Here Are Hip-Hop Moments That Would Have Gone Viral If Twitter Was Popular Back Then
At the height of social media access and participation, Twitter has been able to rival prestigious publications and news outlets since its inception in 2006. The app has exceeded in popularity past its competitors of Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, becoming the premiere outlet for information to travel through the spectrum of facts and jokes.
Every day, trending topics rotate, identifying the most impactful stories around the world and country. Considering the demand for hip-hop, rappers and the moments they’re involved in often sit cozy as viral moments. Rap music has a long, extensive history that’s been filled with news-breaking instances. Considering how social platforms have a hand in shaping the genre today, just imagine if Twitter had been around decades ago when certain things occurred. In fact, Twitter launched in 2006.
Years before Kanye West made internet waves for his outspoken rants and Donda album listening sessions, he had the nation’s attention in a chokehold back in 2005, when he called out then-President George Bush on national television for the mistreatment of Black people after Hurricane Katrina. If Twitter was around when this moment went down, he would’ve easily climbed his way into the No. 1 trending topic. Fans would’ve likely supported his words as factual information. Others would have made memes out of the facial expressions of ’Ye, actor Mike Myers and comedian Chris Tucker. And, of course, headstrong opposers would’ve judged him for going off script and bashing the former president.
That strong example is just one of many that would’ve went viral if Twitter had been popular, floating in the same pool as Cam’ron’s infamous “no snitching” convo with journalist Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes, Jay-Z bringing out Michael Jackson at Hot 97’s Summer Jam, the unsolved murders of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G., plus plenty more. Here are hip-hop moments that would have gone viral if Twitter was popular back then. The rationale is based on how social users might’ve reacted to these surprising, shocking or wild moments. One could only imagine.
Kanye West Calls out George Bush on National Television
Never forget when Kanye West put former President George Bush on blast for the mistreatment of Black people during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. On Sept. 2, 2005, ’Ye, who had proven himself as a super-producer and blockbuster rapper, stood beside Austin Powers star Mike Myers on TV during a telethon program called A Concert For Hurricane Relief. Veering off script and clearly nervous, Kanye blasted the government for failing to help people survive the post-disaster turmoil and spoke on the government setting people of color up to fail with the circumstances at hand. He ignored the teleprompter once more, and simply said the phrase, “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people,” before the cameras cut back to Chris Tucker who clearly was just as shocked as the people on set and the world watching.
If something like this had happened in today’s time, the internet would’ve been ablaze in support of a gigantic artist like Kanye using such a major platform to keep it real. Of course, the candid reactions of Mike Myers and Chris Tucker would have a long life as go-to memes and GIFs. There would be plenty of threads of Yeezy’s other outspoken moments, or those from hip-hop’s other unapologetic voices. And politicians would have quoted the video to either cosign the notion or bash his credibility as a rapper. Regardless, a No. 1 trending topic is where this one would’ve landed, and quickly at that.
Cam'ron Explains "No Snitching" Code to Anderson Cooper
Cam’ron delivered one of the most classic hip-hop moments of all time on national television when he explained the infamous “no snitching” rule to journalist Anderson Cooper. On April 22, 2007, Killa Cam, still scorching as one of New York City’s most solid MCs at the time, admitted that he would forever turn a blind eye when it comes to criminal activity during an interview on 60 Minutes. The Dipset seed rationalized his mindset by tracing it back to the code of ethics he adopted on the concrete. Fully aware of an accompanying street-bred, loyal fan base that’s helped earn him the title of a platinum-selling rapper, Cam also said that the people who don’t understand the importance of keeping one’s lips zipped aren’t the people that support his music.
Snitching is a round-the-clock topic when it comes to rap fans on social media. Just think back to how the internet exploded when 6ix9ine started working with the feds. Best believe that Cam would get praise on social media from millions of people who have probably never been in that position before. Some would make memes of Cam and Cooper’s facial expressions while others would Photoshop his firm words onto T-shirts and hats. Either way it goes, TL’s would be flooded with fist emojis that salute the obeying of a true street commandment.
The Notorious B.I.G.'s Murder
On March 9, 1997, a 24-year-old The Notorious B.I.G. was murdered in a drive-by shooting at a red light in Los Angeles. Upon his death, the world of hip-hop screamed of sadness, most in disbelief that another generational talent was tragically wiped out in what seemed like the snap of a finger. At the time, the famed Bad Boy Records rapper was at the face of a brewing East Coast versus West Coast battle. Tupac Shakur was just gunned down a year prior and Biggie wanted to put a squash to what came off as a deadly rivalry when he hit California to promote his sophomore album, Life After Death.
Twitter’s reaction to this would’ve been similar to seeing Pop Smoke’s death unfold over the last couple of years. Both artists were Brooklyn stars who showed the heights they could reach while alive but got their spot on the throne stolen by senseless violence. While Pop is revered among New York City’s rap culture, Biggie holds even more weight, going down as an objective top 10 all-time spitter in the few years he got to show and prove. The Twitter posts of his best songs, polaroid shots, inspiring interview clips and everything in between would’ve floated this conversation day after day.
Jay-Z Disses Nas and Mobb Deep at Summer Jam, Brings Out Michael Jackson
Jay-Zs 2001 Hot 97 Summer Jam performance has already gone down as one of the most emblematic rap shows in history. On the date of June 28, 2001, Hov was certified as the headliner to take the stage after other OGs like Missy Elliott, OutKast, Ludacris and more. Now a bona fide commercial success, chart baby and New York City legend, a lot of people chalked him up as being the "King of Rap." With high status comes opposition though, and in this case, that was Mobb Deep and Nas, who got shots thrown their way on Hov's song “Takeover,” which debuted on the New Jersey stage that night.
Upping the ante after already having the tri-state crowd on tilt, Jay-Z brought out the "King of Pop," Michael Jackson, whose track “I Want You Back” with the Jackson 5 is the backbone of Jay's “Izzo (H.O.V.A.).” Mike didn’t perform, but attendees went bananas over the presence of two megastars. Goat emojis would’ve swamped the Twitter feed, with millions praising the link-up of two sound staples. Jokes would’ve got cracked about how Mike is good in any hood and catalogs would’ve been broken down to show just how many mountain’s they’ve moved with their music.
2 Live Crew Members Arrested for Performing Obscene Music in Florida
Rap lyrics can be unfathomable to those who don’t come from the grounds that breed it. Dating back to the early 1990s, Florida’s 2 Live Crew went head to head with the government, battling their right to spit raunchy lyrics that reflected their free-willed lifestyles. A federal judge determined that tracks like “Me So Horny” and “The Fuck Shop” were too obscene, making it illegal in certain areas to promote the records or the entire Nasty As They Wanna Be album. The group wasn’t trying to hear that and performed their songs anyway, leading to the arrest of members Uncle Luke and Fresh Kid Ice on June 11, 1990 in Miami.
Boy, the internet would’ve gone up in flames. Think pieces would be typed at the speed of light about the contradictory system these rules were born in. And the backlash would rise high from the idea that people were getting stripped of their basic rights, igniting a bigger conversation of racial discrimination as this instance likely would’ve been compared to that of other musical genres and to those of other colors. Though the guys ended up getting acquitted, the criticism of this occurrence would’ve sent shockwaves in the tweets.
N.W.A Arrested for Performing "Fuck tha Police" in Detroit
When it comes to hip-hop culture, police are often looked at as the ultimate opps. Rappers have never shied away from speaking on the mistreatment of their people when it comes to the law, and one of the earliest, most successful examples is the 1988 release of N.W.A.’s “Fuck tha Police.” Not far removed from their classic debut album, Straight Outta Compton, it became a tour agreement for the collective to refrain from playing the controversial record to try and avoid backlash from law enforcement who were needed to secure these shows. However, on June 19, 1989, in Detroit, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Arabian Prince, DJ Yella and MC Ren shattered the pre-set rule and played their anthem until they got chased off stage. They were arrested later that night.
Twitter would’ve been outraged that the message was being silenced. People would’ve taken jabs at how unfair the arrest was and unjust it is for someone to be reprimanded for speaking their mind. There would’ve been serious but playful jokes that served the sole purpose of keeping “Fuck Tha Police” in the faces of everyone who didn’t want to hear it. Though pissed, people would’ve seen it through that the record became social media’s soundtrack for the next few days.
Countless Moments From Flavor Flav's Reality Hit Flavor of Love
Flavor of Love walked so that a lot of these other reality dating shows could run. For those who are too young to remember the Vh1 effort that ran between 2006 and 2008, the show found Public Enemy hype man Flavor Flav on his quest for romance as he eliminated girls week by week until he was down to just one. On each episode, the women would go through challenges that tested the skills that Flav desired in his dream woman. It was a highly entertaining mess, from standout nicknames like Deelishis to contestants like Hottie trying to cook chicken in the microwave to cat fights between Pumpkin and New York that started with spit flying and ended with skulls getting pushed into the camera lens.
Each of these occurrences would’ve made for plenty of social content. People would’ve joked hard about the names, giving themselves comical ones like Lil Durk does with random celebrities since he started calling himself The Voice. Tiffany “New York” Pollard went on to become the most famous person to live on the internet from the show as a result of the memes she spawned, naturally. And the recap clips would’ve went viral after each night with people live tweeting through it all.
Jay-Z Stabs Lance "Un" Rivera at New York Nightclub
Indicated throughout his lyrics, Jay-Z has beaten the system plenty of times before. However, after a club incident on Dec. 2, 1999, he put himself in a compromising position to do it again. At the time, Hov was sitting comfty at the top of the rap game from projects like Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life, which topped the Billboard 200 chart and won him a Grammy Award. Gearing up for his new album, Vol. 3… Life And Times Of S. Carter, Jay was expected to do things even bigger until the project leaked, with a tip that Lance "Un" Rivera was reportedly the man responsible for the unauthorized release. However, Cam'ron claimed Hov and Un's disagreement was a fallout over Charli Baltimore.
Months later, at the release party for Q-Tip’s Amplified, both the artist and alleged leaker were in attendance at the Kit Kat Klub. Hov and his entourage reportedly approached Un and caused a melee, in which Un was stabbed and bottles were thrown. With accusations flying, Hov turned himself in to police the next day, was arrested and booked for felony assault in the second degree. His bail was set at $50,000, and he eventually received a three-year probation sentence.
Part of Twitter would’ve made jokes about Hov handling his business, sticking to the G code. And another group of people would’ve wagged fingers at how unacceptable it was for someone of his status to engage with such risky behavior. Others would’ve surfaced the idea that the stabbing took place over Charli Baltimore, according to Cam’ron's claims. Regardless, this moment would’ve had Twitter in a chokehold.
Irv Gotti, Chris Lorenzo and Murder Inc. Acquitted of Money Laundering
Murder Inc. founders Irv and Chris Lorenzo Gotti defied the odds in early December of 2005, when they were acquitted of all counts of money laundering. In the midst of a potent label movement that was supported by Ja Rule and Rap&B princess Ashanti, prosecutors tried to say that the Gotti brothers laundered funds supplied by king pin Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff by pouring thousands of dollars into phony corporations controlled by McGriff. The pre-trial drew millions of eyes due to the rising stature of the collective at the time.
Rappers and their fans love speaking about beating cases, so this moment would’ve been a prime time for internet users alike to support the tackling of a system that’s rigged against the very types of people that define hip-hop. Others would’ve admired the finesse, suggesting that Irv and Chris were in fact engaging in risky behavior. And perhaps Irv’s huge smile walking out of the courtroom would’ve inspired dating memes about avoiding any red flags with a man or woman.
Nas Drops "Ether"
After Hov came for Nas’ head with “Takeover,” a track he premiered at Hot 97’s Summer Jam, Nasir clapped back with “Ether,” one of the best diss tracks of all time. Delivering a song that Nas explains “will make your soul burn slow,” the December of 2001 release of “Ether” found the Queens-bred prophet leveling up in his feud with Jay-Z, landing an onslaught of disrespectful lyrics about their contrasting statuses in the rap game, though both of them are seen as New York City’s top legends.
The level of disrespect utilized here was at an all-time high. Lyrics like, "When these streets keep callin', heard it when I was sleep/That this Gay-Z and Cock-a-Fella Records wanted beef,” made this heated chin-check reign as the best example of how to catch a body alongside Tupac Shakur’s “Hit ‘Em Up.” Talk about being below the belt with.
The slimy bars would’ve been used as tweets and Instagram captions, the beat would’ve been edited into old videos showing something tragic happening and Nas’ face for sure would’ve been copied and pasted on the throne after emerging victorious with this one.
Shyne Shoots Up New York City Club
In late December of 1999, Shyne had a Grand Theft Auto-style shooting at Club New York in the heart of the Big Apple. Just two days after Christmas, Puff Daddy and Jennifer Lopez, along with Bad Boy’s next primed talent Shyne—who was gearing up to release his debut album—and his girlfriend, found themselves in the midst of a fight. A then-21-year-old Shyne fired multiple shots into the crowd, wounding three people. Witnesses quickly identified the Belize native as the man with the smoking gun, literally. He was eventually dropped from his powerhouse of a label, convicted of criminal possession of a weapon, assault and reckless endangerment and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Upon serving nine, he was deported back to his home country of Belize.
At the time of this incident, pictures and videos of what went down might’ve spawned captions that joked how Shyne was actually out here shooting the club up in real life and not just in bed, as people like to say. Others would’ve been pissed at the fact that he could’ve easily caused casualties and from that, ruined the golden path he was walking on as Puff’s next priority talent. Shootings are always making huge news splashes. This one would’ve been no different.
Diddy Raises $2 Million Dollars by Running a Marathon
Diddy once embarked on a 26-mile marathon that raised over $2 million for the kids of his home city. In a little over four hours in November of 2003, Diddy crossed the finish line despite the leg cramps that were giving him hell. In fact, the music mogul later mentioned that he thought he was going to die. “I ran the New York City Marathon and almost died," he said in 2013, recalling his experience. "I tried to run like a two-minute mile early on in the race. I was crazy enough to think I could win. After seven miles I thought I would die, but I slowed down my pace and kept going."
Though many of these perspectives come from the outside, it’s indeed factual that being a successful entertainer does come with a hefty paycheck. Fans are constantly calling out their favorite rappers and singers, urging them to use their platforms to make a change or use their money on more important matters other than jewelry, cars and clothes. Twitter would’ve saluted Diddy for paying it forward. But his struggle throughout the race would’ve been edited onto pictures, depicting him running away from something like he was in a scary movie or video game clips that replaced Sonic the Hedgehog collecting rings with a visual of Puff’s exercise.
Jay-Z's Farewell Concert at Madison Square Garden
Jay-Z temporarily sent his jersey up the rafters in November of 2005. Nearly two decades ago, he held his retirement concert in none other than the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City. Other artists like Mary J. Blige, Beanie Sigel, Ghostface Killah, Foxy Brown, Missy Elliott and even Beyoncé hit the stage alongside Hov that night for one last hoorah. The farewell evening was also captured and put into a documentary-style film called Fade to Black, which features a mix of show footage and other special moments of Jay’s career that happened beforehand.
Now as rap fans already know, the retirement was a pump fake. But at the time, being deemed by many loyal Hov stans as the biggest rapper on the planet with stacks on stacks of accomplishments and plaques to hold up that notion, fans flipped their frowns into smiles and gave the Brooklyn icon his flowers. Twitter would’ve been stuffed with an overall celebration of his legacy, from personal takes to undeniable stat sheets he put up during his tenure.
Rick Ross Outed as a Former Correctional Officer
On July 22, 2008, it was confirmed that Rick Ross was indeed a former correctional officer, despite his usual lyrics of avoiding cops. Though The Boss had previously denied the claim after photos of his graduation were released via Media Takeout, records surfaced that Ross was a prison guard for two years in December of 1995. Fully embroiled with another rap juggernaut and troll named 50 Cent, Ross’ rising status in the rap game was tampered with from the clowning that came with a leak of the facts.
Ross eventually chalked up the moment to the bag-chasing path he was on, saying that he didn’t care what people had to say about his occupations and that the truth was “more sinister.” He still transformed into the southern sleeping giant that he is today. But Twitter would’ve flamed him as a “capper” and had a full-on comedy show about his reaction to seeing that his big little secret was out for public consumption. Digging even deeper, people likely would’ve tried to take down a few other high-profile rhymers by digging up their pasts and blasting them for the pre-artist moves that were made as well.
Tupac Shakur's Murder
On Sept. 13, 1996, Tupac was fatally shot in Las Vegas after attending Mike Tyson’s fight with Bruce Seldon at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. After living six days in a medically-induced coma, ’Pac was pronounced dead at just 25 years old. The Death Row Records signee was undoubtedly one of the biggest rappers on the planet during the 1990s, with a diamond-selling project in All Eyez On Me and eight movie posters with his face and name printed on them, including Juice and Poetic Justice.
With his big-dog status, Twitter would’ve been mourning for an extensive period of time after losing such a polarizing figure. Now, ’Pac was never hesitant to let folks know that things weren’t sweet around his way. He took pride in being a gangsta who used ruthlessness to fuel his confidence. Some people would’ve tried to post news clippings, videos and lyrics that attempted to show that something bad was bound to happen. But most people would’ve celebrated his legacy with songs, quotables and performances that shed light on why his name will forever be cemented into hip-hop history. You surely wouldn’t have been able to open up the app and avoid his name.
Eminem and Elton John Perform "Stan" Together at Grammy Awards
Eminem’s acclaimed career would’ve been a lot different if it weren’t for the controversial lyrics in his music. In the early 2000s, the diamond-selling rapper, thanks to The Marshall Mathers LP, was under fire for the controversial content of his music, highlighting homophobic lyrics. Similar to what DaBaby went through this year, organizations stepped in to criticize Em, urging folks to boycott his music. Poised to make even more noise with his next drop, Em started course-correcting. On Feb. 21, 2001, he brought out Elton John, a prominent member of the gay community and music staple, for a performance of “Stan” at the 2001 Grammy Awards.
Concluding the performance, they hugged and held hands in solidarity, ending the speculation that Eminem was a homophobe and sparking pictures that would never escape hip-hop history. The shockwaves that were sent through people’s TV screens watching this easily would've transferred to social media.
Just imagine if DaBaby’s next move after everything went down this year following his own homophobic comments was to bring out Lil Nas X at one of his shows. Some people would’ve saluted the move as a sign of forgiveness. Some would’ve called it performative BS and stood on the boycott. People surely would’ve been talking, and a heavy convo is all that’s needed for anything to go viral.
T.I. and Lil' Flip Brawl in the Streets of Houston
The people of Houston got a free show on March 24, 2005, when T.I. and Lil' Flip brawled in the streets of Cloverland, Texas, a neighborhood in Houston. To give a bit of context, this all traces back to when Tip called himself the "King of the South," which he had a right to do by putting the city of Atlanta on his back and skyrocketing trap music to the mainstream level with artists like Jeezy and Gucci Mane. Flip, smaller in status but still important in the game, disagreed, starting a beef that brews over the next few months with music full of disrespect.
The ante got upped when T.I. went on a Houston radio station and dissed Flip before boldly saying that he would soon be in Flip’s neighborhood. Well, upon arrival, people got to shaking with the word on the street being that Tip got snuffed and ran. However, the two reportedly ended up sitting down face to face and ending their beef.
Twitter though, would’ve never let this go. Any fight, especially involving celebrities, is a prime opportunity for people to make Ms and we ain’t talking about the money. Memes of Tip running would’ve been edited on to Olympic-level track races and people would’ve made animations of how the altercation played out. Every year, the viral moment would be resurfaced, making it inescapable.
Jay-Z and Nas End Their Beef
The fiery feud between Jay-Z and Nas will go down as one of the most famed in rap history, pinning two megastars of hip-hop against one another. After spawning tracks like “Takeover” on Jay’s side and “Ether” on Nas’, it cannot be denied that plenty of memorable music was released at the expense of their fight. Though things got really grimy and greasy off the strength of coming for each other’s legacies, sexualites and everything in between, they ended their beef in October of 2005, at the end of Hov’s set at Power 105.1's Powerhouse concert.
Nas pulled up on stage to perform two of his classics, “Dead Presidents” and “The World Is Yours,” before he and Nas shook hands and called a truce. As we see today, the images of them dapping each other up would’ve spawned hundreds of thousands of retweets and likes. Furthermore, people would’ve used the moment as an example of how rappers can put their beef to the side without causing casualties and cases. Just imagine if artists with the legendary stature of Biggie and Tupac would’ve graced the stage with one another after the disses they issued against each other.Twitter would’ve been an outright clapping fest.
Tupac Shakur Shoots Two Off-Duty Cops
In October of 1993, Tupac Shakur shot two off-duty cops that were harassing him in Atlanta while he was in town for a show at Clark Atlanta University. Brothers Mark and Scott Whitwell were drunkenly crossing the street when they were nearly struck by two cars, with ’Pac being in one. An altercation ensued and ended with the rising star, not too far removed from his sophomore album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z…, shooting one man in the buttocks and the other in the abdomen. The rapper was arrested back at his hotel shortly after and charged with two counts of aggravated assault.
However, witnesses confirmed that Tupac was the one enticed by the two men, leading to the charges eventually being dropped on the grounds of self-defense in 1995. The pot of Twitter would’ve been boiling hot with people defending ’Pac for standing up against police harassment. And, of course, the typical jokes about how he shot two cops and got off scot-free would’ve been popular topics as well. Then there are his songs about police brutality, Blackness and containing a survive-or-die mentality that would’ve been used to mimic the very reality that was at hand.
Ma$E Announces His Retirement
Never forget when Ma$e retired in April of 1999, on Funkmaster Flex’s Hot 97 radio show. Headstrong on living out his calling, to which he felt was becoming a preacher, he shocked the world by dipping on hip-hop when he was blazing hot due to his run with Bad Boy Records and hits that were spread from the streets of New York City and throughout the world. The announcement came after Ma$e met actors Tia and Tamera Mowry while working on an album called Double Up, set to follow his debut LP, Harlem World. The rapper's manager at the time said they helped Ma$e turn his life over to God at a video shoot.
Ma$e stayed true to his exit from rap for five years until 2004, when he came back on a new slate. Leaving when you’re hot, as Kanye West rapped about on “Devil In A New Dress,” would’ve had Twitter in an explosion of disbelief. Like any other established act though, Ma$e's respect would’ve been acknowledged as people used their Twitter fingers to celebrate his solo releases, features, flashy ’fits and his work alongside Diddy, Biggie, Lil’ Kim and the rest of the Bad Boy mafia.
Joe Budden Punched in the Eye by a Member of Raekwon's Camp
On Aug. 9, 2009, Joe Budden reportedly got his eye blacked by a member of Raekwon’s crew at the Los Angeles stop of Wu-Tang Clan’s Rock the Bells Tour. For those not familiar with the story, a beef between The Chef and the Slaughterhouse member came about when Budden made a comment that discredited Method Man’s slot on Vibe’s list of all-time rappers. In an attempt to address the situation, an altercation commenced and left Joe with a paper towel stuffed with ice cubes held up to his eye afterwards. Joe vlogged about the incident immediately after, saying, “You guys think this was a tough-guy move? You guys think this was dope? I personally don't. I think it was a f****t move, personally... This is what happens when people lack common sense."
To this day, Budden still hasn’t lived down the moment, evidenced in the event picking up momentum at every anniversary that passes. He didn’t necessarily go out sad, but that’s exactly how Twitter would’ve taken it and held back no punches. Most people would likely argue that Joe got what he deserved, considering his typical approach of never biting his tongue and often coming off as disrespectful, regardless of the intention. His pain would’ve been made into easy comedy content as usual.
Mos Def Arrested for Performing "Katrina Clap"
Fifteen summers ago, Mos Def was arrested for performing his song “Katrina Clap” outside of the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards. The politically charged record, a remix of UTP’s “Nolia Clap,” addresses the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and the mishandling of the victims under the guidance of George Bush. Throughout his honored career, Mos Def has never shied away from addressing the topics of being Black on the other side of America and social injustice. Despite having a permit, the NYPD shut down his attempt to heighten awareness and put him into cuffs.
The conscious side of Twitter would’ve typed up think pieces that took aim at how wrongful it was for Def’s freedom of speech to be disrespected. Plenty of tweets also would’ve gone up acknowledging how corrupt law enforcement can be when it comes to pushing their own agendas and shutting other’s down in the process. The fire that the NYPD and government officials were under, also thanks to artists like Kanye West who used his platform to put out the same call for help, would’ve blazed even bigger.
Lil' Kim Released From Prison
After lying in a federal court about the details surrounding a 2001 shootout that involved her two friends, Lil’ Kim was sentenced to a year-and-a-day in prison in 2005, and fined $50,000. The following July, she was released from prison for good behavior, officially freeing the Queen Bee, whose track record stamped her as one the best female MC’s to ever grace a mic. Upon her freedom, she was immediately swarmed by fans who were hyped to see Kim out and about. All this before the rhymer made a visit to her parole officer and then off to her home in New Jersey to spend the next month on house arrest.
The fans and curators of hip-hop are always speaking on the “no snitching” policy and this would’ve been a prime moment to applaud Kim sticking to the code. There might’ve been a few thousand people who took the side of thinking that she put herself behind bars for no reason, suggesting that holding it down to protect friends isn’t always worth it. But most of the tweets would’ve been saluting her decision and legacy. If millions of people can jump in to bash 6ix9ine, those same people would’ve praised Kim.
Dr. Dre Leaves Death Row Records and Starts Aftermath Entertainment
Super-producer Dr. Dre left Death Row Records in March of 1996. Scorching off the release of his debut gem, The Chronic, in 1992, he helped the label secure a spot as home to one of the game’s best rappers and producers with the numbers he put up. Right after signing Tupac, who helped Death Row elevate into another stratosphere, Dre said "peace" and pinned his exit on a contract dispute. He went to start his own label Aftermath Entertainment with the support of Interscope Records executive Jimmy Iovine. The pair later brought hip-hop two more diamond-selling legends in Eminem and 50 Cent.
After securing The Game and Kendrick Lamar further down the line, Aftermath’s top-tier status was no longer up for debate. Twitter would’ve been up in flames once they got wind that Dre left. Just look at how big the conversation was when K-Dot announced that he would be leaving Top Dawg Entertainment after his next album. No matter if you’re on the inside or out, losing a generational talent is something that would never fly under the radar.
Aaliyah Dies in a Plane Crash
The "Princess of R&B" Aaliyah was a friend to many hip-hop artists and adored by those who respected her talents. Tragically, she died at just 22 years old on Aug. 25, 2001. She was killed alongside eight other members of her team in a plane crash in the Bahamas following the video shoot for the famed track "Rock the Boat." The cause of the crash was due to many factors, including the plane being overweight with passengers and luggage and the pilot of the plane was found with cocaine and alcohol in his system. He also did not have a permit to fly the plane. Baby Girl’s death was a shock to her family, friends, fans and in the worlds of hip-hop and R&B music. She made a name for herself with three multiplatinum albums and a slew of gold and platinum-certified singles.
Her legacy has never escaped the minds of those who supported her work. Exemplified in what hip-hop unfortunately saw a lot of in 2020, the death of an established artist, while sad, does open up an opportunity for the fruits of their labor to be celebrated. Twitter timelines would’ve been flooded with visuals from her music videos, performance clips that highlighted her smooth choreography, pictures of serving looks whether that be in evening gowns or tracksuits, and plenty more content that showed appreciation for the famed songstress.