[THROWBACK THURSDAY] Breaking On the Scene via @TenthLetterMed

There are several milestones in the genre of Hip-Hop that are noteworthy to say the least. Besides the over 40-year tenure that some said wouldn’t last one year, this movement has produced some remarkable highs as well as some unforgettable lows. One event in particular is when an artist makes their debut, as it serves as the launch pad for their respective career.

With today being #ThrowbackThursday, TLM and Straight Official Magazine like to dig in the crates to highlight some of Hip-Hop’s memorable moments. This week we’ll take a look at three debuts from artists that aided in the cultivation of the genre. Be sure to check in with us each and every Thursday as we continue to bring you the lifestyle and culture of Hip-Hop…LEGGO!!!

June 25th 1996: Jay-Z Releases Reasonable Doubt

Revered by many as one of the greatest Hip-Hop albums of all time, Reasonable Doubt is the debut album from Jay-Z. The album was released under Roc-A-Fella/Priority Records and featured production from DJ Clark Kent and DJ Premiere to name a few. The Marcy MC provided us with his “mafioso rap” which boasted a lifestyle filled with Cristal and resembled something from Carlito’s Way. The debut would receive great acclaim and praise from the critics as well as make major moves on the Billboard charts (#23 on Billboard 200 & #3 on Top Hip-Hop/R&B) before reaching platinum status. Singles like “Feelin’ It” and “Can I Live” are timeless and “Regrets” still goes hard to this day!

June 25th 1991: Pete Rock & CL Smooth Release All Souled Out

The Golden Era of Hip-Hop would still be represented as two MC’s from New York would also make their debut. Pete Rock & CL Smooth would break onto the scene under Elektra Records. Produced solely by Pete Rock, the album would receive rave reviews and would even land on the Billboard charts. The classic single “The Creator” would be the only track that you would hear Pete Rock spit as CL Smooth covered the rest of the project. A deluxe edition would be released in 2014 with new instrumental mixes of the most popular songs on the album. The debut would serve as the perfect icebreaker for their 2nd album Mecca and the Soul Brother.

June 27th 2000: Nelly Releases Country Grammar

The new millennium would produce a new wave of artists from across the country. The Midwest would emerge as a force in Hip-Hop and St. Louis’ own Nelly would give us his version of slang. The album was released under Universal Records and featured production from City Spud, Basement Beats and Jay E. An instant hit, Country Grammar would sit atop Billboard charts for weeks backed by hot singles like “E.I”, “Ride Wit Me” and “Country Grammar (Hot Shit)”. The album would also join élite company as one that would achieve diamond status and would also make Nelly one of the most successful acts of 2000.

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[THROWBACK THURSDAY] Summertime in Hip-Hop via @TenthLetterMed

At long last, summer is officially here! This time of year brings not only hotter temps but also some of the hottest albums from our favorite Hip-Hop artists. Shout out to DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince for giving us the undisputed champion of anthems with their hit “Summertime.” Once I hear that song over the airwaves it makes it officially summer for me.

Nostalgia is king here at TLM and we alongside Straight Official Magazine like to take the 5th day of the week to go back in the day for #ThrowbackThursdays. This week we take a look at a few debuts in the game as well as final curtain call for one of the genre’s premier acts. Be sure to check in with us each and every Thursday as we dig in the crates to display Hip-Hop’s greatness….LEGGO!!!

June 21st 1988: Big Daddy Kane Debuts with Long Live the Kane

During the genesis of Hip-Hop’s Golden Age, BDK would step on the scene and leave an impression that could never be duplicated. His debut album, released under Cold Chillin’ Records was over 40 minutes of lyrical prowess and coverage of an array of different topics. The project was solely produced by the legendary Marley Marl and boasted several classic singles like “Ain’t No Half Steppin”, “Word to the Mother” and “Raw” (my personal fav). LLTK would go on to not only be certified gold status but also highlighted in Check The Technique, a novel that breaks down the making of 36 classic Hip-Hop albums

June 22nd 1993: Intelligent Hoodlum Releases Tragedy: Saga of a Hoodlum

Three years after his self-titled debut album, the sophomore effort of the Queens MC would be significant as he would no longer use the moniker and became now known as Tragedy Khadafi. The album would have familiar production as Marley Marl would work alongside K-Def and Epitome of Scratch to give us that gritty, NY sound. Singles like “Street Life” and “The Posse (Shoot ‘Em Up)” would propel the album up Top Hip-Hop/R&B charts and receive praise from even the toughest critics. Sometimes change can be a good thing.

June 23rd 1992: Eric B. & Rakim Releases Don’t Sweat the Technique

One of Hip-Hop’s most dynamic duos, Eric B. & Rakim would take a victory lap with their fourth and final project together. With the formula already in place, this album was the perfect blend of jazz and Hip-Hop and we began to hear a more politically charged Rakim through the hit single “Casualties of War.” My personal favorite was “Know the Ledge” which would go on to be featured in the classic film Juice and served as an influence to some of the genre’s biggest artist like 50 Cent. The album would land at #9 on the Billboard Top R&B Album charts and #22 on Billboard 200 respectively and is without a doubt a CLASSIC!

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[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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[THROWBACK THURSDAY] Back In The Day via @tenthlettermed

The genre of Hip-Hop has a lineage that spans over 40 years. During this time we have seen the movement spread like wildfire across the world, with its influence being an undeniable force on both our society and culture.

From its humble beginnings on the East Coast, the trek to the West Coast and all points in between, Hip-Hop has done everything it was intended to provide the world with the voice of those who live, eat, sleep and breathe it.

As we continue on our #ThrowbackThursday grind, we take a look at three album releases from some of Hip-Hop’s most engaging artists. Be sure to check in with us every week as we go back in the day to highlight the history of this powerful movement…LEGGO!!

BIG DADDY KANE- Looks Like a Job For…

In May of 1993, BDK would release his fifth studio album under Cold Chillin’/Warner Bros. Records. Two years removed from the Prince of Darkness album, Dark Gable would return to the style that won him critical acclaim with production that ranged from TrackMasters, Easy Mo Bee and Large Professor to name a few. Lead singles such as “Very Special” would propel BDK up the Billboard Top 100 charts as well as the unforgettable “Nuff Respect” remix which was featured in the hit motion picture “Juice.” Kane is a legend of the movement and one of Hip-Hop’s pioneers. It was great to hear the rugged style again that seemed to go missing from earlier projects.

SLICK RICK- The Art of Storytelling

The final chapter of an illustrious career in Hip-Hop was documented on May 25, 1999 when Slick Rick released his fourth and final studio album. The British-American MC went out with a bang as the album would feature 5 lead singles and the production of the album was handled by DJ Clark Kent, Kid Capri and Tone and Poke. Dubbed as his most successful release, the album would be certified gold within one month of its release as well as snatching a No. 1 spot on Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album chart in the U.S. The track “Frozen” featuring Raekwon is one of my faves off the album and is a must-own for true heads of Hip-Hop.

COMPTON’S MOST WANTED- It’s a Compton Thang

The West Coast embraced Hip-Hop unlike any other region in the U.S. The birth of Gangsta Rap was groundbreaking and controversial as several MC’S would step up to represent. In June of 1990, Compton’s Most Wanted would release their debut album under Orpheus Records. MC Eiht, Tha Chill, Boom Bam, Ant Capone and DJ Mike T would combine to give us that G-funk West Coast style that bumped out the back of old schools for years. Produced entirely by DJ Slip and The Unknown DJ, the album would rest in the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop charts at #32 and would serve as a launchpad for many MC’s to follow.

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If you look at the overall success of Hip-Hop over the years it’s easy to notice the magnitude of every individual artist’s contribution to the genre. Let’s not forget, however, the many duos that made noise as well. The MC and the DJ are fundamental to how Hip-Hop stands to this day.

From DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince to Eric B. and Rakim, the collective efforts of two artists will always show and prove that two heads are better than one. During the 1990’s this concept was clear as we were blessed with duos like Method Man and Redman, 8 Ball & MJG and UGK.

As we continue to highlight the 40 Hip-Hop albums that will turn 20 this year, let’s take a look at three albums that established both parties involved and served that good one-two punch to us Hip-Hop heads:

EPMD- Back In Business

Legends never die. Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith are indeed two legendary emcees that with four classics under their belts, released this 5th project in September of 1997. Even with a personal beef going public and shaking the very foundation of their friendship, they squashed the beef and got back to what works. The album was produced by EPMD, Rockwilder (personal favorite of mine) and Agallah and to this day I still feel that “K.I.M” with Red and Keith Murray goes hard!! The sampling on this album was diverse with pieces from Kool & The Gang, Aretha Franklin and 2Pac to name a few.

Capone-n-Norega- The War Report

New York has always been the breeding ground for hardcore, gangsta rap. The début album of Capone-n-Norega in June of 1997 not only embraced this subculture of Hip-Hop but also was the launch pad for some of its greatest acts. Street credibility was indeed established on this album with a plethora of producers from Buckwild, Lord Finesse and Marley Marl to name some. Their unique and different styles just meshed and re-established that grimy, East Coast swag that was missing for a while.





Eightball & MJG- Lyrics of a Pimp

In December of 1997, Ball and G hit us with a compilation album that was an underground hit. Comprised of songs that were done before “Comin’ Out Hard” was released, the Tennessee emcees/producers further advanced the South in terms of Hip-Hop dominance. I remember having this album on cassette and banging it over my speakers in my car. A true classic album that is a must-have.



Any other albums you want to go back-in-the day about from this era of music? Let’s chop it up below!!

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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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