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[FLASHBACK FRIDAYS] Hip-Hop Variety via @TenthLetterMed

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As diverse as Hip-Hop is and always should be, one cannot ignore the overall influence that is has on it’s artists. The effect of this is the sub genre labeling of a number of MC’s in the game. Whether your favorite artist was labeled either a conscious or gangsta rapper, the lineage of this movement will be forever documented by their manuscripts.

No matter the label, we here at TenthLetterMedia and Straight Official Magazine embrace the lifestyle and culture of Hip-Hop. Beginning today, we will be taking our crate-digging to Fridays as #FlashbackFridays will now be our regular scheduled day of recognition of some of the game’s notable artists. As always, we thank you for rocking with us and check us out on our new day for your fix of Hip-Hop culture!! #GetSOM #DueSeason

October 19th 1999: Pharoahe Monch Releases Internal Affairs

If there was one constant that resonated with the defunct Rawkus Records was the fact that it was home to some of Hip-Hop’s most lyrical MC’s. In the fall of ‘99, one half of the duo Organized Konfusion would make his debut under Rawkus/Priority Records. Monch would come into his own style under the production of The Alchemist, Diamond D and DJ Scratch. His debut was well received by most critics and would take respectable spots on Billboard Top 200 (#41) and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts (#6). The memorable single “Simon Says” would also become a Hot 100 hit and fully display Monch’s lyrical technique. The project would also boast great features from artists including Busta Rhymes, Common, Talib Kweli and many more.

October 19th 1999: Handsome Boy Modeling School Releases So…How’s Your Girl?

Also making their debut in the fall of 99, Prince Paul and Dan the Automator would collab to devise this unique project under Tommy Boy/Warner Bros. Records. It was in this meeting of the minds that “trip hop” would also be introduced as elements such as Hip-Hop and electronica would be blended beyond recognition. The duo would also produce this project and it would feature collabs with legends in the movement such as Grand Puba, Sadat X and Del the Funkee Homosapien. While the album would receive mixed reviews from critics, it served as a ideal of what could be when producers wanted to venture from behind the boards. HBMS would not release another project for 5 years after their debut.

October 19th 1993: Black Moon Releases Enta da Stage

The trio of Buckshot, 5th and DJ Evil Dee would connect like Voltron to become Black Moon and debut under Nervous Records in the fall of ‘93. The production duties would be handled by Dee and Walt, which would also give us a reunion of Da Beatminerz for over 50 minutes of pure, East Coast Hip-Hop. While the debut would be lead by 4 singles including “How Many MC’s” and “Buck Em Down” and would chart well on Billboard, the project would not sell due to being overlooked by larger projects by Wu-Tang Clan, Nas and countless others. In spite of not being successful in sales, one cannot deny the importance of a project like this that aided in Hip-Hop’s resurgence during the 1990’s.

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[FLASHBACK FRIDAY] The Break Outs via @TenthLetterMed

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Just in case you’ve been under a rock the past few months, Hip-Hop is indeed alive and well! The most influential genre of music continues to grow after 4 decades and was recently celebrated at 2017 BET Hip-Hop Awards. Even with the divisive mindstate being forced upon us, this movement will stand the test of time as it always has.

One day away from the weekend and you know how we and Straight Official Magazine rock when it comes to the lifestyle and culture of Hip-Hop. This time around we’re coming at you with #FlashbackFridays where we highlight three album releases that took place around this time. This week we shine the light on artists breaking onto the scene. Be sure to check with us next week at our regularly scheduled day of Thursday, and thank you as always for rocking with us! #GetSOM #DueSeason

October 9th 2001: T.I. Releases I’m Serious

In most circles he is revered as the King of the South. In the fall of 2001, T.I. would introduce the world to trap music with his debut under Arista Records. Clifford Harris would also executive produce his project alongside some of the game’s heavy hitters in production like The Neptunes and Lil Jon to name a few! While the album was received well by most, a lot of folks just wasn’t catchin the vibe as some fans cried foul accusations of rip-off tracks. Coupled with dismal record sales, he was released from Arista and would go on to reboot with his own imprint (Grand Hustle Records) two years later under Atlantic Records. Three #1 albums in a row just goes to show just how serious Tip was about becoming successful despite a rocky start to his career.

October 12th 1999: Mos Def Releases Black on Both Sides

It’s unfortunate that Rawkus Records subsided because it was truly home to some of the gems of Hip-Hop. One in particular is also one half of the supergroup known as Black Star. Mos Def would introduce himself to the masses under while aligning with producers ranging from Ayatollah and 88-Keys to DJ Premier and Diamond D to devise this great album. Singles like “Ms. Fat Booty” and “Umi Says” would propel the album to the top spot on Billboard Top Rap Album chart and #3 on Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop charts respectively. Black Dante would go on to enjoy success in both Hip-Hop and Hollywood while remaining the same way he titled his debut.

October 10th 1995: AZ Releases Do or Die


The era of Mafioso music was alive and well in ‘95 and AZ was ready to rock his derby in the game. Debuting under the label known as EMI, he would deliver his brand of East Coast spit over the production of Buckwild, Pete Rock, L.E.S., Amar Pep and Ski to name a lot! The project would be considered a success with a #15 spot on Billboard Top 200 and a #1 lock on the U.S. R&B/Hip-Hop charts as well. While the album boasted a number of memorable singles, “Sugar Hill” would be the one to bring gold literally, and is one of my personal favorites. This album is one that true heads would not only appreciate but have to own.

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[THROWBACK THURSDAY] Hip-Hop Milestones via @TenthLetterMed

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The genre of Hip-Hop is not only filled with rhythm and rhymes but also several milestones. Birthdays for example are abundant during this time of year. Shouts out to MC Ren, 2Pac, Kendrick Lamar, Krayzie Bone, Freddie Gibbs and Ice Cube as they celebrate their respective soul days this month. Cube is also celebrating another milestone as he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this week! Now that is DOPE!!

TenthLetterMedia and Straight Official Magazine love to highlight these and many other achievements in this movement. Fresh over hump day, we are back on our #ThrowbackThursday hustle as this week we take a look at a few albums that were released during this time. Be sure to check in with us each and every Thursday as we dig in the crates to give you the lifestyle and culture of Hip-Hop….LEGGO!!!

Three 6 Mafia Releases When The Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1

In June of 2003, the thugs that tore the club up would bless us with their fourth studio album under Loud Records. Known by many as the innovators of Crunk, Triple 6 would further the advancement of Southern Hip-Hop. Produced by DJ Paul and Juicy J, the album boasted 4 hit singles that would propel the album up the Billboard charts (#6 on Billboard 200 & #2 on Top Hip-Hop/R&B). “Sippin on Some Syrup” and “Who Run It” were classics and geared the project for platinum certification in December of 2000. The album also had great features with UGK, Project Pat, Young Buck and No Limit Soldiers Fiend and Mr. Serv-On.

Slum Village Releases Fantastic Vol. 2

The collective unit of Illa J, Elzhi, Baatin and J Dilla would form Slum Village and on June 13, 2000, they would double up on something fantastic with their sophomore effort. With production from Jay Dee, D’Angelo and Pete Rock this album would thrive amidst the heavy bootlegging of music that took place during this time. Despite not having great accolades in sales, the impact this album had on the underground circuit was monumental as the excellence of the late J Dilla was on full display. Some would even go so far to say they were the torchbearers Once A Tribe Called Quest left the scene, and we couldn’t agree more!

Quasimoto Releases The Unseen

With June 13th 2000 being a recurring date this week, this day and time would also feature the debut of Madlib. Under his alter ego of Quasimoto, the artist and producer would provide us with a unique blend of jazz, soul and electronic funk that has made him a mainstay in the genre for years. While it was documented that he was under heavy influence of mushrooms during production of the album, the result was a masterpiece featuring co-production from Kut Master Kurt and Peanut Butter Wolf. Tracks like “Basic Instinct” and “Come On Feet” are memorable and should be in the collection of any true Hip-Hop head.

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[THROWBACK THURSDAY] The Time is Now via @TenthLetterMed

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Hip-Hop has been known to be most productive during the summer months. At temperatures begin to rise, the movement that spans over 4 decades goes full throttle and we the fans reap the blessings from our favorite artists.

Like we always do at this time, it’s #ThrowbackThursday here at Straight Official and this week we take a look at three artists that made their debuts during this hot period of time. Shouts out to Kanye West and Aesop Rock as they celebrate birthdays this month. Be sure to check with us each and every Thursday as we go back in the day to relive some of Hip-Hop’s glory days. LEGGO!!!

EMPD Releases Strictly Business

In June of 1988, the duo of Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith released their debut album under Fresh/Sleeping Bag Records. The critical acclaim that the project received was impressive despite the fact that no singles from the album would reach the Billboard Hot 100 list, nor did the album have guest features or guest production. What the album did accomplish included a #1 spot on Top Hip-Hop/R&B charts as well as gold certification in only 4 months of its release. The album would be rereleased in 1994 under Priority Records and would serve as a milestone in the Golden Era of Hip-Hop. The single “You Gots to Chill” is still dope to this day!!

Warren G Releases Regulate…G Funk Era

The West Coast took Hip-Hop during the 90’s and ran all the way to the bank with it. In June of 1994, Warren G would break on to the scene with his debut album. Released under Def Jam/Violator Records, the project was solely produced by Warren and received praise and acclaim from even the toughest critics. Singles like “Regulate” and “This DJ” would propel the album up Billboard charts to #1 (Billboard 200) & #2 (Top Hip-Hop/R&B) and would be featured in classic films like Above The Rim. The album would be re-released in 2014 as well as being certified 3x’s platinum by the RIAA. Now that’s how you make a debut!

The Lost Boyz Release Legal Drug Money

There’s the old saying that there is strength in numbers and in June of 1996, four talented artists from South Jamaica, Queens would live by that motto. Mr. Cheeks, Freaky Tah, DJ Spigg Nice and Pretty Lou would make up the iconic quartet and their first studio album would do everything but disappoint. The album featured production from Pete Rock, Easy Mo Bee and Mr. Cheeks himself along with several others and the project reached great heights. Singles such as “Renee” and “Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless” would warrant the album top spots on Billboard charts as well as Gold certification in just two months of its release. A classic Hip-Hop album as well as a must-own for heads everywhere.

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[THROWBACK THURSDAY] Happy Juneteenth via @TenthLetterMed

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Believe it or not, we are in the sixth month of 2017 and like the weather outside things are about to heat up! Hip-Hop has always produced during the summer with a number of artists either debuting or building on their respective catalogs.

With #ThrowbackThursday upon us once again, we take a look back in the day at some of the genre’s milestones. We here at TenthLetterMedia love Hip-Hop and through the vessel of Straight Official Magazine, we will continue to highlight this movement and the lifestyle and culture that it represents.

Be sure to check in with us each and every Thursday as we dig through the crates to recognize some of Hip-Hop’s great accomplishments…LEGGO!!

June 1, 1999: Ja Rule releases Venni Vetti Vecci

He came, saw and conquered Hip-Hop as the frontman for Murder Inc. uniquely titled his debut album. Ja Rule was widely popular as his gritty, East Coast style of Hip-Hop was making huge noise alongside label mates Jay-Z and DMX. The project featured production from Irv Gotti, Erick Sermon and Lil Rob. Despite the comparisons to 2Pac and DMX, Rule would continue to carve his own mark in Hip-Hop. The album drew close to 200K in sales within the first week and debut at #3 on the Billboard charts before eventually going platinum. The single “Holla Holla” still bangs hard to this day and the album would serve as a stepping off point for Ja’s career, that is until he got under the skin of 50 Cent but that’s another story.

June 1, 1993: LL Cool J releases 14 Shots to the Dome

Def Jam veteran and Hip-Hop pioneer LL Cool J would bless us with his fifth studio album. Riding off the immense success of “Mama Said Knock You Out”, the Queens MC would present a different style than we were used to. Production on the album featured QDIII and Marley Marl and some fans weren’t ready to embrace the “West Coast” version of LL, where some would say this caused the project to only reach gold status. Singles off the album include “Back Seat (of My Jeep)” which would be sampled later by R&B diva Monica for her debut album. Despite the moans and groans of the fans, the album would sit at #1 on top US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop charts.

May 31, 1995: Luniz releases I Got 5 On It

In late May/early June of 1995, the Luniz would introduce themselves to the world by claiming what they had on the sac. Serving as the lead single off the album “Operation Stackola”, the duo of Yukmouth and Numskull would advance West Coast Hip-Hop to unbelievable highs (pun intended). Tone Capone would handle all production on the album and the single would eventually be certified platinum. The dope samples from Club Noveau and Kool and the Gang make this a classic in Hip-Hop and still is relevant in 2017.

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[SO FEATURE] Graffiti

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Emceeing, Djing and breakdancing are just some of the elements that make up the culture of hip-hop, but one thing that some people often overlook is Graffiti. Of course, you have the expression with music but everybody is talented in different ways so what better way to express the culture of hip hop but through art. Graffiti is a way to tell a story. The artist usually tends to express where their from or send a message to the surrounding community. Check out the video below to learn more about the Graffiti culture!
“People with money can put up signs you don’t have money you’re marginalized…you’re not allowed to express yourself or to put up words or messages that you think other people should see. Camel (cigarettes), they’re up all over the country and look at the message Camel is sending…they’re just trying to keep the masses paralyzed so they can go about their business with little resistance.” — Eskae

Check out this Ol’ Skool Jam and the Graffiti work

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[Flashback Friday] Arrested Development

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On this day March 24, 1992, Arrested Development debut album 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days In The Life of … was released. The group was formed in the late 80s by rapper Todd Thomas and Timothy Barnwell on turntables. The album was number one in “The Village.” The group was formed in Atlanta, to be an alternative to the “Gangsta Rap” with a  more Afrocentric style. Montsho Eshe, Rasa Don, One Love, Tasha Larae, Baba Oje, JJ Boogie, and Isaiah Williams lll make up the group. The group won two Grammy’s. The group did a song called “Revolution “ which was for Malcolm X a biopic movie by film director Spike Lee which was released not 1992. After a few years of not reaching people in the United States, the group took the music to Japan and since then have had consistent success in Japan. It is said the group will be touring soon in the United States and Australia to celebrate their 20th anniversary. There most recent song is called “This was never home”. June 1, 2017 the group will be performing at the City Winery in Atlanta, Ga.

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[THROWBACK THURSDAY] The Reign of Bad Boy!

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Anyone who is a Hip-Hop head knows that this movement was birthed in the Bronx during the 1970’s. The rhythmic, stylized music that accompanied the mastery of composition was the shoebox for artists to be either boast bravado or promote knowledge.

Grandmaster Flash, DJ Kool Herc and Marley Marl are just a few of the pioneers that laid the foundation and over time there would be many other artists that would give the brick and mortar. The genre would grow to heights taller than most skyscrapers in New York, and would eventually span the globe to influence cultures for generations.

This week we take a look at three albums from one of Hip-Hop’s dominant stables. Bad Boy Records was the prominent labels during the 90’s and would go head-to-head with Death Row Records during the infamous East vs West Coast wars. These albums will turn 20 this year and influenced me as an artist way back then.

The Notorious B.I.G.-Life After Death

Christopher Wallace was the most influential artist from Brooklyn. Riding high from his début album Ready To Die, Biggie would give the world his second and unfortunately last project. The double album dropped in March of 1997 after his death featured timeless tracks like Hypnotize and Mo Money Mo Problems. The album received a few Grammy nods as well as forged a bond between pop and gangsta rap.

Mase-Harlem World

In October of 1997 the world was introduced to Harlem by Mason Betha. Emerging from the Children of the Corn alongside Big L and Cam’ron, his début album would reach multi-platinum status with production from Diddy, Jermaine Dupri and an unknown duo known as the Neptunes to name a few. His unique drawl over blends of great samples of melodic tones helped songs like Feels So Good reach epic heights on the charts.

Puff Daddy and The Family-No Way Out

The summer of 1997 was a rough but successful one for Sean Combs. In dealing with the death of his friend The Notorious B.I.G., Combs knew there was strength in numbers and decided to make it a family affair. His début album featured the entire Bad Boy family as well as production from New York’s hottest producers. This album hit you right in the feels with songs like I’ll Be Missing You and would go on to receive Grammy nods as well as the award for Best Rap Album in 1998.

Are there any other albums that will turn 20 this year that were dope to you? Let’s talk about it down below.

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[THROWBACK THURSDAY] “The South Did Rise Again”

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The year is 1997 and variety is indeed the spice of life when it comes to Hip-Hop. Mainstream media had finally accepted the fact that this genre of music was not only becoming more diverse, but subgenres were developing rapidly.

This week we’ll be highlighting three albums from the 40 that will celebrate twenty years in the industry this year. With all the attention both good and bad going towards the east and west coasts, the South emerged as a champion and many artists began to stake their claims for Hip-Hop supremacy. Artists like OutKast, UGK, and Three 6 Mafia were making huge noise below the Mason-Dixon Line. For the true fans of this genre and culture, it was indeed refreshing to see this development come to fruition.

TRU-TRU 2 da Game

In February of 1997, No Limit Records released the fourth studio album under the flag of the tank and through a partnership with Priority Records. The Real Untouchables (TRU) consisted of Master P, C-Murder and Silkk the Shocker but as time went on, we would also see Mia X, Kane and Able and Mr. Serv-On join the fray. The double album boasted tracks by Beats by the Pound and featured a gumbo-like blend of Southern Hip-Hop and Gangsta Rap. Singles such as “I Always Feel Like…” and “FEDz” featured samples from R&B heavyweights such as Levert and Aaliyah just to name a few. The album was re-released in the same year, and it still serves as the most successful album released on No Limit as the project was certified 2x’s platinum.

Lil’ Jon & The East Side Boyz- Get Crunk, Who U Wit: Da Album 

In the fall of 1997, the world was introduced to Crunk and the genre would never be the same. A new subgenre of Hip-Hop, Lil’ Jon served up a new, energized type of music that was filled with shouted catchphrases and outstanding bass lines. If you were in a club setting around this time and “Get Crunk” or “Who Ya Wit” would come over the speakers, you could not help but jump and shout along with the Atlanta MC and his crew. This movement caused so much of a trend that Webster’s Dictionary came calling to officially define this term. Now that is noteworthy!!

 

Hot Boys-Get It How U Live!! 

Call it being influenced or competitive, Cash Money Records emerged in 1997 with the début album from the Hot Boys. A quartet featuring B.G, Juvenile, Turk and Lil’ Wayne, the album reached 300k in sales rapidly. “Neighborhood Superstar” served as the featured single from the album and with production by Mannie Fresh, the quartet was indeed on fire and ran neck and neck along with No Limit Records, eventually taking over for the 99 and the 2000.

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[THROWBACK THURSDAY] Happy 20th B-Day!

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Though everyday can’t be a noteworthy day in Hip-Hop, we damn sure try don’t we?? Big shout out to Corey Woods, aka Raekwon on this his soul day. He is one of the honorary members of the Wu-Tang Clan and, is the inspiration behind this week’s #ThrowbackThursday.

In this calendar year, 40 albums in Hip-Hop will celebrate birthdays. If that isn’t noteworthy then I don’t want to hear about it. A genre of music ruled out to die within a year of its inception surpasses expectations by over 4 decades. Like it or not, it’s in the history books and going nowhere soon.

I’ll pick 3 out of the 40 that inspired me as an artist, as well as changed the game in terms of gravitating this movement to unbelievable heights. As a Hip-Hop head, this was indeed difficult to narrow down to 3. Let’s start with the birthday boy Raekwon and his crew…

Wu-Tang Clan: Wu-Tang Forever Released in June of 1997, this was the Wu’s second blessing to the world and proved once again there was strength in numbers. 4 years after we entered the 36 Chambers, these nine MC’s and producers(yes, check the production credits) started a movement that involved all and not just one. The album would eventually go 4x’s platinum and serve as the jewel of the double album era. You don’t see this trend in Hip-Hop anymore, and it’s a damn shame.

Mystikal: Unpredictable In November of 1997, The Man Righ
t Chea gave us his sophomore effort under the flag of No Limit Records while still dealing with issues under Jive Records. This made the album sort of like a joint venture. He added to the dominance that the South had at that time in Hip-Hop with his rugged and loud delivery. Granted, No Limit was poppin’ at this time with releases from Master P(Ghetto D), Mia X(Unlady Like) and TRU(TRU 2 Da Game) but Mystikal was that unique round out the tank.

Missy Elliott: Supa Dupa Fly In July of 1997, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott broke on the scene with her début album. Fueled behind the incredible product
ion of VA’s musicial virtuoso Timbaland and coupled with the star-studded guest appearances made this album a must-have. Features with Busta Rhymes, Ginuwine, Aaliyah and Keith Sweat to name a few, had this album on levels of redefining both Hip-Hop and R&
B. I never seen an artist have a début album that received so much praise. Missy set the measuring stick in terms of creativity and for women in the male dominated genre.

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