Eminem Faces His Addictions: August 18 in Hip-Hop History
1969: Masta Killah is Born
If the members of the Wu-Tang Clan fancied themselves as Shaolin monks, Masta Killah might have been the ninja among them, a stealthy but prolific force that appeared on group and the group’s individual solo records ready to jump out at you, regardless of whether you were ready for him. He appeared only once on the Wu’s debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) — taking his turn on "Da Mystery of Chessboxin’” — but had an increased presence on the double-album follow-up, Wu-Tang Forever. The reason turned out to be a rather good one.
“I never performed until we launched Wu-Tang,” he told MV Remix. “That was my first time as an MC.” Between the two Wu-Tang records, he appeared on such classic tracks as Raekwon’s “Glaciers of Ice,” GZA’s “Duel of the Iron Mic” and Ghostface Killah’s “Winter Warz.”
He has come into his own as an MC, producing four studio records, including 2017’s Loyalty Is Royalty.
1972: No Malice is Born
Half of the Neptunes-affiliated duo Clipse (along with his brother Pusha T), No Malice dropped rhymes on four Clipse records and has two solo albums to his credit. Lord Willin’ was the first Clipse LP to see release (they recorded another album, Exclusive Audio Footage, which was shelved), and it’s filled with Pharrell’s all-but-patented strange but compelling beats, including on the first single, the braggadocious “Grindin’.”
1997: DJ Krush Drops MiLight
Hideaki Ishi came up in the gang life on the streets of Tokyo, even getting involved in organized crime before giving it up to make music as DJ Krush. MiLight is full of Krush’s ambient beats and soundscapes, with occasional rhymes dropped by featured performers. One such collaboration with Tragedy yielded the propulsive track “Real.”
1998: The Temptations Come Back With Phoenix Rising
After 20 years without a sizable hit or a million-selling album, the Temptations hooked up with Narada Michael Walden, who helped pen four songs on the group’s 1998 album Phoenix Rising, including “Stay,” an R&B and adult contemporary hit that shared a great deal with “My Girl,” and sent the album to platinum sales. This was a new-look Temptations, though — only Otis Williams remained from the original Motown quintet. Membership was a minor concern, however, when the music was this striking.
1998: Buju Banton Drops Quick
Buju Banton was one of the brightest lights in reggae and dancehall music in the ‘90s, dominating Jamaican radio in a manner not heard of since Bob Marley, and exporting his sounds abroad to eager listeners. A drug trafficking charge sent him to prison in the U.S. in 2011, and he has been incarcerated ever since.
Quick is actually a resequenced re-release of Banton’s 1992 debut album, Stamina Daddy. It contains the rough and ready title track, “Quick.”
2000: The Original Kings of Comedy Opens in Theaters
Put four of the funniest human beings on the planet onstage the same night, and you were bound to have a great time. Have Spike Lee film their show and release that film to theaters, and you had a massive hit. Instead of simply making thousands of people laugh on a given night, Steve Harvey, Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley made millions laugh when The Original Kings of Comedy was released to rave reviews in theaters, and later on home video.
Filmed in the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C., The Original Kings of Comedy provides viewers with nearly two hours of hilarity — just hit after hit after hit, like a great Best Of album by your favorite artist, only there are four of your favorites here.
2005: Eminem Goes to Rehab
A little over a month after closing out his Anger Management 3 tour (also featuring 50 Cent, G Unit, D12 and Lil Jon), Eminem canceled the European leg of the jaunt and entered rehab to receive treatment for a dependency on sleep medication, according to Rolling Stone.
His situation was more dire than the headlines let on. In a 2013 interview with MTV (via Business Insider), he recalled that he had started mixing pills pre-rehab and wound up in the hospital. “The doctors told me I'd done the equivalent of four bags of heroin,” he said. “Had I got to the hospital about two hours later, I would have died." His organs had begun shutting down, and he was looking at the possibility of having to go on dialysis, had he not responded to medical help.
Eminem would emerge from his 2005 rehab stint clean, but would relapse several times in the years afterward.
2009: Sean Paul Drops Imperial Blaze
Sean Paul might have told MTV that he wanted the songs on his fourth album, Imperial Blaze, to focus on social issues, but it was hard to do much more than dance and have a good time when you heard the first single, “So Fine.”