His gutter, rough-edged baritone and rugged raps instantly recognizable, Brooklyn MC Rock (b. Jamal Bush), nicknamed the "Rockness Monstah," was the favored half of mid-‘90s rap duo Heltah Skeltah. As members of larger underground collective the Boot Camp Clik, he and partner-in-rhyme Ruck, who later became better known as Sean Price, made critical contributions to the BCC catalog, in particular their widely praised 1996 debut, Nocturnal. Instrumental in the BCC's formation, Rock and Price first hooked up with the collective's top lieutenant, Buckshot, in 1994 and signed with BCC imprint Duck Down that same year. Rock's vocal calling card first helped push his duo into the spotlight when the Brooklyn rapper performed the hook for the underground boom-bap hit "Leflaur Leflauh Eshkoshka." Although the track was originally billed under the Fab 5, which was essentially Heltah Skeltah plus the Originoo Gunn Clappaz, it was included on the Nocturnal debut.
After the duo's second LP, Magnum Force (1998), Rock left Heltah Skeltah and Duck Down due to issues with parent company Priority. (Duck Down eventually lost its distribution with Priority in 2000.) Pursuing a solo career, Rock joined newly formed imprint Lethal Dose Records, which was started up by Limp Bizkit's DJ Lethal. Rock cut two singles for the label: the Rockwilder-produced "Let's Rock" and Scott Storch-produced "Like a G," with the latter containing Nate Dogg on the hook. His major-label debut album, Planet Rock, was slated to be released by Geffen, but the project as well as the Lethal Dose imprint were scrapped altogether, leaving Rock back at square one.
As did Price, Rock went on to have his share of ups and downs for a few years. However, in the wake of Duck Down's resurgence in underground hip-hop in 2005, Rock returned to the crew, making guest appearances on various BCC projects, such as Price's Monkey Barz (2005) and BCC reunion album The Last Stand (2006). Before Rock and Price could finish their own Heltah Skeltah reunion effort, tentatively titled D.I.R.T. (acronym for "Da Incredible Rap Team"), Rock made headlines in January 2008 when he was arrested and then, quickly indicted on assault and attempted murder charges. Released on $125,000 bail, he faced the possibility of serving five- to 25-year prison sentences for each count. ~ Cyril Cordor, Rovi