Although 2011 brought plenty of memorable moments, we also mourn the great losses of talented individuals of hip-hop. RapReviews would like to use this editorial to introduce the readers who may have heard or never heard of these artists/DJs who were gone before their time. We would also like to send our condolences to the families, friends, crews, and fans worldwide. Rest In Peace to all!
Nathaniel "Nate Dogg" Hale (August 19, 1969 - March 15, 2011)
Nathaniel "Nate Dogg" Hale was known as a pioneering hip-hop artist who brilliantly took the R&B element of singing to new heights. Yet, his soulful style of singing was so unique that it cannot be considered regular R&B. In fact, Hale arguably introduced a new style of singing rap that many artists, such as Drake and T-Pain, were most likely influenced by Hale’s works. Hale was the original go-to guy when it comes to singing hooks with a street edge. Hale’s successful collaboration ranges with Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mos Def, DJ Quik, Ludacris, Fabolous, 50 Cent, 2Pac, and so many others. Hale was also known as one of the members of Long Beach trio known as 213, which also consisted of Snoop Dogg and Warren G. Hale continued his work throughout the last decade until he tragically suffered a stroke in 2007, which put a halt to his music career and eventually his life in March 19, 2011. The memory of Nate Dogg lives on as his hits are continually played by fans worldwide and his legacy never dies.
Recommended songs (Way too many to list, but here are a few essential Nate Dogg tracks for those curious):
Warren G. f/ Nate Dogg – "Regulators" Snoop Doggy Dogg f/ Nate Dogg, Warren G., Kurupt – "Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)" Dr. Dre f/ Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Nate Dogg – "The Next Episode" Mos Def, Pharoahe Monch, Nate Dogg – "Oh No" 50 Cent f/ Nate Dogg – "21 Questions"
Montae "M-Bone" Talbert (September 19, 1988 - May 15, 2011)
Montae "M-Bone" Talbert was known as the member/dancer of the platinum-selling rap group Cali Swag District. Together, their hit "Teach me How to Dougie," which is based on the famous Dougie dance that started in Dallas, became a smash in the charts. The crew was on their way to release their debut album "Kickback" until suddenly Talbert was tragically killed as a victim in a drive-by shooting. Cali Swag District continues to stay together as a group and prepare the album that’s now dedicated in Talbert’s memory.
Gilbert "Gil" Scott-Heron (April 1, 1949 – May 27, 2011)
Gil Scott-Heron was known as a jazz musician and a spoken word poet whose past work built a solid foundation for hip-hop. One of his most well-known works is the spoken-word piece titled "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," which is viewed as one of the most influential works of its time and even modern times. Commonly sampled by many artists such as Kanye West, Common, Black Star, Boogie Down Productions, Little Brother, and recently Drake, Scott-Heron’s presence in hip-hop remained as big as those who used his works in their songs. Scott-Heron remained active in the music world until his sudden death on May 27, 2011.
Recommended songs: "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" "The Bottle" "Home is Where the Hatred Is" "We Almost Lost Detroit" "Comment #1" "Legend in His Own Mind"
Fun fact: Gil Scott-Heron is the uncle of Terrance Kelly, better known as rapper Mr. Cheeks of The Lost Boyz rap group.
Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011)
If you don't think Ms. Winehouse isn’t “hip-hop” enough to deserve a paragraph in this article, then read this Jay Soul article (http://www.rapreviews.com/special/jesal-july2011.html) and you'll definitely find out why she should be. Overall, Winehouse proved to not only be a soulful British singer, but also a pure hip-hop advocate. With albums produced by the likes of Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, as well as guest appearances from the likes of Ghostface Killah, Nas, and Pharoahe Monch, one can say that the girl knows her hip-hop. It's unfortunate that she had passed away at 27 before she got to do her grand musical comeback. At least, she has many treasures she left behind for many to listen for generations to come.
Recommended songs: "You Know I’m No Good (Remix)" (f/ Ghostface Killah) "Rehab" "Like Smoke" (f/ Nas) "In My Bed" "Tears Dry on Their Own"
Eugene McDaniels was known as a soul singer who had plenty of hits in the 1960s', such as "A Hunderd Pounds of Clay" and "Tower of Strength." But in 1970s', McDaniels' music took more of a black consciousness approach where he recorded his well-known hit "Compared to What," which has been covered by Les McCann, Ray Charles, and most recently John Legend & the Roots. His past works has been sampled by A Tribe Called Quest, Eric B. & Rakim, Gravediggaz, Quasimoto, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, UGK, and numerous of others. McDaniels continued to record music and recently launched a series of YouTube videos in his website reflecting his thought on his past works, until he passed away at his home in July 29, 2011.
Recommended songs: "Jagger the Dagger" "Compared to What" "Freedom Death Dance" "The Parasite" "Headless Heroes"
Rhian "Kampane" Stoute (August 31, 1977 - August 16, 2011)
Rhian Stoute, known as Kampane, was an up-and-coming rapper from Brooklyn who surely pushing his way to stardom. According to his website bio, that opportunity was a long time coming, as he got his first break in 1997 on an appearance on Roc-A-Fella’s Da Ranjahz mixtape album. Stoute toured with the Roc throughout the next decade, until he decided to step out on his own as a rapper. He earned many acclaim from his peers as he won shows and made mixtapes to further his name in rap. His carrer started to rise as he promoted his local single known as "What You Drinking On." Stoute's time to shine would come to a horrifying end as Stoute was shot several times in the head and torso before his body was set afire in a vacant home on August 16, 2011. The police have since then arrested three people who are believed to be responsible for Stoute’s brutal death.
Fun Fact: Stoute’s cousin is J-Runnah, a well-known Roc-a-Fella producer who produced hits for Memphis Bleek and Jay-Z.
Recommended songs: "What You Drinkin' On" "Been So Long"
Sylvia Robinson (March 6, 1936 – September 29, 2011)
Sylvia Robinson was a singer, producer, and a record label executive, where she was mostly known for founding and being a CEO of the hip-hop label Sugar Hill Records. The label housed many legendary rappers and rap groups such as Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Funky Four Plus One, The Sequence, Treacherous Three, and many others. Robinson was also credited as the producer for classic singles "Rapper’s Delight" by Sugarhill Gang and "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five (As well as "Love on a Two Way Street" by The Moments, which would be later sampled in Jay-Z's"Empire State of Mind"). After Sugar hill folded, she founded the label Bon Ami Records, where the label was noted for signing the act The New Style, which later became Naughty By Nature after leaving for Tommy Boy Records. Her works as a musician were sampled by many rappers and musicians such as Boogie Down Productions, Moby, J Dilla, and Buckshot & 9th Wonder.
Recommended songs: "Pillow Talk" "Sunday" "Sweet Stuff" "Pussy Cat" "Rapper’s Delight" by Sugarhill Gang (produced by Robinson) "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five (produced by Robinson)
Dwight Arrington Myers, known mainly as rapper Heavy D, was the leader of rap group Heavy D & the Boyz (G-Whiz, the late Trouble T-Roy, and Eddie F). Myers was known to epitomize good clean fun rap music throughout his works. He was also known as "The Overweight Lover," which emphasized his stage name as a man with an above-average weight, but with a highly smooth appeal. He bought a rare combination in music that the ladies, hardcore hip-hop heads, and even grandmas would equally enjoy as the music of Myers felt like a never-ending party for all to enjoy. Myers was preparing for his hip-hop comeback after years of hiatus from the genre until he suddenly passed away at the age of 44.
Recommended songs: "The Overweight Lover’s in the House" "Now That We Found Love" "Somebody for Me" "Is It Good to You" "Got Me Waiting"
Karryl "Special One" Smith (December 31, 1969 - December 10, 2011)
Karryl "Special One" Smith was known as one of the California hip-hop duo Conscious Daughters, along with Carla "CMG" Green. The duo was discovered by rapper Paris , as he signed the duo to his label Scarface Records to release their debut, "Ear to the Street." The album contained two hit singles "Somethin’ To Ride To (Fonky Expedition)" and "We Roll Deep." The duo continued to release records throughout the 90s' and the last decade, even appearing in Nas’ West Coast Remix of "Where Are The Now," along with Kam, Threat, Sir Mix-A-Lot, and many others. The Conscious Daughters signed a distribution deal with Phaseone/Sony to release their new album, until Smith was found dead at her home of unknown causes at the age of 41.
Recommended songs: "We Roll Deep” "Somethin’ to Ride To (Fonky Expedition)" "So Good" "Gamers" "Sticky Situation"
Mario "Slim Dunkin" Hamilton (August 20, 1987 - December 16, 2011)
Mario "Slim Dunkin" Hamilton was an up-and-coming rapper who was affiliate with Waka Flocka Flame and Gucci Mane’s 1017 Brick Squad rap group. Hamilton appeared in many tracks with Waka Flocka Flame and Gucci Mane, as well as releasing numerous of mixtapes, such as "Menace II Society" and "Block Illegal." Hamilton was shot and killed on December 16, 2011 during his video shot.
Recommended songs: "Twitter That" (f/ Gucci Mane) "I Gotta Eat" "Swisher" "That’s a No Go" (f/ OJ Da Juiceman) "Lightz On" (f/ Waka Flocka Flame)
Other notable late non-hip-hop individuals: Patrice O'Neal, Vesta Williams, Ryan Dunn, "Macho Man" Randy Savage (although he gets honorable mention due to the release of his solo rap album "Be a Man" in 2003), Mike Starr, Deion Jenkins (Soulja Boy’s little brother), Jani Lane, and Andy Whitfield.
Diamond Lane Music Group artist Problem releases the music video for his single "Last Love" that landed on Billboard's Top 100 R&B/Hip-Hop Song chart last month and currently climbing (now at #34) the country's Urban Radio chart. Directed by Topshelf Junior and produced by Bryant Robinson, the video chronicles the tangled relationship of Problem and his lady love as he croons her with his smooth talking rhymes.
The sophomore album from Suitland, Maryland's yU (of Diamond District & The 1978ers) has been building steam since it's release before the holidays, earning critical acclaim from a lot of our other favorite sites. Well, 2012 is here and yU's back with more music for the movement! Today's new yU single is Time Machine, a relaxed reminiscing that takes listeners back. Enjoy the music!
Time Machine Featuring Bilal Salaam & Danedra Rowell Produced: Unknown & yU Keys: Drew Kid Cuts: DJ 2Tone Jones
Video: Parody of Naughty By Nature - "You Down With J.P.P."
Courtesy Chris @ E1.
This video is meant as a song parody of "O.P.P" from the 90's greatest rap group Naughty By Nature. It's in honor of Jason Pierre-Paul, the New York Giants and their fans. I do not own the rights to ANY game footage or the instrumental, though the lyrics are original. (Registered WGA East)
I'm going to make this short and sweet. I'm now the sole owner of my own company called "Ink Different Inc." http://inkdifferentinc.com/ and from this day forward ALL of my music and content will be distributed solely by iTunes. I've hired an entire staff to help me to operate this company and will not be able to work in the manner which I am accustomed to. It takes a village as they say, so I had to humble myself and bring in professionals to help make this business venture successful.
We offer marketing, branding, distribution, consultation, creative development, professional videos, website/logo design, album artwork and many other services. Make no mistakes, I am an artist and always will be, but it's time for a change. Happy New Year.
Press Release: Busdriver Premieres New Track Via Spin
Courtesy Geo @ Terrorbird.
Beaus$Eros, the recently-announced seventh full-length from indie rap trailblazer Busdriver, forgoes the lightening-speed rhyming that defined his style in favor of a diverse, off-kilter brand of pop and post-hip-hop. Keeping things technically challenging on the new record, Busdriver has made his most personal and avant-garde work yet with Beaus$Eros. Focusing on a devastating break-up and personal failure, the album is buttered in stirring melodies and complex vocals and are on full display with the new single "Bon Bon Fire," which premiered over the holidays with Spin Magazine . The ultra-surreal video for "Kiss Me Back To Life," is worth a watch if you missed it the first time too, which you can see via Pitchfork. In step with Busdriver's recent work with forward-thinking producers Flying Lotus, Modeselektor, Nosaj Thing and others, the production on Beaus$Eros takes root in beat music, lush IDM, and sythpop. Beaus$Eros has an adjusted North American release date of February 14th, 2012. Busdriver will be hitting the road in 2012... stay tuned.