Today in hip hop history, Dilated Peoples released their 2nd album Expansion Team on October 23, 2001. The album was led by The Alchemist-produced Worst Comes to Worst, which utilized a vocal sample from Mobb Deep’s Survival of the Fittest classic single and a sample from William Bell’s I Forgot to be Your Lover. Expansion Team debuted at #8 on the US Billboard Top R&B Albums chart and #36 on the Billboard 200.
Today in hip hop history, LL Cool J released his 7th album Phenomenon on October 14, 1997. The album was Certified Platinum and executively produced by Sean “Puffy” Combs and the Bad Boy Records in-house roster of producers called The Hitmen.
4,3,2,1 was a smash hit for starting the LL Cool J vs. Canibus feud. LL took offense to the lines, “L, is that a mic on your arm? Let me borrow that”, which referenced his tattoo of a microphone on his arm – and which Canibus claimed was his own way of showing the rap veteran respect. Later in the song, LL wrote a direct diss to Canibus:
“The symbol on my arm is off limits to challengers / You hold the rusty sword, I swing the Excalibur”
“Now let’s get back to this mic on my arm / If it ever left my side, it’d transform into a time bomb / You don’t wanna borrow that, you wanna idolize / And you don’t wanna make me mad, n***a, you wanna socialize.”
Today in hip hop history, Common, then known as Common Sense, released his debut album Can I Borrow A Dollar? on October 6, 1992. The album was entirely produced by No I.D, The Beatnuts and Twilite Tone. Entertainment Weekly described it as “a clever but little-noticed first album.”
Below you can stream I Used To Love H.E.R which is one of my favorite singles. The song uses an extended metaphor, using a woman to represent hip hop music. The acronym “H.E.R” means Hip Hop in its Essence is Real.
Today in hip hop history, Jay Z released his third album Vol. 2 Hard Knock Life on September 29, 1998. Even though the Jigga Man has sold a total of 55 million albums in his career, Hard Knock Life was his best-selling album with over 5 million copies, Certified 5 times Platinum, and won a Grammy for Best Rap Album in 1999.
Yesterday, I realized that its been 15 years since Shyne released his debut album on September 26, 2000. Shyne was discovered in 1998 while freestyling in a barbershop. Producer Clark Kent noticed that he sounded eerily similar to the late, great Notorious B.I.G. Diddy then signed him on the spot and the rest was history.
Today in hip hop history, A Tribe Called Quest released their 2nd album The Low End Theory on September 24, 1991. Rolling Stone ranked the album at number 154 in The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, stating that “people connected the dots between hip hop and jazz — both were revolutionary forms of black music based in improvisation and flow — but A Tribe Called Quest’s second album drew the entire picture.”
A Tribe Called Quest has announced that in honor of the 25th anniversary of their groundbreaking first project, they will reissue the album on November 13th. The new version will be remastered by engineer Bob Powers and will feature remixes. Yes!