Throwback

Coolio Explains Why His Tupac Collaboration Was Deliberately Erased (Video)

In the mid-1990s, two of the biggest stars in music were rappers, Coolio and Tupac Shakur. At the 38th Grammy Awards in February of 1996, the two men competed for "Best Rap Solo Performance." Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" took the trophy home, while Tupac's "Dear Mama" joined singles by Biggie, Dr.... Read more

Kurupt Recalls Snatching The “New York, New York” Beat Back From Biggie

In September of 1995, Tha Dogg Pound released the first single from their debut album, Dogg Food. "New York, New York" proved to be a controversial record, even if it is rooted in a 1983 Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five single. The '95 Death Row Records version arrived five... Read more

Amy Winehouse’s Found Demo Showcases How Much Soul She Had At 17 (Audio)

When Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 27, the music community was shaken to its core after losing one of its boldest vocalists. Early in her short-lived career, the beehive-haired British singer's musical hybrid of R&B, Jazz, retro-Soul and Hip-Hop on her 2003 debut album Frank gained... Read more

This Fast-Paced Documentary On 1977 NYC Shows Hip-Hop’s Playground (Video)

From The Get Down to The Deuce, 1970s New York City has become a recent beacon of pop culture inspiration. At the time, the Big Apple seemed defined by countercultures. Within the five boroughs, politics, sex, crime, and the fight for equal rights would help shape critical advancements in music,... Read more

15 Years Ago, 50 Cent Plotted A Pathway From Underdog To Superstar

Fifteen years ago today (February 6, 2003), Queens, New York's 50 Cent took the world by storm with his debut album, Get Rich Or Die Tryin'. When Curtis Jackson burst onto the mainstream scene with a survivalist story, vendetta vocals, and Eminem and Dr. Dre in his corner, the industry... Read more

An New Video Shows The Rise Of The Soulquarians & Why Things Fell Apart

During the week of special engagements leading up to last Sunday's Grammy Awards, The Roots held a four-day residency at The Gramercy Theatre in Manhattan. During the day, the three-time Grammy-winners programmed events that included the first live taping of Questlove Supreme with guest Common, as well as a Black... Read more

Nas’ Original Demo For “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” Left No Doubt He Would Prevail (Audio)

It's not uncommon for rappers to commence in their teens or even become famous in those years. Rakim was 19 when Paid In Full was released. LL Cool J was 17 when his debut arrived. Big Boi and André 3000 from OutKast were teens when they started, as was Joey... Read more

Kool G Rap Explains How Record Label Politics Made Him Lose Like The Ill Street Blues

Twenty-five years ago today, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo released their third album, Live & Let Die. Featuring singles "Ill Street Blues" and "On The Run," the Cold Chillin' Records release marked a shift for the Queens, New York MC and DJ team. The release would be the final... Read more

By All Means Necessary: How Boogie Down Productions Was Formed Against All Odds (Video)

"You could call a man a bum with disgust on your morning run. 'Cause he lives outside in the street, you don't know this, but you've failed to realize that the one you so despise reflects yourself  'cause every Black man is homeless." KRS-One has never hidden the fact that... Read more

This Mix Salutes 1987’s Def Jam Tour With LL Cool J, P.E., Eric B. & Rakim and Whodini

By 1987 Def Jam Records had solidified a foothold in the Hip-Hop music landscape. While labels like Sugar Hill, Enjoy, Jive, and Profile Records had released some truly incredible singles, Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin's three-year-old outfit was fast embracing the Rap album format. Moreover, they had a diverse roster—in... Read more

Rah Digga’s Lost Album Featuring J Dilla & No I.D. Production Has Been Released (Audio)

There were 10 long years between Rah Digga's celebrated 2000 debut Dirty Harriet and her follow-up collaboration with producer Nottz, Classic. In that time, Digga left her post as "the First Lady of Flipmode Squad" alongside Busta Rhymes and went fully independent, where she remains today. Rah Digga Rates Nicki... Read more

Diamond D’s “Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop” Is A Hip-Hop Classic That Still Burns Strong

Today (September 22) marks 25 years since the release of Diamond D's landmark debut album Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop. In this era when the MC/producers like J. Cole, Kanye West, and Logic are celebrated among music's biggest stars, this silver anniversary is significant to their career as commercially viable artists transcending... Read more

Too Short vs. MC Hammer: 2 Of Oakland’s Finest Were Beefing Subliminally

In the year between September of 1990 and 1991, three Oakland, California Hip-Hop acts would have albums receive platinum certification. Digital Underground would be first, with Sex Packets. In January of the new year, Too Short secured a plaque with Short Dog's In The House. M.C. Hammer would follow two... Read more

See The Full Historic Conversation & Cypher Between Mos Def, Big Pun, Canibus & DMX (Video)

Twenty years ago, Hip-Hop was in crosswinds. Microphones were grabbed by emerging voices from across the landscape, geographically, stylistically, and regarding content. As the genre collected itself following the sudden and tragic killings of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, it wanted new sounds, messages, and conversations. Mos Def & Dave... Read more

D’Angelo & DJ Premier Cooked Up This Remix Years Before They Made Devil’s Pie (Audio)

In 1998, D'Angelo cut up a slice of "Devil's Pie" with Gang Starr's DJ Premier. The metaphoric groove appeared in Belly (and its soundtrack), and also on the Virginia singer's sophomore LP, Voodoo. The beat that Canibus reportedly passed on became just the injection the man born Michael Archer hoped... Read more

O.C.’s “Jewelz” At 20: It May Be The True Diamond In His Discography

Following the assassinations of the Rap industry's biggest stars The Notorious B.I.G. in 1997 and Tupac Shakur one year prior, the genre was a powder keg that exploded. The remaining stars of Hip-Hop were trying to figure out how to clean up the mess. Some hardcore outfits like Wu-Tang Clan... Read more

Biz Markie Details How He Made The Mazda MPV A Hip-Hop Symbol

Biz Markie sat down with Questlove for the most recent episode of Questlove Supreme. There, the acclaimed MC/DJ/producer and super-collector had a lengthy and lighthearted conversation about his 35-year-career. Throwback: Classic Audio of Rakim and Biz Markie Rhyming in High School (Audio) Quest', a fellow collector, presses Biz about his... Read more

Redman, Erick Sermon & Keith Murray Freestyle To The Def Over “Who Shot Ya” (Audio)

1998 was arguably the strongest year of the East Coast's resurgence during the West Coast Gangsta Rap-dominated decade. Radio stations across the map, and music video channels BET and MTV, were putting a diverse mix of music from New York City representatives DMX, N.O.R.E., Nas, Big Pun, Cam'ron, Ma$e, Biggie... Read more

O.D.B. Was One Of The First To Co-Sign Kanye As An MC. The Receipt Proves It (Audio)

In 2002, during an era where mainstream Hip-Hop appeared heavily saturated with gangsterism and hustler narratives, a preppy, middle-class, pink Polo shirt-rockin’ producer from the Chicago suburbs shocked the Rap game by signing to Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records at its pinnacle. While renowned for his distinctive, soulful production, Kanye West had... Read more

In 1995, Redman Reloaded Biggie’s “Who Shot Ya?” With A Machine Gun Funk Freestyle (Audio)

At least once a week, heralded British DJ Tim Westwood opens up his vaults and shares goodies from his 30 years in the Hip-Hop game. Today's (July 27), it's a time travel back to 1995. The Notorious B.I.G. had just released "Who Shot Ya?" a B-side single that even apart... Read more

10 Years Ago, Blu & Exile’s “Below The Heavens” Resurrected Underground Rap

Ten years ago (July 17, 2007), Blu & Exile combined forces for their Below The Heavens album. At a time when so-called "underground Hip-Hop" was sounding like a passé term, if not taken as an unintended diss, these two Southern Californians excited the culture through very straightforwardly channeling their souls... Read more

Cold 187um Claims Dr. Dre Jacked His G-Funk & Names Songs To Prove It (Audio)

This week, The Defiant Ones docu-series is telling Dr. Dre's story. Twenty-five years ago, the N.W.A. co-founder released his solo debut, The Chronic. The first album on Death Row Records is credited for galvanizing G-Funk, a type of sample-based sound in Gangsta Rap that propelled the sub-genre into the MTV/Top... Read more

Jimmy Iovine Reveals He Was Behind Suge Knight Bailing Tupac Out Of Jail

In October of 1995, Tupac Shakur signed with Death Row Records. Reportedly inking his deal on a napkin, Pac joined Dr. Dre and Suge Knight's reigning and equally notorious record label. In that transaction, Shakur was able to post bail and leave Clinton Correctional Facility. In a matter of days,... Read more

A New Mix Tells Rakim’s Story Through His Spoken Words & Music (Audio)

Friday (July 7) marked a major milestone for Hip-Hop. Eric B. & Rakim's debut album Paid In Full celebrated its 30th birthday. With the event, Eric and Rakim reunited at the Apollo Theater for their first concert together in approximately 25 years. In support of the anniversary, more than 20... Read more

Nas Performs “Hate Me Now” With A Brass Band & It’s All Love (Video)

Rakim, Prodigy, Queen Latifah, Talib Kweli, and Joey Bada$$ are just a few of the big names in Rap music who have shared the stage with the Soul Rebels, an award-winning brass band enjoying the biggest success of its 20+ year career thanks to worldwide tours and appearances on some... Read more

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony Deliberately Erased Eazy-E’s Verse From E. 1999 Eternal (Video)

Eazy-E was greatly involved in Bone Thugs-n-Harmony debut EP, Creepin' On Ah Come Up. He produced the intro, co-produced "Foe Tha Love Of $" with DJ Yella, and appeared on three songs. Thirteen months later, Bone followed up their half-hour debut with their first full-length, E. 1999 Eternal. Eazy, who... Read more

MC Eiht Explains How He & DJ Quik Recorded Their Historic Collaborations (Audio)

In April, DJ Quik and Problem released the full-length edition of their Rosecrans album, building on their EP of the same title (dropped a year prior). Notably, the 12 track Compton-made LP featured an unexpected guest: MC Eiht. Decades ago, what began as a Rap beef between Quik and Eiht reportedly inspired... Read more

How Laurence Fishburne & Spike Lee Are Tied To Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines” Video

Writer and director Ernest Dickerson, perhaps best known for his 1992 directorial debut Juice, worked extensively with Spike Lee in the 1980s and ’90s as his cinematographer. Together, they created a myriad of important films like She’s Gotta Have It, Do The Right Thing and Malcolm X. Sitting down with... Read more

Chuck D Tells Kool Moe Dee That Spike Lee Did For Public Enemy What Radio Wouldn’t (Video)

Kool Moe Dee is one of the first Hip-Hop solo stars. As Public Enemy's Chuck D points out, Kool Moe Dee went from one third of the Treacherous 3 MCs to a Jive Records soloist, complete with hits, battle beefs, and a career that went from the 1970s into the... Read more

25 Years Ago Today Kid ‘n Play Switched It Up For Class Act (Video)

While Kid 'n Play's Hip-Hop career dates back to 1987's Select Records breakout "Last Night," the '90s would be their definitive decade. Christopher "Kid" Reid and Christopher "Play" Martin brought their showmanship to film, in a big way. In 1990, the pair were incredibly busy. In addition to a self-titled... Read more

Wu-Tang Is Forever. Check The Mathematics Behind The Clan’s 20 Year Old Double LP

This weekend (June 3) marks 20 years since Wu-Tang Clan released its sophomore album, Wu-Tang Forever. While GZA may have kicked the science to "Make it brief, son: half short and twice strong" on album cut "As High As Wu-Tang Get," this 1997 album was indeed potent, but far from... Read more

On Big L’s 43rd Birthday, This Freestyle Shows Why His Rhymes Are Immortal (Video)

May 30 marks the birthday of Lamont "Big L" Coleman. The Harlem, New Yorker was born 43 years ago today. While he died more than 18 years ago, at a time when many believe his career was reaching its next level, the member of D.I.T.C. and Children Of The Corn... Read more

Teddy Riley Says A Fatal Fight With New Edition Led To His Leaving Guy (Audio)

In 1990, Guy was one of the biggest R&B acts in the world. Teddy Riley, Aaron Hall, Damian Hall (following the exit of Timmy Gatling) would release two platinum albums for Uptown/MCA Records. Pioneers of the New Jack Swing, the group released an onslaught of hits like "Groove Me," "Let's... Read more

The Story Of Biggie’s Ominous Life After Death Photo Shoot Is Told By The Photographer

On March 25, 1997, The Notorious B.I.G.'s posthumous album, Life After Death, dropped. In one of the eeriest examples of art imitating life (or is it the other way around?), the album's title, artwork, and much of its track list dealt with foreshadowing mortality. On the LP cover, Biggie posed with... Read more

Teddy Riley Reveals Some Of Heavy D’s Biggest Hits Were Meant For Wreckx-N-Effect

UPDATE: Teddy Riley's full Red Bull Music Academy Festival lecture video with Jeff "Chairman" Mao: ORIGINAL MAY 15 POST: Earlier this month, artist/producer Teddy Riley appeared before a live New York City audience as part of the Red Bull Music Academy speaker series. There, the Harlem, New Yorker spoke about... Read more

25 Years Later, Listening To Gang Starr Remains A Daily Operation (Video)

Twenty five years ago today (May 5, 1992), Gang Starr's two-man crew of the late Guru and DJ Premier released their third album, Daily Operation. Less than a year and a half prior, the Brooklyn, New York-based pair proved that they were a 1980s Hip-Hop group on a heavy upward... Read more

It’s Record Store Day. Go Back & Tour Hip-Hop’s Most Famous Vinyl Destination (Video)

Hip Hop music started in the early 1970s, when DJs used at least two turntables and their vinyl records to prolong the sections of songs that dancers and party-goers most responded to. By the end of the decade, rappers and DJs were making their own Hip-Hop records, including hits by... Read more

In 1991, Ice Cube Spoke With Angela Davis About Using Rap To Wake Up The People (Video)

In 1991, the Hip-Hop world awaited Ice Cube's follow-up to his 1990 solo debut, AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted. The former N.W.A. member had taken a bold step in pursuing a career of his own, and even more so by enlisting the help of definitively East Coast-sounding production crew, Bomb Squad, to... Read more

Ice-T Provides Some Rare Facts About The Song That Nearly Killed His Rap Career (Video)

This week, Ice-T's Heavy Metal band Body Count will release their sixth album, Bloodlust. In doing so, the 35-year Rap pioneer is releasing his first full-length project in nearly three years. Just as Tracy Morrow does on TV, in film, and has always done in music, he strikes with a... Read more

Devin The Dude Explains How Without Scarface, He Would Have Rapped A Lot Less

Devin The Dude and Scarface are two Houston, Texas icons who are credited with helping elevate Southern Hip-Hop and making it as competitive as any other city on Rap's map. Both born in 1970, the two are equally synonymous with Rap-A-Lot Records, where 'Face found a home with Geto Boys... Read more

Phife Dawg’s Spirit & Legacy Remain A Powerful Presence, 1 Year After His Death

On March 22, 2016, Phife Dawg (born Malik Taylor) passed away due to complications with kidney disease, itself a result of his lifelong battle with diabetes. The A Tribe Called Quest rapper and radiant Hip-Hop personality left behind a legacy not easily calculated in words. However, over the course of... Read more

AMG Breaks Down How DJ Quik, 2nd II None & Hi-C All Cliqued Up (Video)

In late 1980s and early 1990s, there were a number of Greater Los Angeles Hip-Hop collectives. From N.W.A. and Compton's Most Wanted to Low Profile/WC & Maad Circle and Rhyme Syndicate, many crews had famous names and songs attached to their movements. At the turn of the '90s, DJ Quik... Read more

Kanye West Recalls Watching J Dilla Work. He Compares Him To Quincy (Video)

In 2005, Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music was the label responsible for Common's sixth album, Be. That album, which was Common's first Top 10 release (debuting at #2) was critical to the Chicago, Illinois MC's career, and transformation. While West was responsible for nine of the LP's 11 tracks, the other... Read more

DJ Red Alert Offers Some Deep History About Why The Bridge Wars Really Started (Video)

Hip-Hop's biggest story-line in March of 2017 is a Bronx MC apparently responding to an MC from Queens on the microphone in back-to-back disses. Thirty years ago today (March 3, 1987), that tactic was introduced by Boogie Down Productions' two-song arsenal on Criminal Minded used against MC Shan, producer Marley... Read more

Rare Video Reveals That B.D.P.’s Criminal Minded Was An Answer To Non-Believers

Thirty years ago this week (March 3, 1987), the direction and style of Hip-Hop forever changed thanks to Boogie Down Productions' debut album, Criminal Minded. With only "South Bronx" in wide circulation prior to the release of the B-Boy Records album, KRS-One and DJ Scott La Rock made a jaw-dropping... Read more

Erykah Badu Shares An Early Version Of On & On, Complete With A Rap (Video)

Twenty years ago this month (February 11, 1997), Erykah Badu opened the doors to her musical house of worship. Baduizm was a way of life, an inviting presentation of Soul music that stood apart from most of what was out there. Despite its refusal to conform to a very formulaic... Read more

From Kane To Whodini, This Mix Celebrates Hip-Hop & Love (Audio)

To those who celebrate it, Valentine's Day is about showing love to the ones you care about. While stores, radio stations, and restaurants pull out the love songs, nothing says that it cannot some really great Hip-Hop music. Genevan Heathen & Arnaud D compiled 34 Rap songs spanning the years... Read more

Erykah Badu Discusses The Making Of Baduizm On Its 20th Anniversary

Twenty years ago today (February 11, 1997) Erykah Badu opened the doors to her musical house of worship. Baduizm was a way of life, an inviting presentation of Soul music that stood apart from most of what was out there. Despite its refusal to conform to a very formulaic time... Read more

An Oral History Of Yo! Bum Rush The Show Reveals How P.E. Launched A Revolution

Thirty years ago today, one of Hip-Hop's most consistent forces unleashed its game-changing first album. On February 10, 1987, Public Enemy debuted Yo! Bum Rush The Show. The story began half a decade before. Meanwhile, 30 calendars deeper, Heads are still learning interesting facts and anecdotes about the Def Jam... Read more

This Oral History of ‘Rap City’ Follows The Show From The Basement To The Top Floor

For nearly 20 years, Rap City brought Hip-Hop in its various forms into the lives of millions, helping elevate the once-fledgling culture into the mainstream. Easily the longest-running Hip-Hop show in television history, it lived on BET from 1989 to 2008 and showcased music videos Rap fans couldn't see anywhere... Read more