Category: hip hop

On this day in music history: September 24, 19…

On this day in music history: September 24, 1991 – “The Low End Theory”, the second album by A Tribe Called Quest is released. Produced by A Tribe Called Quest, Skeff Anselm, and Pete Rock it is recorded at Battery Studios, Greene Street Studios, Soundtrack Studios and Jazzy Jay Studio in New York City from Late 1990 – Mid 1991. Issued as the follow up to the New York based rap group’s acclaimed debut “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm”, the group make a conscious effort to surpass what they have done both musically and lyrically on their debut. Prior to its recording, original member Jarobi White leaves the group to pursue other interests. The groundbreaking Hip Hop album fuses jazz and R&B samples, creating a more stripped down and laid back sound, but maintaining a street oriented edge.The album also features guest appearances from jazz bassist Ron Carter, Busta Rhymes, Charlie Brown and Dinco D. of Leaders Of The New School, Lord Jamar and Sadat X from Brand Nubian, Diamond D, and vocalist Vinia Mojica. Universally praised within and outside the Hip Hop community upon its release, it goes on to become one of the most influential rap albums of all time. It spins off three singles including “Check The Rhime” (#1 Rap, #59 R&B), “Jazz (We Got)” (#19 Rap) and “Scenario” (#6 Rap, #42 R&B, #59 Pop). Originally given only a commercial release on vinyl in Europe on its initial release, “Theory” is only issued in edited form (deleting the tracks “Skypager” and “Vibes And Stuff” due to time constraints) as a very rare promo only single vinyl LP release in the US, along side the commercial CD and cassette. Due to popular demand, the full album is finally given a commercial release in the US on double vinyl in 1996, and remains in print to this day. “The Low End Theory” peaks at number thirteen on the Billboard R&B album chart, number fifty eight on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 23, 20…

On this day in music history: September 23, 2003 – “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below”, the fifth album by Outkast is released. Produced by André 3000, Big Boi, Carl Mo, Mr. DJ, Cutmaster Swiff and Dojo5, it is recorded at Stankonia Studios in Atlanta, GA and Larrabee Studios in Los Angeles, CA from September 2001 – September 2003. Following the huge critical and commercial success of their previous album “Stankonia” released in 2000, the Atlanta based rap duo take a year long hiatus before reconvening to work on their fifth release. Recorded over a two year period, the 2 CD/4 LP set is technically two separate albums by Big Boi and André 3000 packaged together under the Outkast name. Musically diverse and eclectic throughout, it features a number of guest artists including Jay-Z, Cee-Lo Green, Norah Jones, Sleepy Brown, Kelis, The Goodie Mob, Li’l Jon, Ludacris, and Rosario Dawson. The album is launched using the unique marketing approach of promoting not one, but two singles simultaneously. The tracks “Hey Ya” and “The Way You Move” are promoted as a double A-sided single. It receives major critical and commercial acclaim upon its release, spinning off five singles including “Hey Ya!” (#1 Pop, #9 R&B) and “The Way You Move” (#1 Pop, #2 R&B) and “Roses” (#9 Pop, #12 R&B). The album also wins the duo three Grammy Awards including Album Of The Year (becoming only the second rap album in history to do so), and Best Rap Album in 2004. “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” spends five weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard Top 200, one week at number one on the R&B album chart, and is certified 11x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification.

On this day in music history: September 22, 19…

On this day in music history: September 22, 1980 – Geffen Records is officially established. Founded by record executive David Geffen, the label is distributed in conjunction with Warner Bros Records. It is not Geffen’s first record company, having established Asylum Records in 1970, then selling it to Warner Communications in 1975. The first artists signed to the Geffen label include Donna Summer, John Lennon and Elton John. Over the years, the labels roster includes artists such as Don Henley, Asia, Quarterflash, Aerosmith, Peter Gabriel, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Sonic Youth, Cher, Jennifer Holliday, Kylie Minogue, and Irene Cara. The label’s distinctive logo is designed by famed graphic artist Saul Bass. When Geffen’s contract with Warner Bros ends in 1990, the company is sold to MCA Music Entertainment, and their parent company Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (aka the Panasonic Corporation) for $800 million in company stock. The deal makes Geffen a billionaire and he stays on with the label until 1995 when he leaves to start Dreamworks SKG with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Geffen Records eventually is  merged with Interscope and A&M Records in 1999 after Universal Music Group combines the labels with MCA Records. From 2003 on, all catalog and artists formerly on MCA and its numerous imprints carry the Geffen Records logo.

On this day in music history: September 20, 19…

On this day in music history: September 20, 1988 – “It Takes Two”, the debut album by Rob Base & DJ EZ-Rock is released. Produced by DJ E-Z Rock, Rob Base, William Hamilton, David “DJ” Wynn, Donald “O” Bowden and Thomas Dean, it is recorded at Hillside Sound Studios in Englewood, NJ from Early – Mid 1988. Two friends hailing from Harlem, NY, MC Rob Base (Rob Ginyard) and DJ E-Z Rock (Rodney Bryce) record their first singles “DJ Interview” and “Make It Hot” for World To World Records in 1987. The latter song attracts the attention of Profile Records, who offer to sign them. When the label execs ask if they have any other new material, they reply “yes”, when in fact they do not. With no time to spare, the duo put together a new song overnight. They sample the break from James Brown protege Lyn Collins’ 70’s funk classic “Think (About It)” for the main body of the song, Titling it “It Takes Two” from a repeated vocal refrain the Collins song, it also samples The Galactic Space Band’s “Space Dust” (intro section) and Doug E. Fresh and MC Ricky D’s “La Di Da Di” (“hit it!” vocal sample). When Rob and E-Z Rock play the song for Profile, the label quickly rush releases it as a single out on August 2, 1988. To accompany it, they quickly film a low budget music video (costing only $5,000) on 16mm film. The records’ impact is felt immediately, becoming an instant classic on the street and on club dance floors around the world. “It Takes Two” (#17 R&B, #36 Pop, #3 Club Play), quickly turns Platinum. Its popularity and influence is so vast, that it is widely sampled on other rap, dance, rock and pop records over the next three decades. The album spins off two more singles, including “Get On The Dance Floor” (#6 Rap, #1 Club Play), and “Joy And Pain” (#5 Rap, #11 R&B, #9 Club Play, #58 Pop). In spite this major success, the duo’s time together is short lived. DJ EZ-Rock leaves, with Rob Base continuing as a solo act. Base charts once more on his own with the Gold certified follow up album “The Incredible Base” (#20 R&B, #50 Pop) and the single “Turn It Out (Go Base)” (#23 Club Play) in 1989. Reuniting in 1994, Base & EZ-Rock release the album “Break Of Dawn”, but is not successful and they part ways again. Still regarded as one of the greatest rap singles of all time, “It Takes Two” continues to permeate popular culture. The song has been used in numerous films and TV shows including “Iron Man 2”, “The Ant-Man And The Wasp” and “My Name Is Earl”. It is also prominently featured on the video game “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”. Out of print on vinyl since its initial release, the album is remastered and reissued to commemorate its thirtieth anniversary on April 21, 2018 for Record Store Day. Limited to only 2,000 copies, the LP is pressed on red vinyl. “It Takes Two” peaks at number four on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirty one on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

twixnmix: LL Cool J and Kidada Jones  LL Coo…

twixnmix:

LL Cool J and Kidada Jones 

LL Cool J and Kidada Jones dated from 1992 to 1994. In his book I Make My Own Rules, LL said he cared about

Kidada

and respected her but he broke up with her because of her spirituality beliefs. 

“She would go to an ashram, consult a guru, and pray to statues… Before my album 14 Shots to the Dome dropped, Kidada told me she threw some kind of stick into the eternal fire for my album. I was like ‘Yo why did you do that? I didn’t ask you to do that!’ That joint flopped crazily. “Oh, well, I’m sorry I cared!” she said. I had hurt her feelings, but she had hurt me too. I know she meant well, but I just couldn’t get with that. She took me to her guru once and I remember kneeling before this strange young woman who was touching feathers.

On this day in music history: September 16, 19…

On this day in music history: September 16, 1988 – “Eazy-Duz-It”, the debut album by Eazy-E is released. Produced by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella, it is recorded at Audio Achievements in Torrance, CA from Late 1987 – Mid 1988. Released on the heels of NWA’s first album “Straight Outta Compton”, the first solo release for the Ruthless Records founder has a similar trajectory to success. Masterfully combining Dre’s beats with Eazy’s distinctive voice and delivery (with lyrics mostly written by Ice Cube and MC Ren), it follows in the vein of NWA’s debut. In spite of receiving only minor radio exposure (due to the explicit language and violence depicted on many tracks) and play for the music videos, it goes platinum shortly after its release. It spins off three singles including “We Want Eazy” and the title track. It goes on to be regarded as a definitive hardcore rap album, and a classic of the genre. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2002, then again in 2013 with two additional bonus tracks. It is also reissued on vinyl as part of UMe’s “Respect The Classics” reissue series. And in 2016, the classic is reissued on cassette tape, with a 3D lenticular rendering of the cover artwork. “Eazy-Duz-It” peaks at number twelve on the Billboard R&B album chart, number forty one on the Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 16, 19…

On this day in music history: September 16, 1979 – “Rapper’s Delight”, the debut single by the Sugarhill Gang is released. Written by Michael Wright, Hank Jackson, Guy O’Brien, Sylvia Robinson, Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, it is the debut release biggest hit for the New Jersey based rap trio. Recorded at Joe and Sylvia Robinson’s All Platinum Studios (re-dubbed “Sugar Hill Studios”) in Englewood, NJ, the rhythm track and vocals are recorded entirely live in a single take. Though technically not the first rap record released (“King Tim III (Personality Jock)” by Fatback is released a few weeks before in August of 1979), it spreads the New York City born underground phenomenon beyond its five boroughs to the rest of the US, and the world. The song is an instant smash and at its sales peak is selling over 30,000 copies a day. Initially released only as a 12" single, it sells over three million copies in the US alone (featuring the full unedited version on one side (original labels list the timing as 15:00, though the actual running time is 14:29), and a edited version on the flipside (listed as 6:30 on the label, the actual running time is 7:10) ). It is later revealed that the verses by Big Bank Hank were actually written by Grandmaster Caz (aka Curtis Fisher) of The Cold Crush Brothers but does not receive a writing credit or receive royalties from sales of the record. Chic members Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers also have to sue Sugarhill for proper credit and royalties since the song borrows the music (also cutting in the strings from Chic’s record) from the band’s recent smash “Good Times”. “Rapper’s Delight” peaks at #4 on the Billboard R&B singles chart, and #36 on the Hot 100. The single is a huge international hit as well, peaking at #3 on the UK singles chart and hitting number one in Canada and The Netherlands.

Remembering Rap music icon, actor and activist…

Remembering Rap music icon, actor and activist Tupac Shakur (born Tupac Amaru Shakur in East Harlem, NY) – June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996

On this day in music history: September 13, 19…

On this day in music history: September 13, 1994 – “Ready To Die”, the debut album by The Notorious B.I.G. is released. Produced by DJ Premier, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Chucky Thompson, Easy Mo Bee, Lord Finesse, Poke, and Darnell Scott, it is recorded at The Hit Factory and D&D Recording Studios in New York City from Late 1993 – Mid 1994. Discovered by Uptown/MCA Records A&R man and producer Sean “Puffy” Combs in 1992 after he receives a demo tape from the Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY born rapper, B.I.G. appears on remixes of Mary J. Blige’s hits “Real Love”, “What’s The 411?” and release the single “Party And Bullsh*t” on Uptown/MCA, generating additional buzz on Biggie, but Combs is fired by Uptown CEO Andre Harrell before they can make a full length album. Combs quickly strikes a deal with Arista Records chairman Clive Davis for his own label, establishing Bad Boy Records in 1993. B.I.G. is the first artist signed to the label and they go to work quickly on his first album. Assembling a team of some of the top Hip Hop producers including Easy Mo Bee, Poke (of The Trackmasters), and DJ Premier of Gang Starr, album combines Biggie’s gift for often raw and very personal lyrics (often tempered with dark humor) with his one of a kind rhyme style. The album is praised as a triumph by critics and fans alike upon its release, successfully bridging the gap between the street and more accessible radio friendly tracks. It is a major critical and commercial success upon its release, spinning off three singles including “Juicy” (#3 Rap, #14 R&B. #27 Pop), “Big Poppa” (#1 Rap, #4 R&B, #6 Pop) and “One More Chance” (#1 Rap, #1 R&B, #2 Pop). The vinyl configuration of the album is released initially as a single LP with the original cover artwork (of a baby meant to resemble B.I.G.), and is reissued as a double LP set with a current photo of Biggie on the front (copies came packaged with a mini poster of the album cover art). The album is remastered for its tenth anniversary in 2004, with the CD edition featuring a bonus DVD with the music videos of the singles originally released from it, and a previously unreleased live performance of “Unbelievable”. The double vinyl set (first issued in 1995), is reissued in 2013 as a limited edition pressing for Record Store Day. Another vinyl reissue by the subscription club Vinyl Me, Please is released in September 2017. This limited reissue restores the original “baby” cover art from the 1994 pressing, but pressed on double vinyl like other reissues and on red with black and white splatter colors, and white with red and black splatter colors. “Ready To Die” peaks at number three on the Billboard R&B album chart, number fifteen on the Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 13, …

On this day in music history: September 13, 1988 – “Power”, the second album by Ice-T is released. Produced by Afrika Islam, it is recorded at Syndicate West Studios in Los Angeles, CA from Autumn 1987 – Summer 1988. While his debut album “Rhyme Pays” is still climbing the charts, Ice-T begins work on his sophomore release. Formerly a gang member and drug dealer, much like his first album, he paints vivid pictures of his former lifestyle in the lyrics of his songs, while also warning against the consequences of living a fast and violent lifestyle. A point that is misconstrued by many not looking beyond the surface, especially in songs like “High Rollers” (#9 Rap, #76 R&B), and the title track. The album attracts further controversy with its album cover art, featuring Ice-T’s then girlfriend (later ex-wife) Darlene Ortiz in a barely there white bikini, brandishing a shotgun, standing next to Ice and DJ Evil E. On the back cover, it is revealed that Ice and E are also holding guns behind their backs. In spite of the criticism, it becomes Ice-T’s biggest selling album, spinning off two singles including “I’m Your Pusher” (#13 R&B). Original US vinyl LP’s feature embossed cover graphics on the front of the jacket. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued by Rhino Records in 2014. “Power” peaks at number six on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirty six on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.