Coo Coo Cal released his first album The Walkin’ Dead independently in 1999. The popularity from “My Projects” brought Bellamy into the spotlight, and he was able to sign a deal with Tommy Boy Records. Then, just weeks after 9/11, he released his second album Disturbed.
“My Projects” and its accompanying music video, which was also filmed in Milwaukee, had heavy airplay on BET, MTV and other channels. The song was one of the bestselling rap singles of 2001 and because of its popularity, people started paying attention to Milwaukee’s music scene for what felt like the first time.
Things seemed to be headed in the right direction for the up-and-coming Milwaukee rapper, but it didn’t last. Tommy Boy Records started to dissolve shortly after the release of Disturbed, and in 2002 – just a year after his major-label debut album – Bellamy parted ways with the label. Despite releasing follow-up albums in 2002 and 2004, nothing matched the success of Disturbed, and after falling into drug abuse and street life, Coo Coo Cal disappeared from the spotlight altogether.
Now, Bellamy is back to tell his story for the first time in the form of documentary. The Rise and Fall of Coo Coo Cal, follows his struggle of going from an underground artist, to a global commodity, to Bellamy dealing with his issues of identity, drug addiction and the street lifestyle that took over his career at its peak.
In 2018, he released a single called “Home,” a love letter to Milwaukee that is featured in the documentary. The song and visuals show his love for the city, while showing the authentic nature of Milwaukee’s urban side. Bellamy currently lives in Atlanta with his family, but he still makes trips to his beloved hometown.
The Rise and Falls of Coo Coo Cal will be screened at Nō Studios on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 5 p.m., tickets will be available for purchase online and at the door.