Choke Has No Limit

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“It all started with the music,� growing up in the Bronx’s Edenwald projects, Choke was enamored with the hip-hop explosion of the 80’s from break dancing and pop locking to graffiti murals and rhyming. Holding down the 5th position in a local rap group as the producer of “The Naked Faces� Choke took his first hand experiences of the music business home to build his own recording studio.

Choke No Joke, a.k.a Artie Alston, is a producer, director, videographer, editor, artist, actor and model. “I did it all,� he says confidently yet humbly. He considers himself the east coast version of Ice Cube.

“It all started with the music,â€? growing up in the Bronx’s Edenwald projects, Choke was enamored with the hip-hop explosion of the 80’s from break dancing and pop locking to graffiti murals and rhyming.  Holding down the 5th position in a local rap group as the producer of “The Naked Facesâ€? Choke took his first hand experiences of the music business home to build his own recording studio. But when his quintet didn’t grasp the desired record deal Choke soon saw through the “glitz and glamourâ€? facade in music videos and went back to school to earn an Associate’s in Business.

It was the 90’s and “I knew I had so much to offer the world,� he says after his quick stint to become a white-collar worker. But the allure of the entertainment business soon whispered hello. Choke suddenly did a 360 and made a successful attempt at modeling to regain a buzz. He walked the catwalk in Fashion Week, did print ads for Snoop Dog’s year long campaign “Pay the Cost to be the Boss� and appeared in commercials, music videos and independent films. Self taught, with a camcorder in his hand, working with directors like Lil X and Hype Williams motivated him to sit in the director’s chair. “I would be shooting behind the scenes on the set and then go home and edit my version of the video,� he says, referring to the footage.

His first professional position as a director/videographer was in 1996 on “Street Funk� an entertainment show with live performances and interviews shown in NY and 6 other states. They would cover industry parties at all the hot spots like the Tunnel on 27th street and 12th avenue, that were so popular Choke still profits from volumes of “The Tunnel� DVDs he released to local video stores. The 4th volume featuring Jay-Z caught the eye of then Roc-A-fella Records CEO Damon Dash who was so impressed with his work he asked him to become a part of his staff. As his private videographer, Choke traveled the world capturing some of Dame’s most private moments including the beginnings of the slowly crippling label.

Nearly three years passed when Choke returned to his hip-hop roots as a producer on BET’s Rap City. But it is obvious that now is the time to do his own thang’ with a documentary of his life story “I am Choke No Joke,â€? underway and the autobiographical novel “The Jectsâ€? in the works, there is no turning back. “All my endeavors are coming full circle,â€? he adds, “music is the gateway to help everything I do.â€? Two music videos and a soundtrack he solely produced and was a MC on will soon be released to promote the film. “You plant a seed and it will grow,â€? Choke says. He is nearing production for a feature film he will direct and produce called “Code Blue,â€? about police corruption in the inner cities. “I may have to put my Actor’s hat back on or my Artist hat on as well but now is my time.  I know I can do it all.â€? Choke is also a journalist for SSX Black Men’s magazine. 

To reach Choke: chokenojoke@tmo.blackberry.net

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