It’s always difficult when beloved musicians pass away before their time, but it’s even more tragic when they’re taken from us with a senseless act of violence. This time of year is a particularly harsh reminder of the many artists who have been cut down in their prime, before they were able to complete their work for the world. Last Sunday marked 33 years since peace icon John Lennon was shot dead in front of his New York City apartment building, and 9 years since Pantera shredder Dimebag Darrell was gunned down in mid-performance. As if that’s not sad enough, today is the 49th anniversary of soul legend Sam Cooke’s mysterious death in a Los Angeles motel.
Long before he trademarked the rat face, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta star Stevie J. had another career as an uber successful music producer and industry inpersario! Way back in the mythical time we call the ’90s, Stevie was a head honcho at Bad Boy Entertainment, where he worked side-by-side with Diddy (or Puff Daddy, at the time) to bring us some of our favorite songs of the decade. In honor of Stevie’s birthday today, we’ve decided to but the love triangles and his infamous facial expression behind us and celebrate his STELLAR recording career. Read on to check 10 classics we owe to Stevie J!
Ahhh, the double album. It wasn’t always just for greatest hits packages and live releases. Yes, there was a time when these twin-plates were the format of choice for musicians with a lot of material and a lot to say. The results were usually sprawling opuses, packed to the brim with epic tracks. Sure we record buyers had to shell out a little extra cash, but we didn’t care. In fact, we felt spoiled: We were being treated to TWO new records by our favorite artist instead of just one!
Many rock stars spend a lot of time in the recording studio. It’s like a second home where they have complete control to turn their artistic vision into reality. But all work and no play makes for dull musicians, so it makes sense that sometimes the party spills over into the live room floor! Rock ‘n’ roll is filled with debaucherous myths and urban legends, many of which take place while the red recording light is on and the tapes are rolling. The craziest part? A lot of them are true! Read on to read our very favorite tales of rock stars gettin’ it on while laying it down! Some of these exploits are totally true. Listen to the records for proof! Other stories, well…details are a little more sketchy. But myth or fact, they’re still entertaining! Head down below for lots more…
VH1 prides itself on being a mashup of pop culture, so it seems only fair that we turn our attention to mashups of the musical variety! Although sometimes frowned upon for teetering towards copyright infringement, blends done with exquisite skill create a track that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Done right, a mashup enhances both songs, allowing us to discover new sonic possibilities contained within sounds that had become stale and boring. If that ain’t art, we don’t know what is.
Since the advent of cheap audio editing software and websites like YouTube, it’s become much easier to create and share “revisions” of well-loved tunes. These DJs work hard on their tributes, and so we’d humbly like to offer a showcase for some of our favorites. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Remix Rewind!
To get us started, we tapped Jay-Z to head-up our inaugural post. Mr. Shawn Carter helped spark our love of mashups back in 2004, when his Black Album was expertly mixed with the Beatles‘ White Album by DJ extraordinaire Danger Mouse, creating (what else?) The Grey Album. The best of two (very different) worlds blew our 16-year-old mind at the time. So now we’d like to check out 10 other awesome uses of Hova’s verses and beats. Enjoy!
Get rich or die trying is a motto that no longer suits 50 Cent. He’s filthy rich and didn’t have to die trying. Best believe 50′s still chasing the mula, but he’s starting to think about what he wants his legacy to be after he’s gone. It’s a bit morbid to think of how you want the world to remember you. But 50 Cent is clear he wants to be named among the greats. Read more…
The B.I.G. autopsy report TMZ released today–15 years after Biggie was murdered–leaves us scratching our heads. Why rehash news from 15 years ago without any new information outside of the fact that only one of the four shots being fatal?
TMZ got its hands on the never seen before document which details exactly where the bullets entered the Brooklyn MC, and which vital organs were hit. Sidebar: How does TMZ always end up with unreleased docs? That darn Harvey Levin. According to the autopsy, Big was hit in his left forearm, his back and the bullet exited through his left shoulder, his outer left thigh and the fatal bullet entered his right hip hitting his colon, liver, heart and upper lobe of his left lung. He was only 24. Read more…
Go shorty, it’s your birthday, we gon’ party like it’s your birthday. Not only did 50 Cent drop 5 (Murder By Numbers) for free today, it’s the Queens rapper’s 36th birthday. Nine years ago he rose to massive fame with his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ at the age of 27. Along with his crazy story of being shot nine times and his distinctive flow from having his jaw wired shut, 50′s success was also partly due to his ongoing beef with Ja Rule that ultimately ended Ja’s very popular career. Fifty’s war with the Murder Inc. rapper eventually simmered out, but 50 saw an opportunity in beef with his peers–if he was constantly dissing others on wax then he’d remain relevant because people would be listening. Thus began 50′s countless diss records and feuds. It’s only right that we celebrate his birthday by highlighting the top 10 beefs of his career. Happy Beef-day, Fiddy! Read more…
If we were to put together a complete list of songs that sampled the work of James Brown, it would easily run over a thousand songs. Of course, the magic that he made on wax is why RollingStone.com labeled him “the most sampled man in the biz.” No one executed funk and soul the way James Brown and his band did.
The man, perhaps best known for classic hits like “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “Say It Loud,” would have turned 79 years-old today. With that in mind, we’d like to wish a happy birthday to the Godfather of Soul! In honor of this special day, we’re giving you this list of 10 incredible songs that never would have been if it wasn’t for the work of JB.
Ye and Jigga were watching the throne alright. James Brown’s musical throne, that is. Along with the Otis Redding (how noble of them to name the song after him) sample of “Try a Little Tenderness,” Brown’s “Don’t Tell a Lie About Me and I Won’t Tell the Truth on You” can be heard right when Kanye appears to be beautifully screaming. Yep, that’s James Brown screaming all over a smash record by two of hip-hop’s biggest stars.
One of the most tragic moments in hip-hop history was the 1997 murder of Notorious B.I.G., whose young life and promising career was ended at the tender age of 24 in a hail of gunfire. VH1′s Behind The Music: Notorious B.I.G. looks back at the humble beginnings of Brooklyn bred rapper whose two album catalog— Ready to Die and Life After Death— led to his worldwide acclaim. Due to the lyricism present on these LPs, he has earned a place among the greatest rappers of all time.
In this special sneak peek at the latest episode of Behind The Music, which airs tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the Notorious B.I.G.’s mother, Voletta Wallace, is shown holding on to the fond memories of her only child. In rare footage, a young Biggie raps on his block to a swelling crowd of admirers. Big may have found his gift in rhyming, but it wasn’t enough to keep him away from toting guns and selling cocaine in his poverty stricken Bed-Stuy neighborhood. Fortunately, the streets never deterred him from making music.