Corey McKay (born September 24th, 1972), better known by his stage name Cormega, is a rapper best known for his narratives about inner-city life, having been born in Queensbridge, Queens. Mckay is renowned for consistently producing as an independent artist, refusing to go mainstream. Cormega was raised in Long Island City, Queens, forming childhood friendships with future rappers such as Nas, AZ, Nature and Capone-N-Noreaga.He was featured on Hot Day's "Going Straight Up" from his album "It's My Turn". He was also featured on Blaq Poet & DJ Hot Day's track "Set It Off" from their album "Without Warning" in 1991.Cormega was sentenced to 5–15 years in prison for armed robbery in 1991. Despite his incarceration, Cormega gained some attention following a shout-out from Nas on his song "One Love", from the critically acclaimed Illmatic album.
Cormega was released from prison on appeal after serving almost 4 years in New York's Mid-State Correctional Facility. Following his release in 1995, Cormega became determined to pursue rapping. Nas included him on a song entitled "Affirmative Action" for his second album It Was Written. The song also featured AZ and Foxy Brown, and became The Firm's first appearance. Based on his performance, he was signed to Def Jam and recorded an album called The Testament. Based on the buzz from "Affirmative Action," Nas, his manager Steve Stoute and producers Dr. Dre and Trackmasters joined to produce The Firm. Cormega was replaced with another artist, Nature, because either he would not sign a contract with Stoute or Stoute felt Nature was a better rapper. This led to an alleged altercation between Cormega and Nature. Cormega's dispute with Stoute also ended his friendship with Nas. Following the end of his membership in The Firm, Alex Trojano contributed in producing his album The Testament. Meanwhile, following a falling-out over creative differences with his manager Chris Lighty and Def-Jam imprint Violator Records, his debut album The Testament was indefinitely shelved. During the recording for The Testament Cormega responded to Nas' "One Love" in the form of a letter also entitled "One Love". In 2000, he was released from his contract and he started his own record company, Legal Hustle Records. Cormega vented his disappointment with Nas and The Firm in a mixtape song titled "Never Personal".This song was never directly pointed to Nas, but the media made it look like that. In 2001, he released his new debut album, The Realness, which was acclaimed by critics. Many of the songs share a theme of betrayal.Nas responded to Cormega on his song "Destroy and Rebuild" from his album Stillmatic. Cormega retaliated with more mixtape tracks, "A Slick Response" and "Realmatic". Nas revisited the Cormega beef in his song "The Cross" on the album God's Son. In reference to Cormega, Nas rapped "What I've discovered is my brother's tryin to be/The next me, yeah I support him but he's blinded I see/ Jealousy he love me to death and I'm buggin I love him for life/ We both still mournin on our mother's life" (referencing the fact that Cormega's mother was murdered when he was four).
Cormega's follow-up album, The True Meaning won the Source Magazine's prestigious Underground Album of the Year Award. In 2004, he followed up with Legal Hustle (a compilation album showcasing his label's artists) and other talented hip-hop lyricists such as Ghostface Killah, Large Professor, AZ, Kurupt, Jayo Felony, and several others. This album is considered by some as more of a project than an actual solo album; nonetheless it was well received. In 2005, he was able to release The Testament on his own label,which saw good reviews and sales and featured the original banned version of "Dead Man Walking" as a hidden track.
In early September 2005, Cormega posted a statement on his website that he and Nas had spoken and ended their feud. Cormega explained that their conversation had come about due to the death of Cormega's grandmother. Both rappers have stated the possibility of a collaboration. On December 22, 2006 at the Nokia Theatre Times Square, Cormega appeared on stage at a Nas concert and went on to perform with Nas (and Foxy Brown as well), further evidence that their feud is over.
The feud was settled in Cormega's home in early December 2005, when Cormega and Nas realized that it was destructive for each of them. It is not known who was responsible for their meeting but both artists are now working alone. In the mid-2000s Cormega helped produce a few albums and was featured on several songs with The Jacka and the Mob Figaz.
An album collaboration with Lakey The Kid entitled My Brother's Keeper was released independently on August 22, 2006. On November 20, 2007, Cormega finally released his DVD in-the-making Who Am I?. The DVD took over four years of filming of Cormega in all aspects of his life and what others thought of Cormega, unedited. The DVD was released as a soundtrack plus DVD. Cormega intended to release an album which was to be entitled Urban Legend before T.I.'s album of the same name was released (Cormega mentions this on the Who Am I DVD, dated circa 2003); the new title is Born and Raised. The album was released October 20, 2009. The first single is called "Journey."
Following his latest project's release, the MC has already announced his next album, tentatively due out summer of 2011. Cormega has already begun work, having recorded collaborations with one of the Wu-Tang Clan and a Queensbridge MC. As for further features, he has stated his desire to work with a variety of artists including Scarface, Lauryn Hill, Slick Rick, as well as past collaborators M.O.P., Mobb Deep and tha Dogg Pound.
Following an interview with Mista Montana on the highly respected, Conspiracy Worldwide Radio, Cormega recently made great efforts to increase peoples awareness of the 2010 flooding tragedy in Pakistan, adding images and video clips to his official site. It has been confirmed that his next album will be entitled 'Mega Philosophy' & that it will be entirely produced by frequent collaborator Large Professor. Former Bad Boy Rapper Black Rob is rumoured to have a guest spot on the album.