July 15 in Hip-Hop History: ‘Bad Boys II,’ Missy Elliott, Nas + More
Today's hip-hop history includes Missy Elliott's debut, Nas' most controversial release, Diddy curating the hottest soundtrack of 2003, and the beginning of the shiny suit era.
Jim Jones is Born (1976)
Happy birthday to the Capo of Dipset, Jim Jones! The Bronx-born, Harlem-raised member of Dipset, was born on this day in 1978. Jones has released classic albums like On My Way to Church, and Harlem: Diary of a Summer, started his own clothing line, liquor brand, beefed with a lot of artists including, Jay-Z, Nas, Max B., Cam'ron. Jones is also the sole reason why we have "Love & Hip Hop" on our TV screens every Monday night. "I had a deal to do a reality show about my life. I just wasn’t feeling how the cameras made me feel ... being on me all day," he told BET. After allegedly having a few run-ins with productions, the landscape of the show was changed to focus on his then-girlfriend Chrissy Lampkin and her circle of friends. Eight seasons and several spin-offs later, the show is still VH1's big money maker, even after Jones and his family left the show.
On this day we hope that Jim has a bottle in the air, living without a care, with Chrissy besides him and the wind blowing through his hair. This bottle of Sizzurp is for you!
Missy Elliott Proves She's Supa Dupa Fly (1997)
July 1997 proved to be the month of Missy Elliott, she released her debut single "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)" the day after her 26th birthday, assisted her Swing Mob family Timbaland and Magoo on their debut single "Up Jumps the Boogie," and released on debut album, Supa Dupa Fly on this day in 1997.
Hip-Hop only had two extremes in 1997, you were either gritty or jiggy—there was no in between. That was until Missy took the risk and combined her singing abilities along with rapping to create her debut album, a gamble that paid off big time throughout her career.
While Missy wasn't the first rapper to both rap and sing on a record, she did turn it into a stream of Billboard hits for herself and others, inspiring the future of hip-hop with her creativity and rapping style that was fresh, but reminiscent to '80s rap. “I didn’t ever look at it as being risky,” Missy told Vinyl Me, Please. “I looked at it as being the best of both worlds because if you wasn’t a person who was into hip-hop or rap like that, you got a chance to enjoy the singing part. If you was straight hip-hop, then you got a chance to enjoy the rap part of it. I thought it was always great to blend them both because I love both equally. Just because I loved both, I tried to intertwine them all the time.”
The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Mo Money Mo Problems" is Released, Birthing Bad Boy's Shiny Suit Era (1997)
Following the death of The Notorious B.I.G., Puff Daddy wanted to show the world that Bad Boy was here to stay with the release of "Mo Money Mo Problems." The second single from Biggie's Life After Death, "Mo Money" proved to be a big hit thanks to the verses from Ma$e, Puff, and Big, Kelly Prince on the hook, and the sample of Diana Ross' 1980's hit, "I'm Coming Out."
"So Mase brought the ["I'm Coming Out"] record in, and he was like 'Yo Stevie, we gotta do this 'cause Big gonna love this, and Puff going to want to jump on this,'" Stevie J said on a 2016 BMI panel (sidenote: Before he was belittling women every Monday night on VH1's "Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta," Stevie J was a part of the Bad Boy Records in-house writing and production team called "The Hitmen." He's produced hits for everyone from Mariah Carey to Dave Hollister. Can you believe it?). "So he brought the sample to me, and I looped it up and added the drums and the bass line, and Biggie came in. And once again, If anybody knows Big, he doesn't write anything down. He'll listen to the whole conversation in the room for ten hours. Then when everybody's sleeping on the couch, that's when he's in the booth. Big would always listen to every conversation in the room and take from the conversation and write a song that particular day."
"Mo Money" went on to replace the Biggie-inspired tribute "I'll Be Missing You" as the number one song in the U.S., giving Biggie his second No. 1 single and making him the only artist in Billboard history to have two No. 1 songs posthumously. The music video ushered in Bad Boy's new era —the shiny suit era. Full of explosions, parties, matching outfits for Puff and Ma$e, the video for "Mo Money Mo Problems" showed a fun side of Bad Boy and launched Ma$e into superstardom before the release of his debut album, Harlem World.
Anthony Hamilton Gets Soulful on His Debut Album Comin' From Where I'm From (2003)
Anthony Hamilton's voice is the vocal equivalent of collard greens, hot water cornbread, and mac and cheese—country, yet soulful. On this day 15 years ago, Hamilton's debut album, Comin' From Where I'm From was released on So So Def Records. The record was the perfect blend of Southern Gospel and Neo Soul and produced the official get your woman back song of the aughts, "Charlene."
"It was a point in my life when music and love were battling for the same space," Hamilton told Blavity. "It was kind of hard to make the choice because you didn’t want to lose this person but you didn’t want to lose yourself. I’m a musical being. That’s who I am from [when I was] a child, so that moment in my life created 'Charlene.'"
Urban legend says that if you're in a room and Anthony Hamilton starts playing, fried chicken (breast and thighs to be exact), greens and cornbread appears.
P. Diddy Executive Produces the Soundtrack of the Summer, Bad Boys II (2003)
Six years after releasing "Mo Money Mo Problems," P. Diddy went through the first of many name changes and blessed the streets with the Bad Boys II soundtrack. The soundtrack, released on Bad Boy Records, featured songs from Jay-Z ("La La La [Excuse Me Miss Again]"), Freeway and Peedi Crakk ("Flipside"), and the No. 1 song "Shake Ya Tailfeather," with Diddy, Nelly, and Murphy Lee.
"The Bad Boys II [soundtrack] means a lot to us 'cause it's the second era of Bad Boy," Diddy told MTV News. When I heard they were doing Bad Boys II, I had to pick up the phone and call Will Smith and [the film's producer] Jerry Bruckheimer. I was like, 'I'm about to launch my label, and I've never done a soundtrack. I think this would be the perfect thing.'"
It doesn't get any more 2003 than the Bad Boys II soundtrack, between the songs from Da Band, Fat Joe and Mary J. Blige, it was the perfect soundtrack for those days you wanted to put on your throwback jersey and Nike Air Force 1s and go to cruise the mall. Fun fact: "Shake a Tailfeather" won Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the 2004 Grammys.
Chingy Hits It Rich with Jackpot (2003)
2003 was the year of St. Louis with Nelly, and Chingy dominating the charts. Following the success of "Right Thurr" Chingy's debut album Jackpot shot straight to the top of the Billboard charts and produced two more hits, "Holidae In" with Snoop Dogg, and his Disturbing Tha Peace boss, Ludacris, and "One Call Away" featuring actor/singer Jason Weaver.
Although Chingy opened up for Nelly on tour in 2002, Chingy was often compared to the fellow St. Louis rapper, and many wondered why he wasn't affiliated with Nelly's St. Lunatics crew. When Rolling Stone asked Chingy said, "Because I’m not. That’s his clique. I’m from a different part of St. Louis. I know them, and they cool guys, but I’m a Git It Boy." Murphy Lee appeared on his debut, while he and Nelly have several songs together.
Today, we'll do the chickenhead while listening to "Right Thurr" in Chingy's honor.
Da Brat Releases Limelite, Luv & Niteclubz (2003)
Da Brat returned with her fourth and most recent album, Limelite, Luv & Niteclubz on this day in 2003. Still sticking with her new sexy persona, she debuted on 2001's Unrestricted, Limelite failed to produce as many hits as its predecessor. At least we have "I'm in Luv Wit Chu," a cute summer fling bop.
Macy Gray Struggles with The Problem With Being Myself (2003)
"It was an OK album," Macy Gray said about her third studio album The Problem With Being Myself. After the soul singer hit the scene with her worldwide hit, "I Try," she began to spiral out of control and was declared a drug-addicted diva by the press, her peers, and fans. Two years before the release of The Problem With Being Myself, Gray was booed in her hometown of Canton, OH for stumbling over the words of the "Star-Spangled Banner." She was frustrated with her career, and it showed throughout the album. Commercially it was a failure, and only produced one single, "When I See You."
Nas Releases His Controversial Untitled Album (2008)
Named N***er initially, on this day in 2008 Nas dropped his controversial politically driven untitled album. After drawing criticism from 50 Cent, Al Sharpton, and other prominent figures in the black community, the album's titled was changed, because Nas wanted to ensure that the message reached his fans.
"Record stores are gonna have a problem in this day and time selling a record with that title," he told MTV News. "It was important to me to let the fans know what the album would be musically. ... Everybody is trying to stop the title. It's just people being scared of what's real. Somebody is trying to open up dialogue for people to talk. People that's high up [who aren't] really understanding what I'm doing, are scared. They're scared for reasons I understand, but the fans gotta know either way: This is the same album. The content is the same, the direction is the same, the message is gonna be everything I intended it to be musically." The album became Nas' fifth No. 1 album with the Keri Hilson-assisted "Hero" as the first single.
David Banner Tells The Greatest Story Ever Told (2008)
A new, cockier David Banner reemerged on The Greatest Story Ever Told. After skipping promotion for his 2005 album Certified to help Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, Banner was locked, loaded and ready to release what he called one of the best rap albums of "the last three years."
"It’s crazy, because people criticized T.I. when he said, he was the king." Banner told XXL. "Now what’s everybody calling him? When Lil Wayne said, he was the 'best rapper alive since the best rapper retired,' everybody gave him flack. Now, what’s everybody sayin’? It’s like God spoke the world into fruition and I’ma have to do the same. This is the Greatest Story Ever Told. I don’t think there’s any writer who can look me in the eyes as a man, not lie and say I don’t have one of the best albums in recent history."
The album was lead by the second single, "Get Like Me" featuring Chris Brown. The song sampled Yung Joc's "It's Gon' Down," and while he wasn't credited as a featured artist, he appeared in the video with Banner and Brown.