Throwback

Russell Simmons Crowns Def Jam’s Greatest Album & His Favorite Artist (Video)

Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin began releasing Def Jam Records singles in 1984. Started in a New York University dorm room (occupied by Rubin), the company would expand to become a reported $115 million property by the late 1990s. From original flagship artist LL Cool J, Def Jam would play... Read more

This Mix Of 1980s Hip-Hop Travels A Road Of Riches That Will Leave You Paid In Full (Audio)

When we look back in Hip-Hop, our gaze often hones in on the 90s, and rightfully so, as that era spawned Nas, Biggie, Wu-Tang Clang, Tupac, Jay-Z, OutKast, Snoop and so many other all-time greats. However, each of those legends will say it was MCs from the 80s who inspired... Read more

Here’s An Oral History Of The Making Of The Fat Boys’ “All You Can Eat”

More than 30 years after its release, Krush Groove remains an all-time favorite Hip-Hop film for many. The movie, which was loosely based on the rise of Def Jam Recordings, starred Blair Underwood, Sheila E., Run-D.M.C., Kurtis Blow and more, and featured appearances by several acts, including Beastie Boys, LL... Read more

Willie D Reveals The Origins Of Geto Boys’ “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” (Audio)

In the last three years, Scarface has had at least two very memorable interview conversations with the Combat Jack Show. In his latest episode, Combat sits down with another high profile Geto Boys member in Willie D. The Houston, Texas native and onetime Rap-A-Lot Records star discusses his views on... Read more

Producer Mike Mosley Reveals Several MCs Who Witnessed Tupac Record “Hit ‘Em Up” (Video)

In the mid-1990s, Tupac Shakur revamped his production personnel. While 1996's All Eyez On Me would be his first album at Death Row Records, working extensively with the label's production staff, those changes started taking shape even prior. On 1995's #1 LP, Me Against The World, 'Pac maintained a close... Read more

Prince & Big Daddy Kane’s 1989 “Batdance Remix” Is Finally Released (Audio)

In 1989, the Batman franchise relaunched with the title film starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Kim Basinger. For the soundtrack, Warner Bros. Records tapped Prince for an entire album companion to the blockbuster film. Led by single "Batdance," Prince's 11th album (and a #1 on the charts) appeared to... Read more

The Beatnuts Confirm Onetime “Secret Group” Including Q-Tip, Posdnuos & Juju (Audio)

For 25-plus years, The Beatnuts have been Hip-Hop multi-threats. The Queens, New York duo of Juju and Psycho Les (that also at times included Fashion and V.I.C.) have stories to go with their hits. Beyond their own prominent recording career, the pair has made beloved songs for Ghostface Killah, Fat... Read more

Celebrate Redman’s Birthday With This Rare 1995 Funk Doc Prescription (Audio)

Today (April 17) is Reggie Noble's birthday. The man better known as Redman has been giving Hip-Hop Heads quote-worthy verses, one-of-a-kind charisma, and sheer originality for more than 25 years. In all of that time, he has been one tough mudder on the mic. In 1995, Funk Doc was in... Read more

Maxwell Ascended 20 Years Ago & We Haven’t Wondered About Soul Music Since (Video)

A lot of people owe their lives to Maxwell, quite literally. When the super Soul singer unleashed his Urban Hang Suite 20 years ago this month (April 2), it was a potent arrow from Cupid's quiver for lovers of music and lovers, generally. The album quickly became the soundtrack for... Read more

Witness The Greatness Of Run-DMC With This Rare 1985 Concert (Video)

On this day in 1984 (March 27), Run-D.M.C. released their seminal debut eponymous album. In the canon of game-changing Hip-Hop albums, that album is one of the first, and possibly the biggest. Run, D.M.C., and Jam Master Jay synthesized the hardness they heard in the genre's pioneers, and adapted it... Read more

Here’s A Never Before Released Fugees Freestyle From 1995 That Settles The Score (Audio)

In 1995, The Fugees were in between Underground Hip-Hop obscurity and super-stardom. The year prior, they had released Blunted On Reality. In early '96, they would rake in the multiple platinum plaques with the aptly-titled The Score. According to mentor and producer Salaam Remi, it was in '95 that the New Jersey... Read more

Watch Nate Dogg Freestyle A Hook & See Why He Will Forever Regulate (Video)

Five years ago today (March 15, 2011), the world lost Nate Dogg. The four-time Grammy-nominated hit-maker and founding member of 213 injected a Gospel Soul sensibility into Hip-Hop through three solo albums, a group record, and hits for Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Tupac, Ludacris, Mos Def, Eminem, and... Read more

Many Have Never Seen Mos Def’s First Music Video. Here It Is.

The mighty Mos Def (n/k/a Yasiin Bey) has a Hip-Hop career that spans well over 20 years. The Brooklyn, New York MC burst on the scene care of major appearances alongside De La Soul, Da Bush Babees, and DJ Honda—but he had his own thing brewing, even before Rawkus Records... Read more

Sha Rock Was the First Female MC on National TV. Here’s Her 1981 Performance (Video)

On Valentine's Day in 1981, when Hip-Hop was by and large a completely unrecognized cultural form, national television aired the first appearance by a female rapper. 35 years later, during Woman's History Month, footage of that historic performance has re-surfaced, and it is a remarkable trip down the proverbial Memory... Read more

Mister Cee Explains Why Biggie’s “Ready To Die” Sounds Like 2 Different Albums

This morning (March 9), Brooklyn, New York DJ/producer/radio personality Mister Cee appeared on Sway In The Morning. On the 19th anniversary of The Notorious B.I.G.'s tragic (and unsolved) murder, Cee recalled his hand in turning a street-corner MC into arguably Rap's greatest ever. Beginning the interview, Mister Cee recalls friend... Read more

This Oral History of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Shows Why Their Music Is Eternal.

Last year, Cleveland, Ohio Hip-Hop group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony celebrated the 20th anniversary of their iconic album, E. 1999 Eternal. In recognition of the milestone, the five-member crew undertook a massive tour, an opportunity for fans both young and old to reconnect with music that influenced a generation. Bizzy Bone, Flesh-n-Bone, Krayzie... Read more

O.D.B. Put The “Free” In Freestyle In This 1995 Outburst (Audio)

Twenty years ago this week, O.D.B. was waiting to see if he would win the Grammy for "Best Rap Album." The 1995 debut, Return To The 36 Chambers (The Dirty Version) would ultimately lose to Naughty By Nature's Poverty's Paradise, but the unconventional Brooklyn, New York MC was clearly reaching... Read more

A Track Tupac Produced & Wrote For MC Hammer Surfaces & It’s Too Tight (Audio & Video)

To describe Tupac as prolific in the eleven months after his release from prison and before his death would be a gross understatement. According to reports, Pac recorded more than 14 songs in the first two weeks after his return home and, over the next several months, he had enough... Read more

Ever Hear Dr. Dre’s Lost Song “My Life” From ’95? It’s One Of His Best (Audio)

Twenty years ago, Dr. Dre was gathering his things as he prepared to exit Death Row Records. As the legend has it, the label co-founder would relinquish his master recordings, and his stake in the multi-platinum dynasty. At the time, the label was overseen by Marion "Suge" Knight—Dre's manager and... Read more

Rick Rubin Shares Memories Of His First Time Ever Recording With LL Cool J

LL Cool J's career is greatly owed to Rick Rubin, at least his discovery. And perhaps Rick Rubin's own success is largely owed to the gravitas of LL Cool J. The breakthrough Def Jam Records artist would be one of the earliest label acts, on the fledgling imprint launched by... Read more

Fugees Producer Salaam Remi Explains How They Went From Underground MCs To Global Superstars

Twenty years ago, The Fugees released The Score. The February 13, 1996 album transformed the trio of Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Pras from New Jersey Underground Hip-Hop hopefuls to cultural icons. The RuffHouse/Sony Records album would go six-times platinum in the United States alone, and eventually pivot to everything... Read more

Snoop Shows Why He’s The Boss Dogg on This 20-Minute 1996 Freestyle (Audio)

1996 was a tumultuous year for the artist known as Snoop Doggy Dogg. The Long Beach, California Rap superstar was acquitted for a murder trial that had started shortly after his skyrocketing fame. In the exhalation of that, he was soon faced with the murder of close friend and collaborator... Read more

Del The Funky Homosapien & Souls Of Mischief’s 1997 Freestyle Is A Purist’s Paradise (Audio)

In 1997, the Hieroglyphics crew was embarking on the early stages of an independent Hip-Hop empire. Del The Funky Homosapien (or "Del Tha Funkee Homosapien" as it was at the time) had released two heralded albums with Elektra Records. The Oakland, California quarter of Souls of Mischief has been part... Read more

Press Play On Jeru The Damaja’s 1991-1992 Guru-Produced Demo (Audio)

Jeru The Damaja emerged as one of—if not the biggest star of the Gang Starr Foundation. The Brooklyn, New York MC would sign with Guru's Ill Kid Records in the early 1990s, before releasing acclaimed DJ Premier-produced albums The Sun Rises In The East and Wrath Of The Math. Both... Read more

Imagine If The CREAM Sample Wu-Tang Used Went to KRS Instead. It Almost Happened… (Audio)

K-Def is one accomplished producer. The New Jersey native is known for his extensive discography, which includes work with Lords Of The Underground, UGK, and Puff Daddy. The onetime protege of Marley Marl, K-Def has maintained a career in music for nearly 25 years. In 1993, Def was hard at... Read more

Leon Haywood’s 1975 Freaky Funk Would Light The Chronic (Audio)

Leon Haywood's musical career extends more than 60 years. The Houston, Texas Soul singer and composer would spend part of the 1960s playing keyboards for Sam Cooke's band. On the side, Haywood would ink deals with Decca and Imperial Records, and start cutting his own sides. Right from the onslaught,... Read more

The Third Member Of JayLib Comes Through With A Fresh J Dilla Mix

Los Angeles, California-based producer/turntablist J Rocc has been one of the biggest purveyors of J Dilla's legacy. The Beat Junkies co-founder and official third member of JayLib (J Dilla & Madlib's group) is among the supporters of next month's J Dilla Weekend (February 5-7) in Miami, Florida. As he has... Read more

This 1997 Underground Hip-Hop Radio Show Includes A Rare Madlib Freestyle (Audio)

In late 1997, Madlib was a fledgling MC/producer. The Oxnard, California artist had laced a handful of joints for Tha Alkaholiks and Boot Camp Clik's O.G.C, while trying to get his Lootpack group off. In those days, as expected, not a lot of people were yet checking for the would-be... Read more

Eminem & Proof’s Legendary 1999 Freestyle Is Re-Released In Its Entirety (Video)

1999 was thee year for Eminem's career. Three years removed from Infinite, the Detroit, Michigan MC would team with Dr. Dre and Aftermath Entertainment to unleash The Slim Shady LP in February and things have only exploded since. That year, Em' would travel overseas, including making a stop to Tim... Read more

Just Blaze Flipped This Supertramp Song & Made It Breathe For Fabolous (Audio)

Whether or not 1970s Rock & Roll is part of your playlist, chances are you've heard Supertramp. The London, England group was active from the late 1960s to the late '80s, and last year began some reunion touring and recording. "The Logical Song" and "The Long Way Home" are two... Read more

A Tribe Called Quest & Leaders Of The New School Perform Scenario Remix in 1992 (Video)

Footage of A Tribe Called Quest and Leaders of the New School performing "Scenario" is rare. Video of them performing the remix of that classic? Priceless. However, earlier this month, that's exactly what happened. A clip from a 1992 performance featuring both ATCQ and LONS at Harlem's famed Apollo Theater... Read more

Which Cheryl Lynn Disco Hit Fueled These 2 90s Hip-Hop Party Starters?

In the fall of 1978, Disco was going on strong. While a lot of the 1970s genre's biggest hits have not translated to Hip-Hop, some have. Cheryl Lynn was one such singer. In the middle of the decade, the Los Angeles, California songstress was instrumental to The Wiz. Later a... Read more

This Far Reaching Mix Sprinkles Some Of J Dilla’s Best & Rarest Donuts

Next month (February 5-7), the second annual J Dilla Weekend will take place in Miami, Florida. The three-day event features music performances, exhibits, panels, and more. Pre-sale ticket packages are available. At present, Dilla's onetime group Slum Village, and a host of collaborators are signed on for the event. Additionally,... Read more

Ever See This 1992 Cypher With Bushwick Bill, Snoop, Scarface, RBX & Big Mike? (Video)

The connections between Death Row and Rap-A-Lop Records run deep, from the top down. Respective label heads Suge Knight and J. Prince have been tight for years and, the labels' artists have collaborated on a number of projects and, in the case of the Outlawz, even been signed to both... Read more

A Never Released DJ Premier Interview About “Step In The Arena” Surfaces For Its 25th Anniversary

Gang Starr's second album, Step In The Arena, was released 25 years ago. The album was one of transition for the late Guru (Keith Elam) and his partner DJ Premier (Christopher Martin). The LP was the collective's first of the 1990s, a decade they would massively influence on the musical... Read more

This Little Boy Blues Record Was A Seed Of Love For Some Brooklyn Rap Giants (Audio)

Little Boy Blues released a single album, 1968's In The Woodland Of Weir. The Psychedelic Garage Rock outfit fronted by "Little Boy Blue" Ray Levin, would eventually rise to open for the Rolling Stones, The Association, and Lovin' Spoonful. Formed four years before the Fontana Records LP, the band was... Read more

In Y2K, DMX Freestyles Went Down Like Mike Tyson Victims. Here’s One. (Audio)

The barks, the growls, the yelling...DMX brought a totally different kind of anger to Rap music than peers like ONYX, M.O.P., or Tupac Shakur. The Ruff Ryders flagship MC was "rage in the cage," when he stepped in many studio booths. Tim Westwood was one DJ/Hip-Hop personality on the map... Read more

Ever Hear When Ghostface Killah, Jeru The Damaja & Cappadonna Blazed Freestyles Together? (Audio)

Wu-Tang Clan and Gang Starr Foundation appeared to run in different circles in the late 1990s. While RZA and DJ Premier reportedly go back to the Prince Rakeem days, Gang Starr only worked with Inspectah Deck by Y2K (care of "Above The Clouds"). That does not mean, however, that two... Read more

Obama is Overturning Life Sentences to Combat the War on Drugs.

President Obama has been proactive in addressing some of the major concerns of Americans, many of which were issues he campaigned on before his inauguration into the White House. One of those issues was that of incarceration, namely the exceedingly high rates of imprisonment of Americans, the overwhelming majority of... Read more

This 1998 Cypher By Eminem & Royce Da 5’9″ Was A Preview Of Much Greatness to Come (Mix)

As a DJ at NYC's legendary Fat Beats record store, as well as on college radio and about town, during the 90s and beyond, DJ Eclipse had a critical role at helping to break some of the most acclaimed MCs in Hip-Hop history. Similar to the Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito... Read more

DJ Spinna’s Pharcyde Mix Features A Song They Did With Bobby Brown & Ralph Tresvant (Audio)

DJ Spinna is not your average mixmaster. The Jigmastas alum has been able to go incredibly deep in honoring musicians he admires. He and Bobbito did this exceptionally in their Wonder Wrote It series (and corresponding parties), and now he's turning the (turn)tables onto The Pharcyde. Celebrating the 20th anniversary... Read more

Naughty By Nature Reveal The Origin of “O.P.P.” It Really Was Other People’s Property.

Naughty By Nature was one of Hip-Hop's biggest acts of the 1990s. Still together, recording, and touring, Treach, Vinnie Rock, and Kay Gee broke through with three simple letters: "O.P.P." Now, the title to the 1991 Tommy Boy Records single is permanent part of the pop culture lexicon, approaching 25 years... Read more

Ever Hear The Shelved ’90s Clipse LP? The Neptunes Were Down From Jump. (Album Stream)

With Pusha T slated to drop his forthcoming album on Friday (King Push: Darkest Before Dawn, December 18) and the Clipse's two hugely successful studio albums, the appeal of the Virginia Beach, Virginia duo has yet to fade away, despite brothers Pusha and No Malice (f/k/a Malice) not having worked... Read more

Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch & Last Emperor Freestyle In A Found 2001 Moment (Audio)

In 2001, things were taking off for Talib Kweli and Pharoahe Monch. As part of the Rawkus Records movement, these 1990s alums were paving the way for solo careers following extensive group success with the likes of Organized Konfusion, Black Star, and Reflection Eternal. Presumably doing the Hip Hop For... Read more

This Brand Nubian “One For All” Tribute Is An Audio All-In-One (Mix)

Last week, Brand Nubian's celebrated debut album, One For All, reached its 25th birthday. The breakthrough album by Sadat X, Lord Jamar, Grand Puba, and DJ Alamo not only carries the distinction of being a "5 Mic" Source album, but a definitive body of work for New Rochelle, New York,... Read more

Here’s A DJ Neil Armstrong Mix Of Originals Sampled in Many Of Hip-Hop’s Biggest Classics (Audio)

Sample mixes are a funny thing in Hip-Hop. In the 1970s park jams, DJs favored records that evoked a feeling in the crowd. Whether dancing, breakin', or simply signaling good times, these records became mainstays in the emerging culture. By the late 1980s, many of these same records were revisited,... Read more

Two 1980s NYC Street Culture Docs Capture The Cool, Even In These Trailers (Videos)

New York City has long been an epicenter for culture. From music, to fashion, to art, the five boroughs and beyond have influenced the world near and far. In the 1980s, the Big Apple was especially influential. Two documentarians of the era are Jamel Shabazz and Manfred Kirchheimer. Shabazz, a... Read more

Raekwon Politics On Classic Breakbeats In This 1995 Tim Westwood Freestyle (Audio)

Tim Westwood keeps his newly-established tradition of weekly freestyles going strong. Just over one month after sharing his 1995 Method Man freestyle (that would later become elements of some compilation work), the London DJ moves over to another 20 year-old freestyle from Chef Raekwon. Here, Rae' hops on Marley Marl's... Read more

DJ Babu’s Latest Throwback Mix Celebrates Gang Starr, Def Squad & Wu-Tang Clan

In the last few weeks, Dilated Peoples/Beat Junkies member DJ Babu laid out his sophomore Barbershop Mix. The only thing this throwback, free download, hour-plus mix has in common with a barber is the fresh cuts. The Southern California vet goes into his crates to extract gems by Def Squad,... Read more

Learn How Ice Cube Reportedly Got His Rap Name & His Previous Prince-Inspired Moniker (Audio)

Whether you read the books on Hip-Hop history or caught Straight Outta Compton in theaters, it's documented that Ice Cube's Rap career began with a group known as C.I.A. In the days prior to N.W.A., O'Shea Jackson was working with Dr. Dre's cousin Sir Jinx, in a group that pressed... Read more