Today marks the 15th anniversary of The Notorious B.I.G‘s assassination, and if you don’t know, well, now you know. Biggie’s legacy has been lasting — from that iconic dance scene in 10 Things I Hate About You featuring “Hypnotize”, to Rita Ora’s recent sample of “Party & Bullsh*t” in her new track of the same name, after 15 years, Biggie continues to be both pervasive and influential. Biggie, born Christopher George Latore Wallace, is an icon of hip hop, and a pioneer of East Coast rap, drawing attention to artists from New York at a time when West Coast rap was generally favored in the mainstream. He was murdered exactly 15 years ago today on March 9, 1997, and his killer is yet to be found. His posthumously released and poignantly titled album Life After Death, was released 15 days later to critical acclaim, reaching the pinnacle of number one on the US charts, proving that the legend of an artist is all the life that is needed to sustain their vision, even after they are passed.
Taylor Swift has been blazing across the country on her Speak Now tour, and in her warm, earnest way, she’s been welcoming city-specific guests to share the stage with her while she pays unique tributes to all the towns she visits. And now, on the final leg of her tour, Taylor is in that town, New York City, and the opportunities for tributes and guests are almost endless. For her first New York show last night at Madison Square Garden, Taylor played “one of the greatest songs ever written,” The Goo Goo Dolls‘ “Iris,” with the band’s frontman Johnny Rzeznik. With one last show set to light up the Garden tonight, we’re speculating who of the New York set will join Taylor on stage. Will it be a Strokes affair? Mother Monster? Or a spectral visitor from the afterlife?
Who did we miss? We want to hear your thoughts!
[Photos: Lauren Deiman/Getty Images]
Following the announcement that Amy Winehouse‘s first posthumous album will be released a mere four months after her death on July 23, we started wondering how that timeline compared to some of history’s other notable posthumous record releases. From Nirvana to the Notorious B.I.G., we take a look back at the often uneasy relationship between art and commerce.
Artist:The Notorious B.I.G
Died: March 9, 2007
Album: Life After Death
Release Date: March 25, 2007
Speed To Market: 16 days
Artist: Otis Redding
Died: December 10, 1967
Album: (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay
Release Date: January 8, 1968
Speed To Market: 29 days
Died: September 7, 1996
Album: The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
Release Date: November 5, 1996
Speed To Market: 59 days
Beyoncé Reveals “Countdown” Sneak Peek
Ready for a new Beyoncé video? (Is the answer ever not yes?) MTV’s Buzzworthy blog has the first 30 seconds of the video for “Countdown,” which premieres on Thursday. It’s simple yet ultra-stylized: sixties-chic by way of Sesame Street. Random fact: director Adria Petty is the daughter of Tom Petty. [MTV Buzzworthy]
Sting Hosts Sting Tribute Show For Sting’s Birthday
Sting celebrated his 60th birthday with a star-studded concert at the Beacon Theater in New York on Saturday night, with all proceeds going to the Robin Hood Foundation. Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Rufus Wainwright, Mary J. Blige and will.i.am gathered to duet with Sting on his own songs. Springsteen was reportedly the crowd favorite despite making the equivalent of a Viagra joke. [Rolling Stone]
VH1 debuted the latest countdown in our long-running The Greatest series, the 40 Most Shocking Hip Hop Moments, this evening. If you missed it, don’t worry; it will rerun tomorrow night, Monday, September 19, at midnight. If you’re looking for the complete list, look no further. Here are the 40 Most Shocking Hip Hop Moments … so far!
40) Nicki Minaj gets butt slapped by Regis Philbin
39) Wyclef runs for president of Haiti
38) 50 Cent shockingly thin Twitter pics
37) Lil Wayne goes to prison and gets grillz removed
36) Redman?s shocking Cribs episode [WATCH]
35) Cam?ron?s anti-snitching 60 Minutes interview
34) Dr. Dre?s shocking transformation at VMAs
33) Sir Mix-A-Lot?s raunchy ?Put ?Em on the Glass? video
32) Lil Mama crashes stage during Jay-Z and Alicia Keys VMA performance
31) Suge Knight knocked out
Ever since the first time that someone decided to break out a turntable at a block party in the Bronx, scandal and hip hop have gone together like peanut butter and jelly. From notorious murders and untimely deaths to sleazy sex scandals and high-profile arrests, rarely does a week go by without some sort of drama going down in the hip hop community. On VH1?s 40 Most Shocking Hip Hop Moments, which debuts this Sunday, September 18, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, we?ll count down the most mind blowing, controversial, stunning and horrific moments ever.
You’ll have to watch the show to guess the final order, but some of the things you can expect to see will range from the silly (like Gucci Mane?s triple scoop ice cream cone face tattoo and Nicki Minaj getting her booty slapped by Regis Philbin) to the serious (the murders of Biggie and Tupac, the latter of which occured 15 years ago this month). On VH1?s 40 Most Shocking Hip Hop Moments, we?ll revisit all the stories that caused people to either gasp or #SMH.
VH1′s 40 Most Shocking Hip Hop Moments is a two-hour special, which will immediately be followed by the television premiere of our latest Rock Doc, Planet Rock: The Story Of Hip Hop And The Crack Generation. It’s a night that hip hop fans won’t want to miss! To get a taste of what it will be like, follow along to watch comedian and familiar VH1 talking head Donnell Rawlings share his personal thoughts on what the most shocking thing about hip hop is.
Welcome to VH1′s new monthly series, Album-Versaries, in which we share fresh stories with you about the creation and lasting impact of some of the most important and influential albums in music history on their milestone anniversaries. Our first installment will focus on Jay-Z?s 1996 LP Reasonable Doubt, which just celebrated its 15th anniversary. This is Part II of a two-part series; Part I, Damon Dash Reflects on Jay-Z?s Reasonable Doubt On Its 15 Anniversary, ran yesterday.
Fifteen years ago, Jay-Z’s debut album, Reasonable Doubt, dropped on a largely unsuspecting public. For an independently produced album, it managed to debut pretty strongly on the charts (#23 on the Billboard 200), but it would still be a few years before Jay-Z’s became the household name it is today. That said, the LP now stands amongst the most highly regarded in hip-hop history and, in the timeline of Jay’s existence as both a person and an artist, represents the point in his life where he left the hustle of the streets behind and instead chose to pursue a career in music.
So, with Reasonable Doubt celebrating such an essential milestone, VH1 exclusively spoke to producers Ski and Clark Kent, as well as the album’s co-executive producer and co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records, Damon Dash, about their recollections of the recording process. In Part II of VH1 Album-Versaries: Reasonable Doubt At 15, we’ll share with you stories Dame and Clark told us about the epic recording session of Jay and Biggie’s legendary track “Brooklyn’s Finest,” how these two feel about the gritty (and possibly unethical) themes of the album now that they have fifteen years worth of hindsight, and whether or not Jay and Dame will ever be able to repair their soured friendship.
There’s no definitive way to form a consensus for the best emcee of all-time, but anytime the question comes up, Jay-Z and the Notorious B.I.G. (aka Biggie Smalls) are ALWAYS part of the conversation. In fact, in an MTV survey conducted back in 2006, Jay-Z and Biggie were listed as the #1 and #3 MCs of all-time, respectively. However, back when Reasonable Doubt was being recorded, Biggie was on top of the world, while no one outside of Brooklyn really knew who Jay was. Despite this, and thanks to Biggie’s DJ and Jay’s then-producer Clark Kent, the pair were introduced in a hoodwinked fashion and eventually laid down a track together, “Brooklyn’s Finest.”
?I was on tour with Big, so I was playing Jay?s sh*t for him every day on the bus,” recalls Clark. “At that point, I had made him respect Jay?s craftsmanship.” So when Clark accidentally played the “Brooklyn’s Finest” beat in front of Biggie during a Unique Studios session with Junior M.A.F.I.A., Big heard it, and said he wanted it. “I told him it was for Jay, and he was like ‘you give Jay everything!’”
Demanding that he get on the track too, Biggie accompanied Clark to D&D Studios that night, but didn’t actually come inside. Upstairs, once Jay finished his verses for the song (that was then tentatively titled either ?Once We Get Started? or ?No More Mr. Nice Guy”), Clark asked if they could put Big on the record as well. Dame didn?t want to pay “Puff” (pardon, Diddy) for the feature, and Jay was hesitant because he (1) didn?t know the already-popular rapper and (2) had just finished the song, but they both agreed that if Big would do it for free, they’d be game. ?I had Big in a car downstairs, waiting just in case,? explains Clark, who then told them he was going to the bathroom, and came back up with The Notorious himself. ?Put them in front of each other, there was no denying what could happen.? Two months later, after Big had walked away with Jay’s re-done verses on cassette, he came back to spit his own, and the song was officially born.
And as for the result? Well, in a review of Reasonable Doubt that was included as part of their 2003 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time feature, Rolling Stone described the track as featuring “two hungry talents seemingly aware that they had no one to outduel but each other.”. We also asked Dash to shed some light on this legendary collaboration and how it finally came together and, well, let’s just say that a lot of the sticky icky-icky was involved. Watch Dame tell the light-hearted story in his own words in the video we have clipped for you below.
We’ve got more for you below, keep reading!
Break In Notorious B.I.G. Murder Case: Confessed Accessory After the Fact Gives Testimony
Less than a month after an alleged confession by an accessory to the 1994 gun violence against Tupac Shakur, Clayton Hill, a former member of the Nation of Islam, has confessed to helping dispose of the handgun used to murder the Notorious B.I.G. in 1997. He implicates a member of the Nation of Islam whom he only knew by a pseudonym and could not positively identify when shown photographs of the prime suspect. Hill told HipHop DX that all of this information was revealed to federal investigators in October 2010 in exchange for a reduced sentence for his wife (so she could raise their daughter). He also notes that it will be included in his forthcoming e-book, Diary of an Ex-Terrorist. [HipHop DX]
A New Alleged Kelly Clarkson Demo Leaked!
The swiftness with which uploads are getting taken down suggests it might actually be a track slated to appear on her upcoming album. It’s called “Let Me Down.” Good luck finding a stream before the Web Sheriff does. [Popdust]
Most Behind the Music afficionados have their go-to shows, tales that clock the glories and pitfalls of a particular music act. The famed VH1 franchise hasn’t been that active in the last few years, but there’s good news for BTM freaks: VH1 is re-launching the Emmy-nominated and critically acclaimed series this summer. From the press release:
After more than 200 episodes, Behind the Music is now focusing on some of our favorite artists of today. From rock to hip-hop to pop, these innovative artists we are profiling are sure to captivate a whole new generation of viewers. In addition to the dramatic storytelling that made Behind The Music a worldwide hit, the reimagined version of the series will celebrate them as artists and will also feature originally shot verite footage of each artist, which will anchor each story in the present day.
Leave comments: which music acts would you like to see portrayed in new epsisodes of Behind the Music?
The rap war that launched a thousand conspiracy theories underwent an enthralling development yesterday: according to an FBI informant, Sean “Diddy” Combs was involved in Tupac Shakur‘s murder.
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reported the FBI was working with an informant who named Combs as having been aware of, and possibly involved in, an attack on Shakur at Quad Studios months before his death. In interviews prior to his death, Shakur swore Diddy and his crew were in some way involved in that attack. Two years later, Shakur was shot to death in Las Vegas. In a move many people think was retaliatory, Diddy associate Notorious B.I.G. was murdered seven months later, meaning that inadvertently, Diddy may have sealed his friend’s fate.
In the wake of Los Angeles Times story, Diddy issued a statement calling the report “irresponsible.” “Neither Biggie nor I had any knowledge of any attack before, during, or after it happened. It is a complete lie to suggest that there was any inolvement by Biggie or myself.”