T.I. and Tiny Tie the Knot: July 30 in Hip-Hop History
A pair of A Tribe Called Quest anniversaries, a wedding anniversary for T.I. and Tiny and our introduction to Busta Rhymes all make for an interesting day in hip-hop history.
1990 — A Tribe Called Quest Drop ‘Bonita Applebum’
As romance resumes go, it doesn’t get much better than the second verse of this one, which ends with Q-Tip telling the “cunning, stunning” Ms. Applebum, “Satisfaction, I have the right tactics / And if you need 'em, I got crazy prophylactics.” Part humor, part romance, “Bonita Applebum” is the Tribe’s version of a mid-’90s romantic comedy — a little earnest, a little silly, but in the end, it’s all about the conquest and happy ending.
1991 — Leaders of the New School Release A Future Without a Past
To think there was a time before we knew Busta Rhymes existed! A Future Without a Past introduced us all to his growl and goofy perspective on some choice call-and-response cuts like “Case of the P.T.A.” and “Sobb Story” (produced by Eric “Vietnam” Sadler, from the Bomb Squad). We’re partial to “Trains, Planes and Automobiles” (also produced by Sadler), with its breakneck pace and dense but sprightly use of samples, and “International Zone Coaster,” which makes a day playing hooky seem like the biggest party in the world. A Future Without a Past doesn’t get the same love as do other records released in 1991 (like De La Soul is Dead and The Low End Theory), but it’s one of the best hip-hop releases of that year, and deserving of another listen.
1996 — UGK Drop Ridin’ Dirty
The foggy day-in-the-life track “One Day” rolls into your consciousness like a cloud, settling in for a few minutes before dispersing into nothing. While it’s on you, though, it’s on you; from its Isley Brothers sample to the lines that defiantly preach survival, while at the same time recognizing the almost inevitable end result (“My brother been in the pen for damn near 10 / But now it look like when he come out, man, I’m going in”). By 1996, there had been plenty of albums that dealt with/extolled/exploited life in the desperate inner cities, but Ridin’ Dirty stood apart from them, and above many of them. Pimp C and Bun B were poets — their rhymes came from first-hand experiences, and they were talented enough as MCs to make those details indelible. Their influence even extended north to Jay-Z, who quoted directly from Bun B’s lines in “Touched” to open the third verse of “99 Problems.”
1996 — A Tribe Called Quest Drop Beats, Rhymes and Life
Beats, Rhymes and Life is where cracks started to develop in A Tribe Called Quest, due to a creative distance between Q-Tip and Phife Dawg, but also physical and spiritual distance. Phife had split from New York and moved to Atlanta, which caused some logistical headaches and disconnection. “Q-Tip and Ali [Shaheed Mohammed, beat master and producer] had converted to Islam and I didn’t,” Phife told one interviewer. “They would schedule studio time at the last minute. I’d catch a plane from Atlanta to be in New York and when I got to the studio, no one would be there. They would have canceled the session without telling me.”
The vibe on Beats, Rhymes and Life is moodier, the production sparer than on previous records. “Phony Rappers” starts the record on a negative, battle-ready note; the vocal sample on “Get a Hold” is slowed down and reverbed to sound ghostly; “Stressed Out” stresses positivity in a stream of the negative, but the latter invariably seems to win. What’s missing is the joy, the spunk, the humor; Beats, Rhymes and Life is good, but the Tribe had been better; strong, but they had been stronger. As a commercial endeavor, though, the group had never been bigger — the album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and went platinum, giving A Tribe Called Quest its biggest record.
1996 — Mista Release their Self-Titled Debut Album
“Blackberry Molasses” was a terrific song that became a minor hit, which this Atlanta quartet couldn’t quite seem to follow up. But listen to it with fresh ears — the harmonies, the groove, the production (courtesy of Organized Noize); even in a pop landscape with more than its share of boy bands and R&B vocal groups, you’d think something that good could elbow its way in. Nevertheless, it was not to be, and Mista broke up within a year of its release. While the other members faded into obscurity, one group member, Bobby Valentino, found solo success nine years later thanks to his breakout single "Slow Down."
“The 90s are when I learned a lot … about R&B." Valentino told Rolling Out. I saw it change a lot between 2009 and 2010; it started to change. That’s when the AutoTune got really big which made everybody able to sing. That’s when R&B changed.”
2002 — Amerie Releases All I Have
Legend has it producer Rich Harrison auditioned Amerie Rogers in the parking lot of a McDonald’s. Whether or not this is true, Amerie and Harrison hit it off immediately. “For some reason we had a very special chemistry,” she told Hip Online in 2002. “When we would work together something great would happen. The first track he played for me I loved ... After two years we could hear a huge growth from the very first song to beginning of the album, to the middle, to the end.” The two years it took to record All I Have were apparent from the lush single “Why Don’t We Fall in Love” to the harmony-heavy “Got to Be There” and the sultry title track. The album debuted in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart and went gold, providing ample reward for the years of work.
2010 — T.I and Tiny Wed
The Atlanta rapper (born Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.) and Xscape’s Tiny (born Tameka Dianne Cottle) started dating in 2001 and had three children together (two sons and a daughter that was stillborn) together before tying the knot in a secret ceremony at a Miami Beach Courthouse. Since then, we've watched their blended family for six seasons on VH1's T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle before the show ended in 2017. They welcomed a daughter into the world before the show's final season, but have been dealing with infidelity issues in their marriage, leading to Tiny filing for divorce in late 2016. They have yet to actually pull the trigger on a permanent split (this is the second time the couple has split, the first was in 2014), which some say indicates they might put it off permanently.