Throwback

Westside Connection’s Biggest Hit Was Almost Jacked By Dr. Dre

A dozen years before Slaughterhouse formed, Westside Connection was one of Hip-Hop's super-groups. Following a run of acclaimed solo albums and hit movie success, Ice Cube merged with longtime associate WC and protege, Mack 10. The Connect-Gang formed, with The M.A.A.D. Circle's DJ Crazy Toones (Dub's brother) coming along behind... Read more

PMD Discusses Yo! MTV Raps’ Ed Lover Being One Of The Best Freestylers On The Planet (Audio)

From its inception in 1988 to its final episode in 1995, Yo! MTV Raps was a top springboard for Hip-Hop artists. It was an opportunity to showcase skills and unique styles on one of the largest platforms available to the genre. In an interview with HipHopDX, Parrish "PMD" Smith spoke... Read more

Slick Rick Revisits His Great Adventures 30 Years Later

This November, Slick Rick will celebrate the 30th anniversary of his debut album, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick. Its influence is immeasurable and inspired legends like Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg, and more. And it's evident. Rick's witty wordplay and effortless flow on the album also made him stand... Read more

See Jada Pinkett Call Out Eazy-E For Misogyny In His Music The First Time They Met (Video)

In addition to a prominent acting career, Jada Pinkett Smith is renowned for her activism. Pinkett's calls to social justice have spanned decades. Now, Heads who may have missed it at the time are getting a look at how prophetic she was, even by the age of 20. Back in... Read more

A 1993 JAY-Z Battle Shows He Was Already Dope Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (Video)

Back in the early 1990s, before many MCs had coveted record deals, they got their profiles up and buzzes hot through battling. This is the position JAY-Z was in back in 1993, as he was still two years away from founding his independent label, Roc-A-Fella Records, and was only known... Read more

A New Video Shows The Music OutKast Had In The Caddy To Make A Classic Album

Yesterday (April 26) marked the 24th anniversary of OutKast's debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. Looking back, the LP's influence stretches wide, especially for southern Hip-Hop. The Funk-laden, groovy tunes André 3000, Big Boi, and producers/musicians Organized Noize brought to the culture set the standard for everything that wasn't New York or West... Read more

Fat Joe Talks About The Time Big L Said He Was Going To Steal All Joe’s Fans (Video)

In 1997, Diggin' In The Crates was in strong stride. The New York City MC and producer collective saw albums by O.C., and Diamond D. Fat Joe was one of the members of the crew that was on the rise. The following year, Joe earned a gold plaque through third... Read more

Rakim Hilariously Details His High Stakes Slap-Boxing Match With LL Cool J (Video)

Being a legendary MC comes with a lot of praise, pressure, and stories. Rakim's faced or experienced a lot of all three, and when it comes to interviews over the years, "the God MC" has treated Heads to a lot of great tales. For example, one of those stories was... Read more

Tupac Hit Up Many More People Than Biggie In His Original Makaveli Liner Notes

Tupac was not alive for the release of his fifth solo album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. However, he was promoting and working on the LP at the time of his September 13, 1996 death. Fresh off the success of double-album, All Eyez On Me, Tupac wrote and... Read more

DJ Premier Speaks About How Real Moment Of Truth Was For Hip-Hop & Gang Starr (Video)

On March 30, 1998, Gang Starr stepped forth with Moment Of Truth. Guru and DJ Premier had taken four years since giving the masses their seminal album, Hard To Earn, and Hip-Hop was at a pivotal place in history. "We had platinum-respect. You'd think we were platinum artists that sold... Read more

25 Years Ago, ONYX Knew Just How To Make Heads Back Up & Slam (Video)

On Friday (March 30), ONYX's debut album Bacdafucup turned 25 years old. The LP is quintessential Big Apple "tough-guy Rap" and perhaps one of the more hardcore Hip Hop albums of all-time. Back in 1991, the group sent a demo of some of their earliest music to Jam Master Jay,... Read more

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