Braille (rapper)

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Braille
Birth name Bryan Winchester
Also known as Braille Brizzy, Reflection
Born (1981-09-27) September 27, 1981 (age 33)
Portland, Oregon, United States
Genres Hip hop
Years active 1994–present
Labels Syntax, HipHop IS Music, Talking Textures, Humble Beast
Associated acts Acts 29, Beautiful Eulogy, Lightheaded, Odd Thomas, Ohmega Watts, Othello, Soul Plasma, Symbolyc One (S1)

Bryan "Braille" Winchester (born 1981) is an American hip hop recording artist. He has been writing and recording hip-hop music since he was 13 years old. For a short time, Bryan and his family relocated to Marlton, New Jersey where he attended Eastern High School in Voorhees Township. Fully focused on music, Bryan Winchester adopted the stage name Braille Brizzy and headed back to experience the Portland music scene. The MC originally named himself "Reflection" and released one very narrowly distributed demo under the name, but later changed it to Braille.

The concept behind the name Braille relates to "Helping People Understand the things they can't see."[1] He has worked with a host of premier hip hop recording acts including his group Lightheaded, with rapper-producer Ohmega Watts and rapper Othello. Braille was also a part of a group called Acts 29 consisting of himself, Ohmega Watts, and Soul Plasma. Acts 29 has only released one album and is not planning on releasing any more material.[2] Braille was signed to Syntax Records in 1999 and continues to record for the label.[3] The majority of his recordings are credited to his own label imprint "Hip-hop Is Music."[4] Influenced by the positive vibe of the group A Tribe Called Quest,[5] Braille started recording Christian hip hop music. His first CD called Lifefirst: Half the Battle was released when he was 17 years old.[6]

In 2009, Braille shut down his HipHop is Music label and started Humble Beast with his friend and fellow musician Thomas Terry (aka Odd Thomas), which is dedicated to giving all its music away for free. Artists currently signed to Humble Beast include Theory Hazit, Braille himself, Foreknown, Propaganda, Alert, Odd Thomas, Beautiful Eulogy, Eshon Burgundy, Jackie Hill-Perry, JGivens and producer Xperiment.

Hip-hop honors[edit]

In 2004, Braille collaborated with his group Lightheaded (consisting of himself, Ohmega Watts, and Othello), Manchild of Mars Ill, Sharlock Poems of LA Symphony, Tony Stone, Celph Titled, Kno of Cunninlynguists, the Masterminds, 9th Wonder and Rob Swift to produce the album and accompanying video for "Shades of Grey".[7] That year the national publication URB Magazine recognized him as an up-and-coming "Artist to Watch." He was also named "Lyricist of the Year" with the CD Shades of Grey and awarded "Album of the Year" honors by Sphereofhiphop. The following year Braille was selected to open for the Godfather of Soul James Brown's World Tour in 2005 -2006.[8]

The publication R&B Showcase Magazine recognized Braille as "Hip-Hop's New Force" and honored him with a feature and cover story in the fall of 2006. He joined hip hop group De La Soul touring throughout the summer of 2007. The same year Braille added speaking engagements to his tour dates and spoke at a South Jersey benefit for Hold on to Education Foundation Inc. A youth motivational speaker, Braille was chosen by the organization as an honorary board member.

The spiritual collection called Box of Rhymes was Braille's third full length CD. The album was first released exclusively in Japan on the Universal/Handcuts record label.[9]

New projects[edit]

The appropriately titled fourth album The IV Edition was released in 2008 and featured a special guest appearance from Grammy Award winning recording artist Speech from Arrested Development. The titled track is included on the video game NBA Live 09.[10] In addition to his U.S. performances, Braille continues to tour internationally including in Europe and Japan. His most recent projects include Cloud Nineteen,[11] an album release and interactive DVD. He is also planning a special concert tour and youth presentation aimed at students of the arts, emphasizing the importance of education to all children.

In 2012 Braille collaborated with Odd Thomas and Courtland Urbano to form the group Beautiful Eulogy. David Kincannon of Rapzilla stated, "This musical triumvirate is responsible for some of the most creative hip hop of the last few years, and Satellite Kite does nothing but add to that resume. From the concepts to the beats to the lyrics to the delivery, everything about this album is on point. There is a working relationship between these three men that is obvious by listening to this album. There is also a shared creative spirit that is obvious, and it’s that creativity that makes Satellite Kite great."[12]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Release Date Title Label Notes
1999 LifeFirst: Half The Battle ESPW
2004 Shades of Grey HipHop IS Music
2006 Box of Rhymes HipHop IS Music
2008 The IV Edition HipHop IS Music
2009 CloudNineteen HipHop IS Music Album credited as "Braille and Symbolic One", because all production was by Symbolic One aka S1
2010 Weapon Aid Syntax Later made available as a free download from Humble Beast
2011 Native Lungs Humble Beast Released as a free download from Humble Beast with limited CD copies.

Other releases[edit]

Release Date Title Label Notes
2004 Shades of Grey Japanese Version HipHop IS Music Released exclusively in Japan with alternate cover and bonus tracks
2005 "HipHop Music" 12" vinyl single HipHop IS Music Limited edition 12" vinyl with B-Side "10 Years" and exclusive remixes.
2005 Scatter Brain Indie release Limited edition, hand printed CD-R with no artwork.
2006 "Sonset" 12" vinyl single HipHop IS Music Japan exclusive 12" vinyl
2006 Box Of Rhymes Japanese Version HipHop IS Music Released exclusively in Japan with alternate cover and bonus tracks
2006 "Box Of Rhymes" 7" vinyl single HipHop IS Music Limited edition 7" vinyl with Box Of Rhymes instrumental.
2007 Extra Box For Japan EP HipHop IS Music EP with tracks from Box Of Rhymes, instrumentals, and remixes. Released exclusively in Japan with 300 limited edition copies released outside Japan.
2007 Survival Movement & Evacuate EP HipHop IS Music Limited edition, 12" vinyl EP with songs from Box Of Rhymes, remixes, instrumentals, and a new song.
2007 Box of History mixtape mixed by DJ iDull HipHop IS Music Free digital download compilation mixtape of Braille's work over the years. Mixed by DJ iDull.
2007 "The IV" 12" vinyl single HipHop IS Music Limited edition 12" vinyl with "Counter Attack" and "Shades of Grey" B-sides.
2008 The IV Edition Japanese version HipHop IS Music Released exclusively in Japan early with bonus tracks.

[13]

With Lightheaded[edit]

Release Date Title Label Notes
2003 Pure Thoughts Day By Day/HipHop IS Music Released on Day by Day in 2003, then re-released with bonus tracks in 2005 on HipHop IS Music
2006 Wrong Way Tres

[14]

With Acts 29[edit]

Release Date Title Label Notes
2002 Under Exposed Syntax

With Beautiful Eulogy[edit]

Release Date Title Label Notes
2012 Satellite Kite Humble Beast
2013 Instruments of Mercy Humble Beast

References[edit]

External links[edit]