Archive for the ‘Rappers / Hip Hop’ Category

TLC, R&B, Hip-Hop, Soul, Funk   Leave a comment


TLC is an American musical trio whose repertoire spanned R&B, hip-hop, soul, funk, and new jack swing. Originally consisting of singer Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, rapper-singer Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and singer Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas it found success in the 1990s while also enduring a series of spats with the law, each other, and the group’s record label.

Initially, TLC achieved commercial success following the release of its debut album Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip, which sold four million copies worldwide. The group’s second studio album, CrazySexyCool, went on to be certified diamond by the RIAA, and eventually sold 22 million copies worldwide. TLC released four multiplatinum studio albums before going on hiatus due to the death of Lopes in Honduras in 2002.

Billboard magazine ranked the group as one of the greatest musical trios.[4] Between 1992 and 2003 the band accumulated ten top ten singles, four number one singles, four multiplatinum albums, and four Grammy Awards. At the end of 1999, the band was ranked as the seventh most successful act of the 1990s by Billboard. In 2008, the group was inducted into the All Time Hot 100 Artist Hall of Fame by the same magazine, at 56th place. That year it was also listed as the #25 R&B/hip-hop artist of the preceding 25 years.[5]

With over 50 million albums sold, they are the top selling American female group of all time.

 History

In 1990–1991, Atlanta, Georgia, teenager Crystal Jones put out a call for two more girls to join her in a trio to be called 2nd Nature. Her request was eventually answered by Tionne Watkins, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, who moved to Atlanta with her family at an early age, and Lisa Lopes, a rapper who had just moved to the city from her native Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with only a keyboard and US$750 ($1,260 today).

The group eventually managed to arrange an audition with R&B singer Perri “Pebbles” Reid, who had started her own management and production company, Pebbitone. Impressed by the girls, Reid renamed the group “TLC” (an amalgation of the first letters of each of their names) and arranged an audition for them with local record label LaFace Records, run by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Reid’s then-husband, Antonio “L.A.” Reid. The latter Reid saw potential in Watkins and Lopes but felt that Jones should be replaced; within a few days, part-time Damian Dame backup dancer Rozonda Thomas was brought in to replace Jones. Thomas was christened with the nickname “Chilli” so as to keep the TLC name, while Watkins became “T-Boz” and Lopes was named “Left Eye”. The girls were signed to LaFace through a production deal with Pebbitone (with Perri Reid taking the role of the group’s manager) (see artist development deal) and almost immediately went into the studio with producers Reid and Edmonds, Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri, and Marley Marl to produce their first album.

1991–1993: Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip

The first TLC album, Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip, was released on February 25, 1992 by LaFace. The songs on the album are a blend of funk (Watkins), hip-hop (Lopes), and R&B (Thomas), similar to the “new jack swing” sound popularized by producer Teddy Riley in the late 1980s (and TLC’s sound was sometimes cited as an example of the “new jill swing” genre).[6] The album was a critical and commercial success, being certified quadruple-platinum within a year and launching a number of US Hot 100 top-ten singles with “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg“, “What About Your Friends“, and “Baby-Baby-Baby” which reached No. 2 on the Hot 100.

TLC’s lyrics, chiefly written by Lopes and Dallas Austin, were playful, female-empowering anthems characterized by Lopes’s quirky, nasal-toned raps, Watkins’s low-voiced lead vocals, and Thomas’s powerful vocals and harmonization. The musical formula was augmented by the girls’ brightly colored videos and curious costuming: each girl wore wrapped condoms on their clothing (Lopes also wore one over her left eye in a pair of glasses).

During TLC’s first national tour, as MC Hammer‘s opening act, Lopes and Thomas discovered that Watkins had sickle-cell disease, an ailment which she kept a closely guarded secret until she became ill while TLC was touring the Southwest US. Watkins continued to battle her condition and eventually became a spokesperson for the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America in the late 1990s.[7] At the conclusion of the tour, TLC decided to take more control of their careers and thus informed Perri Reid that they no longer wished her to be their manager. Reid released the group from its management deal, but they remained signed to Pebbitone, and Reid continued to receive a share of their earnings.

1994–1996: CrazySexyCool

Lopes began dating Atlanta Falcons American football player Andre Rison shortly after the release of Oooohhh… On the TLC Tip, and by 1994 the two were living together in Rison’s upscale double-story home. Their relationship was allegedly filled with violent moments, and Lopes filed an assault charge against Rison on September 2, 1993. Rison denied battering her. Lopes was also battling alcoholism at the time. She had been a heavy drinker since the age of fifteen. After another fight between the couple in the early morning hours of June 9, 1994, Lopes tossed numerous pairs of Rison’s newly purchased shoes into a bathtub, doused them with lighter fluid, and lit them on fire. The plexiglas bathtub quickly melted and set the structural frame of the house on fire. Lopes was arrested and indicted on charges of first-degree arson; she was sentenced to five years of probation and a $10,000 fine. Rison eventually reconciled with Lopes, and they continued dating on and off for around three and a half years.[8]

During early 1994, TLC re-entered the studio with Dallas Austin, Tim & Bob, Jermaine Dupri, Babyface, Organized Noize, and Sean “Puffy” Combs to record their second album, CrazySexyCool. Lopes was released from rehab to attend the recording sessions, but the finished album featured significantly less of her raps and vocals. The album instead focused more on the contributions from Watkins and Thomas, and had a smoother, more fluid sound, similar to the most successful single from the first album, the US #2 hit “Baby-Baby-Baby”.[9] All four singles from CrazySexyCool reached the top 5 of the US Hot 100, while “Creep” and “Waterfalls” peaked at no. 1, while Red Light Special reached no. 2 and “Diggin’ on You” reached no. 5. “Waterfalls”,[9] an Organized Noise-produced song that featured an old-school soul-based musical arrangement, socially conscious lyrics criticizing drug dealing and unsafe sex, and an introspective rap from Lopes, became TLC’s biggest hit, and its million-dollar music video was an MTV staple for many months.

CrazySexyCool eventually sold over 11 million copies in the US, and became one of the first albums to ever receive a diamond certification from the RIAA,[6] and won a 1996 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album and a 1996 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group for “Creep”.[10] However, in the midst of their apparent success, the members of TLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 3, 1995.[11]

Also in 1994, TLC recorded the theme song to Nickelodeon‘s popular sketch comedy All That which ran for ten seasons.

1997–2000: FanMail

Preliminary work on TLC’s third album, FanMail, was delayed when friction arose between the group and their main producer Dallas Austin, who was by this time dating Thomas and helping to raise their young son Tron. Austin wanted $4.2 million and creative control to work on the project, resulting in a stand-off between the producer and the artists. During this period, Thomas appeared in the independent film HavPlenty, and Watkins co-starred in Hype Williams (who later directed the “No Scrubs” video)’ 1998 film Belly with rappers Nas and DMX. Watkins made a solo song in late 1996 called “Touch Myself”. Lopes started her own Lopes Productions artist development company and signed Blaque, a TLC-like female R&B trio. She also appeared on the “Not Tonight” remix with fellow female rappers Lil’ Kim, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, Da Brat and Angie Martinez, which garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance by a Duo, Band, or Group in 1998.

TLC eventually began working with other producers for the FanMail album, until finally negotiating with Austin, who produced the bulk of FanMail and gave the album a futuristic, more pop-based feel. FanMail was another success for TLC, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album sales chart and selling over 5 million copies in the U.S. The album featured the number-one hit “No Scrubs“, produced by Kevin “She’kspere” Briggs, and the single “Unpretty“, an alternative rock-styled song about self-love written by Watkins and Dallas Austin (another version of it sampled Dennis Edwards‘ 1984 hit “Don’t Look Any Further”), that also reached #1 on the Billboard chart.[9] At the Lady of Soul Awards the group was honored with the Aretha Franklin Entertainer of the Year Award.[12]

The videos for both songs were heavily featured on MTV and BET, and three more singles received decent radio play: “Silly Ho”, “I’m Good at Being Bad”, and Edmonds-written ballad, “Dear Lie”. Like CrazySexyCool, FanMail won the Grammy for Best R&B Album of 2000 and Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for “No Scrubs”. The group went on a worldwide tour simply named FanMail Tour. While the first leg of the tour sold poorly and made the group lose $500,000 dollars, most of the second leg of the tour was sold out. The group had a PayPerView special of their tour which at the time became PayPerView’s highest grossing televised special. The tour went on to gross more than $72.8 million dollars according to Billboard which became the highest grossing tour by a female group.

During and after the release of FanMail, Lopes made it known to the press on multiple occasions that she felt that she was unable to fully express herself working with TLC and Austin. Her contributions to the songs had been reduced to periodic eight-bar raps, and studio session singers such as Debra Killings often took her place on the background vocals for the group’s songs. In its November 28, 1999 issue, Entertainment Weekly ran a letter from Lopes that challenged her group mates to record solo albums and let the fans judge which of the three was the most talented:

“I challenge Tionne ‘Player’ Watkins (T-boz) and Rozonda ‘Hater’ Thomas (Chilli) to an album entitled The Challenge… a 3-CD set that contains three solo albums. Each (album)… will be due to the record label by October 1, 2000… I also challenge producer Dallas ‘The Manipulator’ Austin to produce all of the material and do it at a fraction of his normal rate. As I think about it, I’m sure LaFace would not mind throwing in a $1.5 million dollar prize for the winner.”[13]

The ladies eventually settled the feud, and The Challenge was never followed through. After the conclusion of the successful FanMail tour, the ladies, however, took some time off and pursued personal interests. Lopes was the first to begin recording her solo album, Supernova. In 2000, Spice Girl Melanie C released a single co-written with Lopes in the UK and Europe, called “Never Be the Same Again“; it became a hit reaching #1 in many countries.

 2001–2003: 3D and The Death of Left Eye

Before the recording of their fourth album, 3D, there was a dispute between Lopes on one side and Watkins and Thomas on the other. Lopes originally wanted to withdraw from the group in order to see if they could duplicate their prior success without her contributions. Lopes eventually pursued solo stardom and recorded her first album Supernova, however it underperformed overseas and was never officially released in the United States. Before her second solo album was completed, Lopes died in a car crash while filming a documentary in Honduras, which would later be released as The Last Days of Left Eye in 2007 on VH1.

Returning from yet another hiatus after Lopes’ death, Watkins, Thomas and Austin decided that they would complete the remainder of their fourth album, to be called 3D, which also featured production from Rodney Jerkins, The Neptunes, Raphael Saadiq, Missy Elliott and Timbaland. The decision was also made that TLC would retire after the release and promotion of 3D, rather than replace Lopes and continue. Lopes had already completed her vocals for four songs; the remainder were performed by the remaining group members alone, who eulogized Lopes on a number of the tracks.

The first single for 3D was “Girl Talk“, the video for which featured Watkins and Thomas alone in live-action segments and Lopes in animated segments. Its follow-up, “Hands Up”, featured only Watkins and Thomas in its video, but took place in a nightclub named Club Lopes (Lopes’ production company’s “eye” logo was a prominent feature on the club’s walls). The album sold two million copies in its first year of release, and “Girl Talk” was the only single to reach the U.S. top forty with a peak position of number 28; “Hands Up” never charted, and a third single, “Damaged“, reached number 53.[9] However, the singles enjoyed a bit more success in Europe and Asia. 3D went on to sell nearly 1 million copies in the US alone.

In June 2003, at Zootopia, an annual concert hosted by New York radio station Z100 held at Giants Stadium, TLC appeared in what was announced to be their last performance. The group, introduced by Carson Daly, showed a video montage dedicated to Lopes, and went on to perform songs against video footage of Lopes performing the same songs, and wearing the same outfits, that were appearing onstage. TLC performed to 60,000 fans.[14]

 2004–2006: Now & Forever: The Hits

In 2005, LaFace had scheduled the release of Now and Forever: The Hits, a TLC greatest hits album with a new song, “Come Get Some“, featuring Lil Jon and Sean P of the YoungBloodZ. However, the compilation was not released domestically until June 2005, although versions of the compilation were released internationally in 2004 and the album was also available as a legal download from the iTunes Store in November 2004. On June 21, 2005, Now and Forever: The Hits was quietly released in the United States; the album debuted at number 53 with 20,000 copies sold.

On May 15, 2007, Now and Forever: The Video Hits was released in the United States, after over four years of delayed release dates.

On August 20, 2007, a new greatest hits album was released in the UK called Crazy Sexy Hits: The Very Best of TLC, a play on the group’s best selling album title Crazy Sexy Cool. Now and Forever: The Video Hits was also released in the UK for the first time on the same date. The album fared better than previous compilation Now and Forever: The Hits, peaking at #57 on the UK album chart (Now and Forever: The Hits made #86).

On June 25, 2004, Watkins and Thomas announced that they were pitching a reality television show where contestants would compete for a chance to record a single and perform in concert with the two of them. The show was eventually picked up for development by UPN. R U the Girl with Watkins and Thomas debuted on UPN on July 27, 2005. The winner of the show would record with them on a new single and perform the track with them in a live concert finale in Atlanta. Roughly 4.1 million viewers tuned in for the season finale of R U The Girl on September 20, 2005, with 20-year-old Tiffany “O’so Krispie” Baker as the winner.[15] Despite media speculation that the winner of the series was to become a new, permanent member of TLC, Watkins and Thomas have vowed to never replace Lopes with a new member.

On October 4, 2005, “I Bet”, the first new Watkins and Thomas single in over two years, was released to radio and iTunes, credited to “R U The Girl with Watkins & Thomas” with no mention of the TLC name on the package. The song was also appended to pressings of Now and Forever: The Hits released after October 11, 2005. “I Bet” failed to chart in America and Europe, ending reports that Watkins and Thomas were putting the finishing touches on a repackaged Greatest Hits album.

 2007–2011

On June 24, 2008, Watkins and Thomas made a special appearance on the BET Awards. They, along with the original members of En Vogue and SWV, performed in Alicia Keys‘ tribute to girl groups. Watkins, Thomas, and Keys performed “Waterfalls“.[16] Watkins and Thomas were also presenters at the BETJ Virtual Awards on November 25, 2008.

In March 2009, Watkins and Thomas announced plans to perform together in a concert series in Japan featuring seventeen of TLC’s songs.[17] On August 25, 2009, it was announced that the group would perform at the Justin Timberlake and Friends benefit concert at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Events Center on October 17, 2009.[18] At the concert, Watkins announced that she and Thomas plan to record new material.[19] In July 2010, T-Boz and Chilli set out to Japan for several days to perform shows.[20]

In May 2011, TLC performed on American Idol and received a standing ovation from the audience.

Music TV channel VH1 have announced plans to produce a biopic based on the group,[21] with Watkins and Thomas signed up as consultants and executive producers.

Posted February 19, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Rappers / Hip Hop, Singer

Maxwell, R&B, Funk, neo Soul   Leave a comment


Gerald Maxwell Rivera, known as Maxwell,[2] (born May 23, 1973), is an American R&B, funk and neo soul musician. He played an important role in the development of the soul sub-genre, neo-soul.[3]

 Early life

Maxwell was born in Brooklyn, New York. His father was Pentecostal and raised in Vieques, Puerto Rico. His mother grew up in a devout Baptist household in Haiti.[4][5][6]

 Musical career

Maxwell began working with songwriter Leon Ware and noted guitarist Wah Wah Watson to record his debut Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite in the early 1990s. When the album was finished Columbia had doubts about its potential and shelved it for two years. The album was finally issued in 1996.

Heavily inspired by the sound of classic soul music, Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite did not catch on with audiences until the release of its second single, “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder),” which became a hit. BET’s groundbreaking show, In Your Ear would introduce him to more than 58 million homes and Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite would go on to sell over 2,000,000 copies, earning 2X platinum status, and was nominated for a Grammy Award.

On October 1996, Maxwell contributed the song “Segurança (Security)” to the AIDS-Benefit Album Red Hot + Rio produced by the Red Hot Organization.

On June 15, 1997, Maxwell taped an episode of the MTV concert series MTV Unplugged in New York City, performing his own songs as well as covers of songs by Kate Bush (“This Woman’s Work“) and Nine Inch Nails (“Closer“).[7] Maxwell clashed with his label about the release of an album of his unplugged session, resulting in the release of an EP instead [8] containing seven songs was released for sale.

Maxwell’s second studio album, Embrya, was released in 1998. The following year, Maxwell released “Fortunate“, a single written by R. Kelly and featured on the soundtrack for the 1999 film Life. The single peaked at number one on Billboard magazine’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks chart. To date, “Fortunate” is Maxwell’s most successful single and was Billboard’s number one R&B single of 1999.

Now, Maxwell’s third album, was released in 2001, becoming his first No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 album chart and Billboard’s R&B album chart. It featured the hit singles “Lifetime” and a studio version of “This Woman’s Work“, the Kate Bush song Maxwell covered during his 1997 MTV Unplugged set.[9]

Maxwell appeared on the 2008 BET Awards, where he performed the song “Simply Beautiful” in a tribute to Al Green.[10][11][12]

After taking several years off, Maxwell released his latest album BLACKsummers’night on July 7, 2009. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard Albums Top 200 chart, his second album to receive that ranking. Maxwell said his reason for leaving the music industry for such a long period was “to just to take time off. The music industry has so much competition and there was no rush for me.” He performed his hit single “Pretty Wings” at the 2009 BET Awards. An audio clip of the song “Pretty Wings” from BLACK was featured on Maxwell’s Myspace page in spring 2008. The full single made its world premier on the Tom Joyner Morning Show on April 28, 2009, after the New School/Old School Remix by Steve “Silk” Hurley. “Pretty Wings” is also sold as a digital download on iTunes. In October 2009 — to coincide with Maxwell’s autumn European tour, which included dates in London and Manchester — “Bad Habits” became the album’s first UK single.[13]

Maxwell received six nominations for the 2010 Grammy Awards, including “Best R&B Album” for BLACKsummers’night and “Best Male R&B Vocal Performance” for “Pretty Wings.”[14] “Pretty Wings” was nominated for the “Song of the Year” which was written by Maxwell under his publishing moniker Musze.

The follow-up to BLACKsummers’night and the second installment in a planned trilogy, blackSUMMERS’night, was set to be released in 2011 but the exact date is unknown.[15]

His hit song “Pretty Wings” was song on the memorial tribute to Michael Jackson.

Posted February 19, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Rappers / Hip Hop

Busta Rymes, Rapper, Actor   Leave a comment


Trevor Smith Jr., better known by his stage name Busta Rhymes (born May 20, 1972),[1] is an American rapper, producer and actor. Chuck D of Public Enemy gave him the alias Busta Rhymes after NFL wide receiver George “Buster” Rhymes. Early in his career, he was known for his wild style and fashion, and today is best known for his highly skilled rapping technique, which involves rapping at a much faster rate, and to date has received eleven Grammy nominations for his musical work. About.com included him on its list of the 50 Greatest MCs of Our Time (1987–2007),[2] while Steve Huey of Allmusic called him one of the best and most prolific rappers of the ’90s.[3]

Early life

Busta was born in Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn, to Jamaican parents Geraldine Green and Trevor Smith, Sr. in 1972. Smith attended George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School, alongside Jay-Z, DMX and The Notorious B.I.G.[4][5][6][7] He went to Uniondale High School on Long Island, graduating in 1990.

 Music career

 With Leaders of the New School, and early guest appearances (1989–1995)

Hip-hop crew Leaders of the New School began recording in 1989 and released their debut album A Future Without a Past in 1991 on Elektra Records. In early 1992 the group appeared on A Tribe Called Quest‘s posse cutScenario,” in which Busta’s climactic verse propelled him into the cultural consciousness.[8] In 1993, they released T.I.M.E. (The Inner Mind’s Eye). Soon after, however, internal problems arose because of Busta’s increasing popularity, and the group broke up on the set of Yo! MTV Raps.

After LONS broke up, Busta Rhymes began making guest appearances on several hip-hop and R&B artists singles such as R&B group Boyz II Men, he appeared on the track “Intro Talk” on Mary J. Blige‘s landmark debut album, What’s the 411?, he also appeared on the album jacket of fellow hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest‘s Midnight Marauders, with a host of other fellow hip-hop pioneers. In 1993, he appeared in a cameo role in Yo! MTV Raps hosts Doctor Dré and Ed Lover‘s film, Who’s the Man?, and in the HBO film, Strapped, and co-starred alongside Ice Cube and Omar Epps in the John Singleton film, Higher Learning (which was in post-production until it was released in 1995). The following year, he teamed up with Puff Daddy, LL Cool J, and future Flipmode Squad member, Rampage and former classmate The Notorious B.I.G., on a remix to Craig Mack‘s “Flava In Ya Ear“, soon after he would team up again with The Notorious B.I.G. among a plethora of rappers such as Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Coolio on the single, “The Points” which appeared on the soundtrack to the 1995 film, Panthers.

 The Coming & When Disaster Strikes (1995-1998)

In the summer of 1995, Busta Rhymes started work on his first album The Coming, a month after recording the album, he released the album in March of 1996. A month before the album was released, he broke out with a solo hit single, “Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check“. Later in 1996, he started work on his second album, When Disaster Strikes, which would not be released until September 1997. It produced the hit singles “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” and “Fire It Up“.

 Extinction Level Event (Final World Front) (1998-1999)

In 1998, Busta recorded Extinction Level Event (Final World Front). Its lead single, “Gimme Some More” — which sampled Bernard Herrmann‘s theme from Psycho — reached number 6 in the UK singles chart in January 1999. Busta enjoyed further transatlantic success in April when the single “What’s It Gonna Be?!“, featuring Janet Jackson, reached the US and UK Top 11. The album received prominent notice for featuring the fastest rapping Busta has ever performed, particularly on a song called “Iz They Wildin Wit Us?”, featuring a guest appearance by Mystikal.[9]

 J/Arista/BMG

Busta Rhymes performing in 2006

Anarchy & Genesis (2000-2001)

In 2000, Busta recorded his final album for Elektra, entitled Anarchy. After Busta signed to J Records, a label started by the then recently ousted Arista Records chief and founder Clive Davis, he released a greatest hits collection[citation needed] alongside a new album of original work. Continuing the Biblical theme of his previous albums, he titled his record Genesis. The album featured collaborations with Mary J. Blige, P. Diddy, Kelis, and others. Genesis was powered by the hit single with Kelis, “What It Is,” and his solo single released in November 2001, “Break Ya Neck.” The final single was the summer smash “Pass the Courvoisier, Part II“, which featured Pharrell and P. Diddy. Despite the success of the two singles, this album did not sell as well as previous releases.

It Aint Safe No More (2002-2004)

In 2002, Busta released his seventh studio album It Ain’t Safe No More. The album was moderately successful, with a hit song featuring Mariah Carey and the Flipmode Squad called “I Know What You Want“. Another hit song was “Make It Clap”, featuring Spliff Starr. The remix of “Make It Clap” featured Sean Paul. After its release, he left J Records. In 2004, he signed with Dr. Dre‘s Aftermath Entertainment.

 Aftermath/Interscope

The Big Bang (2006)

His eighth studio album, The Big Bang, became the first #1 album of his career. The CD sold over 209,000 copies in its first week to earn the top spot on The Billboard Top 200.[10] The album also became his highest charting album in the UK, peaking at #19. Some of the album was leaked on the Internet, and as a result several songs were left off the album and new ones added. The Big Bang featured more production by Dr. Dre than Busta’s previous releases, as well as appearances by Raekwon and Nas. The singles that have been released from the album are, “Touch It“, “I Love My Bitch“, featuring Kelis and Will.I.Am, “New York Shit“, featuring Swizz Beatz and “In The Ghetto“. Busta also had a stint opening for Mariah Carey‘s The Adventures of Mimi Tour. Also, Busta performed with Eminem on “Touch It Remix Part 5″ and performed a verse on the aforementioned rapper’s song, “I’ll Hurt You”. On July 17, 2008, Busta left Interscope/Aftermath due to a creative clash with Interscope head Jimmy Iovine.

Universal Motown

Back on My B.S. (2007-2009)

He also made a song featuring Linkin Park called “We Made It“. It was later revealed that Busta inked a deal with Universal Motown, who released his ninth studio album, Back on My B.S., on May 19, 2009.[11] He also appeared on Asher Roth‘s debut album, Asleep in the Bread Aisle. The album debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200, selling 56,000 copies, and was his first album to not receive an RIAA certification, selling 122,000 copies to date. The singles that have been released from the album are, “Arab Money“, featuring Ron Browz, “Hustler’s Anthem ’09“, featuring T-Pain and “Respect My Conglomerate“. The song “World Go Round“, featuring British singer Estelle, was released in France on April 6, 2009 due to the heavy rotation of a leaked version. The single was released in the UK on July 13, 2009. Due to controversial content, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has banned the album. Back on My B.S. was released internationally, but because of one song, “Arab Money“, it is not available to buy as a CD there (however, the album can still be purchased via iTunes). According to the National Media Council, the lyrics were considered to be offensive to Arabs and to Islam, and permission for distribution was therefore denied. Some DJs, artists and fans have lambasted the track, saying it portrayed Arabs in a stereotypical way. The first part out of three of the remix by Rhymes contains verses from the Quran. In November, when “Arab Money” was released as a single, DJ Dany Neville and the Iraqi rapper The Narcicyst responded by recorded a reply. Busta later apologized. DJs in the country said they had not received an order banning the record from being spun in nightclubs, and they had mixed feelings on whether the record was offensive or not.[12] DJ Saif of Dubai said:

I don’t play ‘Arab Money’ because it’s disrespectful on Arabs. I don’t think there is a ban on playing it in clubs, but many here don’t play it anyway.[12]

Emirati DJ DJ Bliss, refused to play the Busta Rhymes’ single called Arab Money on Radio 1 in Dubai after it was banned in the UAE for offense to Arabs along with many other Dj’s in the United Arab Emirates that also took a stand. He added:

I used to play the original version in the club, but out of respect for the laws here in my country, I haven’t played it since.[12]

 Conglomerate Records & Extinction Level Event 2 (2010-present)

Busta announced that he was working on his tenth studio album, alongside Canadian producer Boi-1da, entitled The Chemo. He says that his next project is 80 percent finished.[13] Busta has reportedly changed the title of his forthcoming Chemo album to Extinction.Level.Event.2 (E.L.E. 2).[14] Some new songs are being considered for the album, including “C’mon (Catch ‘Em By Surprise) by Tiësto and Diplo and “Look at Me Now” alongside Chris Brown and Lil Wayne. The trend of album sequels continues with Busta adding another chapter to his 1998 opus E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front. Busta’s manager Chris Lighty sent out the message via Twitter. He said; “Extinction.Level.Event 2 ……prepare yourself.” Like the first, E.L.E. 2 is inspired by movies of impending destruction on planet Earth, Lighty said; “From the Intro of the new Busta Album you’re going to know you’re in trouble and you just turned on 2012 the movie on warp speed,”.

DJ Premier, in an August 6, 2010 interview on Conspiracy Worldwide Radio said Busta Rhymes has received over eight beats which he didn’t want to use but Premier hoped his next beat would be chosen for inclusion on the album.[15] On DJ Premier’s Live From Headqcourterz radio show Premier confirmed that one of his beats were to be included in E.L.E. 2. In 2010, Busta Rhymes formed his new label Conglomerate Records (With later on having rosters such as N.O.R.E., and Spliff Star). He was featured on C’mon (Catch ‘Em By Surprise) by Tiësto and Diplo.

In 2011, Rhymes recorded “Look at Me Now” with Chris Brown and Lil Wayne on Brown’s fourth album, F.A.M.E., the song has received favorable reviews regarding Rhymes guest verse on the song, and is his highest chart entry on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number six, while reaching number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, becoming his first #1 on that chart. On September 7, 2011, Rhymes received six nominations for the BET Hip Hop Awards, held on October 11, 2011.

On May 1, 2011 Rhymes appeared on the launch show for MNET’s Big Brother Africa 6: Amplified and performed some of his songs.

In 2011, Busta Rhymes performed at the Gathering of the Juggalos.[16]

Canadian recording artist Justin Bieber will feature Busta on a song called “Drummer Boy” off Bieber’s sophomore studio album, Under the Mistletoe, released on 1 November 2011.[17]

On November 11, 2011, a Heavy D tribute song titled “You Ain’t Gotta Wait Till I’m Gone” was leaked.[18]

On November 16, 2011, it was announced that Busta Rhymes signed to Cash Money Records.[19]

 Personal life

Busta has three kids with his ex-girlfriend, Joanne Wood: T’Ziah (born 1993), T’Khi (born 1999), and Trillian (born 2000).

Religion

Busta had been a member of The Nation of Gods and Earths[20] since the age of 15.[21] On Sep-2-2007, a video was uploaded on Liveleak.com about Busta Rhymes having converted to Islam.[22] He himself has said that he lives his life by Islam, stating he is Muslim & loves Allah.[citation needed]

 Legal issues

On August 20, 2006, he was arraigned for charges of third-degree assault after attacking a man who reportedly spat on his car in New York City on August 12 after the AmsterJam Music Festival on Randall’s Island.[23]

On October 24, 2006, he appeared at Manhattan Criminal Court as the district attorney‘s office attempted to amend previous charges against him to include weapons possession for a machete found in his car. The judge, ShawnDya Simpson, refused to add the charge and adjourned the case.[24][25]

On February 20, 2007, Busta refused a plea deal offered by the prosecutors office for the assault of his former driver, Edward Hatchett. The deal would have entailed six months in jail and pleading guilty to two assaults, the attack on Hatchett, and the attack on the former fan. The dispute with Hatchett is believed to have originated over back pay Hatchett felt he was owed. Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Becki Rowe offered Busta another option, pleading guilty to third-degree assault. The conditions of the proposed sentence would include five days of community service, two weeks of youth lectures and six months of anger management classes, as well as three years of probation. On March 18, 2008 a judge in New York City sentenced Busta to three years’ probation, 10 days’ community service, $1250 in fines (plus court costs), and to enroll in a drunken driving program.[25][26][27][28]

On September 25, 2008, he was temporarily refused entry to the United Kingdom due to “unresolved convictions”.[29]

On October 14, 2009, a Brooklyn judge ordered Busta to pay a concert goer $75,000 in compensation for an assault which occurred in 2003.

Posted February 18, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Actor/Actress, Rappers / Hip Hop

Snoop Dogg, Rapper, Singer, Record Producer   Leave a comment


Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. (born October 20, 1971), better known by his stage name Snoop Dogg, is an American rapper, singer, record producer, and actor. Snoop is best known as a rapper in the West Coast hip hop scene, and for being one of Dr. Dre‘s most notable protégés. Snoop Dogg was a Crip gang member while in high school. Shortly after graduation, he was arrested for cocaine possession and spent six months in Wayside County Jail. His music career began in 1992 after his release when he was discovered by Dr. Dre. He collaborated on several tracks on Dre’s solo debut, The Chronic and on the titular theme song to the film Deep Cover.

Snoop’s debut album Doggystyle, was released in 1993 under Death Row Records making a debut at No.1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts. Selling almost a million copies in the first week of its release, Doggystyle quickly became certified 4x platinum in 1994 and spawned several hit singles, including “What’s My Name” and “Gin & Juice“. In 1994, Snoop released a soundtrack on Death Row Records for the short film Murder Was The Case, starring himself. In early 1996, Snoop Dogg was cleared of charges over his bodyguard’s 1993 murder of Philip Woldemariam. His second album, late 1996′s Tha Doggfather, also debuted at No.1 on both charts with “Snoop’s Upside Ya Head” as the lead single. The album sold only half as well, being certified double platinum in 1997.

Tha Doggfather was his last release for Death Row before he signed with No Limit Records, where he recorded his next three albums. Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told in 1998, No Limit Top Dogg in 1999 (making it his last album of the 90s), and Tha Last Meal in 2000, which was his last No Limit Records album. Snoop then signed with Priority/Capitol/EMI Records in 2002, where he released his album Paid tha Cost to Be da Boss. Then he signed with Geffen Records in 2004 for his next three albums R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece, Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, and Ego Trippin’. Malice ‘n Wonderland (2009) and Doggumentary (2011), his most recent release, were on Priority.

In addition to music, Snoop Dogg has starred in motion pictures and hosted several television shows: Doggy Fizzle Televizzle, Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood and Dogg After Dark. He also coaches a youth football league and high school football team. He has run into many legal troubles, some of which caused him to be legally banned from the UK and Australia, although the UK ban was later reversed after a long legal battle.[1] He is the cousin of Nate Dogg, Daz Dillinger, RBX and Lil’ ½ Dead and the cousin of R&B singers Brandy and Ray J. Starting September 2009, Snoop was hired by EMI as the chairman of a reactivated Priority Records.[2]

Life and career

Early life

Named after his stepfather, Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Sr. (December 10, 1948 – November 9, 1985, Los Angeles), Calvin Broadus was born October 20, 1971 at the Los Altos Hospital in Long Beach, California, the second of three sons of Beverly Broadus (née Tate; born April 27, 1951, McComb, Mississippi).[3][4][5] His father, Vernall Varnado (born December 13, 1949, Magnolia, Mississippi),[3] was a Vietnam veteran, singer, and mail carrier who was said to be frequently absent from his life.[6] Broadus’ parents nicknamed him “Snoopy” as a child because of his appearance, but usually addressed him as Calvin at home.[7][8] His mother and stepfather divorced in 1975. At an early age, Broadus began singing in Golgotha Trinity Baptist Church and playing piano; when he was in sixth grade, he began rapping.[9][10] He attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School, and was convicted for cocaine possession, serving six months at the Wayside County Jail.[7]

As a teenager, Snoop Dogg frequently ran into trouble with the law. Snoop Dogg was a member of the Rollin’ 20 Crips gang in the Eastside of Long Beach,[11][12] although he stated in 1993 that he never joined a gang.[9] Shortly after graduating from high school, he was arrested for possession of cocaine.[7] Snoop Dogg’s conviction caused him to be frequently in and out of prison for the first three years after he graduated from high school. Snoop, along with his cousins Nate Dogg and Lil’ ½ Dead and friend Warren G, recorded home made tapes as a group called 213, named after the Long Beach area code at the time. One of his early solo freestyles over En Vogue‘s “Hold On” had made it to a mixtape which was heard by influential producer Dr. Dre, who phoned to invite him to an audition. Former N.W.A member The D.O.C. taught him how to structure his lyrics and separate the thematics into verses, hooks and chorus.[13]

1992–93: Doggystyle

When he began recording, Broadus took the stage name Snoop Doggy Dogg. Dr. Dre began working with Snoop Dogg, first on the theme song of the 1992 film Deep Cover, and then on Dr. Dre’s debut solo album The Chronic with the other members of his former starting group, Tha Dogg Pound. The huge success of Snoop Dogg’s debut Doggystyle was partially because of this intense exposure.[7]

To fuel the ascendance of West Coast G-funk hip hop, the singles “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” and “Gin and Juice” reached the top ten most-played songs in the United States, and the album stayed on the Billboard charts for several months.[7] Gangsta rap became the center of arguments for censorship and labeling, with Snoop Dogg often used as an example of violent and misogynistic musicians.[14] Doggystyle, much like The Chronic, featured a host of rappers signed to or affiliated with the Death Row label including Daz Dillinger, Kurupt, Nate Dogg and others. Rolling Stone music critic Touré asserted that Snoop had a relatively soft vocal delivery compared to other rappers: “Snoop’s vocal style is part of what distinguishes him: where many rappers scream, figuratively and literally, he speaks softly.”[9]

A short film about Snoop Dogg’s murder trial called Murder Was The Case, was released in 1994, along with an accompanying soundtrack. On July 6, 1995, Doggy Style Records, Inc., a record label founded by Snoop Dogg, was registered with the California Secretary of State as business entity number C1923139.[15]

1996–97: Tha Doggfather

After Snoop Dogg was acquitted of murder charges on February 20, 1996, he and the mother of his son and their kennel of 20 pit bulls moved into a 5,000-square-foot (460 m2) home in the hills of Claremont, California and by August 1996 Doggy Style Records, a subsidiary of Death Row Records, signed The Gap Band‘s Charlie Wilson as one of the record label’s first artists.[16]

However, by the time Snoop Dogg’s second album, Tha Doggfather, was released in November 1996, the price of living (or sometimes just imitating) the gangsta life had become very evident. Among the many notable hip hop industry deaths and convictions were the death of Snoop Dogg’s friend and labelmate 2Pac and the racketeering indictment of Death Row co-founder Suge Knight.[7] Dr. Dre had left Death Row earlier in 1996 because of a contract dispute, so Snoop Dogg co-produced Tha Doggfather with Daz Dillinger and DJ Pooh.

This album featured a distinct change of style as compared to Doggystyle, and the leadoff single, “Snoop’s Upside Ya Head“, featured a collaboration with Gap Band frontman Charlie Wilson. While the album sold reasonably well, it was not as successful as its predecessor. However, Tha Doggfather had a somewhat softer approach to the G-funk style. The immediate aftermath of Dr. Dre’s withdrawal from Death Row Records, realizing that he was subject to an iron-clad time-based contract (i.e., that Death Row practically owned anything he produced for a number of years), Snoop Dogg refused to produce any more tracks for Suge Knight, other than the insulting “Fuck Death Row”, until his contract expired.[11] In an interview with Neil Strauss in 1998, Snoop Dogg stated that though he had been given lavish gifts by his former label they had withheld royalty payments to the artist.[17]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic said that after Tha Doggfather, Snoop Dogg began “moving away from his gangsta roots toward a calmer lyrical aesthetic”:[7] for instance, Snoop participated in the 1997 Lollapalooza concert tour, which featured mainly alternative rock music. Troy J. Augusto of Variety noticed that Snoop’s set at Lollapalooza attracted “much dancing, and, strangely, even a small mosh pit” in the audience.[18]

1998–2000: No Limit, Top Dogg and Tha Last Meal

Snoop signed with Master P‘s No Limit Records (distributed by Priority/EMI Records) in 1998 and debuted on the label with Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told that year. His other albums from No Limit were No Limit Top Dogg in 1999 (selling over 1,503,865 copies) and Tha Last Meal in 2000 (selling over 1,000,000).[7] In 2001, his autobiography, Tha Doggfather, was published.

2002: Paid tha Cost to Be da Bo$$

In 2002 he released the album Paid tha Cost to Be da Bo$$, on Priority/Capitol/EMI Records, selling over 1,300,000 copies. The album featured the hit singles “From tha Chuuuch to da Palace” and “Beautiful“, featuring guest vocals by Pharrell. By this stage in his career, Snoop Dogg had left behind his “gangster” image and embraced a “pimp” image.

2004–05: R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece

In 2004, Snoop signed to Geffen Records/Star Trak Entertainment both of which are distributed through Interscope Records; Star Trak is headed by producer duo The Neptunes, which produced several tracks for Snoop’s 2004 release R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece. “Drop It Like It’s Hot” (featuring Pharrell), the first single released from the album, was a hit and became Snoop Dogg’s first single to reach number one. His third release was “Signs“, featuring Justin Timberlake and Charlie Wilson, which entered the UK chart at #2. This was his highest entry ever in the UK chart. The album sold 1,724,000 copies in the U.S. alone, and most of its singles were heavily played on radio and television. Snoop Dogg joined Warren G and Nate Dogg to form the group 213 and released album The Hard Way in 2004. Debuting at No.4 on the Billboard 200 and No.1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, it included single “Groupie Luv”. Together with fellow rappers Lil’ Jon, Xzibit and David Banner, Snoop Dogg appeared in the music video for Korn‘s “Twisted Transistor“.

2006: Tha Blue Carpet Treatment

Snoop Dogg’s appeared on two tracks from Ice Cube’s 2006 album Laugh Now, Cry Later, including the single “Go to Church“, and on several tracks on Tha Dogg Pound‘s Cali Iz Active the same year. Also, his latest song, “Real Talk”, was leaked over the Internet in the summer of 2006 and a video was later released on the Internet. “Real Talk” was a dedication to former Crips leader Stanley “Tookie” Williams and a diss to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor of California. Two other singles on which Snoop made a guest performance were “Keep Bouncing” by Too $hort (also with will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas) and “Gangsta Walk” by Coolio.

Snoop’s 2006 album, Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, debuted on the Billboard 200 at No.5 and has sold over 850,000 copies. The album and the second single “That’s That Shit” featuring R. Kelly were well received by critics. In the album, he collaborated in a video with E-40 and other West Coast rappers for his single “Candy (Drippin’ Like Water)“.

2007–08: Ego Trippin’

In July 2007, Snoop Dogg also made history by becoming the first artist to release a track as a ringtone prior to its release as a single, which was “It’s the D.O.G.” On July 7, 2007, Snoop Dogg performed at the Live Earth concert, Hamburg.[19] Snoop Dogg has ventured into singing for Bollywood with his first ever rap for an Indian movie Singh Is Kinng; the title of the song is also “Singh is Kinng”. He also appears in the movie as himself.[20] The album featuring the song was released on June 8, 2008 on Junglee Music Records.[21] He released his ninth studio album, Ego Trippin’ (selling 400,000 copies in the U.S.), along with the first single, “Sexual Eruption“. The single peaked at No.7 on the Billboard 100, featuring Snoop using autotune. The album featured production from QDT (Quik-Dogg-Teddy).

2009–10: Malice n Wonderland and More Malice

Snoop was appointed an executive position at Priority Records. His tenth studio album, Malice n Wonderland, was released on December 8, 2009. The first single from the album, “Gangsta Luv“, featuring The-Dream, peaked at No.35 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album debuted at No.23 on the Billboard 200, selling 61,000 copies its first week, making it his lowest charting album. His third single, “I Wanna Rock“, peaked at No.41 on the Billboard Hot 100. Snoop features on the latest Gorillaz album, Plastic Beach. The fourth single from Malice n Wonderland, titled “Pronto”, featuring Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, was released on iTunes on December 1, 2009. Snoop re-released the album under the name More Malice.

2011-2012: Doggumentary

Snoop collaborated with Katy Perry on the first single from her second mainstream album, “California Gurls“, which was released on May 11, 2010. Snoop can also be heard on the track “Flashing” by Dr. Dre and on Curren$y‘s song “Seat Change“. He was also featured on a new single from Australian singer Jessica Mauboy, titled “Get ‘em Girls” (released September 2010). Snoop’s latest effort was backing American recording artist, Emii, on her second single entitled “Mr. Romeo” (released October 26, 2010 as a follow-up to “Magic”). Snoop also collaborated with American comedy troupe The Lonely Island in their song “Turtleneck & Chain”, in their 2011 album Turtleneck & Chain.

Snoop Dogg’s newest studio album is Doggumentary, The album was renamed to Doggumentary and was released during March 2011.[22] Snoop was featured on Gorillaz‘ latest album Plastic Beach on a track called: “Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach” with the The Hypnotic Brass, he also completed another track with them entitled “Sumthing Like this Night” which does not appear on Plastic Beach, yet does appear on Doggumentary. He also appears on the latest Tech N9ne album All 6′s And 7′s (released June 7, 2011) on a track called “Pornographic” which also features E-40 and Krizz Kaliko.

2012:-present: Reincarnated

On February 4 2012, Snoop Dogg announced a new documentary alongside a new studio album entitled ‘Reincarnated’. [23]

Other ventures

Media appearances

Snoop Dogg has appeared on television and in films throughout his career. In 1998, Snoop had a cameo appearance in the film Half Baked as the “Scavenger Smoker”.[24] In 2000, Snoop (as “Michael J. Corleone”) directed Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, a pornographic film produced by Hustler. The film, combining hip hop with x-rated material, was a huge success and won “Top Selling Release of the Year” at the 2002 AVN Awards.[25] Snoop then directed Snoop Dogg’s Hustlaz: Diary of a Pimp in 2002 (using the nickname “Snoop Scorsese”).[26]

In 2001, Snoop lent his voice to the animated show King of the Hill, in which he played a white pimp named Alabaster Jones.[27] He played a lead character in the movie The Wash with Dr. Dre. He portrayed a drug dealer in a wheelchair in the film Training Day, featuring Denzel Washington.[28] In 2001, Snoop starred in the horror film Bones, with him playing a murdered mobster who returns from the dead to exact his revenge against those who murdered him.

In 2002, Snoop hosted, starred in, and produced his own MTV sketch comedy show entitled Doggy Fizzle Televizzle. Snoop was filmed for a brief cameo appearance in the television movie It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002), but his performance was omitted from the final cut of the movie.[29] On November 8, 2004, Snoop Dogg was starred in the episode “Two of a Kind” of NBC‘s series Las Vegas.[30]

In 2004, Snoop appeared on the Showtime series The L Word as the character “Slim Daddy”. He also notably played the drug dealer-turned-informant character of Huggy Bear, in the 2004 remake film of the 1970s TV-series of the same name, Starsky & Hutch. He appeared as himself in the episode “MILF Money” of Weeds,[31] and made an appearance on the TV shows Entourage[32] and Monk,[33] for which he recorded a version of the theme, in July 2007.

Snoop Dogg at WrestleMania XXIV at Orlando‘s Citrus Bowl with Ashley Massaro and tag team partner Maria, March 30, 2008

Snoop founded his own production company, Snoopadelic Films, in 2005. Their debut film was Boss’n Up, a film inspired by Snoop Dogg’s album R&G, starring Lil Jon and Trina.[34]

In December 2007, his reality show Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood premiered on the E! channel.[35] Snoop Dogg joined the NBA’s Entertainment League.[36] On March 30, 2008 he appeared at WrestleMania XXIV as a Master of Ceremonies for a tag team match between Maria and Ashley Massaro as they took on Beth Phoenix and Melina.[37]

On May 8 and May 9, 2008, Snoop appeared as himself on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live, with a new opening theme recorded by the artist presented for both episodes. In the episodes, Snoop performs at the bachelorette party for character Adriana Cramer, and credits Bo Buchanan with helping him get his start in show business.[38][39] On February 24, 2010, Snoop Dogg reprised his role, performing his song “I Wanna Rock” from his new album, Malice n Wonderland, as well as once again performing a special remixed, vocal rendition of the show’s opening theme.[40] In recent interviews he has explained that, as a child, One Life to Live was one of his favorite shows, and he still regards the show fondly. He has also stated that he has always been a particular fan of Robert S. Woods, who has portrayed the character of Bo Buchanan since 1979.

In 2009, Snoop Dogg appeared in Sacha Baron Cohen‘s film Brüno as himself performing a rap addition to the song “Dove Of Peace”.[41] On October 19, 2009, Snoop Dogg was the guest host of WWE Raw.

In July 2009, Snoop revealed his desire to appear in the popular soap opera Coronation Street while touring in the UK. However ITV bosses were said to be less keen.[42]

In 2010, Snoop Dogg appeared in an episode of I Get That a Lot on CBS as a parking-lot attendant.

In June 2010, Snoop created a music video for True Blood accompanying a song he wrote for one of the main characters of the show entitled “Oh Sookie.”[43][44]

In March 2011, Snoop participated in Comedy Central‘s Roast of Donald Trump with other comedians and media personalities.[45]

January 2, 2012, appeared on the The Price Is Right and raised $72,000 for his charity, Snoop Youth Football League.

Endorsements

Snoop Dogg performing live in Hawaii, July 23, 2005.

Style and rap skills

Kool Moe Dee ranks Snoop at No.33 in his book There’s a God on the Mic, and says he has “an ultra-smooth, laidback delivery”,[64] and “flavor-filled melodic rhyming”.[65] Peter Shapiro describes Snoop’s delivery as a “molasses drawl[66] and Allmusic notes his “drawled, laconic rhyming” style.[7] Kool Moe Dee refers to Snoop’s use of vocabulary, saying he “keeps it real simple…he simplifies it and he’s effective in his simplicity”.[67]

Snoop is known to freestyle some of his lyrics on the spot for some songs – in the book How to Rap, Lady of Rage says, “Snoop Dogg, when I worked with him earlier in his career, that’s how created his stuff… he would freestyle, he wasn’t a writer then, he was a freestyler,”[68] and The D.O.C. states, “Snoop’s [rap] was a one take willy, but his shit was all freestyle. He hadn’t written nothing down. He just came in and started busting. The song was “Tha Shiznit”—that was all freestyle. He started busting and when we got to the break, Dre cut the machine off, did the chorus and told Snoop to come back in. He did that throughout the record. That’s when Snoop was in the zone then.”

Peter Shapiro says that Snoop debuted on “Deep Cover” with a “shockingly original flow – which sounded like a Slick Rick born in South Carolina instead of South London[69] and adds that he “showed where his style came from by covering Slick Rick‘s ‘La Di Da Di’”.[66] Referring to Snoop’s flow, Kool Moe Dee calls him “one of the smoothest, funkiest flow-ers in the game”.[65] How to Rap also notes that Snoop is known to use syncopation in his flow to give it a laidback quality,[70] as well as ‘linking with rhythm’ in his compound rhymes,[71] using alliteration,[72] and employing a “sparse” flow with good use of pauses.[73]

Snoop re-popularized the use of -izzle speak, particularly in the pop and hip-hop music industry.[74]

Personal life

Snoop Dogg in August 2009

Broadus’s father left the family when Broadus was three months old. Snoop married his high school sweetheart, Shante Taylor, on June 12, 1997. On May 21, 2004, he filed for divorce from Shante, citing irreconcilable differences.[75] The couple renewed their wedding vows on January 12, 2008.[76] R&B singers Brandy and Ray J are his first cousins.[77] In 2002, the rapper announced he was giving up marijuana, one of his image trademarks, for good.[78] According to his IMDb biography, Snoop is a fan of the thrash metal band Metallica[79] and performed their song “Sad But True” on the band’s 2003 MTV Icon Special which is available on YouTube.[80] A DNA test read by George Lopez on Lopez Tonight revealed Snoop Dogg to be of 0% East Asian, 23% Native American, 6% European, and 71% African descent.[81]

Snoop is an avid fan of hometown teams Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Lakers. Snoop is also an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan.[82] and is often seen wearing Pittsburgh Steelers apparel. Snoop has mentioned that his love for the Steelers began in the 1970s during the team’s dynasty years while watching the team with his grandfather growing up in L.A.[83] In the 2005 offseason, Snoop mentioned that he wanted to be an NFL head coach, “probably for the Steelers”.[84] The following year, he was in attendance for the Steelers’ victory in Super Bowl XL and later in Super Bowl XLIII. He is also a fan of the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys, often wearing a No.5 jersey, and has been seen at Raiders training camps.[85] He did his own free style rap based on his similarities with Tony Romo.[86][87] He is also a fan of the USC Trojans Football team. He has also shown affection for the New England Patriots, as he has been seen performing at the Gillette Stadium and picked the Patriots as the favorite to win Super Bowl XXXIX against the Eagles.[88][89] On August 6, 2009, Snoop visited the training camp of the Baltimore Ravens at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland.[90] He was invited by Ray Lewis the day after his concert at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.

A certified football coach, Snoop Dogg has been head coach for his son’s youth football teams and the John A. Rowland High School team.[91][92]

Snoop Dogg is an avid hockey fan; he sported a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey (with the name and number ‘GIN AND JUICE’ 94 on the back) and a jersey of the now-defunct Springfield (MA) Indians of the American Hockey League in his 1994 music video, “Gin And Juice”. On the E! show, Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood, Snoop Dogg and his family received lessons on playing hockey from the Anaheim Ducks, then returning to the Honda Center to cheer on the Ducks against the Vancouver Canucks in the episode Snow in da Hood.[93]

In 2009, it was revealed that Snoop Dogg was a member of the Nation of Islam. On March 1, 2009, he made an appearance at the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviours’ Day holiday, where he praised minister Louis Farrakhan. Snoop claimed to be a member of the Nation of Islam, but he declined to give the date on which he joined. He also donated $1,000 to the organization.[94][95][96]

Snoop claimed in a 2006 interview with Rolling Stone magazine that unlike other hip hop artists who’ve superficially adopted the pimp persona, he was an actual professional pimp in 2003 and 2004, saying “That shit was my natural calling and once I got involved with it, it became fun. It was like shootin’ layups for me. I was makin’ ‘em every time.” He goes on to say that upon the advice of some of the other pimps he knew, he eventually gave up pimping to spend more time with his family.[97]

Legal issues

Mug shot of Snoop Dogg taken in September 1993.

Shortly after graduating from high school, he was arrested for possession of cocaine.[7]

While recording Doggystyle in August 1993, Snoop Dogg was arrested in connection with the death of Phillip Woldermarian, a member of a rival gang who was shot and killed by Snoop’s bodyguard, McKinley Lee; Snoop was charged with murder along with Lee as he was driving the vehicle from which the shooting had commenced. Snoop and Lee were defended by Johnnie Cochran.[98] Both Snoop and Lee were acquitted; Lee was acquitted on grounds of self-defense, but Snoop Dogg remained entangled in the legal battles around the case for three years.[99]

In July 1993, Snoop was stopped for a traffic violation and a firearm was found by police while conducting a search of his car. In February 1997, he pleaded guilty to possession of a handgun and was ordered to record three public service announcements, pay a $1,000 fine, and serve three years’ probation.[100][101]

In May 1998, Snoop Dogg was fined and arrested for a misdemeanor of marijuana possession.[102]

In October 2001, Snoop Dogg was arrested again for a misdemeanor of marijuana possession.[102] In 2002 he pleaded no contest and was fined a total of $398.30 and received a suspended 30-day jail sentence.[103]

Snoop Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound, and The Game were sued for assaulting a fan on stage at a May 2005 concert at the White River Amphitheatre in Auburn, Washington. The accuser, Richard Monroe, Jr., claimed he was beaten by the artists’ entourage while mounting the stage.[104] He alleged that he reacted to an “open invite” to come on stage. Before he could, Snoop’s bodyguards grabbed him and he was beaten unconscious by crewmembers, including the rapper and producer Soopafly; Snoop and The Game were included in the suit for not intervening. The lawsuit focuses on a pecuniary claim of $22 million in punitive and compensatory damages, battery, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.[105] The concerned parties appeared in court in April 2009.

On April 26, 2006, Snoop Dogg and members of his entourage were arrested after being turned away from British Airways‘ first class lounge at Heathrow Airport. Snoop and his party were not allowed to enter the lounge because some of the entourage were flying first class, other members in economy class. After the group was escorted outside, they vandalized a duty-free shop by throwing whiskey bottles. Seven police officers were injured in the midst of the disturbance. After a night in prison, Snoop and the other men were released on bail on April 27, but he was unable to perform at the Premier Foods People’s Concert in Johannesburg on the same day. As part of his bail conditions, he had to return to the police station in May. The group has been banned by British Airways for “the foreseeable future.”[106][107] When Snoop Dogg appeared at a London police station on May 11, he was cautioned for affray under Section 4 of the Public Order Act for use of threatening words or behavior.[108] On May 15, the Home Office decided that Snoop Dogg should be denied entry to the United Kingdom for the foreseeable future due to the incident at Heathrow as well as his previous convictions in the United States for drugs and firearms offenses.[109][110] Snoop Dogg’s visa card was rejected by local authorities on March 24, 2007 because of the Heathrow incident.[111] A concert at London’s Wembley Arena on March 27 went ahead with Diddy (with whom he toured Europe) and the rest of the show. However the decision affected four more British performances in Cardiff, Manchester and Glasgow[112] and Budapest (due to rescheduling).[113] As of March 2010, Snoop Dogg has been allowed back into the UK.[1]

On September 27, 2006, Snoop Dogg was detained at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California by airport security, after airport screeners found a collapsible police baton in Snoop’s carry-on bag. The baton was confiscated but Snoop was allowed to board the flight. He has been charged with various weapons violations stemming from this incident. Donald Etra, Snoop’s lawyer, told deputies the baton was a prop for a musical sketch. Snoop was sentenced to three years’ probation and 160 hours of community service starting on September 20, 2007.[114]

Snoop Dogg was arrested again on October 26, 2006 at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California while parked in a passenger loading zone. Approached by airport security for a traffic infraction, he was found in possession of marijuana and a firearm, according to a police statement. He was transported to Burbank Police Department Jail, booked, and released on $35,000 bond. He faced firearm and drug possession charges on December 12 at Burbank Superior Court.[115]

He was again arrested on November 29, 2006, after performing on The Tonight Show, for possession of marijuana and a firearm.[116]

Snoop was arrested again on March 12, 2007 in Stockholm, Sweden after performing in a concert with P. Diddy in Stockholm’s Globe Arena after he and a female companion reportedly “reeked” of marijuana. They were released four hours later after providing a urine sample. The results on urine determined whether charges would be pressed. However the rapper denied all charges.[117][118]

On April 26, 2007, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship banned him from entering the country on character grounds, citing his prior criminal convictions. He had been scheduled to appear at the MTV Australia Video Music Awards on April 29, 2007.[119] Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship lifted the ban in September 2008 and had granted him visa to tour Australia. DIAC said “In making this decision, the department weighed his criminal convictions against his previous behaviour while in Australia, recent conduct – including charity work – and any likely risk to the Australian community … We took into account all relevant factors and, on balance, the department decided to grant the visa.”[120]

Snoop Dogg’s many legal issues forced San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom to withdraw his plan to issue a proclamation to the rapper.[121]

Snoop Dogg was banned from Parkpop, a festival in the Netherlands on June 27, 2010, where he was scheduled to perform. The mayor and law enforcement officials asked organizers of the festival to find an artist more “open and friendly” to play the event.[122]

Snoop Dogg was arrested again on January 7, 2012 for possession of Marijuana charge after Border control agents discovered a small amount of marijuana on his tour bus. Snoop Dogg was stopped at the same Sierra Blanca, Texas, checkpoint on Saturday where country singer Willie Nelson was arrested for marijuana possession in 2010. The agents conducted a routine inspection of his tour bus at the U.S.- Mexico border checkpoint, east of El Paso, Texas and thought they smelled marijuana. Snoop Dogg was issued a citation for possession of drug paraphernalia, released and given a court date of Friday, January 20, 2012.

Posted February 18, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Rappers / Hip Hop, Record Producers, Singer

Nas, Rapper, Actor, Songwriter   Leave a comment


Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones born September 14, 1973), who performs under the alias Nas (play formerly Nasty Nas, is an American rapper, actor, and songwriter. He is also the son of jazz musician Olu Dara.

Nas has released 8 consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums since 1994, 4 of which topped the Billboard charts upon release and has sold over thirteen-million records in the United States alone. His rise to fame began in 1991 with his feature on alternative hip hop group Main Source‘s debut album on the track “Live At The Barbeque”. In the years that followed, Nas garnered attention from music industry A & R’s and record labels with more impressive features and a solo single “Halftime”. His debut album Illmatic, released in 1994 by Columbia Records, received universal acclaim from both critics and the hip hop community and would go on to be widely hailed as a musical landmark and a classic in the genre and is consistently ranked as one of the greatest LP’s of all time.[2][3] His follow up album It Was Written debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Charts, stayed on top for 4 consecutive weeks and went platinum twice in only 2 months propelling Nas to worldwide notoriety.[4][5] Nas was also part of the hip-hop supergroup The Firm, which released one album under Dr. Dre‘s record label Aftermath.

Aside from rapping, Nas is also an occasional actor and has appeared in feature films such as Hype Williams‘ directorial debut Belly, Ticker and In Too Deep and the television show Hawaii Five-0.

Nas is often listed, mentioned, and ranked as one of the greatest and most influential rappers in history. MTV ranked him at #5 on their list of The Greatest MCs (Rappers) of All Time.[6] On a similar list, MTV 2‘s “22 Greatest MC’s”, compiled by the results of an online poll, fans voted Nas as the 4th greatest MC of all time.[7] Editors of About.com also ranked him #4 on their list of the Top 50 MCs of Our Time (1987–2007),[8] making him the highest ranking rapper of his generation (ahead of The Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and 2Pac).

From 2001 to 2005, Nas was involved in a highly publicized feud with rapper Jay-Z with both artists verbally attacking each other in songs and interviews. The two formally ended their rivalry through duet performances at concerts sponsored by New York City-area hip-hop radio stations. In 2006, Nas signed to Def Jam and released his latest two albums; Hip Hop Is Dead in 2006 and an untitled album in 2008. In 2010 he released a collaboration album with renowned raggae artist Damian Marley in which all income generated from the album’s sales were sent to charities created to end poverty and financial suffering in Africa. He is currently preparing his 10th solo studio album for a release in 2012.

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[edit] Early life

Nas was born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York.[9] His father, Olu Dara, is a jazz and blues musician from Mississippi. His mother, Fannie Ann Jones, was a Postal Service worker. He has one sibling, a brother named Jabari Fret who assumes the alias Jungle. His neighbor, Willy “Ill Will” Graham, influenced Nas’s interest in hip hop by playing him records.[10] Nas’s parents divorced in 1985,[10] and he dropped out of school in the ninth grade.[9] He educated himself about African culture through the Five Percent Nation, the Nuwaubians, the Bible and the Qur’an.[11][not in citation given]

[edit] Career

[edit] Career beginnings (1989–1992)

As a teenager, Nas enlisted his best friend and upstairs neighbor Willy “Ill Will” Graham as his DJ. Nas first went by the nickname Kid Wave before adopting his more commonly known alias of Nasty Nas. In the late 1980s, he met up with the producer “Large Professor” and went to the studio where Rakim and Kool G Rap were recording their albums. When they were not in the studio, Nas would go into the booth and record his own material. However, none of it was released.[12][13]

In 1991, Nas performed on Main Source‘s “Live at the Barbeque”. In mid-1992, Nas was approached by MC Serch of 3rd Bass, who became his manager and secured Nas a record deal with Columbia Records the same year. Nas made his solo debut under the name of “Nasty Nas” on the single “Halftime” from Serch’s soundtrack for the film Zebrahead.[9] Called the new Rakim,[6] his rhyming skills attracted a significant amount of attention within the hip-hop community.

[edit] Illmatic (1993–1994)

In 1994, Nas’s debut album, Illmatic, was finally released. It was awarded Five Mics from The Source.[14] It also featured production from Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, L.E.S. and DJ Premier, as well as guest appearances from Nas’s friend AZ and his father Olu Dara. The album spawned several singles, including “The World Is Yours”, “It Ain’t Hard to Tell”, and “One Love”. Shaheem Reid of MTV News called Illmatic “the first classic LP” of 1994.[15] Nas performed the song “One on One” for the movie Street Fighter.[16] In 1995, Nas did guest performances on the albums Doe or Die by AZ, The Infamous by Mobb Deep, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx by Raekwon and 4,5,6 by Kool G Rap.

Steve Huey of Allmusic described the lyrics in Illmatic as “highly literate” and “his raps superbly fluid regardless of the size of his vocabulary”. Lyrically, Nas is perceived as “able to evoke the bleak reality of ghetto life without losing hope or forgetting the good times”. Huey describes the Illmatic track “One Love” as “a detailed report to a close friend in prison about how allegiances within their group have shifted”.[17] Reviewing Nas’s second album It Was Written, Leo Stanley of allmusic believed the rhymes to be not as complex as those in Illmatic but still “not only flow, but manage to tell coherent stories as well”.[18] About.com ranked Illmatic as the greatest hip hop album of all time,[19] and Prefix magazine praised it as “the best hip-hop record ever made”.[20]

[edit] It Was Written (1996)

Columbia Records began to press Nas to work towards more commercial topics, such as that of The Notorious B.I.G., who had become successful by releasing street singles that still retained pop-friendly appeal. Nas traded manager MC Serch for Steve Stoute, and began preparation for his second LP, It Was Written, consciously working towards a crossover-oriented sound. It Was Written, chiefly produced by Tone and Poke of Trackmasters, was released during the summer of 1996. Two singles, “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)” (featuring Lauryn Hill of The Fugees) and “Street Dreams”, including a remix with R. Kelly were instant hits. These songs were promoted by big-budget music videos directed by Hype Williams, making Nas a common name among mainstream hip-hop. It Was Written featured the debut of The Firm, a super group consisting of Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown, and Cormega. The album also expanded on Nas’s Escobar persona, who lived more of a Scarface/Casino-esque lifestyle. On the other hand, Illmatic, which, while having numerous references to Scarface protagonist Tony Montana, was more about his life growing up in the projects.[9]

[edit] The Firm (1997)

Signed to Dr. Dre‘s Aftermath Entertainment label, The Firm began working on their debut album. Halfway through the production of the album, Cormega was fired from the group by Steve Stoute, who had unsuccessfully attempted to force Cormega to sign a deal with his management company. In addition to the firing of Cormega, Alex Trojano was featured as a start up producer in The Firm. Cormega subsequently became one of Nas’s most vocal opponents and released a number of underground hip hop singles “dissing” Nas, Stoute, and Nature, who replaced Cormega as the fourth member of The Firm.[21] Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Nature Present The Firm: The Album was finally released in 1997 to mixed reviews. The album failed to live up to its expected sales, despite being certified platinum, and the members of the group disbanded to go their separate ways.

During this period, Nas was one of four rappers (the others being B-Real, KRS-One and RBX) in the hip hop super-group Group Therapy, who appeared on the song “East Coast/West Coast Killas” from Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath.[22] In 1998, Nas co-wrote and starred in Hype Williams‘s 1998 feature film Belly.[9]

[edit] I Am… (1997–1999)

In late 1997, Nas began work on a double album, to be entitled I Am… The Autobiography; he intended it as the middle ground between Illmatic and It Was Written, with each track detailing a part of his life.[9] The album was completed in early 1999, and a music video was shot for its lead single, “Nas Is Like“. It was produced by DJ Premier and contained vocal samples from “It Ain’t Hard to Tell“. Music critic M.F. DiBella noticed that Nas also covered “politics, the state of hip-hop, Y2K, race, and religion with his own unique perspective” in the album besides autobiographical lyrics.[23] Much of the LP was leaked into MP3 format onto the Internet and Nas and Stoute quickly recorded enough substitute material to constitute a single-disc release.[24]

The second single on I Am… was “Hate Me Now“, featuring Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, which was used as an example by Nas’s critics of him moving towards commercial themes. The video featured Nas and Combs being crucified in a manner similar to Jesus; after the video was completed, Combs requested his crucifixion scene be edited out of the video. However, the unedited copy of the “Hate Me Now” video made its way to MTV. Within minutes of the broadcast, Combs and his bodyguards allegedly made their way into Steve Stoute‘s office and assaulted him, at one point apparently hitting Stoute over the head with a champagne bottle. Stoute pressed charges, but he and Combs settled out-of-court that June.[24]

[edit] Nastradamus (1999)

Columbia had scheduled to release the pirated material from I Am… under the title Nastradamus during the later half of 1999, but, at the last minute, Nas decided to record an entire new album for the 1999 release of Nastradamus. Nastradamus was therefore rushed to meet a November release date. Though critics were not kind to the album, it did result in a minor hit, “You Owe Me“.[9] It was produced by Timbaland and featured R&B singer Ginuwine. The only pirated track from I Am… to make it onto Nastradamus was “Project Windows,” featuring Ronald Isley. A number of the other bootlegged tracks later made their way onto The Lost Tapes, a collection of underground Nas songs that was released by Columbia in September 2002. The collection saw decent sales and received glowing reviews.[25]

[edit] QB Finest (2000)

In 2000, QB’s Finest was released on Nas’s Ill Will Records.[9] QB’s Finest is a compilation album that featured Nas and a number of other rappers from Queensbridge projects, including Mobb Deep, Nature, Capone, the Bravehearts, Tragedy Khadafi, Millennium Thug and Cormega, who had briefly reconciled with Nas. The album also featured guest appearances from Queensbridge hip-hop legends Roxanne Shanté, MC Shan, and Marley Marl. Shan and Marley Marl both appeared on the lead single “Da Bridge 2001,” which was based on Shan & Marl’s 1986 recording “The Bridge.”[26]

[edit] Stillmatic and feud with Jay-Z (2001)

Main article: Nas vs. Jay-Z feud

After trading subliminal criticisms on various songs, freestyles and mixtape appearances, the highly publicized feud rivalry between Nas and Jay-Z became widely known to the public in 2001.[9] Jay-Z, in his song “Takeover“, criticized Nas by calling him “fake” and his career “lame”.[27] Nas responded with “Ether“, in which he compared Jay-Z to such characters as J.J. Evans from the sitcom Good Times and cigarette company mascot Joe Camel. The song was included on Nas’s fifth studio album, Stillmatic, released in December 2001.[28] Stillmatic debuted at number five on the Billboard album charts and featured the singles “Got Ur Self A…” and “One Mic“.

In response to “Ether”, Jay-Z released the song “Supa Ugly“, which Hot 97 radio host Angie Martinez premiered on December 11, 2001.[27] In the song, Jay-Z explicitly boasts about having an affair with Nas’s girlfriend, Carmen Bryan.[29] New York City hip-hop radio station Hot 97 issued a poll asking listeners which rapper made the better diss song; Nas won with 52% while Jay-Z got 48% of the votes.[30]

By October 2005, the two rappers had eventually ended their feud without violence or animosity. During Jay-Z’s I Declare War — Power House concert, Jay-Z announced to the crowd, “It’s bigger than ‘I Declare War’. Let’s go, Esco!” Nas then joined Jay-Z onstage, and the two then performed “Dead Presidents” together, which Jay-Z had sampled from Nas’s song “The World Is Yours“. The two also collaborated on a song called, “Black Republican” which can be found on Nas’s album, Hip Hop Is Dead. They then collaborated again on a song called, “Success” from Jay-Z’s album American Gangster.[31]

[edit] God’s Son (2002)

In December 2002, Nas released the God’s Son album including its lead single, “Made You Look” which utilized a pitched down sample of the Incredible Bongo Band‘s “Apache“. The album peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts despite widespread internet bootlegging.[32] Time Magazine named his album best hip-hop album of the year. Vibe gave it four stars and The Source gave it four mics. The second single, “I Can“, which reworked elements from Beethoven‘s “Für Elise“, became Nas’s biggest hit to date during the spring and summer of 2003, garnering substantial radio airplay on urban, rhythmic, and top 40 radio stations, as well as on the MTV and VH1 music video networks. God’s Son also includes several songs dedicated to memory of Nas’s mother, who died of cancer in 2002, including “Dance”. In 2003, Nas was featured on the Korn song “Play Me”, from Korn’s Take a Look in the Mirror LP. Also in 2003, a live performance in New York City, featuring Ludacris, Jadakiss, and Darryl McDaniels (of Run-D.M.C. fame), was released on DVD as Made You Look: God’s Son Live.

After Nas released God’s Son in 2002, he began helping The Bravehearts, made up of his younger brother Jungle and friend Wiz (Wizard), put together their debut album, Bravehearted. The album features guest appearances from Nas, Nashawn (Millennium Thug), Lil Jon, and Mya.

[edit] Street’s Disciple (2004)

Nas released his seventh studio album, the critically acclaimed double-disc Street’s Disciple, on November 30, 2004. The album’s first singles were “Thief’s Theme” and “Bridging the Gap”, which features his father Olu Dara on vocals. The album also includes “These Are Our Heroes”, which accuses prominent sports stars and actors such as Kobe Bryant and O. J. Simpson of not setting good examples for the children who look up to them and neglecting their heritage and background. The videos for “Bridging the Gap” and “Just A Moment” received moderate airplay on MTV and BET. Although the album went platinum, its commercial profile was relatively low compared to the rapper’s previous releases.[9]

Nas was featured on Kanye West‘s album Late Registration on a song titled “We Major”. West said the song was Jay-Z’s favorite on the album, but West was unable to get Jay-Z to record a vocal for the final mix of the song. He also appeared on Damian Marley‘s song “Road to Zion” and several other songs such as “Death Anniversary” and “It Wasn’t You” (featuring Lauryn Hill).

[edit] Hip Hop Is Dead (2006)

In January 2006, Nas signed a label deal with Def Jam, emphasizing collaboration over competition with former rival Jay-Z.[9] Nas’s original title for his next album was Hip Hop Is Dead…The N[33] (shortened to Hip Hop Is Dead), though the UK release features a bonus track at the end called “The N.” The album featured production from will.i.am, Kanye West, Dr. Dre, Scott Storch, and NBA All Star Chris Webber, as well as longtime Nas collaborators L.E.S. and Salaam Remi and newcomer Wyldfyer. A street single named “Where Y’all At” was released in June 2006. It was produced by Salaam Remi,[34] and contained a sample from Nas “Made You Look“,[35] but it did not make the final cut for Hip Hop Is Dead.[36]

The title record and first single was produced by will.i.am, and contains the same melodic sample (“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida“) as Nas’s 2004 single “Thief’s Theme“. The album debuted on Def Jam and Nas new imprint at that label, The Jones Experience, at number one on the Billboard 200 charts, selling 355,000 copies—Nas’s third number one album, along with It Was Written and I Am….[37] A music video for “Can’t Forget About You” premiered on February 5, 2007, the song featuring Chrisette Michele and sampling Nat King Cole‘s song “Unforgettable“.[38] Another video, Hustlers, featuring The Game, would follow.[39] Also, Nas has stated in an interview with MTV that a video for “Black Republican” featuring Jay-Z is also underway. A reality series on MTV entitled Me and Mrs. Jones will feature the lives of Nas and Kelis, with Vibe magazine has reported that the show will premiere in 2008.[40]

The title of the album generated controversy, as many fans and artists (particularly those of Southern origin) began to debate over the actual state of rap music’s vitality. With this album, Nas became an unofficial leader of the “Hip Hop Is Dead” movement. Ghostface Killah, on his album Fishscale seemed to agree with Nas and cited Southern crunk and snap music as the primary reasons for why hip-hop was “dead”. Many Southern acts, such as rappers Big Boi from Outkast, T.I., Young Jeezy, Dem Franchize Boyz, and D4L took offense to the title, taking it to be directed at their region in particular.[41] However, southern rapper André 3000 from Outkast said in an interview that hip-hop is “dying”. After the controversy died down, some of the mentioned rappers would go on and collaborate with Nas on several songs, such as T.I. on Dr. Dre’s “Topless” and, more notably, Young Jeezy on his song “My President” off his 2008 album The Recession.

Nas worked on a song called “Shine On ‘Em” for the film Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou, which opened in US theaters on December 8, 2006. His song “Thief’s Theme” was featured in one of the scenes in the Academy Award-winning movie The Departed directed by Martin Scorsese.[42]

[edit] Bill O’Reilly/Virginia Tech controversy and Greatest Hits (2007)

Nas performing in Ottawa

Nas performed at a free concert for the Virginia Tech student body and faculty on September 6, 2007, following the school shooting there. Nas was joined by John Mayer, Alan Jackson, Phil Vassar, and Dave Matthews Band.[43] When announced that Nas was to perform, Bill O’Reilly and Fox News Channel denounced the concert and called for the removal of the rapper citing “violent” lyrics on songs including “Shoot ‘Em Up”, “Got Urself A Gun”, and “Made You Look”. During his Talking Points Memo segment for August 15, 2007, an argument erupted in which O’Reilly claimed that it was not only Nas’s lyrical content that made him inappropriate for the event, citing the gun conviction on Nas’s criminal record. In the midst of his debate with author Bakari Kitwana (The Hip Hop Generation), who defended Nas, claiming that Fox News had “cherry picked” select fragments of the songs to make their case, O’Reilly shouted, “Even in his personal life, man, he’s got a conviction for weapons, all right? He’s got a weapons conviction, sir! On his sheet! This is a school that had a mass murderer with a shotgun gunning down people—this guy has got a conviction for weapons, and you say he’s appropriate? Come on!” O’Reilly repeated the claim another five times before cutting the segment short.[citation needed]

On September 6, 2007, during his set at “A Concert for Virginia Tech,” Nas twice referred to Bill O’Reilly as “a chump,” prompting loud cheers by members of the crowd. About two weeks later, Nas was interviewed by Shaheem Reid of MTV News, where he criticized O’Reilly, calling him uncivilized and willing to go to extremes for publicity.[44]

Responding to O’Reilly, Nas, in an interview with MTV News, said:[45]

He doesn’t understand the younger generation. He deals with the past. The people he represents are Republican, older, a generation that has nothing to do with the reality of what’s happening now with my generation. … He’s not really on my radar. People like him are supposed to be taught and people like me are supposed to let niggas like him know. I don’t take him serious. His shit is all about getting facts twisted or whatever. I wouldn’t honor anything Bill O’Reilly has to say. It just shows you what bloodsuckers like him do: They abuse something like the Virginia Tech tragedy for show ratings. You can’t talk to a person like that.

He repeated this stance again in July 2008, when a dispute between Nas and O’Reilly led to Nas taking a petition to Fox News, and appearing on both Fox News, and The Colbert Report. Also in 2008, Nas challenged Bill O’Reilly to a public debate, which O’Reilly did not accept.[citation needed] Nas recorded a track titled “Sly Fox” which criticized the channel for its biased views against rappers; it appeared on his untitled album.

Nas’s former label, Columbia Records, released his Greatest Hits album in November. This compilation features 14 songs: 12 from his seven first studio LPs under the label and two newly recorded songs. One of the new tracks, “Less Than an Hour“, features Cee-Lo of Goodie Mob and Gnarls Barkley. The track is a new take on the theme of the hugely successful Rush Hour film trilogy starring Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, and appears on the Rush Hour 3 soundtrack as well.[46] The other new track, “Surviving the Times“, contains auto-biographical lyrics about Nas’s career and features production by Chris Webber.

[edit] Untitled (2008)

On October 12, 2007, Nas announced that his new album would be called Nigger. Both progressive commentators, such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and the right-wing news station Fox News were outraged; Jackson called on entertainers to stop using the epithet after comedian Michael Richards used it onstage in late 2006.[47] Controversy escalated as the album’s impending release date drew nearer, going as far as to spark rumors that Def Jam was planning to drop Nas unless he changed the title.[48] Additionally, Fort Greene, Brooklyn assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries requested New York’s Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to withdraw $84 million from the state pension fund that has been invested into Universal and its parent company, Vivendi, if the album’s title was not changed. On the opposite side of the spectrum, many of the most famous names in the entertainment industry expressed a sense of trust in Nas for using the racial epithet as the title of his full-length EP.[49][50] In an interview with Angie Martinez, a host on New York‘s Hot 97, Nas stated that the issue had been raised as high up as the United States Congress.[citation needed]

Nas’s management worried that the album would not be sold by chain stores such as Wal-Mart, thus limiting its distribution.[51] On May 19, 2008, Nas decided to forgo an album title.[52] He went on to say in a statement:

It’s important to me that this album gets to the fans. It’s been a long time coming. I want my fans to know that creatively and lyrically, they can expect the same content and the same messages. The people will always know what the real title of this album is and what to call it.[53]

Hero“, the lead single from the album, was released on June 6, 2008, featuring R&B singer Keri Hilson and produced by Polow da Don. In the US, “Hero” reached number 97 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 87 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, and it peaked at number 39 on the Hot Canadian Digital Singles chart. It was also sampled for a Hustler production erotic video Barely Legal 96[54] Released on July 15, 2008, Untitled is Nas’s second album with Def Jam, in conjunction with his own imprint, The Jones Experience. It features production from Polow da Don, stic.man of Dead Prez, Sons of Light & J. Myers,[55] Mark Ronson, Cool and Dre, DJ Green Lantern, Salaam Remi, DJ Toomp and more. Guest appearances include The Game, Chris Brown, Keri Hilson, The Last Poets, and Busta Rhymes.

On July 2, 2008, Fila announced that Nas had signed a shoe deal, his second to date. Nas will promote the sneakers in magazines and wear them at concerts. Fila also plans on having Nas release a second sneaker with 1980s-oriented style during the 2008 holiday season.[56]

Responding to Jesse Jackson‘s remarks and use of the word “nigger” on July 6, 2008 regarding President Barack Obama, Nas, in an interview with MTV News, said:[57]

I think Jesse Jackson’s the biggest player hater. His time is up. All you old niggas’ time is up. We heard your voice, we saw your marching, we heard your sermons. We don’t want to hear that shit no more. It’s a new day. It’s a new voice. I’m here now. We don’t need Jesse; I’m here. I got this. We the voice now. It’s no more Jesse. Sorry. Good bye. You ain’t helping nobody in the ‘hood and that’s the bottom line. Goodbye, Jesse. Bye!

In an interview with MTV News in July 2008, Nas speculated that he might release two albums—one produced by DJ Premier and another by Dr. Dre—simultaneously the same day.[58] Nas will also be featured Dr. Dre‘s long awaited upcoming album Detox.[59]

On July 16, 2008, Nas performed “Hero” with Keri Hilson on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.[60] The following week, on July 23, he appeared on The Colbert Report to discuss his opinion of Bill O’Reilly and the Fox News Channel. Nas accused the latter of bias against the African-American community and re-challenged O’Reilly to a debate. During the appearance Nas sat on boxes of more than 625,000 signatures gathered by online advocacy organization Color of Change in support of a petition accusing Fox of race-baiting and fear-mongering.[61] At the end of the show Nas performed the song “Sly Fox” off his new album, to affirm his criticism of Fox News. On August 28, 2008, Nas performed “Sly Fox” on Late Show with David Letterman. On August 4, 2008 Nas performed “Hero” on The Wendy Williams Show.

Nas was also awarded ‘Emcee of the Year’ in the HipHopDX 2008 Awards for his latest solo effort, the quality of his appearances on other albums and was described as having “become an artist who thrives off of reinvention and going against the system.”[62] On March 4, 2009 the second annual Smirnoff Signature Mix Series released Nas “If I Ruled the World 09″ (feat.) Marsha Ambrosius [63][64]

[edit] Distant Relatives (2010)

Nas and Marley performing in Wellington, New Zealand

At the 2009 Grammy Awards, Nas confirmed he was collaborating on an album with reggae musician Damian Marley which was expected to be released in Fall 2009. Nas said of the collaboration in an interview “I was a big fan of his father and of course all the children, all the offspring, and Damian, I kind of looked at Damian as a rap guy. His stuff is not really singing, or if he does, it comes off more hard, like on some street shit. I always liked how reggae and hip-hop have always been intertwined and always kind of pushed each other, I always liked the connection. I’d worked with people before from the reggae world but when I worked with Damian, the whole workout was perfect”.[65] A portion of the profit is planned to go towards building a school in Africa.[66] He went on to say that it was “too early to tell the title or anything like that”.[67] The Los Angeles Times reported that the album would be titled Distant Relatives.[68] Nas also revealed that he will begin working on his tenth studio album following the release of Distant Relatives.[69] During Fall 2009 Nas used his live band Mulatto with music director Dustin Moore for concerts in Europe and Australia.[70] The album was released May 17, 2010.

[edit] The Lost Tapes Pt. 2 and Life is Good (2010-present)

On September 15, 2010 Nas tweeted “It’s coming… LOST TAPES VOLUME TWO!!!”.[71] However, The Lost Tapes Vol. 2 was not released by the end of the year, and regarding the release of the compilation album Nas stated in an interview with MTV: “Because I kind of lost time, I really wanted to release [the mixtape] in December, But I’m starting my next album. So I feel like I’ll probably give ‘The Lost Tapes’ as a deluxe, maybe, on the next album for free. I’m trying to figure that out now”.[72] Nas has now scrapped “The Lost Tapes Vol. 2″, due to miscommunication with Def Jam

Speaking about his upcoming tenth studio album, Nas called the album a “magic moment” in his rap career while mentioning that Swizz Beatz, DJ Premier, The Alchemist, Dr. Dre, Kanye West and RZA are possible producers on the LP.[73]A Milli” producer Bangladesh revealed that he produced some tracks for the album.[74] Kane Beatz revealed he had recently worked with Nas.[75] Producer Statik Selektah has stated that he has produced a couple of tracks for the album.[76] OFWGKTA members Frank Ocean, Tyler, the Creator and Hodgy Beats have been confirmed to feature on Nas’s tenth album, with Ocean putting the track together and Tyler and Hodgy adding verses.[77] It was confirmed in May 2011 that his new album would be titled “Life Is Good” (which will be Nas’s last album with Def Jam) but Nas also stated the album title is tentative and will most likely change.[78] There will also be a collaboration album with Mobb Deep, one with Common, and another one with DJ Premier.[79][80][81]

On August 9, 2011, Nas released his first single from “Life is Good”, called “Nasty“.

He is also planning a collaboration with longtime rhyme partner AZ, confirmed via Twitter in August. The two have not released a track together since 2005.[82]

[edit] Musical style

Nas has been praised for his ability to create a “devastating match between lyrics and production” by journalist Peter Shapiro, as well as creating a “potent evocation of life on the street”, and he has even been compared to Rakim for his lyrical technique. In his book Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop (2009), writer Adam Bradley states, “Nas is perhaps contemporary rap’s greatest innovator in storytelling. His catalog includes songs narrated before birth (‘Fetus’) and after death (‘Amongst Kings’), biographies (‘UBR [Unauthorized Biography of Rakim]‘) and autobiographies (‘Doo Rags’), allegorical tales (‘Money Is My Bitch’) and epistolary ones (‘One Love’), he’s rapped in the voice of a woman (‘Sekou Story’) and even of a gun (‘I Gave You Power’).”[83] Kool Moe Dee notes that Nas has an “off-beat conversational flow” in his book There’s a God on the Mic – he says: “before Nas, every MC focused on rhyming with a cadence that ultimately put the words that rhymed on beat with the snare drum. Nas created a style of rapping that was more conversational than ever before”.[84]

O.C. of D.I.T.C. comments in the book How to Rap: “Nas did the song backwards ['Rewind']… that was a brilliant idea”.[85] Also in How to Rap, 2Mex of The Visionaries describes Nas’s flow as “effervescent”,[86] Rah Digga says Nas’s lyrics have “intricacy”,[87] Bootie Brown of The Pharcyde explains that Nas does not always have to make words rhyme as he is “charismatic”,[88] and Nas is also described as having a “densely packed”[89] flow, with compound rhymes that “run over from one beat into the next or even into another bar”.[90]

In 2006, Nas was ranked fifth on MTV‘s “10 Greatest MCs of All Time” list.[6]

[edit] Personal life

In 1994, Nas’s ex-fiancée Carmen Bryan gave birth to their daughter, Destiny.[91][92][93] Nas’s Ex Carmen later confessed to Nas that she had a relationship with his then foe Jay-Z fearing that Jay-Z kept putting subliminal messages in his lyrics about their relationship together, causing a bigger rift in the feud between the Hip Hop Giants. Nas also briefly dated Mary J. Blige.[92] In 2005, Nas married R&B singer Kelis in Atlanta after a two-year relationship.[94][95] On April 30, 2009, a spokesperson confirmed that Kelis filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.[96][97] Kelis gave birth to Nas’s first son on July 21, 2009, although the event was soured by a disagreement which ended in Nas announcing the birth of his son, Knight, at a gig in Queens, NY, against Kelis’s wishes.[98] The birth was announced by Nas via an online video.[99]

Ever since the couple split, just months before the birth of their first child together, Knight Jones, they have been battling it out in court over support payments. In December, a Los Angeles superior court judge ordered Nas to bump up his monthly child and spousal support payments from $40,000 to $51,000, for a total of more than $600,000 a year. The couple’s divorce was finalized May 21, 2010.[100]

Nas is currently involved in a dispute with a concert promoter in Angola, having accepted $300,000 for a concert in their capital city for New Year’s Eve and then not showing up. The promoter and his son were detained by the angry Angolan promoter at gunpoint and taken to an Angolan jail. Only after the US Embassy intervened were the promoter and his son allowed to leave jail—but were placed under house arrest at their hotel. Nas has since returned $200,000 of the money, but not the remaining $100,000. The promoter remains in Angola with his teenage son.[101]

Nas is a spokesperson and mentor for P’Tones Records, a non-profit after school music program with the mission “to create constructive opportunities for urban youth through no-cost music programs

Posted February 18, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Actor/Actress, Rappers / Hip Hop

Notorious Big, Rapper   1 comment


Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), best known as The Notorious B.I.G., was an American rapper. He was also known as Biggie Smalls (after a character in the 1975 film Let’s Do It Again), Big Poppa, and The Black Frank White (after the main character of the 1990 film King of New York).[1]

Wallace was raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. When Wallace released his debut album Ready to Die in 1994, he became a central figure in the East Coast hip-hop scene and increased New York’s visibility at a time when West Coast artists were more common in the mainstream.[2] The following year, Wallace led his childhood friends to chart success through his protégé group, Junior M.A.F.I.A. While recording his second album, Wallace was heavily involved in the East Coast/West Coast hip-hop feud, dominating the scene at the time.

On March 9, 1997, Wallace was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His double-disc set Life After Death, released 15 days later, hit #1 on the U.S. album charts and was certified Diamond in 2000 (one of the few hip hop albums to receive this certification).[3] Wallace was noted for his “loose, easy flow”,[4] dark semi-autobiographical lyrics and storytelling abilities. Since his death, a further two albums have been released. MTV ranked him at #3 on their list of The Greatest MCs (Rappers) of All Time.[5] He has certified sales of 17 million units in the United States.[6]

Early life

Born in St. Mary’s Hospital, despite later claiming to be raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, Wallace grew up in neighboring Clinton Hill.[7] Wallace was the only child of Voletta Wallace, a Jamaican preschool teacher, and George Latore, a welder and small-time Jamaican politician.[8] His father left the family when Wallace was two years old, leaving his mother to work two jobs while raising him. At the Queen of All Saints Middle School, Wallace excelled in class, winning several awards as an English student. He was nicknamed “Big” because of his size before he turned 10.[9] At the age of 12, he began selling drugs. His mother, often away at work, did not know that her son was selling drugs until Wallace was an adult.[10]

At his request, Wallace transferred out of the private Roman Catholic Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School to attend the state-funded George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School. Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes were also students at that school. According to his mother, Wallace was still a good student, but developed a “smart-ass” attitude at the new school.[8] At seventeen, Wallace dropped out of high school and became further involved in crime. In 1989, he was arrested on weapons charges in Brooklyn and sentenced to five years’ probation. In 1990, he was arrested on a violation of his probation.[11] A year later, Wallace was arrested in North Carolina for dealing crack cocaine. He spent nine months behind bars until he made bail.[10]

Rapping career

Wallace began rapping when he was a teenager. He would entertain people on the streets as well as perform with local groups, the Old Gold Brothers and the Techniques.[2] After being released from prison, Wallace made a demo tape under the name Biggie Smalls, a reference to his childhood nickname and to his stature; he stood at 6′ 3″ (1.91 m) and weighed as much as 300 to 380 pounds according to differing accounts.[12] The tape was reportedly made with no serious intent of getting a recording deal, but was promoted by New York-based DJ Mister Cee, who had previously worked with Big Daddy Kane, and was heard by the editor of The Source.[11]

In March 1992, Wallace featured in The Source‘s Unsigned Hype column, dedicated to aspiring rappers, and was invited to produce a recording with other unsigned artists in a move that was reportedly uncommon at the time.[13] The demo tape was heard by Uptown Records A&R and record producer, Sean Combs, who arranged for a meeting with Wallace. He was signed to Uptown immediately and made an appearance on label mates, Heavy D & the Boyz‘ “A Buncha Niggas” (from the album Blue Funk).[2][14] Soon after signing his recording contract, Combs was fired from Uptown and started a new label.[15] Wallace followed and in mid-1992, signed to Combs’ new imprint label, Bad Boy Records. On August 8, 1993, Wallace’s longtime girlfriend gave birth to his first child, T’yanna.[16] Wallace continued selling drugs after the birth to support his daughter financially. Once Combs discovered this, he was made to quit.[2]

Wallace gained exposure later in the year on a remix to Mary J. Blige‘s single “Real Love“, under the pseudonym The Notorious B.I.G., the name he would record under for the remainder of his career, after finding the original moniker “Biggie Smalls” was already in use.[17] “Real Love” peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was followed by a remix of Blige’s “What’s the 411?“. He continued this success, to a lesser extent, on remixes with Neneh Cherry (“Buddy X”) and reggae artist Super Cat (“Dolly My Baby”, also featuring Combs) in 1993. In April 1993, his solo track, “Party and Bullshit“, appeared on the Who’s the Man? soundtrack.[16] In July 1994, he appeared alongside LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes on a remix to label mate Craig Mack‘s “Flava in Ya Ear“, reaching #9 on the Hot 100.

Ready to Die and marriage

On August 4, 1994, Wallace married singer Faith Evans after they met at a Bad Boy photoshoot.[16][18] Four days later, Wallace had his first pop chart success as a solo artist with double A-side, “Juicy/Unbelievable”, which reached #27 as the lead single to his debut album.

Ready to Die was released on September 13, 1994, and reached #13 on the Billboard 200 chart,[19] eventually being certified four times Platinum.[20] The album, released at a time when West Coast hip hop was prominent in the U.S. charts, according to Rolling Stone, “almost single-handedly… shifted the focus back to East Coast rap”.[21] It gained strong reviews on release and has received much praise in retrospect.[21][22] In addition to “Juicy”, the record produced two hit singles; the Platinum-selling “Big Poppa“, which reached #1 on the U.S. rap chart,[4] and “One More Chance” featuring Faith Evans, a loosely related remix of an album track and its best selling single.

Junior M.A.F.I.A. and coastal feud

Early image of Wallace (left) and Tupac Shakur. Photograph is taken from the documentary film Biggie & Tupac, directed by Nick Broomfield

In August 1995, Wallace’s protegé group, Junior M.A.F.I.A. (“Junior Masters At Finding Intelligent Attitudes”), released their debut album Conspiracy. The group consisting of his friends from childhood and included rappers such as Lil’ Kim and Lil’ Cease, who went on to have solo careers.[23] The record went Gold and its singles, “Player’s Anthem” and “Get Money” both featuring Wallace, went Gold and Platinum. Wallace continued to work with R&B artists, collaborating with Bad Boy groups 112 (on “Only You”) and Total (on “Can’t You See”), with both reaching the top 20 of the Hot 100. By the end of the year, Wallace was the top-selling male solo artist and rapper on the U.S. pop and R&B charts.[2] In July 1995, he appeared on the cover of The Source with the caption “The King of New York Takes Over”. At the Source Awards in August 1995, he was named Best New Artist (Solo), Lyricist of the Year, Live Performer of the Year, and his debut Album of the Year.[24] At the Billboard Awards, he was Rap Artist of the Year.[11]

In his year of success, Wallace became involved in a rivalry between the East and West Coast hip-hop scenes with Tupac Shakur, his former associate. In an interview with Vibe magazine in April 1995, while serving time in Clinton Correctional Facility, Shakur accused Uptown Records‘ founder Andre Harrell, Sean Combs, and Wallace of having prior knowledge of a robbery that resulted in him being shot repeatedly and losing thousands of dollars worth of jewelry on the night of November 30, 1994. Though Wallace and his entourage were in the same Manhattan-based recording studio at the time of the occurrence, they denied the accusation.[25]

It just happened to be a coincidence that he was in the studio. He just, he couldn’t really say who really had something to do with it at the time. So he just kinda’ leaned the blame on me.[26]

 
Following release from prison, Shakur signed to Death Row Records on October 15, 1995. Bad Boy Records and Death Row, now business rivals, became involved in an intense quarrel.[27]

Arrests, Shakur’s death and second child

Wallace began recording his second record album in September 1995. The album, recorded in New York, Trinidad and Los Angeles, was interrupted during its 18 months of creation by injury, legal wranglings and the highly publicized hip hop dispute in which he was involved.[28] During this time, he also worked with pop singer Michael Jackson for the HIStory album.[29]

On March 23, 1996, Wallace was arrested outside a Manhattan nightclub for chasing and threatening to kill two autograph seekers, smashing the windows of their taxicab and then pulling one of the fans out and punching them.[11] He pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service. In mid-1996, he was arrested at his home in Teaneck, New Jersey, for drug and weapons possession charges.[11]

In June 1996, Shakur released “Hit ‘Em Up“, a diss song in which he explicitly claimed to have had sex with Wallace’s wife (at the time estranged) and that Wallace copied his style and image. Wallace referred to the first claim about his wife’s pregnancy on Jay-Z’s “Brooklyn’s Finest” where he raps: “If Faye (Faith Evans, his wife at the time) have twins, she’d probably have two ‘Pacs. Geddit? 2Pac’s?”. However, Wallace did not directly respond to the record during his lifetime, stating in a 1997 radio interview that it was “not [his] style” to respond.[26]

Shakur was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, on September 7, 1996, and died six days later of complications from the gunshot wounds. Rumors of Wallace’s involvement with Shakur’s murder were reported almost immediately, and later in a two-part article by investigative reporter Chuck Philips in the Los Angeles Times in September 2002.[30] Wallace denied the allegation claiming he was in a New York recording studio at the time.[25] The Times later determined the article written by Philips “relied heavily on information that The Times no longer believes to be credible”, including false FBI reports, and the paper published a retraction. Following his death, an anti-violence hip hop summit was held.[2]

On October 29, 1996, Faith Evans gave birth to Wallace’s son, Christopher “C.J.” Wallace, Jr.[16] The following month Junior M.A.F.I.A. member Lil’ Kim released her debut album, Hard Core, under Wallace’s direction while the two were involved in an apparent love affair.[2]

Life After Death and car accident

During the recording sessions for his second record, tentatively named “Life After Death… ‘Til Death Do Us Part”, later shortened to Life After Death, Wallace was involved in a car accident that shattered his left leg and confined him to a wheelchair.[2] The injury forced him to use a cane.[25]

In January 1997, Wallace was ordered to pay US$41,000 in damages following an incident involving a friend of a concert promoter who claimed Wallace and his entourage beat him up following a dispute in May 1995.[31] He faced criminal assault charges for the incident which remain unresolved, but all robbery charges were dropped.[11] Following the events of the previous year, Wallace spoke of a desire to focus on his “peace of mind”. “My mom… my son… my daughter… my family… my friends are what matters to me now”.[32]

March 1997 shooting and death

Composite sketch of the suspect in the shooting.

Wallace traveled to California in February 1997 to promote his upcoming album and record a music video for its lead single, “Hypnotize“. On March 5, 1997 he gave a radio interview with The Dog House on KYLD in San Francisco. In the interview he stated that he had hired security since he feared for his safety; this was because he was a celebrity figure in general, not because he was a rapper.[33] Life After Death was scheduled for release on March 25, 1997. On January 8, 1997, Biggie Smalls and Sean “Puffy” Combs made a video “What’s Beef” which was directed by Dave Meyers. On March 8, 1997, he presented an award to Toni Braxton at the 11th Annual Soul Train Music Awards in Los Angeles and was booed by some of the audience.[25] After the ceremony, Wallace attended an after party hosted by Vibe magazine and Qwest Records at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.[25] Other guests included Faith Evans, Aaliyah, Sean Combs, and members of the Bloods and Crips gangs.[9]

On March 9, 1997, at around 12:30 a.m., Wallace left with his entourage in two GMC Suburbans to return to his hotel after the Fire Department closed the party early because of overcrowding.[34] Wallace traveled in the front passenger seat alongside his associates, Damion “D-Roc” Butler, Junior M.A.F.I.A. member Lil’ Cease and driver, Gregory “G-Money” Young. Combs traveled in the other vehicle with three bodyguards. The two trucks were trailed by a Chevrolet Blazer carrying Bad Boy’s director of security.[9]

By 12:45 a.m., the streets were crowded with people leaving the event. Wallace’s truck stopped at a red light 50 yards (46 m) from the museum. A black Chevrolet Impala SS pulled up alongside Wallace’s truck. The driver of the Impala, an African American male dressed in a blue suit and bow tie, rolled down his window, drew a 9 mm blue-steel pistol and fired at the GMC Suburban; four bullets hit Wallace in the chest.[9] Wallace’s entourage rushed him to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, but he was pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m.

Murder case

Wallace’s murder remains unsolved and there are many theories regarding the identities and motives of the murderers. Immediately after the shooting, reports surfaced linking the Shakur and Wallace murders, because of the similarities in the drive-by shootings.[35]

In 2002, Randall Sullivan released LAbyrinth, a book compiling information regarding the murders of Wallace and Shakur based on evidence provided by retired LAPD detective, Russell Poole.[9][36] Sullivan accused Marion “Suge” Knight, co-founder of Death Row Records and an alleged Bloods affiliate, of conspiring with David Mack, an LAPD officer and alleged Death Row security employee, to kill Wallace and make Shakur and his death appear the result of a fictitious bi-coastal rap rivalry.[37][38] Sullivan believed that one of Mack’s associates, Amir Muhammad (also known as Harry Billups), was the hitman based on evidence provided by an informant, and due to his close resemblance to the facial composite.[37][38] Filmmaker Nick Broomfield released an investigative documentary, Biggie & Tupac, based mainly on the evidence used in the book.[36]

An article published in Rolling Stone by Sullivan in December 2005 accused the LAPD of not fully investigating links with Death Row Records based on evidence from Poole. Sullivan claimed that Sean Combs “failed to fully cooperate with the investigation” and according to Poole, encouraged Bad Boy staff to do the same.[9] The accuracy of the article was later refuted in a letter by the Assistant Managing Editor of the LA Times accusing Sullivan of using “shoddy tactics.” Sullivan, in response, quoted the lead attorney of the Wallace estate calling the newspaper “a co-conspirator in the cover-up.”[39]

The criminal investigation was re-opened in July 2006 in the hopes that new evidence might help the City defend the civil lawsuits brought by the Wallace family.[40][41]

In January 2011, the case was reinvigorated as a result of new information reported by Anderson Cooper‘s AC360 “Cold Case” show and blog[42] that it was being re-investigated by a law enforcement task force composed of the LAPD, the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office, and the FBI.[43] In April, the FBI released redacted documents about their investigation into the shooting, revealing that the bullets were rare 9mm Gecko ammunition manufactured in Germany. The documents reported that LAPD officers monitoring the party Wallace was attending were also employed as security personnel for Knight; the documents also speculated that the Genovese crime family was withholding evidence about Wallace’s death.[44]

Basketball player Shaquille O’Neal was a close friend of Wallace’s and on the night of Wallace’s death, he was supposed to meet him at an after party. O’Neal has reportedly struggled with guilt about Wallace’s death since that night.[45]

Lawsuits

Wrongful Death

In March 2005, the relatives of Wallace filed a wrongful death claim against the city of Los Angeles based on the evidence championed by Russell Poole.[38] They claimed the LAPD had sufficient evidence to arrest the assailant, but failed to use it. David Mack and Amir Muhammad (a.k.a. Harry Billups) were originally named as defendants in the civil suit, but were dropped shortly before the trial began after the LAPD and FBI dismissed them as suspects.[38]

The case came for trial before a jury on June 21, 2005. Several days into the trial, the plaintiffs’ attorney disclosed to the Court and opposing counsel that he had received a telephone call from someone claiming to be a LAPD officer and provided detailed information about the existence of evidence concerning the Wallace murder. The court directed the city to conduct a thorough investigation, which uncovered previously undisclosed evidence, much of which was in the desk or cabinet of Det. Steven Katz, the lead detective in the Wallace murder investigation. The documents centered around interviews by numerous police officers of an incarcerated informant, who had been Rafael Perez’s cellmate for some extended period of time. He reported that Perez had told him about his and Mack’s involvement with Death Row Records and their activities at the Peterson Automotive Museum the night of Wallace’s murder. As a result of the newly discovered evidence, the judge declared a mistrial and awarded the Wallace family its attorneys’ fees.[46]

On April 16, 2007, relatives of Wallace filed a second wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. The suit also named two LAPD officers in the center of the investigation into the Rampart scandal, Rafael Perez and Nino Durden. According to the claim, Perez, an alleged affiliate of Death Row Records, admitted to LAPD officials that he and Mack (who was not named in the lawsuit) “conspired to murder, and participated in the murder of Christopher Wallace”. The Wallace family said the LAPD “consciously concealed Rafael Perez’s involvement in the murder of … Wallace”.[47]

United States District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper granted summary judgment to the city of Los Angeles on December 17, 2007, finding that the Wallace family had not complied with a California law that required the Wallace family to give notice of its claim to the State within six months of Wallace’s death.[48] The Wallace family refiled the suit, dropping the state law claims on May 27, 2008.[49] The city never answered the amended complaint, and with the agreement of both sides, the suit was voluntarily dismissed on April 5, 2010 without prejudice.[50]

Defamation

On January 19, 2007, Tyruss Himes (better known as Big Syke), a friend of Shakur who was implicated in the murder by television channel KTTV and XXL magazine in 2005, had a defamation lawsuit regarding the accusations thrown out of court.[51]

Posthumous career

Fifteen days after his death, Wallace’s double-disc second album was released as planned with the shortened title of Life After Death and hit #1 on the Billboard 200 charts, after making a premature appearance at #176 due to street-date violations. The record album featured a much wider range of guests and producers than its predecessor.[52] It gained strong reviews and in 2000 was certified Diamond, the highest RIAA certification awarded to a solo hip hop album.

Its lead single, “Hypnotize“, was the last music video recording in which Wallace would participate. His biggest chart success was with its follow-up “Mo Money Mo Problems“, featuring Sean Combs (under the rap alias “Puff Daddy”) and Mase. Both singles reached #1 in the Hot 100, making Wallace the first artist to achieve this feat posthumously.[2] The third single, “Sky’s The Limit“, featuring the band 112, was noted for its use of children in the music video, directed by Spike Jonze, who were used to portray Wallace and his contemporaries, including Sean Combs, Lil’ Kim, and Busta Rhymes. Wallace was named Artist of the Year and “Hypnotize” Single of the Year by Spin magazine in December 1997.[53]

In mid-1997, Combs released his debut album, No Way Out, which featured Wallace on five songs, notably on the third single “Victory“. The most prominent single from the record album was “I’ll Be Missing You“, featuring Combs, Faith Evans and 112, which was dedicated to Wallace’s memory. At the 1998 Grammy Awards, Life After Death and its first two singles received nominations in the rap category. The album award was won by Combs’ No Way Out and “I’ll Be Missing You” won the award in the category of Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group in which “Mo Money Mo Problems” was nominated.[54]

Wallace had founded a hip hop supergroup called The Commission, which consisted of Jay-Z, Lil’ Cease, Combs, Charli Baltimore and himself. The Commission was mentioned by Wallace in the lyrics of “What’s Beef” on Life After Death and “Victory” from No Way Out but never completed an album. A song on Duets: The Final Chapter titled “Whatchu Want (The Commission)” featuring Jay-Z was based on the group.

In December 1999, Bad Boy released Born Again. The record consisted of previously unreleased material mixed with guest appearances including many artists Wallace had never collaborated with in his lifetime. It gained some positive reviews but received criticism for its unlikely pairings; The Source describing it as “compiling some of the most awkward collaborations of his career”.[55] Nevertheless, the album sold 3 million copies. Over the course of time, Wallace’s vocals would appear on hit songs such as “Foolish” by Ashanti and “Realest Niggas” in 2002, and the song “Runnin’ (Dying to Live)” with Shakur the following year. He also appeared on Michael Jackson’s 2001 album, Invincible. In 2005, Duets: The Final Chapter continued the pattern started on Born Again and was criticized for the lack of significant vocals by Wallace on some of its songs.[56][57] Its lead single “Nasty Girl” became Wallace’s first UK #1 single. Combs and Voletta Wallace have stated the album will be the last release primarily featuring new material.[58]

Legacy

Wallace is celebrated as one of the greatest rap artists and is described by Allmusic as “the savior of East Coast hip-hop”.[2] The Source and Blender named Wallace the greatest rapper of all time.[59] In 2003, when XXL magazine asked several hip hop artists to list their five favorite MCs, Wallace’s name appeared on more rappers’ lists than anyone else. In 2006, he was ranked at #3 in MTV’s The Greatest MC’s of All Time.[5]

Since his death, Wallace’s lyrics have been sampled and quoted by a variety of hip hop, R&B and pop artists including Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Alicia Keys, Fat Joe, Nelly, Ja Rule, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Game, Clinton Sparks, Michael Jackson and Usher. On August 28, 2005, at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, Sean Combs (then using the rap alias “P. Diddy”) and Snoop Dogg paid tribute to Wallace: an orchestra played while the vocals from “Juicy” and “Warning” played on the arena speakers.[60] In September 2005, VH1 had its second annual “Hip Hop Honors”, with a tribute to Wallace headlining the show.[61]

Wallace had begun to promote a clothing line called Brooklyn Mint, which was to produce plus-sized clothing but fell dormant after he died. In 2004, his managers, Mark Pitts and Wayne Barrow, launched the clothing line, with help from Jay-Z, selling T-shirts with images of Wallace on them. A portion of the proceeds go to the Christopher Wallace Foundation and to Jay-Z’s Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation.[62] In 2005, Voletta Wallace hired branding and licensing agency Wicked Cow Entertainment to guide the Estate’s licensing efforts.[63] Wallace-branded products on the market include action figures, blankets, and cell phone content.[64]

The Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation holds an annual black-tie dinner (“B.I.G. Night Out”) to raise funds for children’s school equipment and supplies and to honor the memory of the late rapper. For this particular event, because it is a children’s schools’ charity, “B.I.G.” is also said to stand for “Books Instead of Guns”.[65]

Style

Play sound
Wallace, accompanied by ad libs from Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, uses onomatopoeic vocables and multi-syllabic rhymes on his 1995 collaboration with R&B group, 112.

Play sound
Wallace tells vivid stories about his everyday life as a criminal in Brooklyn (from Life After Death).

Problems listening to these files? See media help.

Wallace mostly rapped on his songs in a deep tone described by Rolling Stone as a “thick, jaunty grumble”,[66] which went deeper on Life After Death.[67] He was often accompanied on songs with ad libs from Sean “Puffy” Combs. On The Source‘s Unsigned Hype, they described his style as “cool, nasal, and filtered, to bless his own material”.

Allmusic describe Wallace as having “a loose, easy flow” with “a talent for piling multiple rhymes on top of one another in quick succession”.[4] Time magazine wrote Wallace rapped with an ability to “make multi-syllabic rhymes sound… smooth”,[22] while Krims describes Wallace’s rhythmic style as “effusive“.[68] Before starting a verse, Wallace sometimes used onomatopoeic vocables to “warm up” (for example “uhhh” at the beginning of “Hypnotize” and “Big Poppa” and “whaat” after certain rhymes in songs such as “My Downfall”).[69]

Lateef of Latyrx notes that Wallace had, “intense and complex flows”,[70] Fredro Starr of Onyx says, “Biggie was a master of the flow”,[71] and Bishop Lamont states that Wallace mastered “all the hemispheres of the music”.[72] “Notorious B.I.G. also often used the single-line rhyme scheme to add variety and interest to his flow”.[70] Big Daddy Kane suggests that Wallace didn’t need a large vocabulary to impress listeners – “he just put his words together a slick way and it worked real good for him”.[73] Wallace was known to compose lyrics in his head, rather than write them down on paper, in a similar way to Jay-Z.[74][75]

Wallace would occasionally vary from his usual style. On “Playa Hater” from his second album, he sang in a slow-falsetto.[76] On his collaboration with Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, “Notorious Thugs“, he modified his style to match the rapid rhyme flow of the group.

Themes and lyrical content

Wallace’s lyrical topics and themes included mafioso tales (“Niggas Bleed”), his drug dealing past (“10 Crack Commandments”), materialistic bragging (“Hypnotize“), as well as humor (“Just Playing (Dreams)”),[77] and romance (“Me & My Bitch”).[77] Rolling Stone named Wallace in 2004 as “one of the few young male songwriters in any pop style writing credible love songs”.[67]

Guerilla Black, in the book How to Rap, describes how Wallace was able to both “glorify the upper echelon”[78] and “[make] you feel his struggle”.[79] According to Touré of The New York Times in 1994, Wallace’s lyrics “[mixed] autobiographical details about crime and violence with emotional honesty”.[10] Marriott of The New York Times (in 1997) believed his lyrics were not strictly autobiographical and wrote he “had a knack for exaggeration that increased sales”.[11] Wallace described his debut as “a big pie, with each slice indicating a different point in my life involving bitches and niggaz… from the beginning to the end”.[80]

Ready to Die is described by Rolling Stone as a contrast of “bleak” street visions and being “full of high-spirited fun, bringing the pleasure principle back to hip-hop”.[67] Allmusic write of “a sense of doom” in some of his songs and the NY Times note some being “laced with paranoia”;[4][81] Wallace described himself as feeling “broke and depressed” when he made his debut.[81] The final song on the album, “Suicidal Thoughts“, featured Wallace contemplating suicide and concluded with him committing the act.

On Life After Death, Wallace’s lyrics went “deeper”.[67] Krims explains how upbeat, dance-oriented tracks (which featured less heavily on his debut) alternate with “reality rap” songs on the record and suggests that he was “going pimp” through some of the lyrical topics of the former.[68] XXL magazine wrote that Wallace “revamped his image” through the portrayal of himself between the albums, going from “midlevel hustler” on his debut to “drug lord“.[82]

Allmusic wrote that the success of Ready to Die is “mostly due to Wallace’s skill as a storyteller”;[4] In 1994, Rolling Stone described Wallace’s ability in this technique as painting “a sonic picture so vibrant that you’re transported right to the scene”.[21] On Life After Death Wallace notably demonstrated this skill on “I Got a Story to Tell” telling a story as a rap for the first half of the song and then as a story “for his boys” in conversation form.[76]

After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Christopher began to see life more on the positive side rather then the negative when he realized that he could have died when the explosion occurred. Instead of dying , Christopher only suffered minor scratches when he was performing his own remix of the song “Real Love” a few blocks away on the street. Christopher also refers to this event in his song “Juicy” when he mentions blowing up like the world trade.[83]

Biopic

Notorious is a 2009 biographical film about Wallace and his life that starred rapper Jamal “Gravy” Woolard as Wallace. The film was directed by George Tillman, Jr. and distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures. Producers included Sean “Diddy” Combs, Wallace’s former managers Wayne Barrow and Mark Pitts, as well as Voletta Wallace.[75] On January 16, 2009, the movie’s debut at the Grand 18 theater in Greensboro, North Carolina was postponed after a man was shot in the parking lot before the show.[84] Ultimately, the film grossed over $43,000,000 worldwide.

In early October 2007, open casting calls for the role of Wallace began.[85] Actors, rappers and unknowns all tried out. Beanie Sigel auditioned[86] for the role, but was not picked. Sean Kingston claimed that he would play the role of Wallace, but producers denied he would be in the film.[87] Eventually it was announced that rapper Jamal “Gravy” Woolard was cast as Wallace[88] while Wallace’s son, Christopher Wallace, Jr. was cast to play Wallace as a child.[89] Other cast members include Angela Bassett as Voletta Wallace, Derek Luke as Sean Combs, Antonique Smith as Faith Evans, Naturi Naughton formerly of 3LW as Lil’ Kim, and Anthony Mackie as Tupac Shakur.[90] Bad Boy released a soundtrack album to the film on January 13, 2009; the album contains hit singles of B.I.G. such as “Hypnotize”, “Juicy”, and “Warning” as well as rarities.[91]

Discography

Posted February 18, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Rappers / Hip Hop

Jay-Z, Rapper, Record Producer, Entrepeneur   Leave a comment


Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969),[1] better known by his stage name Jay-Z, is an American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America, having a net worth of over $450 million as of 2010.[2][3] He has sold approximately 50 million albums worldwide, while receiving thirteen Grammy Awards for his musical work, and numerous additional nominations.[4][5] He is consistently ranked as one of the greatest rappers of all-time. He was ranked so by MTV in their list of The Greatest MCs of All-Time in 2006. Two of his albums, Reasonable Doubt (1996) and The Blueprint (2001) are considered landmarks in the genre with both of them being ranked in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Blender included the former on their 500 CDs You Must Own Before You Die.[6]

Jay-Z co-owns the 40/40 Club, is part-owner of the NBA‘s New Jersey Nets and is also the creator of the line Rocawear.[7] He is the former CEO of Def Jam Recordings, one of the three founders of Roc-A-Fella Records, and the founder of Roc Nation.[8] As an artist, he holds the record for most number one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard 200 with eleven.[9] Jay-Z also has had four number ones on the Billboard Hot 100, one as lead artist.

He married American R&B superstar Beyoncé Knowles on April 4, 2008.[10] On December 11, 2009, Jay-Z was ranked as the 10th most successful artist of the 2000′s by Billboard and ranking as the 5th top solo male artist and as the 4th top rapper behind Eminem, Nelly, and 50 Cent.[11]

Early life

Jay-Z (top) with a friend (left) in Trenton, New Jersey, circa 1988

Originally from Marcy Houses, a housing project in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City,[12] the future “Jay-Z” then known as Shawn Carter, was abandoned by his father and in 1982, he shot his brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry.[13][14] Carter attended Eli Whitney High School in Brooklyn, along with future rapper AZ, until it was closed down. After that he attended George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School in Downtown Brooklyn, with fellow future rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes, and Trenton Central High School in Trenton, New Jersey, but did not graduate.[15] In his music he refers to having been involved in selling crack cocaine.[14]

According to his mother, Gloria Carter, her son Shawn used to wake his siblings up at night banging out drum patterns on the kitchen table. Eventually, she bought him a boom box for his birthday, sparking his interest in music. He began freestyling, writing lyrics, and followed the music of many artists popular at the time.[16] In his neighborhood, Carter was known as “Jazzy”, a nickname that eventually developed into his showbiz/stage name, “Jay-Z”. The moniker is also an homage to his musical mentor, Jaz-O, as well as to the J/Z subway lines that have a stop at Marcy Avenue in Brooklyn.[12]

Jay-Z can briefly be heard on several of Jaz-O’s early recordings in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including “The Originators” and “Hawaiian Sophie”.[17] Jay-Z was also involved in and won several battles with rapper LL Cool J in the early 90′s as part of a plan to get a sought-after record deal.[18] He first became known to a wide audience by being featured on the posse cut “Show and Prove” on the 1994 Big Daddy Kane album Daddy’s Home. Jay-Z has been referred to as Big Daddy Kane‘s hype man during this period,[19] though Kane explains that he didn’t fill the traditional hype man role, instead Jay-Z “basically made cameo appearances on stage. When I would leave the stage to go change outfits, I would bring out Jay-Z and Positive K and let them freestyle until I came back to the stage”.[20][21] He made an appearance on a popular song by Big L, “Da Graveyard”, and on Mic Geronimo‘s “Time to Build”, which also featured early appearances by DMX, and Ja Rule in 1995. His first official rap single was called “I Can’t Get With That”, for which he released a music video.[22]

Music career

1994–1997: Reasonable Doubt and In My Lifetime, Vol. 1

From the beginning of his professional recording career, when no major label gave him a record deal, Jay-Z, Damon Dash, and Kareem Biggs created Roc-A-Fella Records as their own independent label in 1995. After striking a deal with Priority to distribute his material, Jay-Z released his 1996 debut album Reasonable Doubt with beats from acclaimed producers such as DJ Premier and Super DJ Clark Kent and a notable appearance by The Notorious B.I.G.. The album reached number 23 on the Billboard 200, and was well-received by critics.[12] This album would later be included in Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” as No.248 and eventually reach platinum status.[23]

After reaching a new distribution deal with Def Jam in 1997, Jay-Z released his follow-up In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. Executively produced by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, it sold better than his previous effort. Jay-Z later explained that the album was made during one of the worst periods of his life, he was reeling from the death of his close friend The Notorious B.I.G. The album was a personal revelation for Jay-Z as he spun the tale of his hard knock upbringing.[24] The album’s glossy production stood as a contrast to his first release, and some dedicated fans felt he had “sold out”. However, the album did feature some beats from producers who had worked with him on Reasonable Doubt, namely DJ Premier and Ski. Like its predecessor, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 earned Platinum status in the United States.[23]

1998–2000: Vol. 2…, criminal charges and mainstream success

In 1998, Jay-Z released Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life which spawned the biggest hit of his career at the time, “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)“. He relied more on flow and wordplay, and he continued with his penchant for mining beats from the popular producers of the day such as Swizz Beatz, an upstart in-house producer for Ruff Ryders, and Timbaland. Other producers included DJ Premier, Erick Sermon, The 45 King, and Kid Capri. Charting hits from this album included “Can I Get A…”, featuring Ja Rule and Amil, and “Nigga What, Nigga Who“, also featuring Amil. Vol. 2 would eventually become Jay-Z’s most commercially successful album; it was certified 5× Platinum in the United States and has to date sold over five million copies.[23] The album went on to win a Grammy Award, although Jay-Z boycotted the ceremony protesting DMX’s failure to garner a Grammy nomination.[25] In 1999, Jay-Z dueted with Mariah Carey on “Heartbreaker“, a song from her seventh album, Rainbow. In that same year, Jay-Z released Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter, the album proved to be successful and sold over 3 million records.[23] Vol. 3′s most successful single was “Big Pimpin’“, featuring UGK. Around the same time, Jay-Z was accused of stabbing record executive Lance “Un” Rivera for what Jay-Z perceived was Rivera’s bootlegging of Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter. The stabbing allegedly occurred at the record release party for Q-Tip’s debut solo album Amplified at the Kit Kat Klub, a now defunct night club in Times Square, New York City, on December 9. Jay-Z’s associates at the party were accused of causing a commotion within the club, which Jay-Z allegedly used as cover when he supposedly stabbed Rivera in the stomach with a five-inch (127 mm) blade.[26] In his book Decoded, Jay-Z addresses his assault case. While he didn’t apologize for his actions, he did express regret that the incident happened and attributed it to a loss of control, saying that there was no reason for him to get into a situation that put him and people who depended on him at risk. He also vowed to never get involved in a similar situation again.[citation needed]

Jay-Z initially denied the incident and pleaded not guilty when a grand jury returned the indictment. Jay-Z and his lawyers contended he was nowhere around Rivera during the incident and they had witnesses and videotape evidence from the club that showed Jay-Z’s whereabouts during the disturbance. Nevertheless, he later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge that resulted in a sentence of three years probation.[27] In 2000, Jay-Z released The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, which was originally intended to become a compilation album for Roc-A-Fella artists but somehow turned into a Jay-Z album.[28] The album helped to introduce newcomer producers The Neptunes, Just Blaze, Kanye West and Bink, which have all gone on to achieve notable success. This is also the first album where Jay-Z utilizes a more soulful sound than his previous albums. The Dynasty sold over two million units in the U.S. alone.[23]

2001–02: Feud with Nas, The Blueprint and The Blueprint2

In 2001, Jay-Z spoke out against Prodigy after he took an issue with a Jay-Z line from “Money, Cash, Hoes” that he felt were subliminal shots at Mobb Deep and referenced Mobb Deep’s beef with Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, and Death Row Records. He later performed the song “Takeover“, at Summer Jam 2001, which initially attacked Prodigy and revealed photos of Prodigy dressed like Michael Jackson.[29] A line at the end of “Takeover” referenced Nas, who criticized him on “We Will Survive”.[30] Nas responded with a diss track called “Ether” and almost instantly, Jay-Z added a verse to “Takeover” which dissed Nas and would start a feud between the two rappers. Jay-Z later released his sixth studio album The Blueprint which was later considered by many to be one of hip hop’s “classic” albums, receiving the coveted 5 mic review from The Source magazine. Released during the wake of September 11 attacks, the album managed to debut at number one on the Billboard 200, selling more than 427,000 units;[31] the album’s success was overshadowed by the tragic event. The Blueprint has been certified 2x Platinum in the United States.[23] The Blueprint was applauded for its production and the balance of “mainstream” and “hardcore” rap, receiving recognition from both audiences. The Blueprint was written in only two days.[32] Eminem was the only guest rapper on the album, producing and rapping on the song “Renegade”. Four of the thirteen tracks on the album were produced by Kanye West and represents one of West’s first major breaks in the industry. The Blueprint includes the popular songs “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)“, “Girls, Girls, Girls“, “Jigga That Nigga” and “Song Cry“.

Jay-Z’s next solo album was 2002′s The Blueprint2: The Gift & the Curse, a double-album. The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at number one, selling over 3 million units in the U.S. alone[23] and surpassing The Blueprint.[33] It was later reissued in a single-disc version, The Blueprint 2.1, which retained half of the tracks from the original. The album spawned two massive hit singles, “Excuse Me Miss” and “’03 Bonnie & Clyde“, which featured Jay-Z’s future wife Beyoncé Knowles. “Guns & Roses”, a track featuring rock musician Lenny Kravitz, and “Hovi Baby” were two successful radio singles as well. The album also contained the tracks “A Dream”, featuring Faith Evans and the late The Notorious B.I.G.; and “The Bounce”, featuring Kanye West. The Blueprint 2.1 featured tracks that do not appear on The Blueprint2: The Gift & the Curse, such as “Stop”, “La La La (Excuse Me Again)”, “What They Gonna Do, Part II” and “Beware” produced by and featuring Panjabi MC.[34]

2003–05: The Black Album and Collision Course

After returning from a trip in the south of France,[35] Jay-Z announced work on his 8th studio album The Black Album at the opening of the first the 40/40 Club.[36] He worked with several producers including Just Blaze, The Neptunes, Kanye West, Timbaland, Eminem, DJ Quik, 9th Wonder and Rick Rubin. Notable songs on the album included “What More Can I Say“, “Dirt Off Your Shoulder“, “Change Clothes“, and “99 Problems“. The Black Album has sold 3 million copies in the US.[23]

On November 25, 2003, Jay-Z held a concert at Madison Square Garden, which would later be the focus of his film Fade to Black. This concert was his “retirement party”. All proceeds went to charity. Other performers included collaborators like The Roots (in the form of his backing band), Missy Elliott, Memphis Bleek, Beanie Siegel, Freeway, Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé, Twista, Ghostface Killah, Foxy Brown, Pharrell and R. Kelly with special appearances by Voletta Wallace and Afeni Shakur, the mothers of The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur respectively.[citation needed] While Jay-Z had attested to a retirement from making new studio albums, various side projects and appearances soon followed. Included in these were a greatest hits record, mash-up projects and concert appearances with R. Kelly and Linkin Park.

In 2004 Jay-Z collaborated with rock group Linkin Park. The project was named Collision Course, and contained a six track EP, as well as a making of DVD. Some of the mash ups tracks were entitled “Dirt Off Your Shoulder/Lying From You”, “Jigga What/Faint”, and “Numb/Encore”. “Numb/Encore” went on to win a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, and was performed with Linkin Park live at the Grammys, with a special appearance by Paul McCartney, who added verses from the song “Yesterday“. The EP sold over 1 million copies in the US.[23] Jay-Z was the executive producer of Fort Minor‘s debut album The Rising Tied. Mike Shinoda got together with Jay-Z and Linkin Park bandmate Brad Delson to discuss what tracks should make the album.

Later in 2004, Jay-Z was named president of Def Jam Records, which led to Jay-Z, Dash and Biggs selling their remaining interests in Roc-A-Fella Records and Jay-Z taking control of both of the companies.[37] Reportedly this major industry move was prompted by disagreements between Jay-Z and Dash as to what direction Roc-A-Fella could undertake.[38] The publicized split between Jay-Z, Dash and Biggs led to the former partners sending jabs at each other in interviews.[39]

2005–07: “I Declare War”, Kingdom Come and American Gangster

Jay-Z at a concert in 2006.

On October 27, 2005, Jay-Z headlined New York’s Power 105.1 annual concert, Powerhouse. The concert was entitled the “I Declare War” concert leading to intense speculation in the weeks preceding the event on whom exactly Jay-Z would declare war. As he had previously “declared war” on other artists taking lyrical shots at him at other events, many believed that the Powerhouse show would represent an all-out assault by Jay-Z upon his rivals.[40] The theme of the concert was Jay-Z’s position as President and CEO of Def Jam, complete with an on-stage mock-up of the Oval Office. Many artists made appearances such as the old roster of Roc-A-Fella records artists, as well as Ne-Yo, Teairra Mari, T.I., Young Jeezy, Akon, Kanye West, Paul Wall, The LOX, and Diddy.[41]

At the conclusion of the concert, Jay-Z put many arguments to rest to the surprise of hip hop fans. The most significant development in this show was closure to the infamous hip hop rivalry between Jay-Z and Nas. The two former rivals shook hands and shared the stage together to perform Jay-Z’s “Dead Presidents” blended with Nas’s song “The World is Yours”.[42]

Jay-Z returned with his comeback album on November 21, 2006 titled Kingdom Come.[43] Jay-Z’s comeback single, “Show Me What You Got“, was leaked on the Internet in early October 2006, scheduled to be released later on that month, received heavy air-play after its leak, causing the FBI to step in and investigate.[44] Jay-Z worked with video director Hype Williams, and the single’s video was directed by F. Gary Gray. The album features producers such as Just Blaze, Pharrell, Kanye West, Dr. Dre and Coldplay‘s Chris Martin (single entitled “Beach Chair“).[45][46] The first week saw 680,000 sales of the CD, which Entertainment Weekly said was “the highest single-week total in Jay’s decade long career”.[47] This album has sold 2 million copies in the US.[23]

Jay-Z released his tenth album entitled American Gangster on November 6, 2007. After viewing the Ridley Scott film of the same name, he was heavily inspired to create a new “concept” album that depicts his experiences as a street-hustler.[48] The album is not the film’s official soundtrack, although it was distributed by Def Jam.[49] Jay-Z’s American Gangster depicts his life in correlation to the movie American Gangster. At the start of the album’s first single, “Blue Magic”, Jay-Z offers a dealer’s manifesto while making references to political figures of the late 1980s with the lyric: “Blame Reagan for making me to into a monster, blame Oliver North and Iran-Contra, I ran contraband that they sponsored, before this rhymin’ stuff we was in concert.”[50] Also notable about the “Blue Magic” music video was Jay-Z flashing 500 euro notes, in what Harvard Business School professor Rawi Abdelal has called a “turning point in American pop culture’s response to globalization.” The album has sold 1 million copies in the US.[23] On December 24, 2007, Jay-Z stated that he would not remain at Def Jam as the company’s President, and vacated the position effective of January 1, 2008.[51]

2008–present: Glastonbury, new record deal, The Blueprint 3, Watch the Throne and follow-up

It was announced on February 2, 2008 that Jay-Z would headline the 2008 Glastonbury Festival, becoming the first major hip hop artist to headline the British festival.[52][53] Tickets sold out before the opening of the festival. One of the more outspoken critics of his selection was Noel Gallagher of Oasis fame, who criticized the organizers of the festival for scheduling Jay-Z as a headliner for the traditionally guitar-driven festival, stating “I’m sorry, but Jay-Z? No chance. Glastonbury has a tradition of guitar music and even when they throw the odd curve ball in on a Sunday night you go ‘Kylie Minogue?’ I don’t know about it. But I’m not having hip hop at Glastonbury. It’s wrong.”[54]

Controversy ensued in the months leading up to the event with artists, promoters and fans weighing in both for and against. Jay-Z responded to this saying, “We don’t play guitars, Noel, but hip hop has put in its work like any other form of music. This headline show is just a natural progression. Rap music is still evolving. We have to respect each other’s genre of music and move forward.”[55] In response to Gallagher’s criticism, Jay-Z opened his Glastonbury set with a tongue-in-cheek cover of Oasis’s iconic song “Wonderwall“.[56] His Glastonbury performance was heralded as a successful response to pre-festival criticism.[57]

Jay-Z during his Glastonbury performance

He also headlined many other summer festivals in 2008, including Roskilde Festival in Denmark,[58] Hove Festival in Norway[59] and O2 Wireless Festival in London.[60] During Kanye West’s August 6, 2008 concert at Madison Square Garden, Jay-Z came out to perform a new song and he and Kanye proclaimed that it was to be on The Blueprint 3.[61] On May 21, 2009, Jay-Z announced he would be parting ways with Def Jam, and had struck a multi-million dollar deal to sign with Live Nation, with whom he would start his Roc Nation imprint which would serve as a record label, talent/management agency, and music publishing company[62] and also partnered up with production team Stargate to start a record label called StarRoc.[63][64] Jay-Z’s 11th studio album The Blueprint 3 was originally to be released on September 11, 2009[65] but was instead released in North America on September 8, 2009 due to increasing anticipation.[66] Its international release followed on September 14.[67] It is his 11th album to reach No.1 on the Billboard 200[68] and has surpassed Elvis Presley’s previous record, making him the current record holder.[9]

On October 9, 2009, Jay-Z kicked off his tour for The Blueprint 3, during which he supported his new album in North America. In a Shave Magazine review of his performance at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Jake Tomlinson expressed that “It was the type of smooth performance you would expect from the hip-hop superstar.” The review gave this performance 4 stars. His North American tour continued until November 22, 2009.[69] At his concert on November 8, 2009 at UCLA‘s Pauley Pavilion, Rihanna joined him on stage and performed “Hard” for the very first time, then performed “Run This Town” with Jay-Z.[70] Among his success, Jay-Z has ventured into producing Broadway shows. Along with Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, Jay-Z helped produced the play Fela!, a musical celebrating the work of the late Nigerian star Fela Kuti.[71] Jay-Z said he was inspired by the power of Kuti’s work and his life story, which resulted in his interest to help produce the musical.[71] Fela! is a story about an African pioneer and political activist who made his first moves on the scene during the 1970s.[71]

Jay-Z performing at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April 2010.

On January 23, 2010, Jay-Z released a track, “Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)“, with Rihanna, and U2‘s Bono and The Edge, as well as performing it at the Hope For Haiti Now telethon.[72] In June 2010, Eminem and Jay-Z announced they would perform together in a pair of concerts in Detroit and New York. The event was dubbed The Home & Home Tour. The first two concerts rapidly sold out, prompting the scheduling of an additional show at each venue.[73] Jay-Z was the supporting act for U2 on the Australian and New Zealand leg of their U2 360° Tour, beginning in Auckland, New Zealand in November 2010, followed by Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth in December.[74] He also appeared on stage during U2 performances of “Sunday Bloody Sunday“, and in Auckland also joined the band for a performance of “Scarlet“, singing some lines of his song, “History”. In August 2010, it was revealed that Jay-Z and Kanye West would be collaborating on a five-track EP entitled Watch the Throne. Although, it was later revealed by West that the project had become a full-length LP. Recording sessions for the album took place at various recording locations and began in November 2010. The first single released for the project was “H•A•M“. The track was co-produced by Lex Luger and West himself. The track ended up being on the deluxe edition of the album. The follow-up to that was the second single “Otis“, which premiered on Funkmaster Flex‘s Hot 97 radio show, and was later released to the iTunes Store eleven days later. The song’s existence, along with several other tracks from the album, was confirmed during a listening session hosted by Jay-Z. The album was first released on the iTunes Store, five days prior to it being released in physical format, a strategy Jay-Z later said was used to block an internet leak. It debuted at #1 on the iTunes Store in 23 countries. It also broke Coldplay‘s record for most albums sold in one week on the online retailer, selling 290,000 copies on iTunes alone. It held that record, until Lil Wayne‘s Tha Carter IV was released twenty-one days later, selling only 10,000 copies more. It debuted on the US Billboard 200 chart at #1, selling 436,000 copies in its first week. The album received generally positive reviews. Jay-Z and West later gave a surprise performance of “Otis” at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards. In April 2011, Jay-Z launched a blog-like, lifestyle website by the name of Life + Times. It covers everything from music, to fashion, to technology, to sports. The site is curated based on Jay-Z’s interests, and he himself works with a small staff to produce every single piece of content.

Jay-Z collaborated with M.I.A. on the single “XXXO“, which achieved a fair level of success and went on to become remixed by several producers worldwide.

On September 23, 2010, Q-Tip confirmed working on Jay-Z’s follow up album to The Blueprint 3, saying the album was to hit stores by spring 2011.[75] The album has not yet been released; it has been confirmed 3 songs have been recorded and one of which features Frank Ocean.

Musical style

Influences

Jay-Z that states his earliest exposure to music was through his parents’ record collection, which was mostly of soul artists such as Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway. He says “I grew up around music, listening to all types of people… I’m into music that has soul in it, whether it be rap, R&B, pop music, whatever. As long as I can feel their soul through the wax, that’s what I really listen to.”[76] He often uses excerpts from these artists as samples in his work, particularly in the Kanye West-productions included on The Blueprint.[76]

Rapping technique

Royce da 5’9″ and Fredro Starr of Onyx both describe Jay-Z’s emphasis on flow in the book How to Rap – Starr says that Jay-Z is “a master of the flow—he can flow fast, he can flow slow”.[77] The book describes how Jay-Z uses ‘rests’ to provide structure to a verse[78] and how he uses ‘partial linking’ to add more rhymes to a verse.[79] Jay-Z’s early style is described by Vibe as “a distinctly Das EFX-type, stiggety style” on his 12″ single “Can’t Get With That”,[80] referring to the fast rhythms and vocal delivery of the group Das EFX. He is also known to write lyrics in his head, as described by Pusha T of Clipse in How to Rap,[81] a style popular with many MCs such as The Notorious B.I.G.,[81] Everlast,[82] Bobby Creekwater[83] and Guerilla Black.[83] Shock G of Digital Underground describes Jay-Z’s performance style, saying he “rarely breaks a sweat, and instead uses smoothness and clever wordplay to keep the audience interested and entertained”.[84]

Business ventures

Jay-Z has also established himself as an entrepreneur like his fellow hip hop moguls and friends, Russell Simmons, Dr. Dre and Sean “Diddy” Combs, who also have business holdings such as record companies and clothing lines. In an interview, he stated that “my brands are an extension of me. They’re close to me. It’s not like running GM, where there’s no emotional attachment.”[85] He is the founder of the urban clothing brand Rocawear along with Damon Dash.[86] Rocawear has clothing lines and accessories for men, women and children. The line was taken over by Jay-Z in early 2006 following a falling out with Dash. In March 2007, Jay-Z sold the rights to the Rocawear brand to Iconix Brand Group, for $204 million. Jay-Z will retain his stake in the company and will continue to oversee the marketing, licensing and product development.[86][87] He also co-owns the 40/40 Club, an upscale sports bar that started in New York City and has since expanded to Atlantic City and Chicago. In 2008, the 40/40 club in Las Vegas was closed down and bought back by the hotel after attendance steadily declined. Future plans will see 40/40 Clubs in Tokyo and Singapore.[88] In 2005, Jay-Z became an investor in Carol’s Daughter, a line of beauty products, including products for hair, skin, and hands.[89]

Jay-Z serves as co-brand director for Budweiser Select and collaborates with the company on strategic marketing programs and creative ad development. He provides direction on brand programs and ads that appear on TV, radio, print, and high-profile events.[90] He is also yet to expand his 40/40 Club sports bar in as many as 20 airports, as he makes deals with his business partners, Juan and Desiree Perez.[91] He is a part-owner of the New Jersey Nets NBA team paying a reported $4.5 million for his share. He encouraged the team’s relocation to Brooklyn‘s Barclays Center in the 2012-2013 season, at which point the team will take on its new name the “Brooklyn Nets”.[92][93] In October 2005, he was reported in English media as considering buying a stake of Arsenal F.C., an English soccer team.[94] He has also invested in a real estate development venture called J Hotels which recently acquired a $66 million mid-block parcel in Chelsea, New York. Jay-Z and his partners are contemplating constructing a high-end hotel or an art gallery building on the newly acquired site which has the potential to go up about twelve stories.[95] Through his company Gain Global Investments Network LLC, had an interest estimated between 2 and 7% in the Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG) consortium which in January 2010 was awarded a contract to operate a 4,500 slot machine racino at the Aqueduct Race Track. Jay-Z became interested in the project after New York Governor David Paterson who awarded the contract said there had to be an affirmative action component to the ownership. Jay-Z initially approached Steve Wynn who was also bidding on the contract. On March 9, 2010, Jay-Z and Flake withdrew from the project and Paterson recused himself from further involvement.[96][97]

On November 16, 2010, Jay-Z published a memoir entitled Decoded.[98][99]

Personal life

Jay-Z and Beyoncé performing “Crazy in Love” on November 15, 2009.

Relationship with Beyoncé

Jay-Z is married to American R&B singer Beyoncé Knowles. In 2002, Jay-Z and Knowles collaborated for the song “’03 Bonnie & Clyde“. Jay-Z also appeared on Knowles’ hit single “Crazy In Love” and as well as “That’s How You Like It” from her debut Dangerously in Love. On her second album, B’Day, he made appearances on the 2006 hits, “Déjà Vu” and “Upgrade U“. In the video for the latter song, she comically imitates his appearance.[100] The couple generally avoid discussing their relationship. Knowles has stated that she believes that not publicly discussing their relationship has helped them. Jay-Z said in a People article, “We don’t play with our relationship.”[101] They kept a low profile while dating, and married quietly in April 2008.[10] It became a matter of public record on April 22, 2008,[102] but Knowles did not publicly debut her $5 million Lorraine Schwartz-designed wedding ring until the Fashion Rocks concert on September 5, 2008 in New York City.[103] Knowles and Jay-Z were listed as the most powerful couple for TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2006.[104] In January 2009, Forbes ranked them as Hollywood’s top-earning couple, with a combined total of $162 million.[105] They also made it to the top of the list the following year, with a combined total of $122 million between June 2008 and June 2009.[105] At the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, Beyoncé revealed that she was pregnant with their first child[106][107] and on January 7, 2012, she gave birth to their daughter, named Blue Ivy Carter, at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.[108] On January 9, 2012, Jay-Z released “Glory”, a song dedicated to their child, on his social website LifeandTimes.com.[109] The song detailed the couple’s pregnancy struggles, including a miscarriage Knowles suffered before becoming pregnant with their daughter.[109] Because Blue’s cries were included at the end of the song and she was officially credited on the song as “B.I.C”, at 2 days old she became the youngest person ever to appear on a Billboard chart when “Glory” debuted on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at Number 74.[110]

Philanthropy

During his retirement, Jay-Z also became involved in philanthropic activity. On August 9, 2006, he met with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan at the organization’s headquarters in New York City. The rapper pledged to use his upcoming world tour to raise awareness of and combat global water shortage. Already on the look-out for a way to, in his own words, “become helpful”, he had been made aware of this issue during a visit to Africa.[111] The effort took place in partnership with the UN,[112] as well as MTV, which produced a documentary entitled Diary of Jay-Z: Water for Life, first airing in November 2006.[113] Along with Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jay-Z pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross‘ relief effort after Hurricane Katrina.[114] Jay-Z stated his support for Kanye West after the latter’s outburst against President Bush during a live Katrina charity telethon.[115] He also addressed the issue of the Katrina disaster, and the government’s response, in his song “Minority Report“.[116]

Politics

Jay-Z got actively involved in politics during the 2008 presidential campaign, where he supported increased voter participation and helped send voters to polling stations.[117] He was an early supporter for the candidacy of Illinois senator and subsequent U.S. president Barack Obama, performing for free in voter-drive concerts financed by the Democrats’ campaign.[118] He also became acquainted with Obama himself, who stated “Every time I talk to Jay-Z, who is a brilliant talent and a good guy, I enjoy how he thinks. That’s somebody who is going to start branching out and can help shape attitudes in a real positive way.”[119] During the 2010 mid-term elections‘ campaign, Jay-Z appeared, along with other artists, in an ad prepared by the HeadCount organization, urging voters, and especially younger ones, to register and vote

Posted February 18, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Entrepeneur, Rappers / Hip Hop, Singer

Snoop Dogg, Rapper, Singer, Record Producer   Leave a comment


Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. (born October 20, 1971), better known by his stage name Snoop Dogg, is an American rapper, singer, record producer, and actor. Snoop is best known as a rapper in the West Coast hip hop scene, and for being one of Dr. Dre‘s most notable protégés. Snoop Dogg was a Crip gang member while in high school. Shortly after graduation, he was arrested for cocaine possession and spent six months in Wayside County Jail. His music career began in 1992 after his release when he was discovered by Dr. Dre. He collaborated on several tracks on Dre’s solo debut, The Chronic and on the titular theme song to the film Deep Cover.

Snoop’s debut album Doggystyle, was released in 1993 under Death Row Records making a debut at No.1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts. Selling almost a million copies in the first week of its release, Doggystyle quickly became certified 4x platinum in 1994 and spawned several hit singles, including “What’s My Name” and “Gin & Juice“. In 1994, Snoop released a soundtrack on Death Row Records for the short film Murder Was The Case, starring himself. In early 1996, Snoop Dogg was cleared of charges over his bodyguard’s 1993 murder of Philip Woldemariam. His second album, late 1996′s Tha Doggfather, also debuted at No.1 on both charts with “Snoop’s Upside Ya Head” as the lead single. The album sold only half as well, being certified double platinum in 1997.

Tha Doggfather was his last release for Death Row before he signed with No Limit Records, where he recorded his next three albums. Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told in 1998, No Limit Top Dogg in 1999 (making it his last album of the 90s), and Tha Last Meal in 2000, which was his last No Limit Records album. Snoop then signed with Priority/Capitol/EMI Records in 2002, where he released his album Paid tha Cost to Be da Boss. Then he signed with Geffen Records in 2004 for his next three albums R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece, Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, and Ego Trippin’. Malice ‘n Wonderland (2009) and Doggumentary (2011), his most recent release, were on Priority.

In addition to music, Snoop Dogg has starred in motion pictures and hosted several television shows: Doggy Fizzle Televizzle, Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood and Dogg After Dark. He also coaches a youth football league and high school football team. He has run into many legal troubles, some of which caused him to be legally banned from the UK and Australia, although the UK ban was later reversed after a long legal battle.[1] He is the cousin of Nate Dogg, Daz Dillinger, RBX and Lil’ ½ Dead and the cousin of R&B singers Brandy and Ray J. Starting September 2009, Snoop was hired by EMI as the chairman of a reactivated Priority Records.[2]

Life and career

Early life

Named after his stepfather, Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Sr. (December 10, 1948 – November 9, 1985, Los Angeles), Calvin Broadus was born October 20, 1971 at the Los Altos Hospital in Long Beach, California, the second of three sons of Beverly Broadus (née Tate; born April 27, 1951, McComb, Mississippi).[3][4][5] His father, Vernall Varnado (born December 13, 1949, Magnolia, Mississippi),[3] was a Vietnam veteran, singer, and mail carrier who was said to be frequently absent from his life.[6] Broadus’ parents nicknamed him “Snoopy” as a child because of his appearance, but usually addressed him as Calvin at home.[7][8] His mother and stepfather divorced in 1975. At an early age, Broadus began singing in Golgotha Trinity Baptist Church and playing piano; when he was in sixth grade, he began rapping.[9][10] He attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School, and was convicted for cocaine possession, serving six months at the Wayside County Jail.[7]

As a teenager, Snoop Dogg frequently ran into trouble with the law. Snoop Dogg was a member of the Rollin’ 20 Crips gang in the Eastside of Long Beach,[11][12] although he stated in 1993 that he never joined a gang.[9] Shortly after graduating from high school, he was arrested for possession of cocaine.[7] Snoop Dogg’s conviction caused him to be frequently in and out of prison for the first three years after he graduated from high school. Snoop, along with his cousins Nate Dogg and Lil’ ½ Dead and friend Warren G, recorded home made tapes as a group called 213, named after the Long Beach area code at the time. One of his early solo freestyles over En Vogue‘s “Hold On” had made it to a mixtape which was heard by influential producer Dr. Dre, who phoned to invite him to an audition. Former N.W.A member The D.O.C. taught him how to structure his lyrics and separate the thematics into verses, hooks and chorus.[13]

1992–93: Doggystyle

When he began recording, Broadus took the stage name Snoop Doggy Dogg. Dr. Dre began working with Snoop Dogg, first on the theme song of the 1992 film Deep Cover, and then on Dr. Dre’s debut solo album The Chronic with the other members of his former starting group, Tha Dogg Pound. The huge success of Snoop Dogg’s debut Doggystyle was partially because of this intense exposure.[7]

To fuel the ascendance of West Coast G-funk hip hop, the singles “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” and “Gin and Juice” reached the top ten most-played songs in the United States, and the album stayed on the Billboard charts for several months.[7] Gangsta rap became the center of arguments for censorship and labeling, with Snoop Dogg often used as an example of violent and misogynistic musicians.[14] Doggystyle, much like The Chronic, featured a host of rappers signed to or affiliated with the Death Row label including Daz Dillinger, Kurupt, Nate Dogg and others. Rolling Stone music critic Touré asserted that Snoop had a relatively soft vocal delivery compared to other rappers: “Snoop’s vocal style is part of what distinguishes him: where many rappers scream, figuratively and literally, he speaks softly.”[9]

A short film about Snoop Dogg’s murder trial called Murder Was The Case, was released in 1994, along with an accompanying soundtrack. On July 6, 1995, Doggy Style Records, Inc., a record label founded by Snoop Dogg, was registered with the California Secretary of State as business entity number C1923139.[15]

1996–97: Tha Doggfather

After Snoop Dogg was acquitted of murder charges on February 20, 1996, he and the mother of his son and their kennel of 20 pit bulls moved into a 5,000-square-foot (460 m2) home in the hills of Claremont, California and by August 1996 Doggy Style Records, a subsidiary of Death Row Records, signed The Gap Band‘s Charlie Wilson as one of the record label’s first artists.[16]

However, by the time Snoop Dogg’s second album, Tha Doggfather, was released in November 1996, the price of living (or sometimes just imitating) the gangsta life had become very evident. Among the many notable hip hop industry deaths and convictions were the death of Snoop Dogg’s friend and labelmate 2Pac and the racketeering indictment of Death Row co-founder Suge Knight.[7] Dr. Dre had left Death Row earlier in 1996 because of a contract dispute, so Snoop Dogg co-produced Tha Doggfather with Daz Dillinger and DJ Pooh.

This album featured a distinct change of style as compared to Doggystyle, and the leadoff single, “Snoop’s Upside Ya Head“, featured a collaboration with Gap Band frontman Charlie Wilson. While the album sold reasonably well, it was not as successful as its predecessor. However, Tha Doggfather had a somewhat softer approach to the G-funk style. The immediate aftermath of Dr. Dre’s withdrawal from Death Row Records, realizing that he was subject to an iron-clad time-based contract (i.e., that Death Row practically owned anything he produced for a number of years), Snoop Dogg refused to produce any more tracks for Suge Knight, other than the insulting “Fuck Death Row”, until his contract expired.[11] In an interview with Neil Strauss in 1998, Snoop Dogg stated that though he had been given lavish gifts by his former label they had withheld royalty payments to the artist.[17]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic said that after Tha Doggfather, Snoop Dogg began “moving away from his gangsta roots toward a calmer lyrical aesthetic”:[7] for instance, Snoop participated in the 1997 Lollapalooza concert tour, which featured mainly alternative rock music. Troy J. Augusto of Variety noticed that Snoop’s set at Lollapalooza attracted “much dancing, and, strangely, even a small mosh pit” in the audience.[18]

1998–2000: No Limit, Top Dogg and Tha Last Meal

Snoop signed with Master P‘s No Limit Records (distributed by Priority/EMI Records) in 1998 and debuted on the label with Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told that year. His other albums from No Limit were No Limit Top Dogg in 1999 (selling over 1,503,865 copies) and Tha Last Meal in 2000 (selling over 1,000,000).[7] In 2001, his autobiography, Tha Doggfather, was published.

2002: Paid tha Cost to Be da Bo$$

In 2002 he released the album Paid tha Cost to Be da Bo$$, on Priority/Capitol/EMI Records, selling over 1,300,000 copies. The album featured the hit singles “From tha Chuuuch to da Palace” and “Beautiful“, featuring guest vocals by Pharrell. By this stage in his career, Snoop Dogg had left behind his “gangster” image and embraced a “pimp” image.

2004–05: R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece

In 2004, Snoop signed to Geffen Records/Star Trak Entertainment both of which are distributed through Interscope Records; Star Trak is headed by producer duo The Neptunes, which produced several tracks for Snoop’s 2004 release R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece. “Drop It Like It’s Hot” (featuring Pharrell), the first single released from the album, was a hit and became Snoop Dogg’s first single to reach number one. His third release was “Signs“, featuring Justin Timberlake and Charlie Wilson, which entered the UK chart at #2. This was his highest entry ever in the UK chart. The album sold 1,724,000 copies in the U.S. alone, and most of its singles were heavily played on radio and television. Snoop Dogg joined Warren G and Nate Dogg to form the group 213 and released album The Hard Way in 2004. Debuting at No.4 on the Billboard 200 and No.1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, it included single “Groupie Luv”. Together with fellow rappers Lil’ Jon, Xzibit and David Banner, Snoop Dogg appeared in the music video for Korn‘s “Twisted Transistor“.

2006: Tha Blue Carpet Treatment

Snoop Dogg’s appeared on two tracks from Ice Cube’s 2006 album Laugh Now, Cry Later, including the single “Go to Church“, and on several tracks on Tha Dogg Pound‘s Cali Iz Active the same year. Also, his latest song, “Real Talk”, was leaked over the Internet in the summer of 2006 and a video was later released on the Internet. “Real Talk” was a dedication to former Crips leader Stanley “Tookie” Williams and a diss to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor of California. Two other singles on which Snoop made a guest performance were “Keep Bouncing” by Too $hort (also with will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas) and “Gangsta Walk” by Coolio.

Snoop’s 2006 album, Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, debuted on the Billboard 200 at No.5 and has sold over 850,000 copies. The album and the second single “That’s That Shit” featuring R. Kelly were well received by critics. In the album, he collaborated in a video with E-40 and other West Coast rappers for his single “Candy (Drippin’ Like Water)“.

2007–08: Ego Trippin’

In July 2007, Snoop Dogg also made history by becoming the first artist to release a track as a ringtone prior to its release as a single, which was “It’s the D.O.G.” On July 7, 2007, Snoop Dogg performed at the Live Earth concert, Hamburg.[19] Snoop Dogg has ventured into singing for Bollywood with his first ever rap for an Indian movie Singh Is Kinng; the title of the song is also “Singh is Kinng”. He also appears in the movie as himself.[20] The album featuring the song was released on June 8, 2008 on Junglee Music Records.[21] He released his ninth studio album, Ego Trippin’ (selling 400,000 copies in the U.S.), along with the first single, “Sexual Eruption“. The single peaked at No.7 on the Billboard 100, featuring Snoop using autotune. The album featured production from QDT (Quik-Dogg-Teddy).

2009–10: Malice n Wonderland and More Malice

Snoop was appointed an executive position at Priority Records. His tenth studio album, Malice n Wonderland, was released on December 8, 2009. The first single from the album, “Gangsta Luv“, featuring The-Dream, peaked at No.35 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album debuted at No.23 on the Billboard 200, selling 61,000 copies its first week, making it his lowest charting album. His third single, “I Wanna Rock“, peaked at No.41 on the Billboard Hot 100. Snoop features on the latest Gorillaz album, Plastic Beach. The fourth single from Malice n Wonderland, titled “Pronto”, featuring Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, was released on iTunes on December 1, 2009. Snoop re-released the album under the name More Malice.

2011-2012: Doggumentary

Snoop collaborated with Katy Perry on the first single from her second mainstream album, “California Gurls“, which was released on May 11, 2010. Snoop can also be heard on the track “Flashing” by Dr. Dre and on Curren$y‘s song “Seat Change“. He was also featured on a new single from Australian singer Jessica Mauboy, titled “Get ‘em Girls” (released September 2010). Snoop’s latest effort was backing American recording artist, Emii, on her second single entitled “Mr. Romeo” (released October 26, 2010 as a follow-up to “Magic”). Snoop also collaborated with American comedy troupe The Lonely Island in their song “Turtleneck & Chain”, in their 2011 album Turtleneck & Chain.

Snoop Dogg’s newest studio album is Doggumentary, The album was renamed to Doggumentary and was released during March 2011.[22] Snoop was featured on Gorillaz‘ latest album Plastic Beach on a track called: “Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach” with the The Hypnotic Brass, he also completed another track with them entitled “Sumthing Like this Night” which does not appear on Plastic Beach, yet does appear on Doggumentary. He also appears on the latest Tech N9ne album All 6′s And 7′s (released June 7, 2011) on a track called “Pornographic” which also features E-40 and Krizz Kaliko.

2012:-present: Reincarnated

On February 4 2012, Snoop Dogg announced a new documentary alongside a new studio album entitled ‘Reincarnated’. [23]

Other ventures

Media appearances

Snoop Dogg has appeared on television and in films throughout his career. In 1998, Snoop had a cameo appearance in the film Half Baked as the “Scavenger Smoker”.[24] In 2000, Snoop (as “Michael J. Corleone”) directed Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, a pornographic film produced by Hustler. The film, combining hip hop with x-rated material, was a huge success and won “Top Selling Release of the Year” at the 2002 AVN Awards.[25] Snoop then directed Snoop Dogg’s Hustlaz: Diary of a Pimp in 2002 (using the nickname “Snoop Scorsese”).[26]

In 2001, Snoop lent his voice to the animated show King of the Hill, in which he played a white pimp named Alabaster Jones.[27] He played a lead character in the movie The Wash with Dr. Dre. He portrayed a drug dealer in a wheelchair in the film Training Day, featuring Denzel Washington.[28] In 2001, Snoop starred in the horror film Bones, with him playing a murdered mobster who returns from the dead to exact his revenge against those who murdered him.

In 2002, Snoop hosted, starred in, and produced his own MTV sketch comedy show entitled Doggy Fizzle Televizzle. Snoop was filmed for a brief cameo appearance in the television movie It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002), but his performance was omitted from the final cut of the movie.[29] On November 8, 2004, Snoop Dogg was starred in the episode “Two of a Kind” of NBC‘s series Las Vegas.[30]

In 2004, Snoop appeared on the Showtime series The L Word as the character “Slim Daddy”. He also notably played the drug dealer-turned-informant character of Huggy Bear, in the 2004 remake film of the 1970s TV-series of the same name, Starsky & Hutch. He appeared as himself in the episode “MILF Money” of Weeds,[31] and made an appearance on the TV shows Entourage[32] and Monk,[33] for which he recorded a version of the theme, in July 2007.

Snoop Dogg at WrestleMania XXIV at Orlando‘s Citrus Bowl with Ashley Massaro and tag team partner Maria, March 30, 2008

Snoop founded his own production company, Snoopadelic Films, in 2005. Their debut film was Boss’n Up, a film inspired by Snoop Dogg’s album R&G, starring Lil Jon and Trina.[34]

In December 2007, his reality show Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood premiered on the E! channel.[35] Snoop Dogg joined the NBA’s Entertainment League.[36] On March 30, 2008 he appeared at WrestleMania XXIV as a Master of Ceremonies for a tag team match between Maria and Ashley Massaro as they took on Beth Phoenix and Melina.[37]

On May 8 and May 9, 2008, Snoop appeared as himself on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live, with a new opening theme recorded by the artist presented for both episodes. In the episodes, Snoop performs at the bachelorette party for character Adriana Cramer, and credits Bo Buchanan with helping him get his start in show business.[38][39] On February 24, 2010, Snoop Dogg reprised his role, performing his song “I Wanna Rock” from his new album, Malice n Wonderland, as well as once again performing a special remixed, vocal rendition of the show’s opening theme.[40] In recent interviews he has explained that, as a child, One Life to Live was one of his favorite shows, and he still regards the show fondly. He has also stated that he has always been a particular fan of Robert S. Woods, who has portrayed the character of Bo Buchanan since 1979.

In 2009, Snoop Dogg appeared in Sacha Baron Cohen‘s film Brüno as himself performing a rap addition to the song “Dove Of Peace”.[41] On October 19, 2009, Snoop Dogg was the guest host of WWE Raw.

In July 2009, Snoop revealed his desire to appear in the popular soap opera Coronation Street while touring in the UK. However ITV bosses were said to be less keen.[42]

In 2010, Snoop Dogg appeared in an episode of I Get That a Lot on CBS as a parking-lot attendant.

In June 2010, Snoop created a music video for True Blood accompanying a song he wrote for one of the main characters of the show entitled “Oh Sookie.”[43][44]

In March 2011, Snoop participated in Comedy Central‘s Roast of Donald Trump with other comedians and media personalities.[45]

January 2, 2012, appeared on the The Price Is Right and raised $72,000 for his charity, Snoop Youth Football League.

Endorsements

Snoop Dogg performing live in Hawaii, July 23, 2005.

Style and rap skills

Kool Moe Dee ranks Snoop at No.33 in his book There’s a God on the Mic, and says he has “an ultra-smooth, laidback delivery”,[64] and “flavor-filled melodic rhyming”.[65] Peter Shapiro describes Snoop’s delivery as a “molasses drawl[66] and Allmusic notes his “drawled, laconic rhyming” style.[7] Kool Moe Dee refers to Snoop’s use of vocabulary, saying he “keeps it real simple…he simplifies it and he’s effective in his simplicity”.[67]

Snoop is known to freestyle some of his lyrics on the spot for some songs – in the book How to Rap, Lady of Rage says, “Snoop Dogg, when I worked with him earlier in his career, that’s how created his stuff… he would freestyle, he wasn’t a writer then, he was a freestyler,”[68] and The D.O.C. states, “Snoop’s [rap] was a one take willy, but his shit was all freestyle. He hadn’t written nothing down. He just came in and started busting. The song was “Tha Shiznit”—that was all freestyle. He started busting and when we got to the break, Dre cut the machine off, did the chorus and told Snoop to come back in. He did that throughout the record. That’s when Snoop was in the zone then.”

Peter Shapiro says that Snoop debuted on “Deep Cover” with a “shockingly original flow – which sounded like a Slick Rick born in South Carolina instead of South London[69] and adds that he “showed where his style came from by covering Slick Rick‘s ‘La Di Da Di’”.[66] Referring to Snoop’s flow, Kool Moe Dee calls him “one of the smoothest, funkiest flow-ers in the game”.[65] How to Rap also notes that Snoop is known to use syncopation in his flow to give it a laidback quality,[70] as well as ‘linking with rhythm’ in his compound rhymes,[71] using alliteration,[72] and employing a “sparse” flow with good use of pauses.[73]

Snoop re-popularized the use of -izzle speak, particularly in the pop and hip-hop music industry.[74]

Personal life

Snoop Dogg in August 2009

Broadus’s father left the family when Broadus was three months old. Snoop married his high school sweetheart, Shante Taylor, on June 12, 1997. On May 21, 2004, he filed for divorce from Shante, citing irreconcilable differences.[75] The couple renewed their wedding vows on January 12, 2008.[76] R&B singers Brandy and Ray J are his first cousins.[77] In 2002, the rapper announced he was giving up marijuana, one of his image trademarks, for good.[78] According to his IMDb biography, Snoop is a fan of the thrash metal band Metallica[79] and performed their song “Sad But True” on the band’s 2003 MTV Icon Special which is available on YouTube.[80] A DNA test read by George Lopez on Lopez Tonight revealed Snoop Dogg to be of 0% East Asian, 23% Native American, 6% European, and 71% African descent.[81]

Snoop is an avid fan of hometown teams Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Lakers. Snoop is also an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan.[82] and is often seen wearing Pittsburgh Steelers apparel. Snoop has mentioned that his love for the Steelers began in the 1970s during the team’s dynasty years while watching the team with his grandfather growing up in L.A.[83] In the 2005 offseason, Snoop mentioned that he wanted to be an NFL head coach, “probably for the Steelers”.[84] The following year, he was in attendance for the Steelers’ victory in Super Bowl XL and later in Super Bowl XLIII. He is also a fan of the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys, often wearing a No.5 jersey, and has been seen at Raiders training camps.[85] He did his own free style rap based on his similarities with Tony Romo.[86][87] He is also a fan of the USC Trojans Football team. He has also shown affection for the New England Patriots, as he has been seen performing at the Gillette Stadium and picked the Patriots as the favorite to win Super Bowl XXXIX against the Eagles.[88][89] On August 6, 2009, Snoop visited the training camp of the Baltimore Ravens at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland.[90] He was invited by Ray Lewis the day after his concert at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.

A certified football coach, Snoop Dogg has been head coach for his son’s youth football teams and the John A. Rowland High School team.[91][92]

Snoop Dogg is an avid hockey fan; he sported a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey (with the name and number ‘GIN AND JUICE’ 94 on the back) and a jersey of the now-defunct Springfield (MA) Indians of the American Hockey League in his 1994 music video, “Gin And Juice”. On the E! show, Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood, Snoop Dogg and his family received lessons on playing hockey from the Anaheim Ducks, then returning to the Honda Center to cheer on the Ducks against the Vancouver Canucks in the episode Snow in da Hood.[93]

In 2009, it was revealed that Snoop Dogg was a member of the Nation of Islam. On March 1, 2009, he made an appearance at the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviours’ Day holiday, where he praised minister Louis Farrakhan. Snoop claimed to be a member of the Nation of Islam, but he declined to give the date on which he joined. He also donated $1,000 to the organization.[94][95][96]

Snoop claimed in a 2006 interview with Rolling Stone magazine that unlike other hip hop artists who’ve superficially adopted the pimp persona, he was an actual professional pimp in 2003 and 2004, saying “That shit was my natural calling and once I got involved with it, it became fun. It was like shootin’ layups for me. I was makin’ ‘em every time.” He goes on to say that upon the advice of some of the other pimps he knew, he eventually gave up pimping to spend more time with his family.[97]

Legal issues

Mug shot of Snoop Dogg taken in September 1993.

Shortly after graduating from high school, he was arrested for possession of cocaine.[7]

While recording Doggystyle in August 1993, Snoop Dogg was arrested in connection with the death of Phillip Woldermarian, a member of a rival gang who was shot and killed by Snoop’s bodyguard, McKinley Lee; Snoop was charged with murder along with Lee as he was driving the vehicle from which the shooting had commenced. Snoop and Lee were defended by Johnnie Cochran.[98] Both Snoop and Lee were acquitted; Lee was acquitted on grounds of self-defense, but Snoop Dogg remained entangled in the legal battles around the case for three years.[99]

In July 1993, Snoop was stopped for a traffic violation and a firearm was found by police while conducting a search of his car. In February 1997, he pleaded guilty to possession of a handgun and was ordered to record three public service announcements, pay a $1,000 fine, and serve three years’ probation.[100][101]

In May 1998, Snoop Dogg was fined and arrested for a misdemeanor of marijuana possession.[102]

In October 2001, Snoop Dogg was arrested again for a misdemeanor of marijuana possession.[102] In 2002 he pleaded no contest and was fined a total of $398.30 and received a suspended 30-day jail sentence.[103]

Snoop Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound, and The Game were sued for assaulting a fan on stage at a May 2005 concert at the White River Amphitheatre in Auburn, Washington. The accuser, Richard Monroe, Jr., claimed he was beaten by the artists’ entourage while mounting the stage.[104] He alleged that he reacted to an “open invite” to come on stage. Before he could, Snoop’s bodyguards grabbed him and he was beaten unconscious by crewmembers, including the rapper and producer Soopafly; Snoop and The Game were included in the suit for not intervening. The lawsuit focuses on a pecuniary claim of $22 million in punitive and compensatory damages, battery, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.[105] The concerned parties appeared in court in April 2009.

On April 26, 2006, Snoop Dogg and members of his entourage were arrested after being turned away from British Airways‘ first class lounge at Heathrow Airport. Snoop and his party were not allowed to enter the lounge because some of the entourage were flying first class, other members in economy class. After the group was escorted outside, they vandalized a duty-free shop by throwing whiskey bottles. Seven police officers were injured in the midst of the disturbance. After a night in prison, Snoop and the other men were released on bail on April 27, but he was unable to perform at the Premier Foods People’s Concert in Johannesburg on the same day. As part of his bail conditions, he had to return to the police station in May. The group has been banned by British Airways for “the foreseeable future.”[106][107] When Snoop Dogg appeared at a London police station on May 11, he was cautioned for affray under Section 4 of the Public Order Act for use of threatening words or behavior.[108] On May 15, the Home Office decided that Snoop Dogg should be denied entry to the United Kingdom for the foreseeable future due to the incident at Heathrow as well as his previous convictions in the United States for drugs and firearms offenses.[109][110] Snoop Dogg’s visa card was rejected by local authorities on March 24, 2007 because of the Heathrow incident.[111] A concert at London’s Wembley Arena on March 27 went ahead with Diddy (with whom he toured Europe) and the rest of the show. However the decision affected four more British performances in Cardiff, Manchester and Glasgow[112] and Budapest (due to rescheduling).[113] As of March 2010, Snoop Dogg has been allowed back into the UK.[1]

On September 27, 2006, Snoop Dogg was detained at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California by airport security, after airport screeners found a collapsible police baton in Snoop’s carry-on bag. The baton was confiscated but Snoop was allowed to board the flight. He has been charged with various weapons violations stemming from this incident. Donald Etra, Snoop’s lawyer, told deputies the baton was a prop for a musical sketch. Snoop was sentenced to three years’ probation and 160 hours of community service starting on September 20, 2007.[114]

Snoop Dogg was arrested again on October 26, 2006 at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California while parked in a passenger loading zone. Approached by airport security for a traffic infraction, he was found in possession of marijuana and a firearm, according to a police statement. He was transported to Burbank Police Department Jail, booked, and released on $35,000 bond. He faced firearm and drug possession charges on December 12 at Burbank Superior Court.[115]

He was again arrested on November 29, 2006, after performing on The Tonight Show, for possession of marijuana and a firearm.[116]

Snoop was arrested again on March 12, 2007 in Stockholm, Sweden after performing in a concert with P. Diddy in Stockholm’s Globe Arena after he and a female companion reportedly “reeked” of marijuana. They were released four hours later after providing a urine sample. The results on urine determined whether charges would be pressed. However the rapper denied all charges.[117][118]

On April 26, 2007, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship banned him from entering the country on character grounds, citing his prior criminal convictions. He had been scheduled to appear at the MTV Australia Video Music Awards on April 29, 2007.[119] Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship lifted the ban in September 2008 and had granted him visa to tour Australia. DIAC said “In making this decision, the department weighed his criminal convictions against his previous behaviour while in Australia, recent conduct – including charity work – and any likely risk to the Australian community … We took into account all relevant factors and, on balance, the department decided to grant the visa.”[120]

Snoop Dogg’s many legal issues forced San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom to withdraw his plan to issue a proclamation to the rapper.[121]

Snoop Dogg was banned from Parkpop, a festival in the Netherlands on June 27, 2010, where he was scheduled to perform. The mayor and law enforcement officials asked organizers of the festival to find an artist more “open and friendly” to play the event.[122]

Snoop Dogg was arrested again on January 7, 2012 for possession of Marijuana charge after Border control agents discovered a small amount of marijuana on his tour bus. Snoop Dogg was stopped at the same Sierra Blanca, Texas, checkpoint on Saturday where country singer Willie Nelson was arrested for marijuana possession in 2010. The agents conducted a routine inspection of his tour bus at the U.S.- Mexico border checkpoint, east of El Paso, Texas and thought they smelled marijuana. Snoop Dogg was issued a citation for possession of drug paraphernalia, released and given a court date of Friday, January 20, 2012.

Posted February 18, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Rappers / Hip Hop, Record Producers, Singer

Dr. Dre, Rapper, Record Producer, Actor   Leave a comment


Andre Romelle Young (born February 18, 1965), better known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is an American rapper, record producer, record executive, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. He is the founder and current CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and a former co-owner and artist of Death Row Records. He has produced albums for and overseen the careers of many rappers, including Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent. As a producer he is credited as a key figure in the popularization of West Coast G-funk, a style of rap music characterized as synthesizer-based with slow, heavy beats.

Dre began his career in music as a member of the World Class Wreckin’ Cru and he later found fame with the influential gangsta rap group N.W.A with Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella which popularized the use of explicit lyrics in rap to detail the violence of street life. His 1992 solo debut, The Chronic, released under Death Row Records, led him to become one of the best-selling American performing artists of 1993 and to win a Grammy Award for the single “Let Me Ride“. In 1996, he left Death Row to establish his own label, Aftermath Entertainment. Under that label, he produced a compilation album titled Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath in 1996, and released a solo album titled 2001 in 1999, for which he won the Grammy producer’s award the next year.

During the 2000s, he focused his career on production for other artists, while occasionally contributing vocals to other artists’ songs. Dr. Dre signed Eminem and 50 Cent to his record label in 1998 and 2003 respectively while contributing production on their albums. Rolling Stone named Dr. Dre among the highest-paid performers of 2001 and 2004. Dr. Dre has also had acting roles in movies such as Set It Off, and the 2001 films The Wash and Training Day.

Early life

André Romelle Young was born in Compton, California on February 18, 1965. He was the first child of Theodore and Verna Young, ages 17 and 16, respectively at that time.[citation needed] André’s middle name, Romelle, is derived from his father’s amateur R&B singing group, The Romells. Married in 1964, André’s parents divorced in 1968.[citation needed] Verna later married Curtis Crayon. They had three more children together, two sons named Jerome and Tyree (both deceased)[2][3] and daughter Shameka.[4]

In 1976, Young began attending Vanguard Junior High School in Compton, but due to gang violence, he transferred to the safer suburban Roosevelt Junior High School.[5] Verna later married Warren Griffin, whom she met at her new job in Long Beach,[6] which added three stepsisters and one stepbrother to the family. That stepbrother, Warren Griffin III, would eventually become rapper Warren G.[7] Young attended Centennial High School in Compton during his freshman year in 1979, but transferred to Fremont High School due to poor grades. Young attempted to enroll in an apprenticeship program at Northrop Aviation Company, but poor grades at school made him ineligible. Thereafter, he focused on his social life and entertainment for the remainder of his high school years.[8] Young fathered a son, Curtis, born December 15, 1981, with Lisa Johnson. Curtis Young was brought up by his mother and first met his father 20 years later, when Curtis became rapper Hood Surgeon.[9]

Music career

1984–85: World Class Wreckin’ Cru

Dr. Dre (in red) during his time in World Class Wreckin’ Cru

Inspired by the Grandmaster Flash song “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel“, he often attended a club called The Eve After Dark to watch many DJs and rappers performing live. He subsequently became a DJ in the club, initially under the name “Dr. J”, based on the nickname of Julius Erving, his favorite basketball player. At the club, he met aspiring rapper Antoine Carraby, later to become member DJ Yella of N.W.A.[10] Soon afterwards he adopted the moniker Dr. Dre, a mix of previous alias Dr. J and his first name, referring to himself as the “Master of Mixology”.[11] He later joined the musical group World Class Wreckin’ Cru under the independent Kru-Cut Records in 1984. The group would become stars of the electro-hop scene that dominated early 1980s West Coast hip hop, and their first hit “Surgery” would prominently feature Dr. Dre on the turntables and sell 50,000 copies within the Compton area.[12] Dr. Dre and DJ Yella also performed mixes for local radio station KDAY, boosting ratings for its afternoon rush-hour show The Traffic Jam.[13] Dr. Dre’s earliest recordings were released in 1994 on a compilation titled Concrete Roots. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of the website Allmusic described the compiled music, released “several years before Dre developed a distinctive style”, as “surprisingly generic and unengaging” and “for dedicated fans only”.[14]

His frequent absences from school jeopardized his position as a diver on his school’s swim team. After high school, he attended Chester Adult School in Compton following his mother’s demands for him to get a job or continue his education. After brief attendance at a radio broadcasting school, he relocated to the residence of his father and residence of his grandparents before returning to his mother’s house.[15] He later dropped out of Chester to focus on performing at the Eve’s After Dark nightclub.

1986–91: N.W.A and Ruthless Records


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In 1986, Dr. Dre met rapper Ice Cube, who collaborated with Dr. Dre to record songs for Ruthless Records, a rap record label run by local rapper Eazy-E. N.W.A and fellow West Coast rapper Ice-T are widely credited as seminal artists of the gangsta rap genre, a profanity-heavy subgenre of hip hop, replete with gritty depictions of urban crime and gang lifestyle. Not feeling constricted to racially charged political issues pioneered by rap artists such as Public Enemy or Boogie Down Productions, N.W.A favored themes and uncompromising lyrics, offering stark descriptions of violent, inner-city streets. Propelled by the hit “Fuck tha Police“, the group’s first full album Straight Outta Compton became a major success, despite an almost complete absence of radio airplay or major concert tours. The Federal Bureau of Investigation sent Ruthless Records a warning letter in response to the song’s content.[16]

After Ice Cube left N.W.A in 1989 over financial disputes, Dr. Dre produced and performed for much of the group’s second album Efil4zaggin. He also produced tracks for a number of other rap acts on Ruthless Records, including Above the Law, and The D.O.C. for his 1989 album No One Can Do It Better.[17] In 1991, at a music industry party in Hollywood, he assaulted television host Dee Barnes of the Fox television program Pump it Up, feeling dissatisfied with a news report of hers regarding the feud between the remaining N.W.A members and Ice Cube. Thus, Dr. Dre was fined $2,500 and given two years’ probation and 240 hours of community service, as well as a spot on an anti-violence public service announcement on television.[18][19]

1992–95: The Chronic and Death Row Records


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After a dispute with Eazy-E, Dre left the group at the peak of its popularity in 1991 under the advice of friend, and N.W.A lyricist, The D.O.C. and his bodyguard at the time, Suge Knight. Knight, a notorious strongman and intimidator, was able to have Eazy-E release Young from his contract and, using Dr. Dre as his flagship artist, founded Death Row Records. In 1992 Young released his first single, the title track to the film Deep Cover, a collaboration with rapper Snoop Dogg, whom he met through Warren G.[16] Dr. Dre’s debut solo album was The Chronic, released under Death Row Records. Young ushered in a new style of rap, both in terms of musical style and lyrical content.[20]

On the strength of singles such as “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang“, “Let Me Ride“, and “Fuck wit Dre Day (and Everybody’s Celebratin’)” (known as “Dre Day” for radio and television play), all of which featured Snoop Dogg as guest vocalist, The Chronic became a cultural phenomenon, its G-funk sound dominating much of hip hop music for the early 1990s.[16] In 1993 the Recording Industry Association of America certified the album multi-platinum,[21] and Dr. Dre also won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance for his performance on “Let Me Ride“.[22] For that year, Billboard magazine also ranked Dr. Dre as the eighth best-selling musical artist, The Chronic as the sixth best-selling album, and “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” as the 11th best-selling single.[23]

Besides working on his own material, Dr. Dre produced Snoop Dogg’s debut album Doggystyle, which became the first debut album for an artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 album charts.[24] In 1994 Dr. Dre produced some songs on the soundtracks to the films Above the Rim and Murder Was the Case. He collaborated with fellow N.W.A member Ice Cube for the song “Natural Born Killaz” in 1995.[16] For the film Friday, Dre recorded “Keep Their Heads Ringin’“, which reached No.10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No.1 on the Hot Rap Singles (now Hot Rap Tracks) charts.[25]

In 1995, just as Death Row Records was signing rapper 2Pac and positioning him as their major star, Young left the label amidst a contract dispute and growing concerns that label boss Suge Knight was corrupt, financially dishonest and out of control. In 1996, he formed his own label, Aftermath Entertainment, under the distribution label for Death Row Records, Interscope Records.[16] Subsequently, Death Row Records suffered poor sales by 1997, especially following the death of 2Pac and the racketeering charges brought against Knight.[26]

1996–98: Move to Aftermath Entertainment

The Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath album, released on November 26, 1996, featured songs by Dr. Dre himself, as well as by newly signed Aftermath Entertainment artists, and a solo track “Been There, Done That“, intended as a symbolic farewell to gangsta rap.[27] Despite being classified platinum by the RIAA,[28] the album was not very popular among music fans.[16] In October 1996, Dre performed “Been There, Done That” on Saturday Night Live.[29] In 1997, Dr. Dre produced several tracks on The Firm‘s The Album; it was met with largely negative reviews from critics. Rumors began to abound that Aftermath was facing financial difficulties.[30] Aftermath Entertainment also faced a trademark infringement lawsuit by the underground thrash metal band Aftermath.[31] First Round Knock Out, a compilation of various tracks produced and performed by Dr. Dre was also released in 1996, with material ranging from World Class Wreckin’ Cru to N.W.A to Death Row recordings.[32]

Despite the mixed reception to his label’s album, Dr. Dre was featured on two Billboard Hot 100 No.1 singles in 1996, those being 2Pac‘s “California Love” and R&B group Blackstreet‘s “No Diggity“. They were Dr. Dre’s first No.1 singles as a lead or featured artist.

The turning point for Aftermath came in 1998, when Jimmy Iovine, the head of Aftermath’s parent label Interscope, suggested that Dr. Dre sign Eminem, a rapper from Detroit. Dre produced three songs and provided vocals for two on Eminem’s successful and controversial debut album The Slim Shady LP, released in 1999.[33] The Dr. Dre-produced lead single from that album, “My Name Is“, would help propel Eminem into stardom. The album was eventually certified 4x Platinum and helped to revive the Aftermath label. Also during this time, Dre assisted on the mix for Nine Inch Nails‘ track “Even Deeper”, from 1999 album The Fragile.

1999–2000: 2001

Play sound
from 2001

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Dr. Dre’s second solo album, 2001, released on November 16, 1999, was considered an ostentatious return to his gangsta rap roots.[34] It was initially titled The Chronic 2000 to imply being a sequel to his debut solo effort The Chronic but was re-titled 2001 after Death Row Records released an unrelated compilation album with the title Chronic 2000: Still Smokin in May 1999. Other tentative titles included The Chronic 2001 and Dr. Dre.[35] The album featured numerous collaborators, including Devin the Dude, Hittman, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, Nate Dogg and Eminem. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of the website Allmusic described the sound of the album as “adding ominous strings, soulful vocals, and reggae” to Dr. Dre’s style.[34] The album was highly successful, charting at number two on the Billboard 200 charts[36] and has since been certified six times platinum,[21] validating a recurring theme on the album: Dr. Dre was still a force to be reckoned with, despite the lack of major releases in the previous few years. The album included popular hit singles “Still D.R.E.” and “Forgot About Dre“, both of which Dr. Dre performed on NBC’s Saturday Night Live on October 23, 1999.[37] Dr. Dre won the Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical in 2000,[16] and joined the Up in Smoke Tour with fellow rappers Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and Ice Cube that year as well.[38]

During the course of 2001′s popularity, Dr. Dre was involved in several lawsuits. Lucasfilm Ltd., the film company behind the Star Wars film franchise, sued him over the use of the THX-trademarked “Deep Note“.[39] The Fatback Band also sued Dr. Dre over alleged infringement regarding its song “Backstrokin’” in his song “Let’s Get High” from the 2001 album; Dr. Dre was ordered to pay $1.5 million to the band in 2003.[40] The online music file-sharing company Napster also settled a lawsuit with him and heavy metal rock band Metallica in the summer of 2001, agreeing to block access to certain files that artists do not want to have shared on the network.[41]

2001–08: Focus on production

Following the success of 2001, Dr. Dre focused on producing songs and albums for other artists. He co-produced six tracks on Eminem’s landmark Marshall Mathers LP, including the Grammy-winning lead single, “The Real Slim Shady”. The album itself earned a Grammy and proved to be the fastest-selling rap album of all time, moving 1.76 million units in its first week alone.[42] He produced the single “Family Affair” by R&B singer Mary J. Blige for her album No More Drama in 2001.[43] He also produced “Let Me Blow Ya Mind“, a duet by rapper Eve and No Doubt lead singer Gwen Stefani[44] and signed R&B singer Truth Hurts to Aftermath in 2001.[45] Dr. Dre was the executive producer of Eminem’s 2002 release, The Eminem Show. He produced three songs on the album, one of which was released as a single, and he appeared in the award-winning video for “Without Me”.

Another copyright-related lawsuit hit Dr. Dre in the fall of 2002, when Sa Re Ga Ma, a film and music company based in Calcutta, India, sued Aftermath Entertainment over an uncredited sample of the Lata Mangeshkar song “Thoda Resham Lagta Hai” on the Aftermath-produced song “Addictive” by singer Truth Hurts. In February 2003, a judge ruled that Aftermath would have to halt sales of Truth Hurts’ album Truthfully Speaking if the company would not credit Mangeshkar.[46]

Another successful album on the Aftermath label was Get Rich or Die Tryin’, the 2003 major-label debut album by Queens, New York-based rapper 50 Cent. Dr. Dre produced or co-produced four tracks on the album, including the hit single “In da Club“, a joint production between Aftermath, Eminem’s boutique label Shady Records and Interscope.[47] Eminem’s fourth album since joining Aftermath, Encore, again saw Dre taking on the role of executive producer, and this time he was more actively involved in the music, producing or co-producing a total of eight tracks, including three singles. In November 2004, at the Vibe magazine awards show in Los Angeles, Dr. Dre was attacked by a fan named Jimmy James Johnson, who was supposedly asking for an autograph. In the resulting scuffle, then-G-Unit rapper Young Buck stabbed the man.[48] Johnson claimed that Suge Knight, president of Death Row Records, paid him $5,000 to assault Dre in order to humiliate him before he received his Lifetime Achievement Award.[49] Knight immediately went on CBS‘s The Late Late Show to deny involvement and insisted that he supported Dr. Dre and wanted Johnson charged.[50] In September 2005, Johnson was sentenced to a year in prison and ordered to stay away from Dr. Dre until 2008.[51]

Dr. Dre also produced “How We Do“, a 2005 hit single from rapper The Game from his album The Documentary.[52] For an issue of Rolling Stone magazine in April 2005, Dr. Dre was ranked 54th out of 100 artists for Rolling Stone magazine’s list “The Immortals: The Greatest Artists of All Time”. Kanye West wrote the summary for Dr. Dre, where he stated Dr. Dre’s song “Xplosive” as where he “got (his) whole sound from”.[53]

In November 2006, Dr. Dre began working with Raekwon on his album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II.[54] He also produced tracks for the rap albums Buck the World by Young Buck,[55] Curtis by 50 Cent,[56] Tha Blue Carpet Treatment by Snoop Dogg,[57] and Kingdom Come by Jay-Z.[58] Dre also appeared on Timbaland‘s track “Bounce”, from his 2007 solo album, Timbaland Presents Shock Value along side, Missy Elliott, and Justin Timberlake.[59]

Planned but unreleased albums during Dr. Dre’s tenure at Aftermath have included a full-length reunion with Snoop Dogg titled Breakup to Makeup, an album with fellow former N.W.A member Ice Cube which was to be titled Heltah Skeltah,[17] an N.W.A reunion album,[17] and a joint album with fellow producer Timbaland titled Chairmen of the Board.[60] Other upcoming albums for which he will produce include The Reformation by Bishop Lamont,[61] The Nacirema Dream by Papoose,[62] Flirt by Eve,[63] and an upcoming album by Queen Latifah.[64]

2009–present: Detox and The Planets

Detox is to be Dr. Dre’s final album.[65] In 2002, Dre told Corey Moss of MTV News that he intended Detox to be a concept album.[66] Work for the album dates back to early 2004,[67] but later in that year he decided to stop working on the album to focus on producing for other artists, but then changed his mind; the album had initially been set for a fall 2005 release.[68] After several delays, the album was finally scheduled to be released sometime in 2010 by Interscope Records, which has not set a firm release date for the album as of July 2010.[65] Producers confirmed to work on the album include DJ Khalil, Nottz, Bernard “Focus” Edwards Jr.,[69] Hi-Tek,[70] J.R. Rotem,[71] RZA,[72] Jay-Z,[73] Warren G, and Boi-1da.[74] Snoop Dogg claimed that Detox was finished, according to a June 2008 report by Rolling Stone magazine.[75]

After another delay based on producing other artists’ work, Detox was then scheduled for a 2010 release, coming after 50 Cent’s Before I Self Destruct and Eminem’s Relapse, an album for which Dr. Dre handled the bulk of production duties.[76][77] Dre appeared in the remix of the song “Set It Off” by Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall (also with Pusha T); the remix debuted on DJ Skee‘s radio show in December 2008.[78] At the beginning of 2009, Dre produced, and made a guest vocal performance on, the single “Crack a Bottle” by Eminem and the single sold a record 418,000 downloads in its first week.[79] and reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart on the week of February 12, 2009.[80] Along with this single, in 2009 Dr. Dre produced or co-produced 19 of 20 tracks on Eminem’s album Relapse. These included other hit singles “We Made You“, “Old Time’s Sake“, and “3 a.m.“. (the only track Dre didn’t produce was the Eminem produced single “Beautiful“)

In a Dr Pepper commercial that debuted on May 28, 2009, he premiered the first official snippet of Detox.[81][82] 50 Cent and Eminem asserted in an interview on BET‘s 106 & Park that Dr. Dre had around a dozen songs finished for Detox.[83] Detox is likely to be released sometime in 2012.[84] The first two singles, “Kush” and “I Need a Doctor“, were released in September 2010 and February 2011 respectively. “Kush” has become a top 40 hit in the United States and “I Need a Doctor” peaked at Number Four on the Billboard Hot 100.[85] The third single, “The Psycho” featuring 50 Cent is set to release sometime this year respectively.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers will honor Dr. Dre with its Founders Award for inspiring other musicians.[86]

In an August 2010 interview, Dr. Dre stated that an instrumental album titled The Planets is in its first stages of production; each song being named after a planet in the Solar System.[87] On September 3, Dr. Dre showed support to longtime protégé Eminem, and appeared on his and Jay-Z‘s Home & Home Tour, performing hit songs such as “Still D.R.E.,” “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang,” and “Crack a Bottle,” alongside Eminem and another protégé, 50 Cent. Sporting an “R.I.P. Proof” shirt, Dre was honored by Eminem telling Detroit’s Comerica Park to do the same. They did so, by chanting “DEEE-TOX,” to which he replied, “I’m coming!”[88]

Dr. Dre was featured on the cover of XXL in the December/January 2011 issue. After Detox he will be one of the producers of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins‘ album Still Cool.[89]

On November 14, 2011, Dre announced that he will be taking a break from music once he has finished producing for artists Slim the Mobster and Kendrick Lamar. In this break he will work on bringing his Beats By Dre to a standard as high as Apple and will also spend time with his family.[90]

Other ventures

Film career

Dr. Dre made his first on screen appearance as a weapons dealer in the 1996 bank robbery movie Set It Off.[91] In 2001, Dr. Dre also appeared in the movies The Wash and Training Day.[92] A song of his, “Bad Intentions” (featuring Knoc-Turn’Al) and produced by Mahogany, was featured on The Wash soundtrack.[93] Dr. Dre also appeared on two other songs “On the Blvd.” and “The Wash” along with his co-star Snoop Dogg. In February 2007 it was announced that Dr. Dre would produce dark comedies and horror films for New Line Cinema-owned company Crucial Films, along with longtime video director Phillip Atwell. Dr. Dre announced “This is a natural switch for me, since I’ve directed a lot of music videos, and I eventually want to get into directing.”[94] Along with fellow member Ice Cube, Dr. Dre will produce a biographical film about N.W.A tentatively titled Straight Outta Compton.[95]

Entrepreneurship

Beats By Dr. Dre logo

In July 2008, Dr. Dre released his brand of headphones, Beats by Dr. Dre. The line consists of Beats Studio, a circumaural headphone, Beats Tour, an in-ear headphone, Beats Solo & Solo HD, a supra-aural headphone, Beats Spin, Heartbeats by Lady Gaga, also an in-ear headphone, and Diddy Beats.[96] The headphones are made by Monster.[97] He is also planning to release an “Aftermath Cognac and vodka” at around the same time he releases Detox.[98] For the 2009 Fall season, HP and Dr. Dre are teaming up to release Beats By Dr. Dre with the sale of all HP laptops and headsets.[99] HP and Dr. Dre announced the deal on October 9, 2009, at a press event in Santa Monica, California. The new laptop, known as HP ENVY 15 Beats limited edition, will be available for sale October 22 and be priced around $2,299. Besides the laptop, the PC comes with Dr. Dre’s signature headphones.[100]

Musical influences and style

Dr. Dre has said that his primary instrument in the studio is the Akai MPC3000, a drum machine and sampler, and that he often uses as many as four or five to produce a single recording. He cites 1970s funk musicians such as George Clinton, Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield as his primary musical influences. Unlike most rap producers, he tries to avoid samples as much as possible, preferring to have studio musicians re-play pieces of music he wants to use, because it allows him more flexibility to change the pieces in rhythm and tempo.[101] In 2001 he told Time magazine, “I may hear something I like on an old record that may inspire me, but I’d rather use musicians to re-create the sound or elaborate on it. I can control it better.”[102] Other equipment he uses include the E-mu SP-1200 drum machine and other keyboards from such manufacturers as Korg, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Moog, and Roland.[103]

After founding Aftermath Entertainment in 1996, Dr. Dre took on producer Mel-Man as a co-producer, and his music took on a more synthesizer-based sound, using fewer vocal samples (as he had used on “Lil’ Ghetto Boy” and “Let Me Ride” on The Chronic, for example). Mel-Man has not shared co-production credits with Dr. Dre since approximately 2002, but fellow Aftermath producer Focus has credited Mel-Man as a key architect of the signature Aftermath sound.[104]

In 1999, Dr. Dre started working with Mike Elizondo, a bassist, guitarist, and keyboardist who has also produced, written and played on records for female singers such as Poe, Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette,[105] In the past few years Elizondo has since worked for many of Dr. Dre’s productions.[106][107] Dr. Dre also told Scratch magazine in a 2004 interview that he has been studying piano and music theory formally, and that a major goal is to accumulate enough musical theory to score movies. In the same interview he stated that he has collaborated with famed 1960s songwriter Burt Bacharach by sending him hip hop beats to play over, and hopes to have an in-person collaboration with him in the future.[101]

Work ethic

Dr. Dre has stated that he is a perfectionist and is known to pressure the artists with whom he records to give flawless performances.[101] In 2006 Snoop Dogg told the website Dubcnn.com that Dr. Dre had made new artist Bishop Lamont re-record a single bar of vocals 107 times.[108] Dr. Dre has also stated that Eminem is a fellow perfectionist, and attributes his success on Aftermath to his similar work ethic.[101] He gives a lot of input into the delivery of the vocals and will stop an MC during a take if it isn’t to his liking.[109] However, he does give MCs he works with room to write lyrics without too much instruction unless it is a specifically conceptual record, as noted by Bishop Lamont in the book How to Rap.[110]

A consequence of his perfectionism is that some artists that initially sign deals with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath label never release albums. In 2001, Aftermath released the soundtrack to the movie The Wash, featuring a number of Aftermath acts such as Shaunta, Daks, Joe Beast and Toi. To date, none have released full-length albums on Aftermath and have apparently ended their relationships with the label and Dr. Dre. Other noteworthy acts to leave Aftermath without releasing albums include King Tee, 2001 vocalist Hittman, Joell Ortiz, Raekwon and Rakim.[111]

Collaborators/co-producers

Over the years word of other collaborators has surfaced. During his tenure at Death Row Records, it was alleged that Dr. Dre’s stepbrother Warren G and Tha Dogg Pound member Daz made many uncredited contributions to songs on his solo album The Chronic and Snoop Doggy Dogg’s album Doggystyle (Daz received production credits on Snoop’s similar-sounding, albeit less successful album Tha Doggfather after Young left Death Row Records).[112]

It is known that Scott Storch, who has since gone on to become a successful producer in his own right, contributed to Dr. Dre’s second album 2001; Storch is credited as a songwriter on several songs and played keyboards on several tracks. In 2006 he told Rolling Stone:

“At the time, I saw Dr. Dre desperately needed something,” Storch says. “He needed a fuel injection, and Dr. Dre utilized me as the nitrous oxide. He threw me into the mix, and I sort of tapped on a new flavor with my whole piano sound and the strings and orchestration. So I’d be on the keyboards, and Mike [Elizondo] was on the bass guitar, and Dr. Dre was on the drum machine”.[113]

Current collaborator Mike Elizondo, when speaking about his work with Young, describes their recording process as a collaborative effort involving several musicians. In 2004 he claimed to Songwriter Universe magazine that he had written the foundations of the hit Eminem song “The Real Slim Shady“, stating, “I initially played a bass line on the song, and Dr. Dre, Tommy Coster Jr. and I built the track from there. Eminem then heard the track, and he wrote the rap to it.”[107] This account is essentially confirmed by Eminem in his book Angry Blonde, stating that the tune for the song was composed by a studio bassist and keyboardist while Dr. Dre was out of the studio but Young later programmed the song’s beat after returning.[114]

A group of disgruntled former associates of Dr. Dre complained that they had not received their full due for work on the label in the September 2003 issue of The Source. A producer named Neff-U claimed to have produced the songs “Say What You Say” and “My Dad’s Gone Crazy” on The Eminem Show, the songs “If I Can’t” and “Back Down” on 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’, and the beat featured on Dr. Dre’s commercial for Coors beer.[111]

Although Young studies piano and musical theory, he serves as more of a conductor than a musician himself, as Josh Tyrangiel of TIME magazine has noted:

Every Dre track begins the same way, with Dre behind a drum machine in a room full of trusted musicians. (They carry beepers. When he wants to work, they work.) He’ll program a beat, then ask the musicians to play along; when Dre hears something he likes, he isolates the player and tells him how to refine the sound. “My greatest talent,” Dre says, “is knowing exactly what I want to hear.”[102]

Although Snoop Dogg retains working relationships with Warren G and Daz, who are alleged to be uncredited contributors on the hit albums The Chronic and Doggystyle, he states that Dr. Dre is capable of making beats without the help of collaborators, and that he is responsible for the success of his numerous albums.[115] Dr. Dre’s prominent studio collaborators, including Scott Storch, Elizondo, Mark Batson and Dawaun Parker, have shared co-writing, instrumental, and more recently co-production credits on the songs where he is credited as the producer.

Ghostwriters

It is acknowledged that most of Dr. Dre’s raps are written for him by others, though he retains ultimate control over his lyrics and the themes of his songs.[116] As Aftermath producer Mahogany told Scratch: “It’s like a class room in [the booth]. He’ll have three writers in there. They’ll bring in something, he’ll recite it, then he’ll say. ‘Change this line, change this word,’ like he’s grading papers.”[117] As seen in the credits for tracks Young has appeared on, there are often multiple people who contribute to his songs (although often in hip hop many people are officially credited as a writer for a song, even the producer).

In the book How to Rap, RBX explains that writing The Chronic was a “team effort”[116] and details how he ghostwroteLet Me Ride” for Dre.[116] In regard to ghostwriting lyrics he says, “Dre doesn’t profess to be no super-duper rap dude – Dre is a super-duper producer”.[116] As a member of N.W.A, The D.O.C. wrote lyrics for him while he stuck with producing.[17] New York City rapper Jay-Z ghostwrote lyrics for the single “Still D.R.E.” from Dr. Dre’s album 2001.[35]

Personal life

Relationships and family

Dr. Dre’s eldest son is named Curtis Young. When Curtis Young was born, Greene was 16, and Dr. Dre was 17. Curtis Young is an aspiring rapper who goes by the rap moniker “Hood Surgeon”.[118] In 1988, Dr. Dre had his second son, Andre Young Jr., with Jenita Porter. Porter sued Dr. Dre in 1990 in Orange County Superior Court seeking $5,000 of child support per month.[119] From 1990 to 1996, Dr. Dre dated singer Michel’le, who frequently contributed vocals to Death Row Records albums. In 1991, the couple had a son, Marcel.[120] In 1996, Dr. Dre married Nicole Threatt, the ex-wife of NBA player Sedale Threatt.[121] They have two children together: a son named Truth (born 1997) and a daughter named Truly (born 2001).[122]

On August 23, 2008, Young’s second son, Andre Young Jr., died at the age of 20 at his mother’s Woodland Hills home.[119] The coroner determined that he died from an overdose of heroin and morphine.[123]

Income

In 2001, Dr. Dre earned a total of about US$52 million from selling part of his share of Aftermath Entertainment to Interscope Records and his production of such hit songs that year as “Family Affair” by Mary J. Blige. Rolling Stone magazine thus named him the second highest-paid artist of the year.[43] Dr. Dre was ranked 44th in 2004 from earnings of $11.4 million, primarily from production royalties from such projects as albums from G-Unit and D12 and the single “Rich Girl” by singer Gwen Stefani and rapper Eve.[124

Q-TIP, A Tribe Called Quest, Rapper, Hip-Hop   Leave a comment


Kamaal Ibn John Fareed (born April 10, 1970), better known by his stage name Q-Tip, is an American entertainer from St. Albans, Queens, New York, part of the critically acclaimed group A Tribe Called Quest. John Bush of Allmusic called him “the best rapper/producer in hip-hop history,”[1] while editors of About.com placed him on their list of the Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers,[2] as well as placing him on their list of the Top 50 MCs of Our Time (1987–2007), making him the only rapper/producer on the list.[3]

 Personal life

Born Jonathan Davis on April 10, 1970 in Harlem, he converted to Islam in the mid-1990s, and changed his name to Kamaal Ibn John Fareed.[4] He moved to St. Albans, Queens as a child. As referenced in the song “Check the Rhime”, he mostly resided at Linden Boulevard. His father was from Montserrat, a British territory in the eastern Caribbean.[5] His mother is an African-American from Alabama. His sister, Gwen, is eight years older than he is. He attended Murry Bergtraum High School in Manhattan, New York. According to Fareed, he was given his stage name by Afrika Baby Bam of Jungle Brothers, which he used as a replacement for his prior name, MC Love Child.[6] He has also said that the Q in Q-Tip stands for Queens and he is often referred to as Tip, which later caused problems when a Southern rapper, now known as T.I., signed to Arista Records and attempted to use the stage name Tip, which was later shortened to T.I. to avoid confusion with his then-labelmate Q-Tip.[7] Throughout his career, he also called himself “The Abstract”.[8] He said that one of the main people in his life that inspired him was his childhood friend, Mohammed Sead.[8]

Q-Tip lives in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.[9] He is the cousin to Consequence, who featured heavily on Beats, Rhymes, and Life by Q-Tip’s group A Tribe Called Quest.

 Production

Q-Tip produced the first three A Tribe Called Quest albums almost entirely by himself, with the exception of contributions from Skeff Anselm (Eight Million Stories, Everything Is Fair) and Large Professor (Keep It Rolling).[6] Q-Tip also did production work as part of the production company The Ummah (for the fourth and fifth Tribe albums, many remixes, and assorted other projects), alongside fellow Tribe member Ali Shaheed Muhammad and the late Slum Village member Jay Dee. Outside of his work with Tribe, Q-Tip also produced for such artists as Nas (“One Love”, from Illmatic, 1994), Mobb Deep (“Give up the Goods (Just Step)“, “Temperature’s Rising“, and “Drink Away the Pain“, from The Infamous, 1995) and R&B singers Mariah Carey (“Honey“, from Butterfly, 1997) and Whitney Houston (“Fine“, from Whitney: The Greatest Hits). He co-wrote and featured in Janet Jackson‘s song “Got ’til It’s Gone” from the Velvet Rope album in 1997. He co-produced jazz guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel’s 2003 release Heartcore. He is/has been involved with producing for Esperanza Spalding, Mary J. Blige, RZA, Wale, Asher Roth, Chiddy Bang, Melanie Fiona, Mark Ronson, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Phife Dawg, D’Angelo, Questlove, and Kanye West (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy). Q-Tip is also involved in the production of the Kanye West/Jay-Z album Watch the Throne.

 Solo career

A Tribe Called Quest disbanded in 1998, after which Q-Tip pursued a solo career. His first solo singles, “Vivrant Thing” and “Breathe & Stop“, were far more pop-oriented than anything he had done in A Tribe Called Quest, as was his solo debut LP for Arista Records, Amplified[citation needed]. His 2002 follow-up, Kamaal/The Abstract, although critically acclaimed and issued a catalog number, wasn’t released at that time because the label believed that it did not have commercial appeal. Q-Tip also featured on R.E.M.‘s album Around The Sun during this period, with a rap on “The Outsiders”. Kamaal/The Abstract was finally released on September 15, 2009, on Battery Records after being shelved for seven years.

A Tribe Called Quest reunited in 2006 and played a limited number of dates. The group was composed of its original lineup, including Q-Tip and occasional member Jarobi White. Early the next year, Q-Tip signed a new solo deal with Motown/Universal Records.

As of late, Q-Tip has been very active, once again happily reunited with the full line-up of A Tribe Called Quest on the 2K7 NBA Bounce Tour, Rock the Bells Tour ’08, and regaining control of his previously label-owned MySpace page. He has announced that he is negotiating for the ownership of the masters of earlier material from his previous labels and plans to release them independently. His latest album The Renaissance was released on November 4, 2008, through Universal Motown and was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 2010 Grammys.[10] Q-Tip is among a group of producers (also including RZA and Pete Rock) who were brought in by Kanye West to work on his fifth album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.[11] He also appeared on Mark Ronson‘s album, Record Collection, on the song entitled Bang Bang Bang with MNDR, for which a video was released.

Q-Tip provided the rap element of the highly successful 1990 track “Groove Is in the Heart” performed by Deee-Lite and rapped on the album version of the 1994 Beastie Boys track “Get It Together.”

He also appeared on DJ/Producer Statik Selektah‘s first album, Spell My Name Right, on “Stop, Look, & Listen” with Styles P & Termanology.

Q-Tip was the headliner at the 2011 Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival with a set called, ‘Q-Tip and Friends’. Accompanying him on stage were Monie Love, Black Thought, Busta Rhymes, and Kanye West.

[edit] Awards/Nominations

  • Grammy Awards
    • 2010, Best Rap Album: (The Renaissance), Nominee
    • 2006, Best Dance Recording: “Galvanize,” Winner (shared with The Chemical Brothers)
    • 2000, Best Rap Solo Performance: “Vivrant Thing”, Nominee
    • 1999, Best R&B Song: “Honey”, Nominee

 As a DJ

Fareed regularly acts as a disc jockey, most notably at Santos Party House where he hosted a weekly residency called OPEN.[12] At Paper Magazine‘s 2008 Nightlife Awards, OPEN was named “Best DJ Night”.[13] He currently hosts a Friday Night Party at NYC’s Ace Hotel as well as Yotel.

Posted February 18, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Rappers / Hip Hop

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