Bad News Brown (musician)

Paul Frappier (May 8, 1977 – February 11, 2011), better known by his stage name Bad News Brown (at times, also as BNB and Briz Brown), was a Montreal-based Canadian entertainer, musician, and hip hop MC of Haitian origin. He was well known for pairing the sound of his chief instrument, the harmonica, with hip-hop beats and rhymes. Frappier started busking in Montreal taking his signature sound as a teenager to the streets and subway stations of Montreal. He later toured and opened for many well-known hip hop acts or as background musician. He also appeared as an impromptu host in Music for a Blue Train, the 2003 documentary about busker musicians in the Montreal Metro subway train system. In 2004, he signed a management deal with E-Stunt Entertainment Group. In 2009, he established his own record label Trilateral Entertainment Inc and released his debut studio album Born 2 Sin. He was murdered in Montreal, Canada, and his body was found there on February 12, 2011. The long feature film BumRush featuring him in a leading role premiered on April 1, 2011.

Born in Haiti, Paul Frappier moved at a young age to Quebec, first living in Saint-Lazare and Hudson before settling in Montreal living with his adopted Québécois family in Montreal’s Little Burgundy area. At school he suffered from dyslexia and struggled. He left home in his teenage years, and quickly discovered a talent for the harmonica that could earn him a living by busking on the street and in Montreal Metro stations. „Busking was the smartest thing I ever did in my life,“ he says. „It paid my bills, bought me my studio, and within two years I estimate 50 per cent of the city knew I existed.“

Brown developed his sound by playing in the streets, combining his skill as a blues/jazz harmonica player with his love of hip-hop. He adopted his stage name from the suggestion of fellow Montreal rapper, Misery, which coincidentally was the name of his childhood favourite WWF wrestler, Allen Coage (nicknamed Bad News Brown).

Brown quickly became accredited as the best busker of Montreal by the weekly arts and music magazine, the Montreal Mirror.

Frappier lived with his girlfriend Natasha. He was also the father of a boy Izaiah, for whom he had joint custody.

Brown’s debut album, Born 2 Sin, released in September 2009 on his own indie label Trilateral Entertainment Inc is difficult to categorize due to the different styles employed, but Brown termed it… „Harmonic Hip-Hop“ or „Electronic Triptronic Melodic Harmonics“. Intelligence is a classic Hip-Hop track featuring beats, scratching, and a cinematic production sound, while Back on It possesses a sexy and laidback vibe. The title track Born 2 Sin is a fusion of hip-hop and soul.

Brown crafted the tracks on Born 2 Sin with production assistance from the likes of Haig V,Dirtwork, Parafino, C4, Made By Monkeys and Edi Burgz. Brown is quoted as saying „Haig is one of the main producers on the album, with six tracks. He’s a long-time friend who has worked with the likes of Bran Van 3000 and Muzion. I used to listen to and watch him in his studio back in the day, and I used a lot of his instrumental tracks on this album. I went through his archives, picked out stuff I liked, went home, worked on them, brought them back, and we worked it from there.

Born 2 Sin was released on iTunes July 28, 2009 and in stores on August 18, 2009. The album was distributed by Fontana North/Universal Music Canada.

The album was chosen as „disc of the week“ in Vol.25 No.10 of the Montreal Mirror weekly newspaper. „Snappy and lighthearted, the title track of the debut from Montreal’s „harmonic hip hop“ man is at odds with the predominating slinky, deep-blue club thumpers, many of which are produced by Zoobone’s capable Haig V. Sly raps and a functioning fusion of house, hip hop and R&B vibes abound, and Brown’s secret weapon, his harmonica—plaintive and insistent as a hungry housecat—integrates itself effortlessly“

„Hip-Hop may be synonymous with many things, but harmonica has not traditionally been one of them. The Street? Yes. Bling? Uh-huh. Drugs? About as much as Lindsay Lohan’s nose. But the little sorrowful instrument that calls to mind lonely Hoover-era hobos train-hopping from Oklahoma? Not so much – until now, that is.“

Brown’s single, „Feeling Me On“ as part of the Universal Music compilation, Hip Hop Rai 2 that sold over 50,000 units in Europe.

„All signs suggest that the wait was worth it. His long overdue album dropped in August, and now the artist is preparing to step up his game. A Newcomer to the industry but a veteran of the craft. Bad News is ready to show off his skills to the world.“ -Naked Eye Magazine

The hip-hop MC along with his signature sound took him from his beginnings as a teenage busker in the streets of Montreal to touring 200+ venues opening for Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Aerosmith, The Eagles, N.E.R.D., Soulja Boy, Ciara, Common, Lloyd Banks, Jadakiss, John Legend, Gym Class Heroes, Ice Cube, Booba and Sinik and accompanying on stage Nas, Ice-T, Cypress Hill, De La Soul and Daniel Merriweather.

Brown frequently took on the role of a motivational speaker addressing youthful audiences and participating in multifold charities. As part of the „Music With Meaning“ tour in 2009 for example, he spoke to an audience of mostly teenage boys in a youth detention center.

Brown’s reputation as Montreal’s best street performer even led him to be chosen as the host for the 2003 documentary film Music for a Blue Train, a bluesy portrait of the musicians who busk in Montreal’s metro. The documentary was written and directed by Mila Aung-Thwin of EyeSteelFilm and produced by Germaine Ying Gee Wong for the National Film Board of Canada.

At the time of his murder, Brown was acting in an upcoming film about Montreal street gangs. The film entitled BumRush was being directed by Québécois film director Michel Jetté and portrays Frappier in a leading role as „Loosecanon“, a high ranking violent gang leader on a fictional „Rue I.B. 11.“ in Montreal Brown was partly producing the film and was involved in casting. Some of his original works from his album Born 2 Sin was planned to be incorporated in the soundtrack of the film. The film was scheduled to premiere in April 1, 2011 in Canadian movie theaters and Jetté announced that it would also serve as a tribute to the slain artist.

Brown’s corpse was found in an alley on February 11, 2011. Police said „there was evidence of violence at the scene“. His body was found in an industrial area near the Lachine Canal in Montreal. He was reportedly preparing for a show in Quebec City that was to be held a day later.