Darin Kenneth O’Brien, widely known by his stage name Snow, is a Canadian rapper who made a significant mark in the international music scene during the 90s. His catchy beats and unique style brought a fresh sound to the hip-hop and reggae fusion genres.
Darin Kenneth O’Brien was born on October 30, 1969, in Toronto, Ontario. He grew up in a predominantly working-class neighborhood, exposing him early on to various cultures and sounds. Snow grew up in Toronto’s North York district, one of four siblings born to an Irish-Canadian taxi driver and a stay-at-home mom. After his parents separated, he lived with his mother in the Allenbury Gardens public housing.
While he initially had a penchant for rock music, the arrival of Jamaican immigrants in his neighborhood in 1983 shifted his interest towards reggae. He then began mixing dancehall and reggae with rock and pop to create his unique sound.
From his youth, Snow was drawn to reggae music, thanks in part to Toronto’s multicultural ambiance. This affinity for reggae was bolstered by his friendship with Jamaican DJ Marvin Prince, who introduced him further into the genre’s depths.
The name “Snow” was coined as a tongue-in-cheek reference to his pale complexion, but it stuck, becoming a memorable and ironic moniker in the realm of reggae-infused rap.
Snow’s career began in 1992 when he collaborated with MC Shan to produce his debut album “12 Inches of Snow.” It was from this album that his iconic single “Informer” was released. The track, with its catchy beat and incomprehensible lyrics, swiftly climbed charts globally and held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven consecutive weeks. “Informer” set the stage for Snow’s career, marking him as one of the few Canadians to dominate the US charts at that time.
His subsequent albums, such as “Murder Love” and “Justuss,” sought to build on the momentum of his initial success. While they might not have replicated the massive appeal of “Informer,” they furthered Snow’s reputation as a serious artist, blending rap and reggae in his distinct manner. Over the years, he released several albums, each offering a mix of dancehall, reggae, pop, and hip-hop sounds.
Snow’s unique sound can be attributed to his Canadian upbringing meshed with genuine reggae influences. This, coupled with his charismatic personality and knack for crafting infectious tunes, kept him relevant even in the ever-evolving music scene.
In the subsequent years, Snow continued to remain active in music, collaborating with various artists and occasionally touring.
O’Brien, or Snow as the world knows him, is a testament to how diverse influences can come together to produce something unique and universally appealing. From the streets of Toronto to the global stage, Snow’s journey in the music world is nothing short of inspirational, proving that with passion and the right opportunities, one can leave an indelible mark in history.
Drew Carey, an avid fan of Snow, collaborated with him to create a reggae rendition of “Moon Over Parma”, the theme song for The Drew Carey Show’s eighth and ninth seasons. Snow also ventured into acting, portraying a prison guard in the 2001 movie “Prison Song”. In 2012, he made a cameo as himself in “The Movie Out Here”, a film produced by Kokanee and Alliance Films. In 2015, Snow and his then-fiancée, Tara Elizabeth, were featured on a CBC webseries, “True Dating Stories”. They shared a humorous account of one of their initial dates which unexpectedly involved the police. Their episode garnered the highest viewership, and the series clinched the title of Best Web Series at the Hollywood Comedy Shorts Film Festival.
Over the span of his career, Snow accumulated a significant fortune. As of the latest estimates, Snow’s net worth stands at approximately $8 million. This wealth is a result of his music sales, tours, and collaborations with other artists. His hit “Informer” remains a significant chunk of this, given its immense sales and the royalties that ensued from its various adaptations and uses in media over the years.
Snow’s achievements in the music industry are noteworthy. The most iconic of them all is his single “Informer” being recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling reggae single in US history. In addition to this, “Informer” also earned him a Juno Award in 1994 for Best Reggae Recording.
While “Informer” remains his most acclaimed track, Snow has had multiple nominations and awards from various organizations over his career, underscoring his talent and contributions to music. Here are some of his notable achievements.
In the digital age, Snow has embraced social media platforms to connect with his fans, share updates, and promote his work.