[THROWBACK THURSDAY] Hip-Hop Milestones via @TenthLetterMed


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


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


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


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


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!



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”


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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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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[THROWBACK THURSDAY] “The Beginning Of It All”

  • As far back as I can remember I’ve always had this affinity for music. Blame it on the rhythm or the words in-between, it has served its purpose as a great escape from the ways of the world.

Hip-Hop is no exception to the rule, as it is the most influential genre of music in the world. The cultural and social influence of Hip-Hop spans over two decades and shows few signs of slowing down in spite of being in the dawn of the music-sharing era.

They say every great story has a beginning. The story of Hip-Hop officially began in September of 1979.

Rapper’s Delight, the single released from The Sugarhill Gang was introduced to the masses from the debut album of the same namesake. The song was reportedly done in one take and has three different versions.

This track was in fact, not a test as three of New York’s finest MC’s rapped over the funk and disco-infused beat. The trio of Master Gee, Wonder Mike, and Big Bank Hank was at the time not even considered to be the “elite” of Hip-Hop with the likes of Grandmaster Caz and Kurtis Blow on the scene. Even without the street cred and popularity of their peers, The Sugarhill Gang would become pioneers in a movement unlike no other.

On January 5th, 1980, Rapper’s Delight broke ground as the first single of its kind to enter the Billboard Top 100 charts. While the single peaked at #36, the remarkable feat was the reception that the single received internationally. The song hovered in the Top 5 of rotations in over 10 countries for weeks on end. To say the song was a hit was a gross understatement.

The true delight of this song is the mark that it has left on our culture and society. I was watching an episode of The Simpsons and overheard it while the characters on the show were stressing crosswalk safety. Remember how funny it was to hear Rosie from The Wedding Singer recite it word for word? The song has been in everything from video game soundtracks to TV show spoofs.

It’s a feel-good track that is in fact, timeless. So much in fact that the single is considered historically significant according to the Library of Congress. A hip-hop song is in the National Recording Registry for being that influential to society. Yes, you read that correctly and look it up if you don’t believe me.

Not bad for a genre of music ruled to die out within 5 years of its inception, right?


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In January of 1992, Paramount Pictures released the drama thriller Juice, written and directed by Ernest Dickerson. The movie itself provided a look into the lives of 4 inner city youths struggling with the environment that engulfed them and the desire to gain the respect, or “juice” needed to survive it. The film was received with great reviews and served as the launch pad for rapper Tupac Shakur’s acting career.

One month before the cinematic release, MCA Records released the motion picture soundtrack to the film with the same name. The 54-minute project featured production from some of Hip-Hop’s élite such as EPMD, Ant Banks, Rakim and Naughty by Nature. While billed as a Hip-Hop album, Juice was in fact a nice blend of both Hip-Hop and R&B.

Tracks like “Don’t Be Afraid”, featuring Aaron Hall provided a sensual backdrop for the intimate post love-making scene with Omar Epps (Q) and his girlfriend. Remember the scene where Q approached the record store clerk in full-on Mack mode? The song bumping in the background was “Is It Good to You”, featuring the legendary Teddy Riley and Tammy Lucas.

The soundtrack featured both East Coast and West Coast artists. I remember hearing the soundtrack and having a debate with friends over whether or not Too $hort had two songs on the track or not. Track #4 entitled “Sex, Money and Murder” was in fact performed by Pooh Man while Short Dog held it down for the Bay with “So You Want To Be a Gangster”. 

I’m telling you, go back and listen to these two tracks separately and see if you are not fooled like I was.

The God MC Rakim was the first artist you heard from the beginning of the film as his familiar vocals ripped the track “Nuff Respect”. We even got blessed to have the female trio of Salt-n-Pepa break down the cause and effect of being a player with “He’s Gamin on Ya.”

I like to think that this soundtrack set the bar for motion picture soundtracks to follow. Before Juice there was Boyz n the Hood, which was good in itself but featured mostly West Coast artists. Before the media-fueled drama between the two coasts, it was great to see artists come together with the result being timeless music.

One of my personal favorites records on this soundtrack was Juice (Know the Ledge). Eric B and Rakim questioned whether we knew the limits of pursuing the respect of the streets. That gritty, pulsating beat with lyrics from Rakim that were just as hard. It’s a soundtrack that complemented the film perfectly.



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