Today, July 10, marks the birthday of Christopher Martin, more commonly known as Play from the popular, teen-friendly rap duo, Kid 'n Play. The rapper now turns 56.

As a member of Kid 'n Play, Play typified peak, feel-good pop rap in the late 1980s and early 1990s. After popping onto the surface of hip-hop with their 1988 debut, 2 Hype, Play began what would be a successful stint as a legitimate rap star. With an obvious cool, hit singles and an infinitely memorable dance (Kid n' Play Kickstep, anyone?), Kid 'n Play had it going on. Seeing as they only had each other, Play was obviously a big part of that success.

In addition to dropping off three successful LPs as a part of Kid 'n Play (2 Hype, Funhouse and Face the Nation), Play also starred alongside Kid in four feature films, including the popular House Party franchise. The House Party movies, which chronicled a group of teens looking to throw epic house parties while their folks are out of town. Pretty on the nose stuff, but with the talents of Kid 'n Play, plus a young Martin Lawrence, the films proved to be big successes and helped expand the people's imagination of what rappers could do in the pop culture world abroad.

In subsequent years, Play became a born again Christian and turned his focus to the world of Christian hip-hop. In recent years, he's reunited with Kid onstage at various events, showing the world he and Kid, who claimed their fame more than 25 years ago, can still ignite a crowd at a moment's notice.

Happy Birthday, Play!

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