Brainpower rapping in 2007
|Birth name||Gertjan Mulder|
|Also known as||Brainpower|
February 5, 1975 |
|Origin||Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands|
Gertjan Mulder, professionally known as Brainpower, is a bi-lingual rapper, who writes, records and performs in both the English as well as the Dutch language. He was born in Belgium and grew up in the Netherlands. He started making music in the eighties, and spent his time making a name for himself in the 1990s. Since 2001, he released six solo studio albums, one Live album CD/DVD set, a book/DVD set, a Greatest Hits Box Set, and a few other successful side projects.
Gertjan Mulder was born in Antwerp, Belgium as son of a progressive Dutch Reverend and a Dutch mother. He was raised in Alphen aan den Rijn in the Netherlands, where he became a fan of hip hop and rap. He started rapping in the mid eighties, imitating heroes like Run DMC, and Eric B & Rakim. He wrote his first rap song in 1988. He moved back to the place where his mother was born, Amsterdam, in the early 1990s.
||This article may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may only interest a specific audience. (January 2012)|
He started practicing his freestyle skills in the summer of 1990 and honed his skills as a battle MC from that moment 'til the late 1990s and basically until way after he signed a record deal and produced major hit records. In the eighties stage shows were mostly 'talent shows' and school performances. He starts to gradually perform more after a first 'real' show at 'Locomotion' in Zoetermeer in 1990. Throughout the 1990s he builds a rep and basically shows up at every open mic session in the Benelux. (Today, he's still known as one of the most prolific lyricists the country of the Netherlands has ever seen.) Several producers and parties offer contracts. Not feeling the way these offers are set up, Brainpower is determined to start out on his own.
In 1998, he entered the Grote Prijs van Nederland—a national talent show in music—in the categories R&B and hip hop, winning in four out of five categories, including both the grand jury prize and the public's appreciation prize. He also snatches up Best Rapper Award and his DJ, DJ TLM, the award for Best DJ. Brainpower appears on many underground projects, including 12-inches, mixtapes and Albums. In 1999, he had his first Top-40 hit together with several other Dutch-language rap artists, all featuring on the Extince track Zoete Inval ("Sweet Incursion"). In 2000, Brainpower was both seen and heard in the video clip of the song Als niet Als ("If not If"), by the renowned pop /reggae musicians of classic Dutch supergroup Doe Maar. In that same year, he had his first solo hit-song and video, Door Merg en Brain ("Through Marrow and Brain").
February 2001, Brainpower released his first album, named after the hit single Door Merg en Brain. It contains a number of songs. some basic boombap Hip Hop, and some with an emotional touch, like the critically acclaimed and now famous Je Moest Waarschijnlijk Gaan ("You Probably had to Go"), referring to the suicide killing of one his best friends. Ten years later the track is considered iconic and is known to comfort many people in times of mourning. four singles and videos are taken from the album and Brainpower tours the whole year 'round.
In 2002, Brainpower released his second album 'Verschil Moet Er Zijn' . 'Dansplaat' ("Dance Track")was the first single to be released, and it swiftly topped the charts in both the Netherlands and Belgium. The single broke ALL records, debuting at #1 on many charts. In the same year, Brainpower won two Dutch Awards (TMF Awards for Best NL Hip Hop Act & Silver Harp for most promising Artist) and also an MTV Award for best Dutch act. He is the only solo MC out of the Benelux ever to win such accolades. Brainpower continues to push the envelope for Dutch and Belgian Hip Hop and has even collaborated with Hip Hop Legend Nas.
In 2003, Brainpower won a second TMF Award as well as an Edison Award (Dutch Grammy's) for Best National Hip Hop act. Brainpower also released a two-disc DVD/CD containing live versions of many of the songs of his first two albums performed LIVE for the Box PURE Sessions. The rapper performed with a 7-piece band and a string section of 5, plus had guest appearances by (long time Prince sax player) Candy Dulfer and Berget Lewis. The second album sparked an 18-month tour including shows in 7 countries. This stands as the longest tour in Dutch Hip Hop History to coincide with one album.
In 2002 he started a new project called ADHD, altering the acronym's meaning to Aanbevolen Dagelijkse Hoeveelheid Dopeness ("Daily Recommended Dosage of Dopeness"). The group recorded their album in 2002-2003 and released it in 2004 and was the first ever Rap Group out of the Netherlands to have their own sneaker. The kick sold out in no-time. Brainpower also wins his third consecutive TMF Award for Best NL Hip Hop Act and, remarkably, his first MOBO Award in London, UK, (for Best Urban TV Show) for his Hip Hop TV show MTV Raw, which he hosts with Too Tall & DJ TLM. Brainpower was asked to remix the Beastie Boys song 'Triple Trouble' and his remix ends up as a B-side for the Belgian CD-Single Release on EMI.
In 2005, Brainpower returned with the hit-single Even Stil ("Moment of Silence"), als the title of the new album. He plays 20 big festivals throughout the Benelux and wins his second MOBO Award. This time he wins in the category Best Live Act. He is also part of a huge production for a single to raise money to help the victims of the 2004 Tsunami. The song is a #1 hit and all profits go to charity.
In 2006 the rapper released a book/DVD 'Tekst & Uitleg' about his songs and specifically about his serious yet witty and often intensely emotional lyricism. He then was approached by Coca Cola to record an album with young upcoming talent and A&R these artists. This project made him appear on over 12 million Coke cans bottles. the only Dutch rapper to ever have his own coke can. He also performed nine times at Ahoy, making him the first Dutch rapper to have performed at the legendary Rotterdam venue for 30 times. Furthermore he plays a small role (as himself) in the Platinum movie 'Afblijven'. He also features on the soundtrack. When the DVD drops, it goes double platinum.
In 2007 he creates the hit record 'Non Stop' with popular DJ duo The Partysquad. The track reaches the #1 spot in many Urban charts and Top 10 of the Top 40, it now has over 4 million views online and was an instant classic.
Never one to sit back and take time off, Brainpower returns in 2008 with a double album project of two albums released on the same day: April 19 sees the birth of 'Hart' & 'Hard'. Both records end up as (his fourth & fifth) Top 20 hit albums. Ten years after his first Theatre Tour in 1998 with Made In Da Shade, he returns to theatres to embark on a successful 22-date tour throughout the Netherlands.
At the end of 2008 Brainpower is awarded with the State Lifetime Achievement Award for his ongoing impact on the Dutch Music scene and especially his tireless efforts to help Hip Hop be considered for the wonderful mature and serious genre it is, in a small country culturally rooted in rock music. His album finally reaches Gold Status after 6 years. It is one of three Dutch Rap Albums to ever go gold.
In 2009 he releases his Greatest Hits Box Set, consisting of 2 CD's and 1 DVD with all 30 videos he has released over the years. The set is titled 'Mijn Manier' ('My Way') and September 19 sees the first gig of an intense 36-date Tour throughout the Benelux. Animation studio LEMONADE and Advertisement Agency DSRPT develop a limited edition Brainpower Vinyl Art Figure especially for the cover of this Greatest hits Box Set. He receives two platinum awards: A triple Platinum Award for being the best selling Dutch language solo MC of all time. Another one for Platinum sales in Belgium and his 2002 Hit Single also reaches gold status in Belgium.
The press calls Brainpower "the only Dutch mainstream Rap Artist, who grew up when Hip Hop was evolving in the 80s and throughout the 90s. Fans agree the lyricist is a rarity: a true MC who came from the bowels of the underground rap circuit and through hard work, maddening determination and an almost flawless skill, slowly but surely became a household name in the Benelux Music Biz."
In 2010 Brainpower performs with reggae/dancehall legend King Yellowman in Jamaica, and plays selected festivals throughout the Netherlands & Belgium He drops 'Dub & Dwars' a record containing re-recorded reggae versions of his biggest tunes. With superb riddims, partially recorded in Jamaica, produced by the Fire House Crew and Dutch producer Asher E. as well as Brainpower himself, the album hits the #1 spot in both the Reggae charts for iTunes as well as BOL.
In November he drops a track and a video with Jean Grae. December 2010 marks the rappers first Cali performance when he plays at The Viper Room on Sunset Boulevard in LA (US).
Feb 28th the track 'Bleedin' Organz' ft. Shabazz The Disciple (underground rap legend from New York) is released (on iTunes and Amazon)
March 6 Brainpower performed at the Heineken Regatta on St. Maarten with TLM, ex-Fugees Superstar Wyclef Jean and Orange Grove. The show in front of a 10.000+ people crowd was greatly received and increased his fan base abroad.
On April 16, he released the song and video for 'Mic Bizniz' featuring Jamaican Music Legend Yellowman, often referred to as The King of Dancehall. There is also a mini documentary Called Amsterdam To Kingston featuring exclusive footage of Brainpower performing with Yellowman and an interview with Reggae Legend John Holt amongst others. The single was not only a digital release, but also came out as a 7-inch on Yellow colored vinyl for Record Store Day.
In August he put out a new song and video called 'Light It Up' which was picked up for use in 'Body Language', a movie in which Brainpower also plays a small role as a cab-driver. The movie hit #1 in the Netherlands and BP's role got great reactions. He also delivered 6 tracks for the score/soundtrack of the movie, 2 of which ended up on the Soundtrack Album released late October.
September 30 saw the release of a new song 'People', the 1st single of the upcoming album, for which the accompanying video was shot in New York. On the heels of this release he performs in The Viper Room in LA again on October 30.
In 2012 Brainpower performs in Europe & the Dutch Caribbean and releases several tracks, like 'Sometimes' (also featured in the 'Body Language' movie), plus two collaborations in Dutch: 'Een Mooi Bericht' ft Anthony Heidweiller, a collab with an opera singer via the world renown Concertgebouw, one of the best venue's in the world. He also performs there twice. The second collab is 'Dubbelportret' with Zanillya Farrel, daughter of late Boney M lead Bobbi Farrell.
Summer 2012 he drops the free EP 'The New York Sessions' featuring Jean Grae, Mr Len, Ced Gee of the Ultramagnetic MC's & more. More info www.thenewyorksessions.com
This year Brainpower also becomes an Ambassador for F.E.L.I.S. A Multi Functional center in Curaçao (Dutch Caribbean) that helps to support children and also combats short term and long term poverty. Famous Surinam/Dutch TV personality Jorgen Raymann fully supports Brainpower & F.E.L.I.S. Even Rohan Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley donates some stuff to the Foundation. More info www.stgfelis.com
He also is an Ambassador for the National Sports Week in the Netherlands, motivating the youth to work out.
Brainpower gets his first Hollywood movie placement in August 2012. The John Whitesell directed film stars Kevin Durant, James Belushi, Shaquille O'Neal & Charles Barkley.
August 24 the movie Thunderstruck is released in the US. It features one of Brainpower's unreleased songs.
December 10 The Collabs EP is released. This EP is a collection of songs, recorded with some of the many great artists Brainpower grew up listening to: "I never want to lose that original sense of awe. The spark that made me want to be an MC. The love that made me realize I was an artist. The passion that made me decide to dedicate my life to music. Being in the booth with the artists on this EP was more than a blessing. Not only to actually create new music together, but also to break bread with them and hear their stories of how they recorded their classics. Last but not least: This is my way of paying tribute to these pioneers."
He is currently working on finishing up his international English speaking debut album.
Meanwhile he dedicates his time to being a songwriter, voice actor (Cars 2/Dragon Hunters/My Dad The Rock Star seasons 1 & 2) and an actor.
He works with DJ duo Moombahteam on the song 'Drop That Kick' - the song gets a warm reception is a success even ending up at #3 in the iTunes top 100 in Cambodia. After playing festivals in the summer of 2014, Brainpower releases his new single 'Troubled Soul' October 3. The song is written (all rap lyrics by Brainpower himself, lyrics for the hook by Brainpower & TJ) and produced by himself and multi-platinum producer TJ. Backing vocals were done by Keith John, who has been with Stevie Wonder & band for over 30 years. The video for this song is actually a short film written and directed by upcoming director Ruwan Heggelman. December 17, a new single (and video) called 'Rock' is released.
Both singles are taken from the new album 'Determination', released January 19, 2015. Feb 6th, Brainpower's 2005 Album 'Even Stil' is released in the Universal Music Deluxe Edition series. This is the first time a Dutch Rap Artist was asked to be in this series. Both the new album and the re-issued one entered the Top 100 charts. Feb 27th a new video is released for the song 'Don't Let Go' ft Keith John. Brainpower has wrapped up a 75 date tour that ended June 1st 2015.
The Virtual Reality video for 'Troubled Soul' is also out and available at www.wemakevr.com
Brainpower is one of the first artists to ever release a full stereoscopic Virtual Reality music video experience. He can also be seen performing live in VR being a big part of the free wesharevr app.
May 15th the single 'Nothing' is released which samples Nouvelle Vague.
In June he finishes his translation of Shakespeare's 'Othello'. Theatre Group ZEP asked him to make a modern day rap version of the classic play. The play premiers September 29th 2015 and that day is the start of a 50-date tour.
Brainpower co-wrote "Finsbury Park '67" with Candy Dulfer, a song that ended up #1 on the USA Smooth Jazz Chart.
As a songwriter Brainpower has also co-written songs for singers like Edsilia Rombley, Hansen Thomas, Brace and the classic Dutch youth project Kinderen Voor Kinderen volumes 32, 33 & 34. The latter two are both certified platinum.
One of his songs "Love Meee" co-written with Allan Eshuijs & Marco Rakascan ended up on Japanese band Kis-My-Ft2's latest album, that reached #1 in Japan. The album sold 350,000 copies and is certified platinum by the RIAJ.
- Door Merg & Brain (CD, 3LP, 2001)
- Verschil Moet Er Zijn (CD & CD/DVD, 2002)
- The Box P.U.R.E Session (DVD/CD, 2003)
- Even Stil (CD, 2LP, 2005)
- Hart/Hard (2CD, 2008)
- Hart (CD, 2008)
- Hard (CD, 2008)
- Mijn manier: 1999 - 2009 ("My way: 1999 - 2009", 2009) greatest hits album
- Dub & Dwars (Re-recorded reggae versions of the biggest Brainpower tunes, 2010)
- "Determination" (CD, 2015)
- Even Stil (Deluxe Edition) (2CD, 2005)
EP's & Side-projects
- The Freestyles Chapter tape (LYRIC, 1998)
- Lyricist EP (LYRIC, 1999)
- ADHD - self-titled album of side project group ADHD (Virgin, 2004)
- DatvinnikCoke Brainpower presents... collab Album for Coca Cola (LYRIC, 2006)
- The New York Sessions EP (LYRIC, 2012)
- The Collabs EP" (LYRIC, 2013)
- "De Achtervolging" Dub-plate & Cassette Single (1998)
- "Lyricist" (1999)
- "Zoete Inval" posse cut - Extince ft Brainpower, Murth the Man-O-Script, Yukkie B, Krecial, Skate The Great, Goldy & Scuz (1999)
- Als niet Als ("If not If", 8-4-2000, with Doe Maar and Def P.)
- Door Merg en Brain ("Through Marrow and Brain", 2-9-2000)
- "MC Vol Overgave" (12-inch)
- De Vierde Kaart ("The Fourth Card", 10-2-2001)
- Wat een Jinx is ("What a Jinx Is", 23-6-2001)
- Je Moest Waarschijnlijk Gaan ("You Probably had to Leave", 17-11-2001)
- "Dansplaat/Alles Of Niets" 12-Inch Vinyl (2002)
- Dansplaat (2002)
- "Dansplaat" (Herman Van Veen Remix) (2002)
- "Voel De Vibe/Daarisieweer" 12-Inch vinyl (2002)
- "Dansplaat" CD-Maxi with remixes by Bastian, NigthnGael & Maniak (2002)
- Voel De Vibe with B-side 'Dansplaat' Live @ Rock Werchter 2002 ("Feel the Vibe", 24-8-2002)
- "Voel De Vibe" CD-Maxi with remixes by Oh Jay, Maniak & more
- One Mic (remix) / Made You Look (with Nas, 14-12-2002)
- Schreeuwetuit! ("Cryitoutloud", 26-4-2003)
- "Beng Je Hoofd" (ADHD, 2004)
- "Shouf Shouf Habibi" (ADHD, 2004)
- "Pro" (12-inch, 2005)
- Alles ("Everything", 2-5-2005)
- "Alles" Immorales Remix (2005)
- Even Stil ("Moment of Silence", 2005)
- "Even Stil (Piano Remix with Giorgio Tunfort)" (exclusive single release 2005)
- "Cartagena (helden)" with Ali B ft La Heroika (video only - 2005)
- "Terug" ("Video Exclusive")
- Vlinders ("Butterflies", 2006)
- Non Stop ("Non Stop", 2007)
- "The Chosen" duet with Intwine (2007)
- "Cut Me Loose" with Intwine (2008)
- Eigen Werk ("Own Work", 2008)
- Boks Ouwe ("Box Man", 2008)
- "Wees Niet Bang" (2009)
- "Mijn Manier" (2009)
- "Vierde Kaart Dub" (2010)
- "Mind Ur Bizniz" ft. Jean Grae (2010)
- "Bleedin' Organz" ft. Shabazz The Disciple (2011)
- "Mic Bizniz" ft. Yellowman (2011)
- "Emcee Fluid" ft. Block McCloud, Mr Metaphore aka Marc Bars & Thirstin Howl III (2012)
- "Two MC's" ft. Kice Of Course
- "Light It Up" (2011)
- "People" (2011)
- "Een Mooi Bericht" ft Anthony Heidweiller (2012)
- "Sometimes" (2012)
- "Dubbelportret" with Zanillya Farrell (2012)
- "Hing, Hing, Hing" (2012) Digital & Limited CD Wallet
- "Hing, Hing, Hing - Dushi Korsou Remix" (2012) Digital & B-side Limited CD Wallet
- "Hing, Hing, Hing - Dushi Korsou Remix Rockorsou Speshel" ft Big D. (2012) Digital
- "Boxfresh" ft Ladybug MEcca of Digable Planets (2012) Digital
- "Zet "m Dan Op Repeat (Hing Remix pt 1)" ft Excellent (2012) Digital
- "Zet "m Dan Op Repeat (Hing Remix pt. 2) ft Tante Es (2012) Digital
- "Greenhouse" (2012) Digital
- "The Universal Funk" ft PMD (of EPMD) (2013) Digital & Limited Edition Purple/White 12-inch Vinyl (Record Store Day Exclusive)
- "West To The Dam" ft WC (2013) Promotional animated video for & available as part of The Collabs EP
- "Troubled Soul" (2014) Digital & Promo CD Single
- "Troubled Soul (Moombahteam Remix)" (2014) Digital
- "Rock" (2014) Digital
- "From The Art" (2015) Video for album track
- "Determination" (2015) Video for album track
- "Pot Thoughts" (2015) Video for album track
- "Play Happy" (2015) Video for album track
- "Troubled Soul (Singing Version)" (2015) Digital
- "Don't Let Go" (2015) Digital
- "Nothing" (2015) Digital