Percy Lee Chapman (born August 13, 1971), known by his stage name Tragedy Khadafi (formerly Intelligent Hoodlum), is an American rapper and record producer. Chapman hails from the Queensbridge Housing Projects in Queens, New York City, who helped spawn other hip hop artists such as Mobb Deep, Capone-N-Noreaga, Nas and many others both through production and influence. His name is a reference to the former leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi. He was the first in the Queensbridge projects to create intelligent street music and is documented to be the first to use the phrase “Illmatic” in 1988 on a record called “The Rebel” from the Marley Marl album “In Control Volume 1” which was a huge inspiration and influence on fellow New York rapper Nas.</p
Khadafi began his career as one half of the duo Super Kids, along with Queensbridge producer DJ Hot Day. This output caught the attention of Marley Marl, who in 1986 produced the duo’s single “The Tragedy (Don’t Do It)”, and “Stunt of the Block”. Chapman was then made a junior member of the Juice Crew alongside artists such as Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, and MC Shan. In 1987, he appeared as MC Percy on the B side of the 12″ “Juice Crew All Stars” and on the last Super Kids single, “Hot Day Master Mix” appearing on tracks “Hip Hop Kids Live At U.S.A” and “Go Queensbridge”. After a conviction that year (he was only 16 years old) for robbery charges followed by serving time in the Elmira Correctional Facility.
In 1988, he appeared alongside fellow Juice Crew members on the Marley Marl compilation album In Control Vol.1, on the solo tracks “The Rebel” and “Live Motivator”. Whilst in prison Chapman became a Five Percenter and began working under the alias “Intelligent Hoodlum”, and released the self titled album Intelligent Hoodlum on A&M Records. The album was produced by Marley Marl (with co-production by Large Professor) and contained the singles “Back to Reality”, “Black and Proud” and “Arrest the President”.
Chapman continued to record throughout the remainder of the 1990s releasing a follow-up Intelligent Hoodlum album titled Tragedy – Saga of a Hoodlum for A&M Records in 1993. The album spawned two singles “Street Life/Mad Brothers Know his Name” and “Grand Groove/Get Large”. One of his last recordings as Intelligent Hoodlum was the title cut for the motion picture soundtrack of Posse, a Hollywood Western that told the story of an African-American gunslinger posse. This song marked the end of Chapman’s overt focus on Conscious hip hop, Black history and political commentary in his verses. Working with Capone, Noreaga and Mobb Deep, recording “L.A L.A” a response to Tha Dogg Pound’s “New York, New York”, Intelligent Hoodlum then began working under the name Tragedy Khadafi in 1997 and created a group called “CNN” and ended up getting them signed to Penalty Records. He also executive produced the group Capone-N-Noreaga’s debut album, The War Report, on which he appeared more on the album than Capone. When the latter returned to prison, Noreaga severed ties with Tragedy. In 1998, Khadafi formed the group Iron Sheiks along with his lifelong friend, Michael Butler a.k.a. Imam T.H.U.G., who was also from Queensbridge, releasing an EP, which contained the underground classic “True Confessions”.
Khadafi’s third album, Against All Odds, was scheduled for release in 1999, but conflict with his label stalled the release, finally being released in 2001, which was also the first appearance of emcee HeadRush Napoleon, who continued to work with Khadafi on future recordings. On the album, Khadafi dissed Noreaga and accused him of stealing his rhyming style on tracks like “Crime Nationalist” or “Blood Type”. Noreaga kept the animosity going with his track “Halfway Thugs Pt. II.” This was followed by Still Reportin’… in 2003. In 2005, he released Thug Matrix independently and also released an album as a member of the group Black Market Militia. Khadafi’s latest releases, Blood Ballads and Thug Matrix 2, were both released in 2006.
He also starred in a documentary known as Tragedy: The Story of Queensbridge about his life and his struggles, growing up, his being a junior member of the Juice Crew, the numerous times he was incarcerated, and the toll a hard life has on a poor African-American child growing up without a father and with a mother addicted to heroin.
On December 27, 2007, Khadafi was convicted of selling narcotics and sentenced to a maximum of four years in prison. Although originally scheduled to be released on January 21, 2011, Tragedy was granted early parole, and released on June 23, 2010.