Boyz II Men Break Records: August 31 Hip-Hop History
1980: Joe Budden is born
Although rapper, podcaster and reality TV star Joe Budden was born in Harlem, N.Y., the “Pump It Up” emcee spent much of his life in Jersey City, N.J., carving out a name in the tri-state hip-hop scene on mixtapes hosted by DJ Clue and DJ KaySlay. His skills caught the attention of Def Jam Records, who signed him to a deal that led to his self-titled debut in 2003. Irreconcilable differences led to Budden’s departure from the label and he went independent, signing with Amalgam Digital in 2007 and later forming his own Mood Muzik imprint in 2011.
“I championed independence,” Budden elaborated in a 2018 interview with Billboard. “What I will encourage, no matter what type of deal you’re in -- just read over the fine print with a fine-tooth comb. Independence is not for everybody. You have to be built for that, for the grind and the work ethic. It’s grueling. I love it.”
1993: Mariah Carey takes control with Music Box
Two years after the commercial success of Emotions, Mariah Carey released her third studio album Music Box. Mariah was allowed to have more creative control in the process, pushing her musical direction to have genres blend between hip-hop, gospel, pop, and R&B. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and produced four hit singles. “Dreamlover” and “Hero” topped the Hot 100 chart, while “Without You" reached No. 3 and “Anytime You Need a Friend” peaked at No. 12. To date, Music Box stands as Mariah Carey’s highest-selling album, selling over 28 million copies worldwide.
1994: Boyz II Men become a monster with II
Today in 1994, the Philadelphia quartet Boyz II Men put out their second full length, II, through Motown Records. The album debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and its first single, "I'll Make Love to You," spent 14 weeks atop the Hot 100, tying the record set by Whitney Houston with "I Will Always Love You." Then, they became only the third act in Billboard history, after Elvis Presley and the Beatles, to have one of its No. 1 singles (“I’ll Make Love to You”) replaced by another (“On Bended Knee”).
As they continue to sell out venues two decades later, the group credits their universal appeal for their success.
“We’ve never been a black group, and we never been a pop group,” Boyz II Men member Shawn Stockman told the Huffington Post in 2017. “We appealed to everybody… so it was kind of frustrating for the record labels, but on the side of us, it was fun, because everybody would come and we were happy about that.”
1999: SWV release their greatest hits album
On this day in 1999, SWV released their second greatest hits album under BMG/Simitar Entertainment. This compilation includes a number of their biggest hits such as “Rain” and “Weak,” as well as the popular remix of “Right Here" that sampled Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" that was omitted from the compilation released earlier that year. Deep cuts like the Neptunes-produced “Use Your Heart” and Missy Elliott-assisted “Can We” are also featured on the album.
1999: O.G.C. drops The M-Pire Shrikez Back
Also on this day in 1999, Boot Camp Clik affiliates O.G.C. unleashed their second studio album The M-Pire Shirkez Back via Duck Down/Priority Records. Arriving three years after the trio’s debut, Da Storm, M-Pire reached No. 170 on the Billboard 200 with the buzzing single “Bounce to the Ounce” and features from fellow BCC members Buckshot, Smif-N-Wessun and Heltah Skeltah.
2004: LL Cool J keeps heads nodding with The DEFinition
LL Cool J kept the party jumping with his 11th LP The DEFinition, landing with a No. 4 Billboard 200 debut, a No. 3 R&B/Hip-Hop banger and a gold certification plaque. LL heated up the dance floors with singles “Headsprung” and “Hush," peaking Nos. 16 and 26 respectively on Billboard’s Hot 100, the former produced by Timbaland. The Virginia producer also handled much of The DEFinition’s sonic bounce with additional contributions from Teddy Riley, N.O. Joe and 7 Aurelius.