Ray J

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Rapper and actor Ray J was born into the perfect family. The native of McComb, Mississippi (real name William Ray Norwood, Jr.) comes from a long line of performers; his father Willie Norwood was a gospel singer, while his older sister Brandy is a popular R&B artist in her own right. As if that isin�t enough, he is also related to rap king Snoop Dogg and rock-n-roll pioneer Bo Diddley - they�re both his cousins. Given his family�s apparent predisposition to musical success, it comes as no surprise Ray J has come as far as he has.

Ray J signed a record deal with Elektra Records in 1995, only 13 years old at the time. He released his first album, R&B effort Everything You Want, on Elektra in 1997. Unfortunately, the album did not sell very well and he has dropped from Elektra�s roster soon after. Unfazed, Ray J instead pursued an acting career, grabbing parts in Mars Attacks (1996) and Steel (1997), as well as becoming a regular on his sister�s popular WB show Moesha.

When Moesha ended its five year run in 2001, Ray J decided to get back into music. Wanting to redefine his earlier image as a clean-cut R&B singer, Ray instead pursued a more mature vibe for his second record This Ain�t A Game. This Ain�t A Game - his first rap album - was released on Knockout Records (a subsidiary of Atlantic, his current label) in 2001. Peaking at a respectable #21 on the Billboard 200, the album went on to sell over 1.5 million copies worldwide, thanks in part to contributions by Lil� Kim and Pharrell.

Ray J�s third album, 2005�s Raydiation, marked something of a return to his R&B roots but still kept some of the hip-hop sensibilities he picked up along the way. Raydiation was not quite as successful as This Ain�t A Game, selling only 400,000 copies in the United States. The album�s first single "One Wish" proved more popular than its album, peaking at #11 on the mainstream Billboard Hot 100.

Before releasing his fourth album, Ray J turned a potentially embarrassing incident into what may have become the best business move of his career - he released a sex tape with Kim Karadashian, a beautiful Beverly Hills socialite made famous on her reality show Keeping Up With The Karadashians. The resulting media firestorm surrounding the tape brought Ray J into the national spotlight, just in time for the release of All I Feel in April 2008. The album - which reached the #7 spot on the Billboard 200 in its first week - has so far spawned one single, "Sexy Can I", featuring label mate Yung Berg. A number of other high profile artists make an appearance on the new album, including Lil� Wayne and The Game.

From Lastfm:

William Ray Norwood, Jr. (born January 17, 1981), better known by his stage name Ray J, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, and rapper. He is the son of gospel singer Willie Norwood and the younger brother of Contemporary R&B singer Brandy. He was signed with Elektra in 1995 by Darryl Williams. In 1997, he performed in a television special with his sister, but despite the mainstream attention, he was dropped by Elektra soon after.

Read more about Ray J on Last.fm.

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From Wikipedia:

William Raymond Norwood Jr. (born January 17, 1981), better known by his stage name Ray J, is an American singer, record producer and actor. He is the son of gospel singer Willie Norwood and Sonja Bates-Norwood, the younger brother of R&B singer Brandy and the cousin of rapper Snoop Dogg.

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