Today's hip-hop history is action packed with hot new single and album releases. Solange declares her independence, while Mariah Carey brings a unique style, and a sexy video and Petey Pablo put his state on the map.

1946: Valerie Simpson is Born.

Today in history, we celebrate the birthday of singer and songwriter, and one half of the dynamic duo Ashford & Simpson, Valerie Simpson. Simpson, along with her husband Nickolas Ashford co-wrote numerous soul hits before beginning their successful performing career in the early 1970s. They wrote for fellow singers like Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, and Tammi Terrell, creating Motown hits like, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

Four days before Simpson’s birthday, her husband and writing partner died from throat cancer at the age of 70. Shortly after his death, SFGate spoke with Simpson at her New York home.

“It's just one step at a time," she said. "There's no getting around it. Some days are better than other days. I have a great network of family and friends who lift me up when I just want to go lay down. It's something I didn't expect - to be in this position. Nothing prepares you for it. It's a hard thing to go through."

1997:  Coolio Releases My Soul.

On this day, Compton rapper Coolio released his third album,  My Soul. The first single from the album, “See U When U Get There,” peaked at No. 12 on the Hot 100 and was an international success. The album, which was his last for Tommy Boy, was a minor success in comparison to his previous albums and saw production from  Romeo, Vic C., Bryan "Wino" Dobbs and DJ I-Roc.

1997: Mariah Carey Drops "Honey."

Mariah Carey also released new music on this day with her first single “Honey,” from her sixth album Butterfly. The single became a quick success being Carey's twelfth No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100. Remember the sexy video with Carey strutting her revealing outfits, exposed cleavage, and sexual content? Freshly separated from her then-husband, music mogul Tommy Mottola, Mariah introduced the world to a new sexy look along with her new tune.

“Mariah is a diva and anything that divas do, it transcends," Stevie J told Billboard. "Since I and Puff were the hottest producers in hip-hop at the time, doing a collaboration with someone like Mariah Carey, it was bound to blow because everyone knows she’s a helluva vocalist. If she gets on some hip-hop tracks and writes it the right way, it’s gonna be a win-win. So, I had no doubt in my mind she was gonna fly on the hip-hop side. She’s like one of the greatest of all time, and I’m just blessed to have work with her.”

2001: Petey Pablo Represent For North Carolina With "Raise Up."

Petey Pablo put North Carolina on the map when he dropped his debut single “Raise Up.” This summertime hit, produced by Timbaland, reached No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100.

 “I remember riding down the highway coming from New York to Washington, D.C. playing the instrumental over and over again," Pablo recalled to Billboard. "Then it seemed like a helicopter was following me all the way from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., and I just kept thinking, like, 'North Carolina, come and raise up, take your shirt off, twist it ‘round your hand,' like this helicopter that kept flying over my head. It started as a joke that turned to, 'Wait a minute, that actually sounds good.'"

2003: YoungbloodZ are Drankin Patnaz

On this day in 2003, rap duo Youngbloodz released their sophomore album Drankin Patnaz. The album produced the Grammy-nominated single “Damn!,” which peaked to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Atlanta Crunk sound pushed the album to No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and eventually went Platinum.

2003: Mary J. Blige Embraces Love & Life

Mary J. Blige also releases her sixth studio album Love & Life on this day. Blige reunited with Diddy and his Bad Boy in-house production team. People have always had their quirky jokes about Blige only making good music when she has drama in her personal life, but this album begs to differ debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

2003: Nappy Roots Drop Wooden Leather

Another southern rap group, Nappy Roots, released their second album Wooden Leather on this day. The album like its predecessor gained success with singles “Roun’ the Globe,” which featured on Madden 2003. It featured artists Kanye West, Lil Jon, and David Banner, just to name a few and reached No. 12 on the Billboard 200.

“Wooden Leather” resembles a lot of things that you come across in American culture," Skinny DeVille told Billboard. "The 'wood' is the structure. You can look at 'leather' as success. If you take care of them both, they will last forever —they both represent quality."

2008: The Game Takes the World to LAX

With several release date changes, The Game finally released his third album LAX on this day in 2008. The Game already has great success in his first two albums, so there wasn’t much to prove. The album featured a list of guest appearances such as Ice Cube, Nas, Common and charted four singles including "Game's Pain," " Dope Boys," "Touchdown" and "My Life," featuring Lil Wayne.

The album received favorable reviews from critics, debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on both Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, and Top Rap Albums charts.

2008: Solange Steps Out of Her Sister's Shadow With Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams

Solange reinvented herself as an artist with the release of her second album Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Declaring that she's "no sister," the record gave a nostalgic Motown Sound feeling, while remaining fresh, and peaked at  No. 9 on the Billboard 200.

In a Q&A with Seventeen magazine, Solange talks about her journey making the album, “Truly a journey, this was like traveling through the past, present and future of my emotions. I was facing honesty face to face with the sound, lyrics, and soul in the records. I really captured a true reflection musically and artistically of who I am.”

2008: V.I.C. Release Beast

Atlanta rapper V.I.C. drops his debut album Beast. The album peaked at No. 7 on the Top Rap Albums chart. Unfortunately, it received harsh criticism. Writer Jake Paine from Hip-HopDX gave it a two out of five, calling the album confused.

2008: The Ying Yang Twins Drop The Official Work

Fellow Atlanta natives Ying Yang Twins drop their first mixtape The Official Work. The mixtape reached No. 19 on the Top Rap Albums chart.


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