Sensible lad

Attrell Cordes was born in 1970, in Jersey City, across the Hudson river from Manhattan. His early life was marred by misfortune — his father died from pneumonia and a third brother drowned at the age of two. Attrell and Jarrett were raised by their mother Janice, a follower of the American spiritualist and mystic Edgar Cayce, and stepfather George Brown, who had played drums in Kool & the Gang.

The brothers sang together in a church choir but by their teens they were hanging out on the street, on the periphery of a netherworld of crime and drugs. “I lived between the yuppies and the killers,” Attrell noted with impressive understatement. “When you’re 14, it’s hard to know how to deal with that sort of thing, but I saw myself slowly becoming an idiot, so I left.”

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