Random Hip Hop Facts

Did you know?…

10.   Pete Rock’s “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” was written for a childhood friend, T-Roy, a dancer who died falling off stage at a Heavy D & the Boyz show in 1990.  When the track was complete, everyone in the studio cried after listening to it. 1

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9.  Snoop Dogg got his name from his mom because she thought he resembled Snoopy from the Peanuts.  He explains, “As a kid born in the ’70s, mom used to put on a TV show called Charlie Brown.  And there was a character on there named Snoopy. And I used to love him to death. And my mama said I started to look like him so much ’cause I watched him all the time, and that’s what they used to name me.” 2

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8. Rihanna prefers the following snacks in her dressing room: 3

– One package of Oreos
– One large bag of Haribo brand Gold Bears
– One box of Capri Suns
– 10 bags of cheddar cheese Ruffles
– Red Bulls, Grey Goose, Coke, Sprite, Ginger Ale, Diet Coke
– 10 bags of Flaming Hot Cheetos (delicious)
– Stuffed olives
– One box of Golden Grahams cereal
– Mini Babybel cheeses
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7.  Biz Markie, Q-Tip and Slick Rick and an uncredited Michael Jackson are all featured on Jay-Z’s “Girls, Girls, Girls.”  Jay reveals, “He was on my song ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’, singing these background vocals and I didn’t even put his name on it.” 4 5

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6.  Eminem recorded all three verses of “Lose Yourself” in one take during a break from filming 8 Mile.  He also wrote the entire song on the set. 6

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5.  Nas’ father, Olu Dara, had the trumpet solo at the end of his track “Dance.”  The song was dedicated to his mother, Ann Jones, who died of cancer in 2002. 7

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4.  According to Warren G, Nate Dogg’s vocals to “Regulate” were recorded in a closet. “I had an apartment on Long Beach Boulevard and San Antonio, and I didn’t have no furniture,” he reminisced. “I had dog shit all over the floor, and I had two bedrooms. In one of my bedrooms, all I had was studio equipment. I did the sample, plugged in my VCR into the MPC60, sampled [the music], and after I finished it, I called Nate, and said ‘Nate, I got a record I think we should do, and go back-and-forth on it. I think it’d be dope.’ He came over, he heard it, and was like, ‘Damn!’ So from there, we hooked up a mic in the closet, and I called my engineer, Greg. He came over and recorded it, and there it is. 8

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3.  Missy Elliott used to perform for her stuffed animals in her room when she was growing up.

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2.  Beyonce hates the taste of plain water, so she adds flavor to it with with cucumber and lemon. (3:00 min mark)

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1.  The first Hip Hop Christmas song was Kurtis Blow’s “Christmas Rappin’.”  It was released January 1, 1979 on Mercury Records and sampled by R&B group Next on their hit single “Too Close.” 9

Kurtis Blow – “Christmas Rappin’”

Next – “Too Close”

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References:

1. [Rolling Stone http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/the-50-greatest-hip-hop-songs-of-all-time-20121205/pete-rock-and-c-l-smooth-they-reminisce-over-you-t-r-o-y-19691231]

2. [http://www.accesshollywood.com/snoop-dogg-tells-money-honey-he-was-named-after-snoopy_article_25599]

3. [TMZ http://www.tmz.com/2012/11/20/rihanna-stoner-food-rider-777-tour-oreos-cheetos-gummi-bears/]

4. [http://rapgenius.com/Jay-z-girls-girls-girls-lyrics]

5.[http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/jay-z-what-michael-jackson-meant-to-me#hGZ0bgkq72MiMgWc.99]

6.[Rolling Stone http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/the-50-greatest-hip-hop-songs-of-all-time-20121205/eminem-lose-yourself-19691231]

7. [Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olu_Dara]

8. [http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.14468/title.warren-g-reveals-nate-doggs-regulate-vocals-were-recorded-in-a-closet]

9.[http://rapgenius.com/Kurtis-blow-christmas-rappin-lyrics]

“Heart of a King” – Interview with Rapper King Chip

chip1
“Even if you’re having a bad day, it just looks so nice though,” King Chip states admiring the Los Angeles weather.  “If you’re having a bad day in Cleveland, it look like it too,” he laughs in the best of spirits.  “It’s amazing.  If you got nowhere to sleep, there’s no snow or rain when you wake up in the morning. You ain’t gonna be ice cold or shivering.”

Soaking up the warm, Cali sun and acclimating to the LA lifestyle has been more than an easy transition for King Chip.  Signing with the prestigious Creative Artists Agency, dabbling into acting and attending video shoots from the likes of Hit-Boy and The Game are now the norm for the 26-year-old rapper, but he remains surprisingly humble.

Charles Jawanzaa Worth grew up in the slums idolizing fellow Cleveland rappers Bone Thugs-N-Harmony while also enjoying the sounds of New Yorkers Jay-Z and 50 and the gritty rhymes of Houston’s Bun B.  Known as Chip tha Ripper, he spent his high school days battling other rappers on the schoolyard, but he was often troubled by somber news of friends being murdered throughout the city.  Music helped ease the pain, and dreams of MCing drifted deeply throughout his mind. Little did he know that meeting Scott Mescudi (Kid Cudi) through a mutual friend would one day be key in strengthening his foundation in the rap game.chip2

At age 19, Chip inked a deal with Atlantic Records, but he quickly spent his earnings from the label and began living the blue-collar life as a factory worker until he decided to quit in 2006.  “I had a good job.  I was the supervisor.  I had a dental plan and 401K, health insurance and all that.  One day, I’m just like, ‘I can’t.  I can’t keep being here every day till I get old.  This is gonna be a boring life.’”

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“Mollywood Life” – Interview with Rapper Problem

problem1Born in Germany and raised in Compton, rapper Problem has not only rocked several crowds on the mic, but he has penned songs for some of the West Coast’s finest including Snoop Dogg and E-40.  Known to knock out songs almost as hard as the beats he raps over (once boasting 35 completed tracks in two weeks), he has shined nationally along with YG and Iamsu! on E-40’s radio banger “Function.”

Though he was eventually released from a 2008 deal with Universal Republic, the 26-year-old has a new home at independent label Diamond Lane Music Group and made major moves with his party-inciting mixtapes Welcome 2 Mollywood one and two.  Also a producer, engineer and arranger, Jason Martin represents the West to the fullest while also allocating precious time to fatherhood.

Fresh off the Hollywood Key Club stage filled with fans and supporters, Problem is dressed in a red snapback, ripped denim jacket with silver spikes mixed with animal prints and camel Timbs.  With his debut album Plan B on the way, I take a moment to chop it up with him about his busy career, life living in LA and Diamond Lane’s upcoming projects.

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Andrea Aguilar: What did you love most about being raised in Compton?

Problem: Just to be from there, you know what I mean?  Everybody that’s from there is really proud of it.

AA: What about it specifically do you think makes people feel that way?

P: It makes you who you are.  You’re just proud to be from there, you know what I mean?  There’s something about being from Compton.  I’m from there.  I’m happy with who I am.  I can’t pinpoint one particular thing.

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“Love and Hip Hop” – Interview with Rapper Rapsody

rapsody1“My mama still messes up my name. She combines ‘Rapsody’ and ‘Rapdiddy’ (and) says ‘Rap-so-diddy’,” she tweets. Marlanna Evans never guessed her mom would one day be mispronouncing her rap name.

Though the North Carolina MC fell in love with Hip Hop after watching MC Lyte’s cautionary “Poor Georgie” video, Rapsody did not decide to seriously pursue music until college. She followed her passion by deciding on North Carolina State, but when she arrived, the days when Hip Hop permeated throughout the university were gone. Instead of attending campus shows once headlined by A Tribe Called Quest and the Wu-Tang Clan, a Country act was taking the stage at homecoming.

Discouraged by the lack of Hip Hop appreciation, she founded H2O: The Hip Hop Organization with her friend, Charlie Smarts. “It was his idea. We had a meeting about it and called some friends. You had to have a certain amount of members before you could start it,” she explains.

After joining group Kooley High, she was inspired to share her solo music at club gatherings. Well-known and respected producer 9th Wonder attended one of the meetings and realized she had strong potential after listening to her tracks. He encouraged her to study Jay-Z’s Black Album and A Tribe Called Quest’s Low End Theory to improve her cadence and delivery.

rapsody2After battling thyroid issues and struggling financially fresh out of college, Rapsody paid the bills by writing verses and worked part-time at Foot Locker where her music videos were shown. “I had a really flexible schedule. I could pretty much come in and leave whenever I wanted to. I probably should have been fired, but they really supported me.” The Snow Hill rapper pulled through adversity and recorded Return of the B-Girl in 2010.

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“Reigniting the LA Riots” – Interview with Rapper Thurzday

thurz1“The shit that Rush Limbaugh says…I can’t stand that dude. I wanna choke him out, and I’m not even politically driven like that,” LA rapper Thurzday says.  I suggest choking him out on a track instead. “Nah. In person. More media coverage,” he says with a loud laugh. No stranger to raw social commentary, Thurz lounges in a chair sipping on Seagram’s Seven enveloped by the aroma of incense at an Inglewood studio.

While waiting for Brook D’Leau (of duo J Davey) to arrive, he plays me “Who Stole My Swim Trunks,” a new track produced by MMR-ADM that sounds comparable to what a delightfully psychedelic trip on acid might feel like. With a White Sox cap on his head, thick black glasses on his face and Adidas on his feet, he checks his Facebook and Twitter pages on his laptop. The bass thumps loudly as he listens to Sly & the Family Stone’s “You Caught Me Smilin'” and Outkast’s “Lookin’ for Ya” for inspiration.

thurz211Born to a mother from Belize and a father from the Ivory Coast, Thurz (Yannick Koffi) spent most of his childhood “playing ball and getting into mischief” with his four brothers in Inglewood. He grew up not knowing his biological father, but at the age of 10, his Belizean stepfather entered his life. “He was a little more militant. I just had to make sure I did my chores so I could play outside,” he explains jovially. Reggae and Soca music were often played throughout the household, but it was De La Soul’s colorful video for “Me, Myself and I” and Redman’s lyrical, yet humorous Muddy Waters album that motivated young Thurz to do music.

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“The Rise of the Lyrically Inclined” – Interview with Rapper R-Mean

rmeanFramed photographs of Eminem, Nas and Wu-Tang Clan albums grace the walls of R-Mean’s office in Glendale, California.  The Armenian rapper has been constantly on the grind.  The final tracks are being recorded for his new album, and the video shoot for his first single with The Game is wrapped.  “A lot of people say, ‘What the fuck you doing?  You grinding?’ but we really are.  There’s so much to do,” he says sitting across from me donning a hoodie, a black fitted cap and yellow suede Nikes.

Born in Los Angeles, Armin Hariri moved to Nijmegen, Amsterdam as an infant.  His father passed away during a kidney operation, and his mother was left toraise the 1-year-old boy on her own.  As a teenager, many of R-Mean’s peers were immersed in the prevalent drug game, but he managed to hold down an honest job at his uncle’s rug store.  He hoped to play basketball for the Pre-Professional Dutch National Team, but chronic pain led to knee braces, and his dreams of ruling the court were ultimately shattered.

rmean2After dubbing a copy of Gang Starr’s Hard to Earn tape from a friend, he delved into the socially conscious lyricism of KRS-One and the jazzy sounds of A Tribe Called Quest.  Penning lyrics soon became a new pastime and emotional outlet for R-Mean.  His deep brown eyes light up as he recalls idolizing and emulating his favorite MCs growing up.  “I was literally in my bedroom as a little kid acting like I’m Nas.  I just pictured that’s what I wanted to be doing.  I wanted to be like Nas.  Then I wanted to be Meth and the whole Wu shit.  I wanted to be them.”

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“Beats for the Streets” – Interview with Producer Ro Blvd

ro1Spare notes of soulful records hit the crisp night air outside the Ironlak flagship store in Hollywood.  Producer Ro Blvd is spinning and mixing R&B joints sampled on Wu-Tang Clan’s grimy classic Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and Jay-Z’s The Blueprint.  Staying true to the art of DJing, his mixer and turntables are set up over a glass case of bright aerosol paint cans while local MCs and other industry cats bob their heads in unison.  He genuinely thanks the crowd for coming out and introduces a new track before playing a beat that starts with a basic piano riff and ends up on some futuristic fly shit that could cold rock a party on Mars.

It’s hard to believe that Ro was once undecided about doing music.  “I was always back and forth about making music.  It’s like you’re putting yourself out there.  You know, when you’re a kid and someone asks you to sing, and you’re embarrassed as hell?  Still to this day I always wonder what people think,” he says as we converse in his soon-to-be organized office filled with VHS movies and a desk adorned with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles artwork drawn by his little brother.

ro2Growing up in Sun Valley, California, Ro lived in a warm Filipino household playing Super Nintendo with friends and dreaming of one day playing pro basketball.  His love of music soon sparked an interest in DJing, and he fondly remembers his mom knocking on his door to give him a stack of vinyl to practice mixing with.  Among the records was the Boulevard Nights soundtrack.  “It helped me out so much.  The scoring and soundtrack were just nuts and inspired me as a far as picking out a name,”  he says adjusting his thick-rimmed glasses framed by his dark, shoulder-length hair.  He took his nickname “Ro” and added “Blvd” as way to flip the negative connotation often associated with “the streets” into something positive.

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“When Keepin’ It Real Goes Right” – Interview with Shade 45’s Rude Jude

jude

“Shut up, bitch! Let’s go.” Jude fades out Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” as Mac Mall’s “My Opinion” beat gets all the way turnt up. “I play what I want when I want ‘cause I can!” he proclaims during his Pill Mix.

Notorious for being brutally honest and vulgar, Rude Jude definitely lives up to his name. Whether offering advice to callers during his “What Would Jude Do?” segment or spitting game at his porn star guests, Jude offers a refreshing perspective with his clever and humorous remarks. As host of “The All Out Show” on Shade 45, Eminem’s satellite radio station, the show has become the third most popular on Sirius/XM since its launch in 2005.

The self-described “half Italian with a touch of Irish” 34-year-old may not look like a Hip Hop guru, but his vast knowledge of the genre and culture would blow the mind of any self-proclaimed Hip Hop head. “I could talk music all day,” he says while placing down a backgammon chip on the wooden table at a smoking lounge in LA. “I remember cats breakdancing off of Kraftwerk or ‘Egyptian Lover.’ Rakim and the Geto Boys. Being from Michigan we just had everything. We had the West Coast. We had Down South. We had fuckin’ New York, so our taste was so well-rounded when it came to Hip Hop.”

jude2Born in Pontiac, Michigan, Jude Anthony Angelini once lived on a commune with his “hippie parents,” but the family was asked to leave after his father struck one of the other resident’s children. He had a tumultuous childhood. “My parents went through a violent divorce. Cops always coming, parents always screaming and shit like that. It’s typical for a lot of kids.” Raised in Auburn Hills with his two sisters, he attended the more privileged Rochester High School to get a better education while his friends went to the impoverished Pontiac Northern High. He studied Elementary Education at a local community college so that he could “pick up some single mothers” and dabbled in radio there.

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