Jim Jones Gives a Glimpse of His Harlem: August 23 in Hip-Hop History
Today's hip-hop history includes the birthday of a man who is never scared, the release of some classic underground albums, and Jim Jones' takes us to Harlem.
1971: Bone Crusher is Born.
On this day we celebrate the birth of Wayne Hardnett Jr., aka Bone Crusher. The Atlanta-based rapper is best known for his Top 40 hit single "Never Scared," started in the game in the late '80s as a DJ. He then joined the group Lyrical Giants, before writing hooks for Organized Noize, Too $hort, Lil Jon and the YoungbloodZ. After several failed record deals, including one with the Green-Eyed Bandit, Erick Sermon, Bone Crusher landed a solo deal with Jermaine Dupri's So So Def Records.
"In 2002 I ended up recording the 'Never Scared' record. I saw JD in the club, I had already had the record go public but he was out of town, so he didn’t know what the hell was goin’ on, just like I don’t know what the hell is going on right now," Bone Crusher told Riot Sound in an interview. "So I saw him at the club and I was like – 'Check this record out, tell me what you think.' Next thing I know, he had this radio show, So So Def Radio, and he was telling everyone – this is gonna be the hottest record ever, the hottest record ever. So from then on we kinda went into a partnership." Dupri was right, "Never Scared" became Bone Crusher's only hit, peaking at No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 6 on the Rap Chart. His 2003 debut album AttenCHUN peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200. Currently, Bone Crusher is getting ready to go on the So So Def reunion tour along with Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat, Xscape and Anthony Hamilton.
1994: Public Enemy Drop Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age
On this day, Public Enemy dropped their fifth studio album, Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age (Music and Our Message), their first album since 1991's Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black. As rap was at the peak of its gangsta phase, Chuck D and the rest of PE struggled to keep up as they refused to conform to the trends of hip-hop at the time. "I had two choices; to go with the flow and make things more melodic," Chuck D revealed in his book Lyrics of a Rap Revolutionary, "...or I could make something different. I decided to make something different." The album did well, debuting at No. 14 on the Billboard 200 despite terrible reviews, and a shuffle in distribution at Def Jam, however, the record quickly fell off the charts after its release.
1994: Anita Baker Shows the World Her Rhythm of Love
Antia Baker also released new music on this day in 1994. The album Rhythm of Love became Baker's fourth Platinum-selling album, debuting on the Billboard 200 at No. 2 and No. 1 on the Top R&B and Rap chart. The album produced the hits "Body and Soul," "I Apologize," and "You Belong to Me," and Baker won the Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "I Apologize." However with all the success, she was unhappy with the album's promotion from Elektra Records, so she sued them and demanded to be moved to another label within Warner Music Group. In the end, she won her case and signed a multi-million dollar deal with Atlantic Records, making her the first artist in the United States to successfully carry out a lateral exit move from a record company.
1999: Destiny's Child Tells the "Bug A Boo" in Their Lives to Chill
The second single from Destiny's Child's The Writing's On The Wall was released on this day in 1999. Written by the group along with Kandi Burruss and Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs, the uptempo track follows the girls as they sing about a man that's continuously wanting to be attached to them. The song was a modest hit, peaking at No. 33 on the Billboard Hot 100, but Burruss, who did a lot of writing for The Writing's On The Wall revealed that the song almost didn't happen.
“When we first played the track ‘Bug A Boo’ to Destiny’s Child, I remember, they were kinda looking like, ‘Eh, I don’t know about this,’” Burruss explained to Yahoo Music. “I remember Beyoncé was telling the rest of the girls, ‘Y’all, if we really don’t like this, maybe we should let him know.’ Because [the producer] She’sphere had stepped out of the room." Kandi saved the track by singing some of the verse for them and won the group over. The video, which finds the girls shopping, and going to a basketball game marks the last music video that all four original Destiny Child members are seen together. LaToya and LaTavia were replaced four months later, after a dispute with the group's manager and Beyoncé's father, Matthew Knowles.
2005: Jim Jones Gives a Glimpse of His Harlem With Harlem: Diary of a Summer
Jim Jones saw his highest album debut to date when he released Harlem: Diary Of a Summer on this day in 2005. Peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, the album produced the singles "Summer Wit Miami" and "Baby Girl" featuring Max B. As Max B's star began to rise thanks to his appearance on the album and his appearance on Cam'ron's "You Gotta Love It," things between him and Jimmy turned sour.
The two went on to found Byrdgang Records together, and Biggaveli was one of the signees along with Stack Bundles, Jha Jha and Mel Matrix. By 2008, Max left after alleging that Jones forced him into a bad contract, and was skimming money from live show performances. According to Max's appearance on The Come Up Vol. 18, he had to give Jones "10 albums worth of material" to fulfill his contract. While the beef never ended, it did take a back seat after Max B. was found guilty of murder conspiracy and robbery charges stemming from a 2006 botched robbery turned homicide in New Jersey, allegedly involving his girlfriend Gina Conway and step-brother Kevin Leerdem.
2005: Kurupt Goes Against the Grain for His Solo Death Row Debut
After a delay, Kurput released his fourth studio album Against the Grain on this day in 2005. The album, which is his first on Death Row Records as a solo artist, marked the first new album from Death Row in over four years. Unfortunately due to rising tension between Death Row and their distributor Koch Records the album peaked at No. 60 on the Billboard 200.
Koch removed and "altered" several of the tracks on the record, causing for Kurupt and Death Row to tell fans to boycott the album. "Well if you support this Against The Grain record, you're gonna hear some Kurupt music that's talking bad about Snoop, you're gonna hear some Kurupt music that's talking bad about Daz. You know that's not the way Kurupt is going right now," he told DubCnn." So that music that you're supporting, that's not no Kurupt music to support. But if you do wanna hear it, then hey, that's more power to you."
2005: Pumpkinhead Sees an Orange Moon Over Brooklyn
The second album from New York battle rapper Pumpkinhead sees guest appearances from Immortal Technique, Jean Grae, D.V. Alias Khrist, Supastition, Wordsworth and more. The album opened many doors for PH, as he went on to tour around the world being an opening act for the Goo Goo Dolls, Boot Camp Clik and more. Unfortunately, he passed away in June 2015 while in the hospital for gallstone surgery.
2005: Skrapz Does The 12 Step Program
Detroit's Skrapz released his quintessential full-length debut album, The 12 Step Program on this day in 2005. Discussing an array of topics including his hometown, love quarrels, politics and his rap skills, this album was appreciated by underground rap lovers everywhere.
2005: I Wayne Puts the Lava Ground
On this day in 2005, reggae artist I Wayne released his debut album Lava Ground. The project produced the club hit, "Can't Satisfy Her," a song about a young woman that turns to prostitution to fund a flashy lifestyle. While the subject matter is heavy, the song could be heard in bashments from New York to North Carolina helping the track peak at No. 30 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.