Lawrence Lee Thomas, better known as Pooh-Man, is an American rapper, who is very popular in the American underground rapping scene. Having had a troublesome past, he started making music to feel better about himself and released his very first album, ‘Life of a Criminal,’ in the year 1990. Inspired by gangsta rap themes, his songs featured lyrics that were mostly drenched in love, sex, and murder. His music did not go down well with the critics and remained controversial for their blatant use of explicit words. However, the youth loved it. His next album, which was released in 1992, charted another success story for the young rapper. Titled ‘Funky As I Wanna Be,’ the album topped many charts and was released by ‘Jive Records.’ After releasing a few more albums, he was arrested and tried in a case of bank robbery. After being found guilty, he was sent to prison to serve 80 months. While in jail, he wrote over three thousand songs. He resumed his music career as soon as he was released from prison.
Childhood & Early life
Pooh-Man was born on January 25, 1971, in a black neighborhood in Oakland, California, where he spent his early days. His locality was infested with criminal elements, and Pooh himself was involved in a few petty crimes.
As he entered his teenage years, he started following the growing rage of gangsta rap and started rapping freestyle. Soon, he became famous in his neighborhood for his rapping skills.
By the age of 15, he had decided to take up music seriously and soon started working with his cousin on some serious music. They approached a studio run by Geno Blacknell, where they started recording music. Soon, he came out with an EP, ‘Out to the Bitches.’
Pooh and his cousin sold the EP on the streets and it soon became a party anthem. This boosted the confidence of the young musicians, and they decided that they needed to set bigger goals in their music career.
Somehow, Pooh constantly had trysts with the police, as he kept getting pulled into illegal activities. While in school, he loved poetry, and as he grew up, his desire to write poetry grew intense. Soon, he decided to quit all illegal activities and focused on making music instead.
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By the time he finished high school, he had already started making his own music, with a little help from his cousin Blue and a local studio, which they could use for free. Pooh finished working on his first rap album, ‘Life of a Criminal,’ in 1990, and ‘Jive Records’ released it soon after. His lyrics were poetic and slightly biographical in nature, as they talked about his life in Oakland while he grew up.
The album was also highly explicit in lyrical content and adhered to every feature that made gangsta rap notorious. His lyrics frequently mentioned sex, murder, and money. Despite receiving negative feedback from critics, the album sold well and introduced Pooh to widespread fame.
His popularity went beyond the night parties and the club scene, after one of his songs, titled ‘Sex, Money, and Murder,’ was featured in the film ‘Juice.’
His second album, also presented by ‘Jive Records,’ was released in 1992 and was titled ‘Funky as I Wanna Be.’ This was also his only charting album. It surpassed the success of the first album, and featured other growing artists, such as Too Short, MC Breed, and Ant Banks. The risqué cover of the album was controversial, but Pooh went ahead with it and enjoyed overwhelming success.
His third album, titled ‘Judgement Day,’ was released in 1993, by a new record label, ‘Scarface.’ It received moderate success, and Pooh knew that he would have to bring some changes in his music, as times were changing fast and he was facing significant competition from young artists.
He released two more albums, before he got involved with the police in a bank robbery case in February 2000. He was proven guilty and was sentenced to 80 months in jail. By then, he had completed another album, titled ‘Fukin’ Wit Dank 2001.’ The album released shortly before he went to jail.
While in jail, he wrote poetry. After being released from prison in 2014, he claimed that he had written more than three thousand songs in jail. Despite his shady past he was warmly welcomed by many artists and by his fans, who were eagerly waiting for him.
He came out a transformed man and immediately started focusing on making music. He understood the music scene, which had changed tremendously since his last stint with the industry. Two months after being released from jail, he started a new record label of his own, ‘Infinite Kaos Productions Inc.,’ in collaboration with his wife.
In 2014, he released his new album, ‘Kaos Theory,’ under his label. This was his first official full-length album since his release from jail. A number of songs in the album were produced by his old collaborator Ant Banks. The album turned out to be moderately successful.
Since then, Pooh has been hiring new artists to help his record label grow. He is working on his next album too.
Pooh-Man is known for his anger management issues. He had witnessed the murder of his close cousin Bruce, when his first album was about to be released. This had a huge impact on Pooh. He reportedly stated in an interview that he had lost his senses after witnessing the murder and wanted revenge, but his close friends pulled him back. He also stated he had decided to make more music to cope with the death of his cousin.
Pooh met Rena Thomas after his release from prison and married her in 2013.