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June 6, 2014

A FUTURE WITH NO LIMIT: Rapper Master P talks education, attitude with New Albany youth

NEW ALBANY — As the stretch limousine pulled into the Griffin-Kathy Wilkerson Recreation Center parking lot Friday afternoon, it was obvious this wasn’t just any guest.

Emerging from the limo was an internationally-known rapper, record label founder and hip hop icon — a man who made the kids say “Uhh!”. Master P visited the center as part of the kick-off for the New Albany Parks Summer Youth Program.

Master P is the founder of No Limit Records, which produced several hit rap albums, primarily in the late 1990s. The rapper also was part of the group TRU, and his 1998 solo album “MP Da Last Don” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 charts.

Some of his biggest hits include “Mr. Ice Cream Man,” “I Miss My Homies” and his most well known song, “Make ‘Em Say Uhh!”

Master P — whose actual name is Percy Miller — has visited Louisville several times in recent years and has worked with rapper Young Zillion, who hails from New Albany. Young Zillion organized Master P’s New Albany appearance, as the rapper from New Orleans spoke to about 50 kids about the importance of friendship, respect and advancing their lives.

“School is so important,” Master P said. “Education saved my life.”

Though he was only at the center for about 15 minutes, Master P was swallowed in a group hug by the children after he finished his talk.

He then posed for dozens of pictures and spoke with several of the kids and their families. He didn’t shy away from real issues youth face in inner-cities, as Master P asked the children how many of them knew someone who was in jail or had been the victim of violence.

By staying in school and focusing on education, kids and can avoid many of the problems experienced all too often in economically depressed neighborhoods, he continued.

Young Zillion and Louisville activist Christopher 2x joined Master P during the event. Young Zillon’s name is Rodney Brown, and he’s a 2000 graduate of New Albany High School.

Young Zillion organized Master P’s stop in New Albany, as the Griffin-Wilkerson Recreation Center was a place he frequented growing up. Young Zillion grew up near the center, and said credited the parks department for encouraging kids and giving them a safe haven.

But he added, having someone like Master P show up to speak certainly grabs the attention of children.

“You know I love this city,” Young Zillion said. “This is all about the kids.”

And Master P told the children they can accomplish their dreams with the right mindset.

“Be leaders not followers,” he said.

Youth programs begin Monday at the center, and there are several events slated for the summer. Most of the programs are free or entail a small fee. For more information, call 812-949-5448.

For more on Young Zillion, visit the website youngzillion.com

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Barbara Brewster has been the organ player at Faith Lutheran Church in Jeffersonville for the past 50 years. Brewster began playing organ with the church in August of 1964 at the age of 17.

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