Throwback

MC Serch Says He Was Once Asked To Write Lyrics For Rakim (Video)

3rd Bass released two gold albums between 1989 and 1991. Twenty-nine years ago this month, Def Jam Records released The Cactus Album, a full-length debut from the New York City collective of MC Serch, Prime Minister Pete Nice, and DJ Richie Rich (aka DJ Daddy Rich). The first single from that... Read more

Bobby Brown Reveals The Real Reason Mike Tyson Lost To Buster Douglas

On February 11, 1990 Mike Tyson fought Buster Douglas at The Tokyo Dome. In 10 rounds, the fight would go down in history as one of boxing's biggest upsets. The undefeated, undisputed heavyweight champion lost to Douglas, an underdog with four losses and a draw to his name at the... Read more

The Story Of How ODB Recorded His Verse For Mariah Carey’s Remix Is Fantastic

In 1995 Mariah Carey scored her ninth #1 single with "Fantasy." From her fifth album, Daydream, the song offered a nod to Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, by sampling The Tom Tom Club's "Genius Of Love," a staple from New York City's Downtown scene a dozen or so years... Read more

DJ Premier Reveals He’s The Person Who Sequenced Nas’ Illmatic Album (Audio)

DJ Premier has an extensive background in Hip-Hop music and production. This week the legendary Gang Starr member (deemed "The Greatest Hip-Hop Producer Of All-Time" by Ambrosia For Heads readers) native casually dropped another line to add to his already lengthy resume. On the latest episode of crooner Anderson .Paak's .Paak... Read more

Q-Tip Explains How His Renaissance Birthed A New Movement In Hip-Hop

November 4, 2008 was a day laced in change. Marking the Presidential election that led Barack Obama to Office, American politics and culture was in the midst of a transformation. Hip-Hop artists became increasingly vocal in the conversation of change in America. In addition to US politics, Rap music seemed... Read more

KRS-One Recalls How Battling On Scott La Rock’s Behalf Led To The Formation Of BDP

Boogie Down Productions is a Hip-Hop outfit that is revered for its combative nature. The collective launched by KRS-One and DJ Scott La Rock would challenge Rap peers including MC Shan, Marley Marl, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Roxanne Shanté, and others throughout its late 1980s run. However, according to Blastmaster KRS-One,... Read more

The Beastie Boys Explain Why They Were Nearly Done After Licensed To Ill

The Beastie Boys are a Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inducted group recognized for fusing Hip-Hop, Punk Rock, and Electronic music. Between the early 1980s and the early 2010s, the trio of Adam "MCA" Yauch, Michael "Mike D" Diamond, and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz released eight studio albums. Exactly half... Read more

A Video Shows Mobb Deep’s Lethal Sampling For “Murda Muzik,” On Its 19th Birthday

Mobb Deep's fourth album, Murda Muzik, remains their best-selling album to date. It began the duo's transition from New York street poets into a pair capable of making records that played on the radio, video shows, and the clubs at once. Havoc didn't forfeit his gift for sampling in the... Read more

Ski Beatz Admits To Throwing Away An Entire Pre-Reasonable Doubt JAY-Z Album & Big L Music

Hip-Hop lore often provides Heads with stories of triumph, classic moments, and past situations that, at the time, those involved didn't know how legendary they'd be. Sometimes though, disheartening news will emerge when the greats do recall their musical past. RZA's studio was flooded multiple times, which caused the creation... Read more

The Producer Of Ether Attempted To Offer The Beat To JAY-Z Before Nas (Video)

The term "ether" is forever implanted in the Hip-Hop lexicon and beyond. Heads can thank Nas for that one. The song is the title from Nasir's 2001 campaign against JAY-Z, in response to JAY-Z's "The Takeover." Two of the most respected MCs in Hip-Hop became entrenched in one of Rap's... Read more

John Singleton Reveals He Wanted N.W.A. To Star In Boyz N The Hood

Thirty years ago today, on August 8, 1988, the N.W.A. released its proper debut album, Straight Outta Compton. Bursting onto the scene with rawness and aggression fueled by the Reagan-era Compton climate and lifestyle, Ni**az Wit' Attitudes presented an LP that would shape the sound and narrative in Rap for... Read more

J. Prince Reveals The Original Plan For Scarface & Tupac’s “Smile” (Video)

J. Prince has shunned the spotlight for much of Rap-A-Lot Records' 32 years of business. The label's founder, the man born James Smith, has gone public in a very big way this year. The Houston, Texas native published his memoir The Art And Science Of Respect. Right as the text... Read more

20 Years Ago, The Beastie Boys Reminded Rap Fans That 3 MCs & 1 DJ Is A Winning Formula

1998 was a changing time for Hip-Hop. The attitude of the period was recovering from the killings of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. Groups like The Fugees and A Tribe Called Quest separated for solo pursuits. Meanwhile Black Star emerged. Master P's No Limit Records led a marketing battalion that... Read more

Too Short Explains How Tupac Almost Kept Pimp C From Working With JAY-Z (Video)

With 2000's guest spot on JAY-Z's Top 20 hit "Big Pimpin'," UGK scored their most visible collaboration to date. Produced by Timbaland, it appeared on Jigga's triple-platinum Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter and is easily one of the rapper's biggest commercial successes. At the time, Underground Kingz Bun B... Read more

DJ Paul Gives The Secret History To UGK & OutKast’s “Int’l Players Anthem”(Video)

"Int'l Players Anthem (I Choose You)" is one of the biggest Hip-Hop collaborations of the 2000s, and contends as one of the greatest Rap mergers of all-time. Featuring OutKast, UGK's record and thematic video became a jet-pack for Bun B and Pimp C's long-awaited fifth (and eponymous) album to reach... 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Rare 1986 Documentary Is An Amazing Hip-Hop History Lesson (Video)

In 1986, one of the earliest documentaries on Hip-Hop was made by a Dutch TV company. Big Fun In The Big Town, directed by Bram van Splunteren, featured on air Belgian host, Marcel Vanthilt, traveling the streets of New York City to gain a better understanding of the burgeoning culture.... Read more

Ever See Leaders Of The New School Kick This Old School Rap Routine? (Video)

In the earliest days of Hip-Hop, MCs didn't just get on stage and rhyme. They kicked fly Rap routines, complete with elaborate costumes and coordinated choreography. Also, rather than rhyming one at a time, the MCs bounced back and forth, often completing each others words. Much of this took place... Read more

This Is It. Hear Camp Lo’s Original “Luchini” Demo. They Have New Grooves Too. (Audio)

After a very busy 2016, Camp Lo recently released some pre-Uptown Saturday Night demo recordings, On The Way Uptown. It features this demo version of "This Is It (Luchini)." Presumably recorded in 1995-1996, this is the Ski Beatz-produced material that would catch Profile Records' attention, and make Sonny Cheeba and... Read more

1 Of DJ Quik’s 80s Underground Tapes Surfaces & It Bangs On Wax (Audio)

Hip-Hop Heads who pay attention know that DJ Quik's career goes back a long way before 1991's Quik Is The Name debut. The Compton, California MC/producer/DJ has always talked about his $10 "underground tapes" on records. In fact, the famed feud with MC Eiht and Compton's Most Wanted started long... Read more

An Official Mix Traces The Evolution Of Freddie Foxxx Into Bumpy Knuckles & It Punches.

On Gang Starr's 1998 single "The Militia," Freddie Foxxx rapped, "When you speak of who's the dopest MCs, I don't come up / But when you speak about who's the livest MC, I stay one up." In the midst of a career transformation, the Long Island, New York veteran knew... Read more

A Tribe Called Quest & Many More Gave Hip-Hop Much To Be Thankful For In November (Audio)

November 2016 was one of the most tumultuous months in a generation. Regardless of one's political affiliation the world seemingly changed over one long night on November 8 for hundreds of millions of Americans. When not fixated on the news, many turned to music for relief from the onslaught or,... Read more

DMX Made Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood Because Of A $1 Million Wager

In the span of seven months, DMX released two albums which combined went platinum seven times. It was 1998, and the Yonkers, New York rapper was taking the industry by storm, establishing himself as a domineering presence with uncompromising virility. First with May's It's Dark and Hell Is Hot and... Read more

This Unreleased Early 90s Del Feature Shows He Was Funky From The Start (Audio)

Producer/DJ Rob Flow, formerly DJ Robski of revolutionary-minded early ’90s Bay Area Hip-Hop group Freedom T.R.O.O.P. 187, recently posted a previously unreleased song of theirs featuring Oakland legend Del The Funky Homosapien. Besides Rob, the trio consisted of Adisa “The Bishop” Banjoko and the late Hi-Low. Banjoko is currently an... Read more

This 1998 Track By Big L, Ma$e & McGruff Is “Dangerous” To Overlook (Audio)

The corner of 139th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem, New York has been immortalized through song several times by the late, great Big L—and also falls on the same block where the “Street Struck” MC tragically lost his life in '99. Affectionately called the “Danger Zone,” the area was... Read more

Ludacris Disturbed The Peace With This Never Before Released 2001 Freestyle (Audio)

In 2001, Ludacris was one of Rap's most exciting new stars. 2000's Back For The First Time kicked in the door for Def Jam South (then with Scarface at the helm) for a Top 5 charting, triple-platinum affair. However, the Atlanta, Georgia star with the carefully cut sideburns was not... Read more

Dr. Dre Mimicked A Classic Mobb Deep Beat On This Unreleased Aftermath Jam (Audio)

In 2006, 50 Cent and G-Unit Records released Mobb Deep's seventh album. A Queens, New York affair, Blood Money was executive produced by Fif', and would be the only LP Prodigy and Havoc would enjoy during their tenure with the Unit and Interscope Records. On that album, M-O-B-B were privy... Read more

Phife Dawg Got His Own Street Today. Watch It Being Unveiled (Video)

"Back in the days on the boulevard of Linden, we used to kick routines and presence was fittin'." 25 years ago, those words opened A Tribe Called Quest's "Check The Rhime," from their album, The Low End Theory. Now, the same Linden Boulevard upon which Tribe kicked those rhymes has... Read more

Lauryn Hill Teams Up With Fela Kuti’s Son & Band For A Stunning Tribute (Video)

For many years now, Lauryn Hill has been re-arranging her classic songs during performances. At times, this leads to great frustration for fans who want to hear the hits they know and love performed as they were recorded. On other occasions, however, Hill's changes can lead to the kind of... Read more

Wu-Tang Meets D.I.T.C. Two Legendary Crews Ain’t Nuthin’ To Mash Up (Audio)

Ever go Diggin’ In The Crates for some Wu-Tang? On this ambitious mashup of two legendary New York crews who both emerged at the onset of the 1990s, Memory Man shows us what would happen if you took members of the Wu-Tang Clan and D.I.T.C. and threw their styles in... Read more

The Intelligent Hoodlum Had Felonious Flows On This 1989 Demo (Audio)

Although Tragedy Khadafi hasn’t released a new album since Pre Magnum Opus almost two years ago, an unreleased 1989 gem from the Queensbridge veteran has surfaced. Even before he was known as the Intelligent Hoodlum (and released the A&M Records LP of the same name), Trag' went by several other... Read more

Craig Mack Kicked 10 Minutes Of Freestyle Flavor In This Just Released 2000 Video

By Y2K, Craig Mack appeared to be an illustrious MC who was on his way out of the game. Once one of the breakout acts of Puff Daddy's Bad Boy Records, Mack would drop his gold-certified Project: Funk Da World in 1994 and then mysteriously leave the label, and the... Read more

Snoop Dogg’s “I Am Hip-Hop Award” Acceptance Speech Shows Why He’s An Icon (Video)

It's hard to believe that Snoop Dogg, an artist who has been a pop-culture icon for decades, holds the record for most Grammy Award nominations with no win. Seventeen times, the Long Beach, California legend has been up for such an award, but he has yet to take one home.... Read more