Respect Tha God
Birth Name: Russell Ballenger Jr.
Birthplace: New York / USA
Best known: Original member of the legendary rap group “The Perverted Monks” founded by Jeru the Damaja and Afu-Ra. Appearances on Dj Tomekk’s ”Beat of Life Vol. 1”. Tour appearances such as the High Times Tour East & West Coast; Splash Festival France & Netherlands. Collaborations with artist such as Smiff “N” Wesson; Pf Cuttin; Ken Ring; Afu-Ra; Da Beatminaz; Snowgoons.
“Respect Tha God”, is the stage name for Russell Ballenger Jr, rapper straight out of Grime City Glen Cove. Russell’s love for music started with percussion lessons of the Kanga and Bongo with his Uncle Roy. Those lessons opened his mind to what most call the “beat of life”, thus taking that beat and seeing its position in his own life at an early age. At the tender age of 13 Russell started rapping, expressing himself from a musical standpoint in talent shows, rhyming about all the challenges he and others faced as young teens. The response he got from each show caused his love for music to grow, driving him to express the word he and so many called the TRUTH. He started by taking other rappers melodies and adding his own words in a velvety but aggressive manner, causing him to definitely stand out. His determination to get the attention of not only his peers but also the older crowd caused him to constantly put himself into battles with other rappers to prove his skills. Those battles and the look in each member of the crowd’s eyes is what gave him such an intent determination to have HIP-HOP represent a larger part of his life.
Respect continued to battle for several years mastering his skills and the time came for him to make a move, so he and long time childhood friend Dy-Verze, joined forces and created the group, DEM N.G.G.Z. Together their performances would always leave the audience thirsty for MORE raw hip-hop. Fans started to form following them as they traveled from city to city delivering their brand of Hip-Hop, resulting in a nomination for, Best New Rap Group in the Long Island Music Awards. They used that recognition to strengthen their touring efforts linking with the likes of, Leaders of the New School; Fantasy Five and Mama Mastic (who beat them out for the award). With everything happening so fast, they found themselves presented with another unique opportunity of working with Essence (female rapper on the “New Jack City” Sound Track – 1990) and Color Me Badd (platinum artists). Respect and Dy then decided it was time they add other childhood friends who shared the same love they had for hip hop to the group, thus continuing the onslaught of quality music. They were Danga, Viz, Big Fam and Ambush. Together Dy and Respect completed over six studio productions all of which were recorded at ABK studio on Long Island with producers King and D-Knox. Respect Tha God was finally sharing the thing he loved most with the world and feeling the love being given back to him.
Suddenly Respect was confronted with what most would think a road block, Dy was going away for a couple years and he needed to hold things down while his brother was gone, so he began working on his own. With support of his bother-in- law Afu-Rah he was introduced and later partnered with legendary D&D studio’s very own Doug Grammar, to begin work on his solo project. He began to understand what it took to become the messenger he wished to be. He worked hard to establish his solo career and came in contact with other D&D artists. It was also there that he collaborated with Afu-Rah and two other D&D artist Ca-See, and A-Sun to form the group Perverted Monks. Respect was able to take their message and tour all over the USA (New Jersey; NYC; Connecticut; Vermont; Maryland; Florida; Los Angles; San Francisco, San Jose; Utah; New Mexico; Arizona; Seattle; Boston; just to name a few) Internationally they toured Columbia; Germany; Poland; Switzerland; Brussels; Amsterdam; Hungry; France; Sweden; Norway and Canada. He released four 12″ vinyl records with the Monks, the 1st topping the 10k mark in sales. They followed up with their first Perverted Monks album released in 2004, however, as time went on the group dismantled, each continuing to work on their on solo projects. While putting his own project together, Respect went on to make appearances on Afu’s 1st and 2nd albums (Body of the Life Force / Life Force Radio), but kept his own solo projects his main focus. As a result, the world witnessed the birth of Respect (Tha God)!
Respect (Tha God), has since progressed into his solo career working with Smith ‘N’ Wesson and the legendary Pf Cuttin (Blaze, Blaze). His talent and wild use of imagination allows him to write for many artists and has worked with producers from around the world. He has had the opportunity to work with Snowgoons, Beatminerz, and Nick Cannon just to name a few. Respect released a total of 8 mixed CD’s in just 3 years distributing over 50,000 CD’s and MP3’s worldwide, thus creating a strong promotional crew he likens to a family, and calls it, “Tha Team”. His mix tapes clearly show the love he carries for hip hop expecting his CD sales/downloads to reach over 100,000 within 2-3 more years (Mix CD’s are priced between $2-$3 dollars and FREE if at most live performances).
Today full-length videos and also countless performances are available for viewing on Youtube. Where ever you turn you’ll see Respect (Tha God) posted up with fellow Team Leaders plotting their next movements. Respect (Tha God)’s new album was released online and in stores Dec 2009 with the help of SUPER producer Dj Black Panther on his “Manekinekpro/IB Respect Music” label! The new album “Altered State” is due out this spring also out on “Manekinekpro/IB Respect Music” He will also be popping up around the globe in various locations starting with China and Europe after his USA appearances. In wake of all the problems of today I implore you to reach out and get your taste of respect! If there is any questions ask, “Don’t we need a Little!?!”