FLINT, Michigan -- For MC Breed, every verse brought him one step closer to putting Flint on the Hip Hop map. With 13 albums under his belt and No. 14 on the way, Breed had grown closer to realizing that dream.
"Breed had an impact on people across the globe. He was a brilliant MC," said fan Omari Jones, 32, of Detroit.
A Flint native, Eric "MC" Breed, 37, died of kidney failure Nov. 22 in Ypsilanti. He has been recognized as the first commercially successful rapper to emerge from Flint and the Midwest in the early 1990s.
Wearing leather jackets with his image or T-shirts bearing his name and saying "The Legacy Lives On ... Swagg Heavy," more than 200 friends and family remembered and paid tribute to MC Breed at his funeral Tuesday.
The funeral was attended by a who's who of past and current Flint rappers, singers and producers including The D.O.C., Night and Day including Gasner Hughes, Bernard Terry and Melvin Riley from Ready for the World. Atlanta-based producer Jazzy Pha was also in attendance.
"He was the first (Midwest rapper) to come out nationally," said Julia Ruffin, former promotions director for Saginaw's WTLZ, who attended the funeral. "He had his own unique distinguished sound and he gave a lot of hope to a lot of young rappers in the area."
Breed, a father of five, began his Hip Hop career as a beatboxer for a Flint rap group, Kid Blast and the Task Force, while still a student at Northwestern High School in the 1980s.
"Breed started as a beatboxer and we did Run DMC, The Fat Boys, LL Cool J, Beastie Boys concerts," said Steve "Kid Blast" Metcalf, a Flint native who now lives in Atlanta who was one of the first rappers to work with Breed. "Breed's biggest influence musically was Heavy D and he was real creative. He could beatbox through three beats at once."
Roy Breed said his son and friends would rap in his basement and every now and again he would pass by and catch a verse or two.
"I'm old school," said Roy Breed, 64, of Flint. "When he spiting and beatboxing, I'm saying, 'Man you need to get a real job.' But he went on to be successful at that. In a certain way, I'd disapproved. I would say, 'Ain't no money in that,' but he was determined."
At age 15, Breed moved to Atlanta to get his start in the Hip Hop business, but continued to go back and forth between the South and his hometown.
"Atlanta was a springboard into the Hip Hop business," Roy Breed said. "In those times, I had to help him pay for rent and help pay for groceries until he made it."
MC Breed first breakout hit was 1991's "Ain't No Future in Yo Frontin" which was recorded in Flint. He later collaborated on songs with Tupac Shakur, Too Short, George Clinton and The D.O.C.
"He was a big influence down here (in Atlanta)," said Metcalf. "He was just a bubbly guy with a lot of personality. Sometimes he would carry shows by himself."
During Breed's funeral his family was presented with a key to the city, letters from Mayor Don Williamson and the City Council and the announcement that Flint would celebrate every Dec. 2 as MC Breed Day.
"It's major," said Darryl Morris, Breed's manager. "He would've been excited to see it, he does see it, he's probably tripping now. Flint meant a lot for him."
Breed continued to work with up and coming Michigan rappers in Flint and Detroit.
"(Breed) made The Dayton Family, he motivated us, he told us to go get it and go hard," said Ira "Bootleg" Dorsey, 35, of Flint.
Dorsey, a member of The Dayton Family appeared in Breed's 2001 club hit "Let's Go to the Club."
"For him it was a movement," Morris said. "He had a lot of love for Flint. He wanted to put Flint where it needed to be until the day he died."
Two days before his death, Breed recorded his last song with The Outlawz called "Everyday I Wait," said Russel Colvin Jr., owner of Paypa Boi Entertainment, an independent record label and film company.
Breed recently finished his newest album, which is untitled and is expected to be released soon, Morris said.