Category: hip hop

twixnmix:Bobby Brown, Salt-N-Pepa and Ike Turn…

twixnmix:

Bobby Brown, Salt-N-Pepa and Ike Turner at the Rhythm & Blues Foundation

Pioneer Awards in 1995.

On this day in music history: July 20, 1993 – …

On this day in music history: July 20, 1993 – “Black Sunday”, the second album by Cypress Hill is released. Produced by DJ Muggs, it is recorded at 38 Fresh Studios, Image Recroding in Hollywood, CA, Soundtrack Studios, Baby Monster Studios, Green Street Studios, Chung King Studios in New York City and Studio 4 Recording in Philadelphia, PA from Early 1992 – Early 1993. Thrust into the spotlight on the strength of their Platinum selling self-titled debut album, Cypress Hill will find themselves unprepared to follow it up. Having spent nearly three years working on their first album, the group tour incessantly in support of it. The extended time on the road leaves them little time to work on material for their sophomore release. By late 1992, Cypress Hill’s record label Columbia Records begins pressing them for a follow up. DJ Muggs, B-Real and Sen Dog feverishly write and record songs for what becomes “Black Sunday” in only two months. As a result, much of the material revisits themes explored on their first album (though taking on a more ominous and darker vibe), including tales of street violence (“Lick A Shot”, “Cock The Hammer”), and their passion for the almighty herb (“Legalize It”, “Hits From The Bong”). Two previously released tracks “Hand On The Glock” (originally the B-side of the withdrawn “Hand On The Pump” 12") and “A To The K” (included on the “White Men Can’t Rap” EP) are also included on the album. The album’s centerpiece is its first single “Insane In The Brain” (#19 Pop, #27 R&B, #14 Rap). Though much of its lyrical content seems ambiguous on the surface, the song is written as a diss track, pointed at rapper Chubb Rock. Cypress Hill had felt disprespected by the New York rapper by mocking B-Real and Sen Dog’s vocal delivery on his album “I Gotta Get Mine Yo”. Lyrics on “Insane” unquestionably directed at Chubb Rock include the couplets “Do my shit undercover, now it’s time for the blubba, Blabber, to watch that belly get fatter, Fat boy on a diet, don’t try it, I’ll jack yo’ ass like a looter in a riot”. The video for “Insane In The Brain” is filmed at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco, CA, with the single being released a month ahead of the album in June of 1993. It quickly becomes a hit, with the video going into power rotation on MTV. The major exposure helps Cypress Hill to broaden their audience beyond their core Hip Hop and college radio fans, to being embraced by the Alt-Rock music crowd. “Black Sunday” leaps on the Billboard pop and R&B album charts at number one, pushing U2’s “Zooropa” out of the top spot on the former chart. The album rockets pass their debut in sales, spinning off two more singles including “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That” (#65 Pop, #86 R&B, #21 Rap) and “When The Shit Goes Down”. It also earns two Grammy nominations in 1994, for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. Appearing as a headlining act on festival tours like Lollapalooza, Woodstock ‘94 and Smoking Grooves, turn Cypress Hill into one of the biggest acts in rap during the 90’s. The group also appear as themselves on The Simpsons episode “Homerpalooza”, with “Insane In The Brain” also appearing in the films Bulworth,  Scary Movie 2 and on the video game Saints Row IV. Released with both the original uncensored and censored radio versions, later repressings of the album excise the vocal sample of The Youngbloods’ “All Over the World (La La)” (the lyric “I think I’m goin’ crazy…”) on “Insane”, by fading the track early. The is also reissued on vinyl several times, most recently in 2018 by Sony Legacy/We Are Vinyl. “Black Sunday” spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, spending four weeks at number one of the R&B album chart, and is certfied 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: July 18, 1981 – …

On this day in music history: July 18, 1981 – “Double Dutch Bus” by Frankie Smith hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 4 weeks, also peaking at #30 on the Hot 100 on August 15, 1981. Written and produced by Frankie Smith and Bill Bloom, it is the biggest hit for the singer, songwriter and musician from Philadelphia, PA. The nephew of legendary comedian and actor Pigmeat Markham (“Here Comes The Judge”), Frankie Smith becomes seriously involved in music while attending college in Tennessee. Upon returning to Philadelphia, Smith boldly walks into Philadelphia International Records and asks to meet founders Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Frankie tells the pair that he wants to work for them. Impressed with his bravado and drive, Gamble and Huff hire Frankie to work as a staff songwriter. While working there, Smith meets fellow songwriter Bill Bloom, who become fast friends and collaborators. They eventually leave PIR to work at WMOT Records. Prior to working at WMOT, and needing work, Frankie applies for a job as a bus driver for the transit authority. Having gone through the ins and outs of the hiring process, they don’t call him back. Smith and Bloom come up with idea for a rap song, having heard Philadelphia school kids speaking an updated form of Pig Latin slang while playing the jump rope game Double Dutch. Certain that they have a potential hit on their hands, they try to convince the label to let them record it. Initially resistant to the idea, eventually WMOT relents and allows them to record the song at the end of a session with Fat Larry’s Band (“Act Like You Know”). Still irritated by his recent encounter with the bus company, that is also incorporated into the lyrics which are mostly improvised on the spot. The initial vocal on “Double Dutch Bus” is laden with profanity. It is re-recorded to make the track more “radio friendly”. Released in February of 1981, the record becomes an immediate smash at street level and in clubs, before eventually making its way on to radio. Like the success of The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” and Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks” before it, “Double Dutch Bus” becomes another instance of where rap music and hip hop culture bridges the gap between inner city street culture and mainstream suburbia. It makes history by selling over a million copies in both 7" and 12" single formats, becoming the first single since Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer’s “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” to achieve that sales plateau. In spite of his huge hit, Frankie Smith sees little in the way of actual financial reward. WMOT fails to pay him royalties which lead to tax issues with the IRS. Eventually, WMOT is shuttered when a federal investigation reveals that the label has long been a front for laundering drug money. The song is later sampled on a remix of Bomb The Bass’ “Beat Dis” and Missy Elliott’s “Gossip Folks”. “Double Dutch Bus” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

Born on this day: July 17, 1961 – Hip Hop icon…

Born on this day: July 17, 1961 – Hip Hop icon Guru of Gang Starr (born Keith Edward Elam in Roxbury, MA). Happy Birthday to this great MC and lyricist on what would have been his 57th Birthday.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: July 15, 1997 – …

On this day in music history: July 15, 1997 – “Supa Dupa Fly”, the debut album by Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott" is released. Produced by Timbaland, it is recorded at Master Sound Studios in Virginia Beach, VA from Mid 1996 – Mid 1997. Born in Portsmouth, VA, Melissa Arnette “Missy” Elliott grows up singing, with music at the center of her life. It becomes even more of a refuge when her parents volatile marriage ends, after she and her mother escape from her physically abusive father. During this time, Missy forms a singing group with three friends, naming themselves Fayze. With childhood friend Timothy “Timbaland” Moseley, they write songs and record demos. The group meet DeVante Swing of Jodeci, who offers to work with them. Signing his Elektra distributed Swing Mob Records, they’re re-named Sista. In spite of nearly four years of hard work, their debut album is shelved by Elektra, with only one song being released on the soundtrack to “Dangerous Minds” in 1995. Though Sista breaks up, Missy makes in roads as a songwriter and backing vocalist, singing and rapping on the remix of Gina Thompson’s “The Things That You Do”, and writing songs with Timbaland for Jodeci, Tony Thompson, SWV, 702 and Aaliyah. It is with Aaliyah that the pair cement their rep as serious hit makers, when they write and produce most of the singer’s second album “One In A Million” in 1996. Its Double Platinum success, leads to Elliott being signed to Atlantic subsidiary East West Records, to record as a solo artist. Masterfully blending R&B, funk and Hip Hop with Missy’s distinctive vocals as both a singer and rapper, “Supa Dupa Fly” announces her arrival. It features guest appearances by Lil’ Kim, Busta Rhymes, Aaliyah, 702, Ginuwine, Da Brat, and Magoo. Led by an innovative reconstruction of Ann Peebles soul classic “I Can’t Stand The Rain”, re-titled “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” (#4 R&B), it breaks the album wide open. The song is also aided by innovative visuals, courtesy of director Hype Williams (LL Cool J, Aaliyah, Puff Daddy). One of the most striking features of the video is Missy herself, dancing, wearing oversized wrap around shades, and giant trash bag suit inflated with compressed air. Featuring sequences shot with a fish eye lens, and Williams’ signature techique of removing film frames, to make the subjects to make odd and jerky movements, it instantly grabs the public’s imagination. The album is a huge critical and commercial success, spinning off three more singles including “Sock It 2 Me” (Featuring Da Brat) (#3 R&B, #12 Pop) and “Beep Me 911” (Featuring 702 and Magoo) (#13 R&B Airplay). In time, “Supa Dupa Fly” is regarded as one of the best and most influential albums of the 90’s, taking R&B in a new and exciting direction. “Supa Dupa Fly” spends one week at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number three on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: July 14, 1998 – …

On this day in music history: July 14, 1998 – “Hello Nasty”, the fifth album by the Beastie Boys is released. Produced by the Beastie Boys and Mario Caldato, Jr., it is recorded at G-Son Studios in Atwater, CA, The Dungeon, Ted Diamond’s House Of Hits, RPM Studios, Soho Music Studios, and Dessau Studios in New York City from Early 1997 – Mid 1998. The group’s first new album in over four years, it marks the Beasties return to the more sample driven roots of their first two albums. The title is inspired by the groups publicity firm “Nasty Little Man”. The firms receptionist was known for greeting callers with the phrase “Hello Nasty”. The album also introduce new DJ Mixmaster Mike (Invisibl Skratch Piklz) to the group. It spins off four singles including “Intergalactic” (#28 Pop, #4 Modern Rock) and “Body Movin’” (#15 Modern Rock). “Nasty” also has a limited number (7,500 copies) that are pressed on clear gold vinyl. Production issues with the LP jackets being manufactured incorrectly results in many of the colored vinyl copies becoming warped during shipping, with the majority being recalled as defective. Rapturously received by fans and critics upon its release, the album sells nearly 700,000 copies in its first week. It also wins two Grammy Awards including Best Alternative Music Album and Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group for the single “Intergalactic” in 1999. The album is remastered on CD in 2009 in a two disc edition. The first disc contains the original twenty two song album. Disc two features twenty one bonus tracks including various non-album B-sides and remixes. It is also reissued as a double vinyl 180 gram LP, and as a limited edition four LP set (limited to 1,500 copies), with the latter containing all of the bonus material from the second CD. “Hello Nasty” debuts at number one on the Billboard Top 200 spending three weeks at the top, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: July 13, 1996 – …

On this day in music history: July 13, 1996 – “How Do U Want It” by 2Pac hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, with the B-side “California Love” peaking at #6 on June 22. 1996, also topping the R&B singles chart for 3 weeks on July 6, 1996. Written by Johnny J. and Tupac Shakur, it is the biggest hit for the prolific rap artist. Featuring K-Ci & JoJo Hailey of Jodeci on background vocals, it is the second single from Tupac’s fourth album “All Eyez On Me”. Co-written and produced by Johnny J (aka Johnny Lee Jackson), the track is based around samples of Quincy Jones’ classic “Body Heat” and Brian McKnight’s “Up Around My Way”. The single release of “How Do U Want It” also includes the original hit version of “California Love” featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman (of Zapp). When the album is released in February of 1996, it features a remixed version of the track. Entering the Hot 100 at #4 on June 29, 1996, it leaps to the top of the chart two weeks later. The single earns Tupac a posthumous Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group in 1997. “How Do U Want It” also appears in the rapper and actor’s last film (though not the soundtrack album) “Gang Related”, released thirteen months after his death in October of 1997. “How Do U Want It” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: July 9, 1991 – &…

On this day in music history: July 9, 1991 – “We Can’t Be Stopped” the third album by Geto Boys is released. Produced by Bushwick Bill, James Smith, John Bido, Johnny C., Roland, Scarface, Simon and Willie D, it is recorded at Rap-A-Lot Studio in Houston, TX in Mid 1991. Having sparked a virtual firestorm of controversy over their self-titled 1990 album, The Geto Boys’ label Rap-A-Lot Records returns to being an independently distributed entity. The group return to the studio, quickly writing and recording a new album in just a few short weeks. After it’s completed, founding member DJ Ready Red leaves the group. The DJ departs the Geto Boys, amidst tension with the other group members as well as feeling uncomfortable with the graphic and misogynistic nature of their music. Before the completed album is released, one of the other members nearly meets his maker. Stuggling with alcohol and substance abuse as well as depression, rapper Bushwick Bill asks his girlfriend to kill him with his own gun. Extremely inebriated on the potent liquor Everclear, orders her to take his life. Refusing to do so, Bill’s girlfriend attempts to take the gun away from him. In the tussle to get the weapon away from him, the gun goes off, hitting the rapper in his right eye. Rushed to the hospital, the injury from the gun shot wound makes it necessary for his eye to be removed. The bullet is lodged in his brain and cannot be removed, in order to avoid further injury or death. Scarface, Willie D. and their management team, rush to the hospital to see about Bill. Their managers take Bill out of his hospital room on a gurney, and ask the other two take a picture with him. Having him remove his eyepatch and intravenous drip from his injured eye, results in the graphic cover shots used for the Geto Boys new album. The group later express regret over the pictures, feeling it was exploiting a tragic event in order to sell records. However, album proves to be strong enough on its own merits. The first single “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” (#10 R&B, #23 Pop, #1 Rap) becomes an instant classic. Featuring a sample of Isaac Hayes’ “Hung Up On My Baby” (from the “Tough Guys” soundtrack), the song represents a major departure from the Geto Boys previous work. The song was originally intended for Scarface’s first solo album, but is kept for the group instead. The lyrics mediate on images of fear and paranoia, in part being inspired by Scarface’s own struggles with mental illness, and wanting to escape the streets. The single is accompanied by a music video that also propels it up the charts. Receiving major play on MTV, “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” earn the group crossover radio play, and give them their biggest hit. Regarded as one of the best singles of the 90’s, “Mind” propels “We Can’t Be Stopped” pass the Platinum mark in sales in the US, with the single itself selling nearly a million copies. The song is later featured on the video game “Grand Theft Auto V”, and on the Netflix series “Maniac”. The album spins off one further single with “I Ain’t With Being Broke” in early 1992. “We Can’t Be Stopped” peaks at number five on the Billboard R&B album chart, number twenty four on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: July 7, 1987 – &…

On this day in music history: July 7, 1987 – “Paid In Full”, the debut album by Eric B. & Rakim is released. Produced by Eric B. & Rakim, it is recorded at Marley Marl’s House Of Hits and Power Play Studios in New York City in Early 1986 and Mid 1987. Following the break out success of their debut single “Eric B. Is President”, released on New York independent label Zakia Records, Eric B. & Rakim are signed to Island Records subsidiary 4th & B’Way in early 1987. With the exception of “President”, the first album by the New York based DJ/Rap duo is recorded in only a weeks worth of studio time. Upon its release, it both firmly establishes Eric B. & Rakim  and set a new high water mark for rap music as an art form, both lyrically and production wise. Anchored by Rakim’s (aka William Griffin) unique vocal delivery and gift for intricate lyrical metaphors along with the production, breaks new ground within the genre, going on to inspire and influence generations of rappers and producers who follow them. The album is spin off five singles including “Eric B. Is President”, “I Know You Got Soul” and the title track. The albums iconic cover artwork features a photo of the duo wearing custom made “Gucci” garments from famed fashion designer Dapper Dan’s Harlem boutique, which become an enduring images in Hip Hop culture.  In 2003, a double CD Deluxe Edition of the album is released featuring a remastered disc of the original album, with the second CD containing  the original US and UK 12" single remixes and dub versions, including the “Seven Minutes Of Madness” remix of the title track by UK DJ/remixers Coldcut. An edited version of the Coldcut remix of “Paid In Full” is also issued as a limited edition 7" single by Get On Down Records, for Record Store Day in 2014. In and out of print since its original release, the vinyl LP is reissued as an exclusive limited edition pressing, through retailer and online site Turntable Lab in 2017. Limited to only 500 copies, the LP is pressed on “money green” colored vinyl, with an OBI strip displayed on the outer sleeve detailing the special release. It is also reissued on vinyl as part of a box set on July 13, 2018, featuring all four of the duos’ albums, pressed on double vinyl. “Paid In Full” peaks at number eight on the Billboard R&B album chart, number fifty eight on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

twixnmix: TLC photographed by Matthew Jordan …

twixnmix:

TLC photographed by Matthew Jordan Smith, 1994.