[THROWBACK THURSDAY] Decades of Dopeness
To Sustain Longevity, You Have to Evolve-Aries Spears
There is NO genre of music that fits this quote from one of my favorite comedians more than Hip-Hop. This movement has shaped our culture and provided decades of influence across the world.
During its lengthy tenure, we have witnessed many artists that have evolved right before our eyes. I still marvel at Lil Wayne’s humble beginnings with the Hot Boyz and how he is still one of Hip-Hop’s most creative contributors.
This year, 40 Hip-Hop albums will turn 20 years old and the evolution of the following artists was truly a sight to behold. As an artist myself back in the day, these artists provided me with influence and the fans of the genre with timeless music.
One year after we witnessed his coming, Busta Rhymes released his sophomore effort in September of 1997. The Flipmode general continued to amaze us with his unique and raw delivery. Who can forget the video that accompanied “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” that lampooned the classic film Coming to America. The album featured production from Diddy, Rockwilder and Busta himself to name a few and would eventually go platinum. This album continued on the trend of global extinction according to Busta and further cemented his legacy in hardcore Hip-Hop.
In March of 1997, Brad Jordan a.k.a. Scarface dropped his fourth project under Rap-a-Lot Records. A member of the legendary Geto Boys, Face would sit atop the Billboard charts for the first time in his career as well as a have a second go-round on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop charts as the top dog. The hit single “Smile” featured 2Pac and provided a somber backdrop to both Pac and B.I.G.’s untimely deaths. The production on the album featured Mike Dean, Tone Capone, Domo and Dr. Dre. I especially liked the features on the album, which included Devin the Dude, Ice Cube and Too $hort. It’s definitely a must-have album.
LL Cool J- Phenomenon
The epitome of evolution himself, James Todd Smith blessed us with his 7th album under the Def Jam flag. In sticking to what works, the album served up the perfect blend of both Hip-Hop and R&B. The hot single “4, 3, 2, 1″ was both dope and controversial as it fueled the beef between LL and Canibus. The production on this album was CRAZY as it featured TrackMasters, Erick Sermon, and The Hit Men to name a few. It’s still amazing how he transcended from Hip-Hop to Hollywood, knocking fools out cause his momma told him to.
The author Jerry Miller
Aspiring entertainment writer from Indianapolis, Indiana. I served as the Entertainment Editor for the largest African-American magazine in the city of Indianapolis.