Category: hip hop

Born on this day: May 21, 1972 – Rap music leg…

Born on this day: May 21, 1972 – Rap music legend The Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher George Latore Wallace in New York City, NY). Happy Birthday to this Hip Hop icon on what would have been his 47th Birthday.

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On this day in music history: May 17, 1988 – &…

On this day in music history: May 17, 1988 – “Tougher Than Leather”, the fourth album by Run-DMC is released. Produced by Run-DMC, Davy D. and Rick Rubin, it is recorded at Chung King Studios, Unique Recording Studios, Electric Lady Studios, Greene St. Recording Studios in New York City and Ian London Studios in East Islip, NY from Mid 1987 – Early 1988. Having achieved unprecedented success for a rap group with their their third album “Raising Hell”, Run-DMC tour extensively during 1986 and 1987. Ambitious to not only maintain their newly found star status, but go to the next level, the group not only plan a new album, but a feature film as well. Run-DMC return to the studio to work on their fourth album “Tougher Than Leather”. Working again with Rick Rubin, the group also collaborate with David “Davy D.” Reeves (“One For The Treble (Fresh)”) on the album. Musically, “Leather” differs noticeably from its predecessor. With contemporaries like Public Enemy, Eric B. & Rakim and Boogie Down Productions rapidly changing the face of Hip Hop, Run-DMC also look to diversify their sound. Though not technically a soundtrack album, it also features several songs in the film they are set to star in. Also titled “Tougher Than Leather”, the film is co-written and directed by Rick Rubin. The group star as themselves, out to solve the murder of their friend and roadie Runny Ray (Raymond White). “Leather” also features cameos and musical performances by Slick Rick and The Beastie Boys. The film receives universally negative reviews upon its release in September of 1988, and is in and out of theaters quickly. So far, it has only been given a brief release on VHS tape, but has remained out of print for over thirty years. The album fairs significantly better, spinning off four singles including “Run’s House” (b/w “Beats To The Rhyme”) (#10 R&B), “Mary, Mary” (#29 R&B, #75 Pop), “I’m Not Going Out Like That” (#40 R&B) and “Papa Crazy”. Though it sells decently, it falls far short of the triple Platinum sales of “Raising Hell”, with many fans feeling that “Tougher Than Leather” pales in comparison to the previous album. In 2001, director Kevin Smith uses the title song in his film and on the soundtrack of “Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back”. “Leather” is remastered and reissued on CD in 1999, when Profile Records is absorbed by Arista. A second CD reissue in 2005 includes four bonus tracks, including the holiday single “Christmas In Hollis”. Out of print on vinyl since its original release, its reissued by Music On Vinyl in 2014, and again by Get On Down Records in 2017. “Tougher Than Leather” peaks at number two on the Billboard R&B album chart, number ten on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 15, 1986 – &…

On this day in music history: May 15, 1986 – “Raising Hell”, the third album by Run-DMC is released. Produced by Run-DMC, Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons., it is recorded at Chung King Studios, Shakedown Sound Studios, Soundtrack Studios and Magic Venture Studios in New York City from January – March 1986. Enjoying major success with their first two albums, Run-DMC begin work on their third in early 1986. Instead of producer Larry Smith, the group decide to change things up and work with Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin. Fully rehearsed and prepared with notebooks packed with new rhymes, Run and D are ready to bring it as well. At one point, Rubin suggests that Run-DMC cover Aerosmith’s 70’s rock classic “Walk This Way” (#4 Pop, #8 R&B, #6 Club Play). Though familiar with the opening drum break (having rhymed over it for years), they hadn’t heard the whole song. When they do, they fall about laughing, calling it “corny” and “hillbilly”. Run and D are convinced to do it, with Rick suggesting they remake it as a duet with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith. After it’s complete, Simmons and McDaniels are still unsure about it. Much to their surprise, it receives radio play immediately, leading Profile Records to issue it as the follow up to “My Adidas” / “Peter Piper” (#5 R&B, #33 Rap). “Walk This Way” is accompanied by a music video (directed by Jon Small), that pit Run-DMC and Jam Master Jay against Tyler and Perry, ending with them rocking out on stage together. A huge radio and MTV hit, the song propels Run-DMC into the stratosphere. “Walk” also revives Aerosmith’s career, setting the stage for their huge comeback. “Hell” spins off a total of four singles including “You Be Illin’” (#12 R&B, #29 Pop) and “It’s Tricky” (#21 R&B, #57 Pop), with the latter featuring a humorous video with magicians Penn & Teller. “Raising Hell” makes history as the first rap album to reach multi-Platinum status in the US, furthering Hip Hop’s reach into mainstream public consciousness. It receives a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal in 1987. The album cover art is released with two different color variations. One cover is tinted purple (front) and red (back), with the graphics in green (front) and blue (back). The second cover is tinted green (front) and blue (back) with the title and artists graphics printed in hot pink (front) and orange (back). It is remastered and reissued on CD in 2005, with five additional bonus tracks. It is most recently reissued as a 180 gram LP by Get On Down Records in 2017. In 2018, it’s selected for preservation by the National Recording Registry by the Library Of Congress. “Raising Hell” spends seven weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number three on the Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 14, 1991 -…

On this day in music history: May 14, 1991 – “De La Soul Is Dead”, the second album by De La Soul is released. Produced by Prince Paul and De La Soul, it is recorded at Calliope Studios in New York City from Mid 1990 – Early 1991. After the groundbreaking success of their landmark debut album “3 Feet High And Rising”, De La Soul deliberately move away from the sound and image established on that album, on the follow up. Shaking off being labeled “hippies” by the music press and many fans for stretching the boundaries of hip hop on the first album, De La declares that the “D.A.I.S.Y. ("Da Inner Sound Y’all”) Age is over on their sophomore release “De La Soul Is Dead”. The group drive the point home further by featuring an illustration of an overturned and broken flowerpot of daisies on the front cover. Once again working with producer and DJ Prince Paul, the songs are linked together by a series of skits featuring Jeff, the character introduced on the earlier non album B-sides “Brainwashed Follower Of Fashion” and “The Mack Daddy On The Left”, finding a tape of De La’s album discarded in the trash. Jeff is beat up and robbed of the tape by a pair of bullies (played by DJ Maseo and Mista Lawnge of Black Sheep). The skit portions of the album are followed by a turn the page tone taken from a children’s “listen and read” record. It ends on a sardonic and ironic note, with the bullies throwing the tape back in the trash. Musically, it is as diverse and eclectic as the first, but with more of an emphasis on R&B, funk and jazz samples. The subject matter of the songs run a wide gamut, from the group lampooning wannabe rappers looking to get put on (“Ring, Ring, Ring (Ha Ha Hey)” (#3 Rap, #22 R&B), to the more serious topic of child sexual abuse (“Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa”). It spins off three singles including “A Rollerskating Jam Called Saturdays” (#6 Club Play, #43 R&B) and “Keepin’ The Faith” (the double A-side flip to “Millie”). Clocking in at over seventy three and a half minutes, Tommy Boy services the album to radio and club DJ’s as a special double vinyl pressing (stock pressings are pressed on a single LP, and suffer from greatly diminished sound quality), packaged in a custom double pocket sleeve, and limited to 2,000 numbered copies. In time this promo pressing has become a sought after collector’s item, and has been widely bootlegged. The label reissues the vinyl on double vinyl in 2008. The vinyl edition is reissued by the vinyl subscription service Vinyl Me, Please in March of 2019. Limited to only 1,000 numbered copies, the double LP set is pressed on yellow and green split colored vinyl. “De La Soul Is Dead” peaks at number number twenty four on the Billboard R&B album chart, number twenty six on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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twixnmix: Tupac Shakur, Jada Pinkett and Sal…

twixnmix:

Tupac Shakur, Jada Pinkett and Salli Richardson at an event for “A Low Down Dirty Shame” on March 18, 1994.

On this day in music history: May 5, 1992 – &l…

On this day in music history: May 5, 1992 – “Jump Around” by House of Pain is released. Written by Everlast, it is the debut single for the Hip Hop group from Los Angeles, CA. Formed in 1991 by Everlast (Erik Schrody) and Danny Boy (Danny O’Connor), the group comes together shortly after Everlast records an unsuccessful solo album for Ice-T’s Rhyme Syndicate imprint in 1990. Recruiting DJ Lethal (Leor Dimant), they take the name House Of Pain, after a line in the HG Wells novel “The Island Of Dr. Moreau”. Friends with Cypress Hill co-founder DJ Muggs, while hanging out with Everlast, Muggs plays him a beat intended for Cypress’ next album. The track features samples of Chubby Checker’s “Popeye (The Hitchhiker)” (main loop), and Bob & Earl’s “Harlem Shuffle” (intro). Liking what he hears, Everlast quickly pens lyrics for the track in Muggs’ driveway. Initially taking inspiration from dancehall DJ’s like Shabba Ranks, with the lyric originally being “Jump around, if you love freedom. Jump around, if you love culture.”. Muggs tells him to “Get rid of the reggae part". As Everlast is still writing lyrics, Muggs finds another sample. Taking a short horn blast from Jr. Walker’s 1965 track “Shoot Your Shot”, both instantly recognize that final element is the crowning touch. House Of Pain records a demo, then sends tapes out to labels. Before sending more tapes, Danny Boy creates the now famed House Of Pain “Fine Malt Lyrics” logo to place on the cassette covers. One of the tapes reaches Tommy Boy Records president Monica Lynch who upon seeing the logo replies “what the f*ck is this?”. Playing the demo, Lynch is immediately taken with it. Also being Irish American, she also comments “This sounds like my brothers… They go to bars and get into fights.”. She quickly signs House Of Pain, and the group go into the studio the cut the final version. The group then film a music video for “Jump Around” in New York City. Choosing to film it during the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, the clip is shot in just one day. An immediate hit on college radio when it is leaked to key DJ’s, it breaks into the mainstream when MTV begins airing the music video. Entering the Hot 100 at #98 on June 27, 1992, it makes a slow and steady climb up the chart, peaking fifteen weeks later at #3 on October 10, 1992. Also peaking at #14 on the R&B singles chart, #5 on the Rap chart and #1 on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart, the single sells over a million copies in the US alone. It also propels their self titled debut album past the Platinum mark. “Jump Around” is later featured in numerous films including “Mrs. Doubtfire”, “Black Hawk Down”, “Happy Gilmore”, “Rush Hour” and “Jack Reacher” to name a few. The song also becomes a staple of sporting events over the years. “Jump Around” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 4, 1984 – …

On this day in music history: May 4, 1984 – “Breakin’ – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” is released. Music Supervision and Compilation Producers: Russ Regan and Ted Daryll, Produced by Ollie E. Brown, Jerry Knight, Chris “The Glove” Taylor, David Storrs, Curtis Hudson, Lisa Stevens, Allen A. Jones, Russ Titelman, Rod Hui, Charlie Midnight, Dan Hartman and John Punter, it is recorded at Ameraycan Studios in North Hollywood, CA and Various Studios from Early – Late 1983. Issued as the soundtrack to the Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus produced film, it stars Adolfo “Shabba Doo” Quiñones, Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers and Lucinda Dickey. The ten song album features new and previously released material. Originally conceived as a quick low budget feature to exploit the explosion of the Hip Hop subculture, it is inspired in part by a 1983 German documentary titled “Breakin’ and Enterin’”. Produced by Cannon Films and released through MGM/UA, the film and soundtrack are both surprise hits, having the unexpected bonus of furthering the exposure of Hip Hop into mainstream society. The album features two tracks by former Raydio members Ollie E. Brown and Jerry Knight (aka Ollie & Jerry), The Bar-Kays, Rufus & Chaka Khan, Carol Lynn Townes, Re-Flex, Hot Streak (aka Curtis Hudson and Lisa Stevens, writers of Madonna’s “Holiday”), Chris “The Glove Taylor & David Storrs (Featuring Ice-T) and 3V (aka Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight). Ollie & Jerry’s title song "Breakin’… There’s No Stoppin’ Us” (#3 R&B, #9 Pop, #1 Club Play) is the soundtrack’s biggest hit with Carol Lynn Townes’ “99 ½” (#22 R&B, #77 Pop, #9 Club Play), and “Reckless” by Chris “The Glove” Taylor & David Storrs also issued as singles. The Bar-Kays’ “Freakshow On The Dance Floor” (#2 R&B, #73 Pop) and Rufus & Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody” (#1 R&B, #22 Pop), both recent hits at the time of the film’s release are both prominently featured. Three other songs featured in the film including Kraftwerk’s “Tour De France”, Al Jarreau’s “Boogie Down” and the Art Of Noise’s “Beat Box” are not included on the soundtrack album due to licensing issues and time constraints. Original vinyl copies of “Breakin’” are packaged with a mini poster of the album cover artwork. Also issued on CD, the disc becomes heavily sought after by collectors when Polydor Records’ distributor Polygram deletes it from its catalog, inspiring bootleggers to fill the void with various black market knock off copies. The soundtrack is legitimately reissued on CD in 2011 and on vinyl by Get On Down Records in 2012, also reproducing the bonus poster for both. “Breakin’ – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” peaks at number eight on the Billboard Top 200, number two on the R&B album chart, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 3, 1997 – &l…

On this day in music history: May 3, 1997 – “Hypnotize” – The Notorious B.I.G. hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 3 weeks on April 26, 1997. Written by Christopher Wallace, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Deric “D-Dot” Angelettie, Ron Lawrence, Randy Alpert, and Andy Armer, it is the first chart topping single for the rapper from Brooklyn, NY. In 1996, following his successful and acclaimed debut “Ready To Die”, The Notorious B.I.G. and Bad Boy Records founder and co-producer Sean “Puffy” Combs will begin work on the rappers’ second album. Herb Alpert’s 1979 chart topper “Rise” is a big favorite of Combs’ since childhood and approaches Randy “Badazz” Alpert, Alpert’s nephew and co-writer, seeking use of the song. In the past, Alpert has received numerous overtures to sample “Rise” from various rap artists including Eazy-E, Ice Cube, and Vanilla Ice, turning all of them down. Combs relays his personal experiences with the song as a kid (to Alpert), being heard at block parties and on boomboxes in his neighborhood. Puffy plays Randy a rough version of “Hypnotize”, who then gives his OK to use the sample. B.I.G. records his vocals for “Hypnotize” at Daddy House Recording Studios in New York City and Caribbean Sound Basin Studios on the island of Trinidad & Tobago in the West Indies. Like many of his best known songs, B.I.G. improvises most of the lyrics on the spot while recording, without writing anything down. The female background vocals (interpolated from Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick’s “La Di Da Di”), are sung by Pam Long of the group Total. Confident that the song is a smash, it is selected to be the first single from The Notorious B.I.G.’s second album “Life After Death”. To promote it, a big budget video directed by Paul Hunter is filmed in February of 1997. Before it is released, tragedy strikes when Biggie is killed in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997, as he leaves a music industry party put on by Vibe Magazine. “Hypnotize” is released as a single on April 1, 1997, and is an instant hit, going straight to the top of the Rap, R&B and Pop charts. The single also earns the late rapper, a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Solo Performance in 1998. When the song hits the top of the latter, it is only the fifth time in chart history, that a record has topped the Billboard Top 200 posthumously. Biggie does it a second time just a few months later, with the follow up single “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems. In January of 2018, Rhino Records reissues the 12” vinyl single of “Hypnotize”, as part of their “Start Your Ear Right” reissue series. Originally issued on vinyl in the US as promo 12" for club and mix show radio DJ’s, the reissue is of the original UK release, but is pressed on black and orange swirled vinyl. “Hypnotize” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 28, 1998 -…

On this day in music history: April 28, 1998 – “Capital Punishment”, the debut album by Big Pun is released. Produced by Juju, Rockwilder, Knobody, L.E.S., Big Punisher, Fat Joe, RZA, Showbiz, Dead Prez, The Infinite Arkatechz, Mike Zulu, Domingo, Franky “Nitty” Pimentalm, Young Lord, Minnesota, V.I.C., Danny O, and EQ at Mystsic Recording Studios in Staten Island, NY, Battery Studios, The Cutting Room Recording Studios, Axis Studios, and D&D Recording Studios in New York City from Early 1996 – Early 1998. The first album by the Bronx, NY born and raised Puerto Rican American rapper (born Christopher Lee Rios) makes a major impact, driven by his distinctive flow and talent for vivid lyrical imagery. The album spins off three singles including “I’m Not A Player” (#19 R&B, #57 Pop), “Still Not A Player” (Featuring Joe) (#6 R&B, #24 Pop) and “You Came Up” (#49 R&B). Pun makes history as the first solo Latin rapper to sell over a million copies of their debut release. Sadly, it is the only album that Pun releases in his lifetime, passing away on February 7, 2000 at only twenty eight years old. “Capital Punishment” spends one week at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number five on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 25, 1992…

On this day in music history: April 25, 1992 – “Jump” by Kris Kross hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 8 weeks, also peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on May 23, 1992. Written and produced by Jermaine Dupri, it is the debut release and biggest hit for the Atlanta, GA rap duo. In 1990, friends Chris Kelly and Chris Smith are discovered by producer Jermaine Dupri at a shopping mall in their native Atlanta. Dupri is at the mall with the rap duo Silk Tymes Leather who he is producing. The boys come up and ask them for an autograph when the young producer asks if they are a group themselves. When they say they’re not, Dupri is impressed enough with their natural charisma that believes that he can make them stars if he produces a record on them. He keeps in touch with them before beginning record them. Dupri’s father Michael Mauldin, an executive at Columbia Records gives the young duo their name, dubbing them Kris Kross after the look that Dupri has cultivated for them wearing their baggy clothes backwards. They cut a demo that includes the track “Lil Boys In Da Hood”. The song attracts the attention of Ruffhouse Records founder Joe Nicolo, who signs them to the Columbia Records distributed label. Released in early February, the single initially languishes for its first month in stores, until it receives an unexpected boost after the duo performs the song on the March 29, 1992 episode of “In Living Color”. Entering the Hot 100 at #61 on April 4, 1992, it rockets to the top of the chart just three weeks later. The huge runaway success of the single drives Kris Kross’ debut album “Totally Krossed Out”, to the top of the pop and R&B album charts, and to sales of 4x Platinum in the US. The duo record two more albums “Da Bomb” and “Young, Rich & Dangerous” in 1993 and 1996, both of which achieve Gold or Platinum sales. Kris Kross break up shortly after their third album, attempting solo careers. They reunite in early 2013 for a twentieth anniversary concert for their former label So So Def Records, planning a reunion afterward. Sadly, on the eve of the tour, Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly dies of an accidental drug overdose on May 1, 2013, twenty one years and one week after “Jump tops the pop singles chart. He is only thirty four years old at the time of his death. "Jump” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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