-rap album featured Mellow, Everlast, Eric Bobo, Cottonmouth Kings and DJ Muggs, an explosive combination of rap giants. When Cypress Hill released their most recent album Stoned Raiders, Mellow Man was called in to drop a catchy hook on the debut single “Lowrider”.
In 2002, Mellow Man Ace received one of the most important accolades of his career. Along with fallen rappers Eazy-E and Mausberg, Mellow Man was inducted into the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame. “This has to be one the greatest highlights of my career yet.”
In 2004, Mellow Man Ace reunited with former producer Bronek to release Vengo A Cobrar. Together they started their own production team known as Stealth Bombas. With Vengo A Cobrar (I Came To Get Paid), the two seasoned veterans combined radio-friendly tracks with mass appeal hooks and well planned lyrics. The moderately successful CD has spawned several TV and Soundtrack hits.
Bringing us to today...
"The Reyes Brothers" new album is scheduled to be released summer 2005. Mellow Man has teamed up with his brother Sen Dog of Cypress Hill to create one of the most anticipated albums ever. Featured artists include B-Real of Cypress Hill, Nate Dogg, Warren G, and production from Fred Wreck and DJ Muggs. Latin Thug Records expects great things for these two extremely talented brothers.