Eric B. & Rakim Affiliate, MC and Manager Ant Live Has Passed Away
According to several sources, veteran Hip-Hop figure Ant Live (aka Anthony Barrier) has died. Stetsasonic co-founder Daddy-O and podcast host Combat Jack are among those who have confirmed the news on social media. While the details of Ant’s passing are not clear at this time, Rakim spoke about Live’s health in an interview last month with Juan Epstein.
“[Ant Live] is very sick right now too; I want to send him some love,” Rakim told Peter Rosenberg and Cipha Sounds, during the live discussion. “He’s out in Vegas in the hospital, man. I hope you get better, my brother, if you’re listening, man.” Neither Eric B. nor Rakim have responded publicly. Daddy-O, who was an affiliate of Eric B. & Rakim, did tweet the news:
Ant Live is one of the 1980s names within Hip-Hop that even without an album, had recognition among those in the know. Live, who was the real life brother to Eric B., would appear photographed in the album inserts to Eric B. & Rakim’s Paid In Full album. He would begin his executive career in 1986 as the duo’s road manager. It is around this time that the Queens, New Yorker would eventually become part of Rush Management, working directly with industry moguls Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen. His star client would be Big Daddy Kane. At the time, many in Hip-Hop perceived rivalry between Rakim and Kane. According to Rakim, it was also Ant who served as a go-between during those tensely competitive times.
Speaking about an early iteration of 1990 single “Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em,” Rakim told Juan Ep’, “I remember sittin’ at the crib…Ant Live called me up, ‘Yo Ra’, Kane wanna talk to you, man.’ Kane was like, ‘Yo Ra’, man, I just wanna holla. Listen, man—Ant just played me the record. I just want to let you know, it ain’t no beef. People be trying to gas the situation and things like that, but it ain’t no beef.’ So I went back and took his name and [the corresponding bars] off the joint.” That version, said to be dissing Kane, would never release to the public.
Kane also remembered Ant as somebody who did not want a feud involving his brother and two friends. “one day, what happened was this girl gave me a photo,” Big Daddy Kane told MTV’s Rap Fix Live in 2013. “I remember it like it was yesterday. And it said, ‘Dear Kane, I want to set it off and get R.A.W. Ain’t no half-stepping’ because I’m gonna break your wrath in half.’ So, I handed to the picture to my man Ant Live who’s Eric B.’s brother. And he asked her about it and she said, ‘Yeah, Rakim got this song called ‘Break The Wrath In Half.’ You ain’t heard it? Eric B. played it for me’…So, we laughing about it, but at that point Ant was like ‘Yo, this is just getting too out of hand, man. Y’all really need to talk.’ So, Ant Live called Rakim and he told me that he had a line he was gonna put in a song, but he took it out. And I told him I had something that I was gonna put in a song, but you know I took it out. And we just squashed it and left it alone.”
Outside of management, Ant Live did appear on celebrated 1990s Hip-Hop single. On Kool G Rap & DJ Polo’s Wanted: Dead Or Alive—which was recorded during some of the same sessions assigned to L.T.R.H.E., Ant featured alongside Freddie Foxxx (aka Bumpy Knuckles) and Large Professor on “Money In The Bank.” The possé cut would be one of Large Pro’s earliest Rap appearances, on a song he produced no less.
In addition to Paid In Full Entertainment, in 2012, he founded his company Drama Family, a special events company said to have worked with Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Kottonmouth Kings, and 2 Live Crew.
Ambrosia For Heads extends condolences to Eric B. as well as the additional family and friends of Anthony Barrier.