It was a sad day when Yo! MTV Raps ended after a remarkable seven year run. Tonight we’re indulging in a healthy dose of nostalgia by watching the debut of Yo: The Story of Yo! MTV Raps, which includes Tupac’s unforgettable “thug life” rant against the Hughes brothers and Mike Tyson punching host Ed Lover. And what would a look at the story behind Yo! MTV Raps be without a classic freestyle farewell from countless emcees? It’s only right that the likes of Salt-N-Pepa, Rakim, KRS-One, Redman, Method Man, Flavor Flav and others send off the show properly. Read more…
Ice-T wants rap to be respected as an art form. As director of the documentary Something From Nothing: Art of Rap, Ice-T interviewed 52 rappers and had 35 more in queue. It seems that rap’s global influence is undeniable, but that doesn’t mean the genre is respected in the way jazz or Rock is. As Ice-T put it, people think rapping is easy and anyone can do it. Through the Art of Rap Ice-T uses a legion of rappers to showcase the intricacies, complexities and technique of the music that formed in the late 70s. Read more…
Summer is fast approaching and we’re ready to bring on the BBQs, rooftop parties and most of all the concerts. What’s summer without indulging in live performances of the artists you love? Two of the biggest hip-hop concerts this summer, Summer Jam and Rock the Bells, have some acts lined up that are going to be bananas! Not that you’d go wrong attending either, but because they’re as different as night and day, we’ve broken down why one of these concerts rules as the must-see concert of the summer.
1. The headliners tell you everything you need to know about a show.
One of the biggest names in hip-hop, Nicki Minaj, is headlining Summer Jam along with Rick Ross, Waka Flocka and Young Jeezy. As far as mainstream rap, Summer Jam has it covered. With Nicki you’ll get a bit of hip-pop, Waka will make everyone dance and Rick Ross and Jeezy offer the trap anthems to make even the most suburban girl get hype.
Where do we even begin with the headliners for Rock the Bells? Its very big name acts run the gamut of the likes of Nas, Kid Cudi, Wiz Khalifa, Missy Elliott & Timbaland and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. It doesn’t get more versatile than Nas, one of hip-hop’s legends, and the fairly newbie Wiz Khalifa rocking the stage at the same festival. And Missy Elliott & Timbaland…together! That’s some epic 90s skeez right there. We’re singing, “Supa dupa fly, supa dupa fly” just thinking about it.
2. Whose lineup has the most artists hot in the streets right now? Read more…
Who doesn’t love flashbacks, particularly to hip hop’s golden era of the late 80s and early 90s? Television and music in that era were so badass, and the fashion? Well, that had it’s ups and down. However, there’s no arguing that this era was when hip hop expanded from a genre to a global culture, and throughout it all, Yo! MTV Raps was at the forefront of the movement documenting classic moments of hip hop culture.
On Wednesday night, VH1 will be airing a 2-hour special, The 40 Greatest Yo! MTV Raps Moments, beginning at 7 p.m. ET/PT. To whet your appetite, we pulled a bunch of classic stills from the legendary program —everything from badboy Bobby Brown to a (non-holographic) Tupac going off on the Hughes Brothers to Mary J. Blige pre-”No More Drama.”
Last week, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of A Tribe Called Quest’s seminal album, The Low End Theory, and after spending quality time with the LP, it became clear that many artists may have snagged sonic gems from the trendsetting hip-hop quartet over the years. If you’re a fan of rap music, you already know that sampling and re-working existing songs is commonplace in the creative process; similar to contemporary art’s idea of the “readymade,” producers will lift elements from one song and add them to a new canvas to re-envision their use. But what happens when the same thing is done with lyrics?
One little-known fact: Lil’ Wayne’s“A Milli” is a slowed-down sample of one of Phife’s lines from a remix of “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” off Tribe’s first album, 1990′s Peoples’ Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. Sometimes referred to as swagger-jacking, a rapper re-purposing the bars of artists before him or her can in other circumstances be seen as a salute-beckoning sign of respect. And in Tribe’s case, it should be! In addition to sitting down with ATCQ for their first joint interview since 1998, we also got to chat individually with in-and-out, behind-the-scenes group member Jarobi White to scoop his brains for memories on the group’s incredible second album. In honor of its Album-Versary, we present you with Jarobi’s exclusive interview clips, and the Top 5 Recycled Lines From The Low End Theory.
Fifteen years ago, Spice Girls released their first single in the UK and set the pop world ablaze with a sassy little tune called “Wannabe” that introduced the duel concepts of Girl Power and zig-a-zig-ahhhhh. Eventually hitting #1 in thirty countries across the world, Spices Scary, Ginger, Posh, Sporty and Baby parlayed the “Wannabe” phenomenon into fame and fortune, selling twenty-three million copies of their debut album Spice and seizing the throne for the best-selling girl group in history.
Because we’re sentimental when it comes to all things pop culture, other fave ?lady jams started flooding our memory bank and got us thinking that, well, sometimes they can get a bit raunchy. However, to us, that’s the beauty of girl groups: They balance with one foot on the empowerment soapbox, and the other foot on the soapbox that reads “gimme some.” Maybe we have it all wrong, but?this list of ten anthems that say “come hither” all while commanding some R-E-S-P-E-C-T will bring you back in time and get you set for a (hopefully) spicy week.
10. Dream, ?He Loves U Not?
Puffy’s Bad Boy girl group?pre-Danity Kane was sort of flop-ish, but their single wasn’t! And while the lyric “he’s into what he’s got” might be somewhat tame, it serves it’s purpose to give off a “there’s more where that came from” warning to ladies trying to steal their men.
9. Destiny?s Child, ?Lose My Breath?
“Put it on me deep in the right direction,” demands Kelly Rowland in this uptempo Destiny’s Child track. Serving as both an aphrodisiac and a challenge, the entire song begs the question of the ladies’ male suitors: “Can you keep up?”
As part of Salt-N-Pepa, Sandy Denton struck a blow for women rappers everywhere. The famed trio’s string of hits, including “Push It” and “Let’s Talk About Sex,” opened lots of doors and lots of minds. Since her pioneering heyday of the ’80s, Pep’s gone on to participate in VH1′s Surreal Life, be celebrated on Hip Hop Honors, and show us the subtlties of the reunion with her old partner on the Salt-N-Pepa Show. Of course, she lived her life, too – it’s had its ups and downs.
The new Let’s Talk About Pep, a tell-all autobiography, is filled with the particulars of those ups and downs. Her rough childhood, teen stardom, falling out with Salt, battles with domestic abuse , premonitions of death, promise of celibacy, and lots more. You can purchase the book right here.
We grabbed one of the book’s more dramatic chapters to illustrate how candid the whole thing is. Here’s a section of “The Nightmare.”
“In my dream, I was standing at the top of this huge staircase. This staircase was like something out of Dynasty?with its white, wooden railings that seemed to go on forever. It was the kind of staircase you find in a mansion, splitting two wings. The staircase was so huge that in this dream I couldn?t stand in the middle and grab the railings?they seemed like a mile apart. In my dream, I?m at the top of the stairs and I?m in a fight. I?m on the wrong end of this fight, with my back to this huge staircase. I?m being beaten and I?m not really fighting back because I?m over this staircase?this long, hard, wooden staircase?and if I fall, that?s it. So I?m holding on to this person, trying to hold on to my life. But in my dream, I lose this struggle and end up at the bottom of this staircase broken. I don?t know whether I?m dead or paralyzed, but I?m not moving.
I was barely speaking to Brad. I was recuperating from that last incident with the IUD. I spoke to him long enough to tell him about the no sex for two months. But why was I even entertaining being with him again after that? I was not in my right mind. I was not in a good place…