Souls of Mischief Drop an Infinite Hip-Hop Classic: Sept. 28 in Hip-Hop History
On this day in hip-hop history, MC Hammer gets it started, KRS-One listens for the "Sound of Da Police," Patra and Yo-Yo cozy up to 2Pac, Spice 1 murders the game, Souls of Mischief drop a rap classic, Ciara refuses to show her "goodies," Jada Pinkett Smith and Allen Payne get steamy in Jason's Lyric and Jeezy is born.
1988: MC Hammer gets it started
Long before the Black Eyed Peas arrived on the scene, MC Hammer was ready to get it started via his sophomore album, Let's Get It Started. The album went double platinum, fueled by contagious party songs like "Pump It Up," "Turn This Mutha Out," "They Put Me in the Mix" and the title track. The Bay Area veteran had already established himself as a party emcee, capable of entertaining behind the mic as well as on the dance floor with his vibrant output. The album set up his monster follow-up two years later, 1990's Please Hammer, Don't Hurt Em', which has sold 22 million albums to date, and remains one of hip-hop's biggest selling albums of all-time. Hammer spoke about his influence to Ebony in 2016.
"The great thing is anytime you see an artist that has a piece of what I've already done, you can see it from afar," he said. "‘He’s doing that lil' Hammer right there’ – whether it's the energy, the swag or the look – it's a blessing. These last three years, if you watch the award shows, you'll see variations of the Hammer pants. It's always cool to see that and then every now and then, you'll see an artist who's pushing the envelope and it may not be all the way there but you can see where it's coming from. I'm always appreciative of seeing my influence."
1993: Patra drops "Romantic Call" featuring Yo-Yo
Patra made a "Romantic Call" with the help of Yo-Yo in 1993. Also there to help was. 2Pac. Though he didn't really do much beyond ride around in a convertible with Yo-Yo and Patra with a very "happy to be here" smile on his face, 2Pac was prominently featured throughout the video. The song was featured on Patra's debut album Queen of the Pack, which hit No. 1 on the reggae chart and pushed her into the mainstream hip-hop and R&B spotlight. She spoke to Vibe in 2012 about the impact of her sound and reggae music in particular.
"Reggae music is one of the most powerful forms of music whether you get it or not," she contended. "Reggae music is the type of music in the world that everyone emulates when they’re trying to do something. It’s because of the soul and the depth. Dancehall music right now, is the thing that keeps everyone jiggling and going because it’s wild and crazy."
1993: Souls of Mischief drop 93 'Til Infinity
The debut album, 93 'Til Infinity, from Oakland collective Souls of Mischief arrived in 1993. A subset of the acclaimed rap group, Hieroglyphics, Souls of Mischief consisted of group members A-Plus, Opio, Phesto, and Tajai. The album helped usher in a fresh sound in hip-hop, laced with obscure jazz and funk samples and lyrics that displayed emotional complexity while remaining accessible. It veered far left of what was going on in West Coast rap at the time, specifically the sounds that were coming out of Death Row's camp and dominating the charts. While 93 'Til Infinity was only moderately successful, its influence can still be heard to this day.
"That song ['93 'Til Infinity'] in particular, as popular as it is now, and how many people know it, you gotta realize that’s over a long period of time," Opio told Spin in 2016. That song, even though it was really popular, and it really made an impact, and a lot of people really loved it, it never got so popular. Like it wasn’t playing on the radio every day. It wasn’t, just, video on all the time. It wasn’t like that. Over the years, that song has just grown and grown and grown, and touched other younger generations."
1993: Spice 1 murders the game with his sophomore album
West coast gangster rap vet Spice 1 returned with his second album, 187 He Wrote. The album made a big dent on the hip-hop scene, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 10 on the Billboard 200. The album is widely considered one of the most influential records in West Coast gangster rap, propelled by songs like "The Murda Show" featuring MC Eiht, "Gas Chamber" featuring Too Short, and "Trigga Gots No Heart," which was a standout on the Menace to Society soundtrack. One of the early rappers to draw the "gangsta rap" criticism that permeated politics in the early and mid-'90s, Spice 1 talked about why he broached the topics he did in his music in a 2004 interview.
"I don’t just rap about the shit I do, or the way I feel, I rap about the way the niggas on the streets feel, I’m they’re voice," he said. "They just some broke ass niggas on the streets trying to sell dope, and you know, I’m a voice for them niggas that’s on the streets, and when they’re silencing voices like mine, then they silencing that whole part of the game which is just leaving muthafuckas out there to die. A lot of my fans call me and they like, 'Man, I listen to your CDs, I been bumpin’ your shit for years man, and you know back in the day when I used to listen to your shit I didn’t know that I wasn’t the only one goin’ through all that shit.' And some of the things that I said might have saved his life or saved him from the pen."
1993: KRS-One goes solo with Return of the Boom Bap
In 1993, KRS-One dropped Return of the Boom Bap. While he'd been recording under Boogie Down Productions since the '80s, releasing classics like Criminal Minded, this was his first official solo record, recorded under his own moniker. Featuring early production work from DJ Premier and Kid Capri among others, KRS's lyrical skills are on full display through the record, as he offers his take on hip-hop, racism and society's ills. The album featured gems like "Sound of da Police" which has since been sampled to death, as well as the title track.
"The secret to writing ‘engaging subject matter in a hip hop (rap) track’ begins with rhyming or singing about what is already on the minds of hiphoppas," KRS explained in a 2016 interview. "A good emcee engages the public with rhymes and rhyme styles that are already appreciated by that emcee’s audience. Sometimes an emcee can introduce a new topic to her/his audience, but this is risky, and only master emcees can really do this and be successful at it. Unfortunately, ‘anger’, ‘angst’ and ‘heartbreak’ are frequent emotions experienced by many people making ‘anger’, ‘angst’ and ‘heartbreak’ successful subject matters for any public orator."
1994: Jason's Lyric hits the big screen
Jason's Lyric, a tragic, emotional tale about two young people (Allen Payne's Jason and Jada Pinkett Smith's Lyric) who have to make hard choices and evade their toxic, oppressive environment (and family) to love each other, debuted in theaters in 1993. Amid the success of Boyz N the Hood, Menace II Society, Juice and New Jack City (in which Payne also starred), the movie managed to separate itself from the other "hood movies" dominating the market at the time, mostly because at the core, it was a genuine love story. Intense and solemn at times, Jason's Lyric became an instant cult classic, propelled in part by some seriously steamy love scenes. In fact, it almost got an X rating before that memorable sex scene in the grass between Jason and Lyric was trimmed down.
2004: Ciara protects her "Goodies"
In 2004, Ciara debuted via the Lil Jon-produced jam "Goodies." Featuring Petey Pablo, the song is about a young CiCi protecting her "goodies" from would be suitors, and propped up her success with liquid dance moves and an arsenal of party tracks, birthing the sub-genre, "crunk & b."
“I was 14 when I started [making music]," she explained in 2015. "I never had vocal lessons, dance classes, or any of the things my peers had.” she says. “I learned everything along the way. I only performed five times before I was in the public eye.”
The song was a hit, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and staying there for seven weeks, which at the time, was the longest run for a debut single by a female artist since 1977. The Benny Boom-directed video featured a slew of Atlanta artists, including Jazzy Pha, Monica, Bone Crusher, Rasheeda, Young Jeezy and Lil Jon, and signaled the beginning of Ciara's successful run. She's since sold 23 million records worldwide.
1977: Jeezy is born
On Sept. 28, 1977, Jay Wayne Jenkins, better known to the world as Jeezy, was born. After a successful run with the rap group Boyz n da Hood, the Atlanta-based rapper achieved mainstream solo success via his monster debut, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101, helping to thrust trap music into the spotlight. He's since released seven albums, with one on the way later this year, and has become a big influencer in hip-hop.