One of the more popular dancehall DJs of the '90s, Mad Cobra was the first reggae artist to top the Billboard rap singles chart. He initially made his name with a series of tough, hard-hitting singles aimed at the hardcore crowd, filling his lyrics with the requisite slackness and gun talk. However, he achieved international crossover success by incorporating elements of R&B and hip-hop. Mad Cobra was born Ewart Everton Brown on March 31, 1968, in Kingston; he was raised in the province of St. Mary's, but moved back to the capital city during his teens. He took his stage name from the villains in the G.I. Joe comic book series, and performed with several sound systems while still in school. His uncle, Delroy "Spiderman" Thompson, worked as an engineer at the Tuff Gong studios and produced Mad Cobra's debut single, "Respect Woman," in 1989. The follow-up was a duet with Tricia McKay, "Na Go Work," which brought him to the attention of producers Carl "Banton" Nelson and Captain Sinbad. Ninjaman-style gun talk was the dancehall trend of the day, and Mad Cobra soon built a following with similarly minded singles like "Shoot to Kill," "Merciless Bad Boy," and "Ze Taurus."