A quarter of a century ago, Christopher Rios, aka Big Punisher, put out his first LP, Capital Punishment, on Loud Records.
Released by Fat Joe and the Terror Squad on Loud Records, Pun’s highly anticipated album showcased Pun’s unequaled lyrical ability, comedic punchlines, and ever-evolving style that his son Chris Rivers has inherited from his pops.
Album highlights include joints like “You Ain’t A Killer,” “Super Lyrical,” featuring The Roots’ Black Thought, and the platinum-selling album that propelled the album to a million sales, “Still Not A Player.”
Salute to Fat Joe, the Rios family, the Terror Squad, and the entire Loud staff for this classic!
On this day in Hip Hop history, OutKast, the duo that helped pioneer putting southern Hip Hop on the map, released their debut classic LP, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.
This Dungeon Family masterpiece recorded by Andre 3000 and Big Boi paved the way for Atlanta and the rest of the Dirty South to have their unique voice in Hip Hop. Before this album, there weren’t many hit records coming from anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line. Peaking at #20 on the Billboard 200 and being certified platinum less than a year after its release, this album’s achievements speak for themselves.
Produced entirely by OutKast and Organized Noize, this project was like none before. Its sound is perfectly described as southern rap. Everything about this album screams Atlanta, from the dialect to the instruments used to the references. The smooth blues and marching band-influenced beats blend with Big Boi and Andre 3000’s flows, creating something new that rippled the tide of an industry saturated with G-Funk or New York Hip Hop.
Both commercially and critically, this album was immensely successful. It peaked at #20 on the Billboard 200 and #3 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop charts. This album was also the reason OutKast received the Best Newcomer Award at the 1995 Source Awards, which, as we all know, was met with controversy. Regardless of the haters, this album came at the beginning of the career of two rappers who changed the game forever.
On this date in 1989, Boston native Keith Elam and Houston native Christopher Martin, better known as Guru and DJ Premier, came together to continue the legacy of Gangstarr and released the group’s first full studio album entitled No More Mr. Nice Guy.
Released by overseas label Chrysalis Records, Gangstarr, and their debut release ironically heavily influenced the NYC Hip Hop sound, even though neither artists were native New Yorkers. Tracks such as “Positivity,” “Conscious Be Free,” and the album’s lead single, “Manifest,” exposed Guru’s unparalleled slow flow, while instrumentals like “DJ Premier In Deep Concentration” just set the pace for who Hip Hop would later recognize as one of the greatest producers in the game.
A supreme salute goes out to DJ Premier, Guru(RIP), the Elam family, the Gangstarr Foundation, and the entire East New York for creating a pivotal moment in Hip Hop history.
On March 30, 1993, cousins Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz and their partners Sonny Seeza and Big DS put out their debut album, Bacdafucup, on the newly created Rush Associated Labels.
Primarily produced by the group’s founder Jam Master Jay, other production credits include The Afros’ Kool Tee, Chryskillz, and a then young producer named Jeff Harris; Bacdafucup was by far Onyx’s best studio LP, becoming certified platinum by the RIAA in just a little over seven months after its debut.
The album’s sure-shot singles include the riot-causing “Throw Ya Gunz,” the horn-propelled “Shiftee,” and, of course, the mainstream favorite of all, “Slam.”
Onyx made their claim to fame with their trademark “mad face,” bald heads, and all-black everything. Many copycats came after these guys, but their mark on the game is unparalleled. Salute to Fredro, Sticky, Seez, and a big RIP to DS.
On this date in 1984, the Kings from Queens released their first self-titled album on Def Jam Recordings under Rush Management.
This monumental album put Daryl McDaniels (DMC), Joseph Simmons (DJ Run), and Jason Mizell (Jam Master Jay) on the map, and launched one of the most successful careers Hip-Hop has ever seen.
With songs like “Sucker MCs,” “It’s Like That,” “Hard Times” and “Rock Box,” the record was an accurate reflection of the lives of three ambitious kids from Hollis, Queens in New York City in a time before the crack epidemic.
Simmons and McDaniels used to hang around Two-Fifths Park in Hollis in late 1980, hoping to rap for the local DJs who performed and competed there. The most popular one just happened to be Mizell, then known as “Jazzy Jase” because of his flashy wardrobe and b-boy attitude. Eventually, Simmons and McDaniels rapped in front of Mizell at the park, and the rest is history.
As a group, they soon strapped on a pair of Adidas, threw on a rope chain and topped it off with a Kangol hat. Little did they know, they were crafting a signature style, one that has stood the test of time and is widely recognized around the world.
Run-D.M.C. went on to release six more albums, including 1985’s King of Rock and 1986’s Raising Hell. Tragically, Mizell was gunned down on October 30, 2002, at his recording studio in Queens. Countless fans left Adidas sneakers, albums and flowers for the legendary DJ outside of the studio, where the murder occurred. The homicide has yet to be solved.
Run-D.M.C. was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, making them one of only two Hip Hop acts given that honor at the time.
On this day in Hip Hop history, Dirty South-based group Arrested Development released their debut album 3 Years, 5 Months, and 2 Days in The Life Of…. Released during a time in Hip Hop where West Coast gangster rap reigned supreme, Arrested Development was able to grab hearts and minds around the globe with their smooth Hip-Hop sounds and Afrocentric themes. Much like the Afrocentric movement of New York Hip-Hop, Arrested Development strayed away from negativity to give their listeners a message they could walk away with after listening.
Along with having a largely positive critical reception, 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life Of… was commercially successful. The album peaked at #3 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop chart, #3 on the UK Albums Chart, and #7 on the Billboard 200 chart. The project’s singles ” Everyday People,” “Tennessee,” and “Mr. Wendal” were all top 10 hits in the United States.
“Everyday People” was a #1 Hot Rap Single and peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Mr. Wendal” claimed the #6 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the Hot Rap Singles chart. “Tennessee” peaked at #1 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop chart but never made an appearance on the Billboard Hot 100. Although it wasn’t a mainstream chart-topper, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included it on their list of 500 songs that shaped rock n’ roll.
On this day in 1989, the iconic trio De La Soul released an album that would change the course of Hip Hop forever. Off Tommy Boy Records, De La Soul’s debut album, 3 Feet High And Rising set the standard for what rap should (and would) sound like.
Along with producer Prince Paul, the group crafted a sonic landscape of sampled songs, sounds, and snippets unheard of before in Hip Hop. Where most producers sampled either James Brown or P-Funk, De La and producer Paul were borrowing from recordings by an unlikely host of artists usually not affiliated with hip-hop sampling like Johnny Cash, Hall and Oates, Otis Redding, The Turtles, and a French-language instructional record.
3 Feet High And Rising also introduced the “skit” concept, which is now almost too prevalent on rap albums. 3 Feet High And Rising also spawned hits and raps classics like Me, Myself And I, Potholes In My Lawn, Plug Tunin’, Buddy, Say No Go, The Magic Number and Eye No.
The album’s funky and dreamy 1960’s and 1970’s inspired attitude, coupled with the group’s concept of “The D.A.I.S.Y. Age, an acronym for “Da Inner Sound Y’all” caused people to inaccurately refer to the group as “hippies”.
The album’s diverse subject matter, which tackled things like poverty, individualism, drug abuse, love, materialism, commercialism and Hip Hop cliches, as spoken about on the track Take It Off, cause many to label it rap’s first intellectual album.
3 Feet And Rising is one of the most influential albums in music history. Salute to Posdonous, Maseo and Trugoy The Dove, who passed away last month, for giving fans such an important piece of Hip Hop history!
On this day in Hip-Hop History, Texas OGs The Geto Boys released their debut LP Making Trouble 31 years ago. Although the start of the career of one of the most prolific southern rap groups to ever grace the mic, this project may have been their least heard and most unknown album.
Coming at a time in the group’s history where they were referred to as the more conventionally spelled “Ghetto Boys,” this album showcased the lyrical ability of a then four-member underground group. The group was composed of DJ Reddy Red of Trenton, NJ(RIP), Prince Johnny C, and the Slim Jukebox, with Bushwick Bill on the roster as a hypeman and a dancer. It wasn’t until after the release of this project that Rap-A-Lot Records dropped Reddy Red, Johnny C, and Slim Jukebox to add Scarface and Willie D.
On this project, the group used a style of rap and aesthetics that resembled the legends Run-DMC. The mimicry of the New York rap trio was deep. The group wore all black with top hats and thick gold chains, their music featured heavy rock influence with guitar riffs and high energy drum patterns, and their group dynamic of two emcees and a DJ is exactly what Run-DMC sported.
This album was not the most popular album from the Geto Boys camp, but it is an exciting piece of the group’s history. This project shows the growth and development it took for the group to become the legends that they are respected today.
On this date in 2004, Def Jam Records through the Roc-A-Fella imprint dropped the debut album of the uber-talented producer/emcee Kanye West properly entitled College Dropout.
The LP debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 441,000 copies during its first week. The five singles that achieved chart success and got him a Grammy award at the 47th Grammy Awards include “Through the Wire” and “Jesus Walks”. The singles “All Falls Down” and “Slow Jamz” charted within the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, while the Jamie Foxx and Twista feature also charted number one.
It is West’s best-selling album in the United States, with domestic sales of 3.4 million and worldwide over 4 million copies. It’s been listed among the greatest debut albums of all time and by Time and Rolling Stone as one of the greatest albums of all time.
29 years ago today, Nas dropped his debut LP, ‘Illmatic.’ Released by Columbia Records in 94′ Nas recorded the album at Chung King Studios, D&D Recording, Battery Studios, and Unique Recording Studios in New York City. Produced by DJ Premier, Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, L.E.S., and Nas himself, the bangers on the album will be embedded in Hip Hop culture as classics merely based on their production alone.
The album sold 60,000 in the first week and debuted at number 12 on the US Billboard 200 chart. On January 17, 1996, the album was certified gold by the RIAA. In 2001 it earned a platinum certification after shipping 1,000,000 copies in the United States alone.
Lyrically, Nas delivered certified street verses on ‘Illmatic’ that influenced the majority of the ’90s and is regarded as one of the greatest LPs of all time by critics and major publications globally.