Oct.12th - Salt ‘N” Pepa release their 4th album “Very Necessary” on Next Plateau Records on this day in 1993.
It would be their biggest selling album ever, selling 7 million copies world-wide. It would also contain some of their biggest hit singles like “Shoop” and “Whatta Man”(feat. En Vogue) , which peaked at no.3 on the pop charts.
Oct.15th - Digital Underground released their 3rd album “Sons Of The P” on Tommy Boy Records , on this day in 1991.
The title track was co-produced by George Clinton and featured the P-Funk legend on the track as well.
The under-rated album was one of the most innovative musically in hip-hop history also produced 2 hit singles “No Nose Job” and “Kiss You Back”.
Oct.19th - Handsome Boy Modeling School also release their debut album “So…How’s Your Girl” on Tommy Boy Records also on this date in 1999.
The fictional duo made up of Prince Paul and Dan the Automator had an eclectic list of guests on their album including Del Tha Funkee Homosapien , Sean Lennon and Mike D. of The Beastie Boys.
Krush Groove” wass released in U.S. theaters on this day in 1985. The Warner Bros. film directed and produced by Michael Schultz was a semi-autobiographical account about the life of rap mogul Russell Simmons with Blair Underwood playing the Def Jam Records , Phat Farm clothing line and Rush Management founder.
The film also starred Sheila E as well as rap legends like Run-DMC , Fat Boys , Kurtis Blow , Beastie Boys , Dr. Jeckyll And Mr. Hyde as well as a 16 year old LL Cool J.
Oct.26th – Buckshot of Black Moon releases his debut solo album “The BDI Thug” on Duck Down Records on this day in 1999,Producers on the Boot Camp Clik founder’s set include Boogie Brown , Lord Jamar , DJ Akshun , Master Beats , Just Blaze , Chris Ward and Baby Paul.
Oct.27th – Jay-Z end his long-standing feud with Nas at Power 105’s Power House Concert in New Jersey on this day in 2005 , when he invites his one time Queensbridge rival onstage to join him for a performance of “Dead Presidents” , which samples Nas on the hook.
Oct.28th – Nice & Smooth release their 4th and final album together as a duo “IV – Blazing Hot” on Scotti Brothers Records on this day in 1997. The album was produced by DJ Premier , Easy Mo Bee . Kid Capri and Nice & Smooth themselves. The title track is released as a single. Rappin’ Is Fundamental guest on the album.
Nov.1st – Willie D. of The Geto Boys was born
Williams James Dennis in Houston , Texas , on this
day in 1966.
After becoming a Golden Gloves Boxing Champion for
the State Of Texas in 1985 at age 17 , Willie D.
decided to forego a potentially lucrative career
in the squared circle to devote his life to hip-
Willie D. joined The Geto Boys in 1989 in a
revamped line-up of the now legendary group. The
previous crew included Sire Jukebox , Prince
Johnny and Bushwick Bill. The new Geto boys now
included Willie D. , Akshen(Who would later change
his name to Scarface) and Bushwick Bill.
The new line-up released the group`s sophomore
album “Grip It ! On That Other Level” on Rap-A-Lot
Records. The album received 5 mics in The Source
Magazine and put Houston , Texas on the hip-hop
Willie D. would go on to record 6 more albums with
The Geto Boys , most notably 1990’s Self Entitled
set which featured the cult classic “Mind Of A
Lunatic” and 1991’a “We Can’t Be Stopped” which
featured the classic hit “Mind Playin’ Tricks On
Willie D. would also release 6 solo albums as well
from 1989 to 2003 , most notably his debut solo
In recent years , Willie D. has collaborated with
Young Buck , Trae , Bun B. and Rick Ross/
Willie D. is also a favourite on the lecture
circuit in Universities, high schools and youth
Nov.9th - Wu-Tang Clan release their debut album “Enter The Wu-Tang” – 36 Chambers on Loud Records , on this day in 1993.
The raw grungy sound of the Staten Island 9 member crew was steeped in martial arts , 5% philosophy and street tales.
Wu-Tang would have one of the strongest influences in hip-hop in the mid to late 90’s.
The classic debut set featured bona-fide classics like ”C.R.E.A.M.” , “Protect Ya Neck” , “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta Mess Wit” , “Can It All Be So Simple” and “Method Man”.
Oh yeah, Midnight Mauraders dropped this day as well
Nov.25th – Erick Sermon was born in Bay Shore , New York , on this day in 1968.
Sermon who was also known as E-Double , EMD , Erick Onasis and The Green Eyed Bandit because of his eye color , first hit the hip-hop scene as one half of EPMD along with partner in rhyme Parrish Smith.
EPMD was an acronym “Erick and Parrish Makin’ Dollars”.
EPMD released their debut album called “Strictly Business” on Fresh Records in 1988 which spawned the hits “You Gots Ta Chill” , “I’m Housin’” and the title track.
Sermon would go on to release 6 more albums as one half on EPMD ; 1989’s “Unfinished Business” , 1990’s “Business As Usual” , 1992’s “Business Never Personal” , 1997’s “Back In Business” , 1999’s “Out Of Busniess” and 2008’s “We Mean Business”.
EPMD is reportedly working on a new album to be released in 2012 to be called “There’s No Business Like Show Business”.
During EPMD’s heyday they put together a clique consisting of the artists they produced like Redman , K-Solo , Das EFX , Hurricane G. and Knucklehedz.
The duo split in 1993 but reunited for good in 1997.
Sermon has released 6 solo albums starting with 1993’s “No Pressure” with 2004’s “Chill Town , New York” being the latest.
In 1996 , Sermon released “Insomnia” – The Erick Sermon Compilation which featured artists he produced like Keith Murray , Redman , Passion and Tommy Gun to name a few.
Along with Murray and Redman , Sermon formed The Def Squad and released an album in 1998 on Def Jam Records called “El Nino”. The Def Squad also had a hit during this time with a remake of The Sugar Hill Gang’s classic “Rapper’s Delight”.
The high point of Sermon’s solo career however would be the hit single “Music” from the soundtrack to the 2001 MGM film “What’s The Worst That Could Happen” as well as from his own album of the same name. The classic hit single sampled a never before heard Marvin Gaye acapella track from 1983.
Sermon also briefly appeared in the 1992 film “Juice” starring 2Pac Shakur.
Nov.27th – Journalist , hip-hop activist and “media assassin” Harry Allen was born in Brooklyn , New York , on this day in 1964.
Allen , who later grew up in Freeport , Long Island , New York met Yours Truly Chuck D. when we both took an animation class at Aldelphi University in Hempstead , Long Island in 1982.
Allen would then congregate with myself , Flavor Flav , Terminator X. future Def Jam executive Bill Stephney , Andre “Doctor Dre” Brown(who along with Ed Lover would later host “Yo! MTV Raps) and my Spectrum City co-founders Hank and Keith Shocklee(who along with Eric “Veitnam” Sadler) would also form the future Public Enemy production team known as The Bomb Squad , at Adelphi’s radio station WBAU 90.3fm. These musical and political ciphers would shape some of the early musical and ideological philosophies of P.E..
In the early 80’s Allen would also become a photographer , capturing some of hip-hop’s early scenes during this time on film.
Allen later became a journalist with his 1st published piece being on the political ideology of Public Enemy.
Allen would be now known as a ‘hip-hop activist” and “media assassin”. Allen later became Public Enemy’s publicist and director of Enemy relations.
Allen would eventually go on to write pieces for The Village Voice , Essence , Spin , and Vibe Magazine.
Harry Allen has appeared on P.E. tracks such as “Don’t Believe The Hype” from 1988’s “It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back” , “More News At 11” from 1991’s “Apocalypse ‘91” – The Enemy Strikes Black” and “Harry Allen’s Interactive Super Highway Phone Call To Chuck D.” from 1994’s “Muse Sick N Hour Mess Age”. Harry Allen also appeared with me in the music video for “Buck Whylin’” from Terminator X.’s 1991 solo debut album “Terminator X. And The Valley Of The Jeep Beets”.
In the 1990’s , Allen set up one of hip-hop’s earliest online presence with the web-zine “Rap Dot Com”.
He also co-founded The Rhythm Cultural Institute with KRS-One and others , which moderates and hosts seminars and researches the methodology necessary to create a fitting Hip-Hop Hall Of Fame.
In 2007 , an exhibition of Allen’s photography entitled “Part Of The Permanent Record : Photos From The Previous Century” opened at The Eyejammie Fine Arts Gallery in Manhattan , a gallery that specializes in hip-hop-related art , founded and owned by former Def Jam Director Of Media Relations Bill Adler.
Allen currently resides in Harlem , New York and hosts a friday afternoon radio show on WBAI-NY 99.5fm called “Nonfiction”.
Allen has been one of the most important writers and journalists in the history of hip-hop.
Nov.28th – Rawkus Records released the compilation Lyricist Lounge 2 , on this day in 2000.
This was the 2nd installment in Rawkus’ popular compilation series.
The album featured tracks by Erick Sermon , Beanie Sigel , Q-Tip , Mos Def , Dilated Peoples , Royce The 5’9 , Redman , dead prez , Q-Tip , M.O.P. , Kool G. Rap , Saukrates , Ghostface Killah , Macy Gray and the late Big L and The Notorious B.I.G. to name a few.
Producers manning the board for the cuts on the compilation included ; Hi-Tek , the late J Dilla , Nottz , Scott Storch , The Alchemist , Rockwilder , DJ Mighty Mi , Madlib , DJ Roddy Rod , Erick Sermon and DJ Premier and the late Guru of Gang Starr.
“Lyricist Lounge 2” contained the hits “Get Up” by The Cocoa Brovaz and “Oh No” by Mos Def , Pharoahe Monch and Nate Dogg.
Dec.26th – Gang Starr released “Mass Appeal” – Best Of Gang Starr on Virgin Records , on this day in 2006.
The greatest hits package would include some of Guru and DJ Premier’s classic singles like “Manifest” , “Just To Get A Rep” , “Step In The Arena” , “Skills” , “Take It Personal” and the hit title-track.
The limited deluxe edition would include a DVD with music videos for many of these tracks.
Jan.1st – Grandmaster Flash was born Joseph Saddler in Bridgetown , Barbados on this day in 1958.
As a young child , Flash and his family migrated to the United States where Flash grew up in The Bronx , New York which most consider the birth place of hip-hop.
Flash attended Samuel Gompers High School, a public vocational school where he studied how to repair electronic equipment , a skill that would serve Flash well in his career as he became quite adept at repairing discarded stereo and sound system equipment from which he would build his 1st dj sets.
As a child Flash was fascinated by his father’s extensive record collection which consisted largely of jazz , rhythm and blues and calypso recordings.
Flash , the nephew of Sandy Saddler , considered by many boxing experts as the greatest featherweight boxing champion of all time , began deejaying seriously after graduating from high school.
Flash became one of the earliest d.j.’s on the New York City scene as he studied the styles of DJ Kool Herc , Pete Jones and Grandmaster Flowers.
Flash would perfect his d.j. style and mixing and would be responsible for 3 major breakthroughs in turntablism.
One would be the “Backspin Technique” or “beat juggling” which would allow Flash to manipulate two copies of the same record and be able to extend the break-beat part of a record for as long as he wished , thus being a precursor to sampling. A technique to Flash’s own admission annoyed early audiences but soon became a staple part of hip-hop that allowed m.c.’s an uninterrupted percussive passage to rhyme over and breakers a groove to display their best moves for.
The second would be “Punch Phrasing” which would allow Flash to punch in horn , guitar or vocal hits into his mix.
The 3rd would be his perfecting of the art of scratching which was invented by his young d.j. partner Grand Wizard Theodore , whose older brother also was the proprietor of the sound for hire that Flash fronted.
In the early 70’s Flash began working with early m.c.’s like Kurtis Blow and Lovebug Starski who was also a fellow dj as well best known for his work with DJ Hollywood.
In the mid-70’s Flash started his own group with Keith Wiggins a.k.a. Cowboy , Melvin Glover a.k.a. Melle Mel and his brother Nathaniel Glover a.k.a.Kidd Creole. They were known as Grandmaster Flash & The 3 M.C.’s. They were later joined by Eddie Morris a.k.a. Scorpio and Guy Todd Williams formerly of The Funky Four , better known as Raheim and became Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five.
In 1979 , they signed with Enjoy Records and released the hit “Superrappin’”
The following year they switched over to Sugar Hill Records and released a slew of singles before putting out the seminal “Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel”. The track was a 7 minute showcase of a typical Flash live set , cutting up records by Queen , Chic and The Furious Five themselves.
In 1982 , they released the classic single “The Message”, a song that depicted inner-city life in a manner never heard before on record. The group would release their debut album of the same name shortly thereafter. During this time , Flash also appeared in hip-hop’s first film “Wild Style” as himself.
After disagreements within the group , two camps formed. One was Flash , Kidd Creole and Raheim who decided to leave Sugar Hill for Elektra Records and the other was Melle Mel who along with Scorpio and Cowboy decided to stay at the label and add 3 new members and continued to record as Grandmaster Melle Mel And The Furious Five.
After the release of the compilation “Greatest Messages” which featured all of the group’s biggest hits at Sugar Hill including : “Freedom” , “It’s Nasty”(Genius Of Love) , “Scorpio” , “Message 2”(Survival) and “New York , New York”(Message III) as well as the original 1982 “Message” , Flash would release 9 more albums from 1985 to 2009.
Most notable of those releases was 1985’s “They Said It Couldn’t Be Done” on Elektra Records which spawned the hits “Girls Love The Way He Spins” , “Sign Of The Times” , “Rock The House`` (Alternate Groove) and ``Larry`s Dance Theme``.
Flash added Kevin LaVon Dukesn a.k.a. Lavon , Jesse L. Dukes a.k.a. Shame , Russell Wheeler a.k.a. Mr. Broadway and Larry Parker a.k.a. Larry Love and a new super-group was formed.
The album would be Elektra`s first hip-hop release.
Flash would continue to tour the world and electrify audiences around the globe with dazzling turn-table work which is still the cornerstone and blueprint of almost all hip-hop and dance music deejays today. Flash`s showmanship as a d.j. is second to none.
In 2006 , Flash was presented with the BET ``I Am Hip Hop`` Icon Award.
In 2007 , Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five became the first hip-hop group inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame when Jay-Z inducted them in a ceremony on Mar.20th in Cleveland , Ohio.
In 2008 , Flash released his memoirs entitled ``The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash : My Life , My Beats.
Flash has also started a clothing line called ``G-Phyre`` and also host a Sirius Satellite radio program called ``Friday Night Fire With Grandmaster Flash``.
Grandmaster Flash is also a playable character in the Activision video game DJ Hero.
Grandmaster Flash is the most influential dj of any musical genre of all time.
Jan.2nd – “Billie Jean” was the second single released off of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album on this day in 1983.
“Thriller” which was released on Epic Records is the biggest selling album of all time and has influenced artists in
Hip-hop also had a profound influence on Jackson as well as evidenced when Jackson performed “Billie Jean” a few months later on the Motown 25 television special and did the ‘moonwalk”, a signature b-boy move.