9/11 Terrorist Attacks, Jay-Z Drops ‘The Blueprint': Sept. 11 in Hip-Hop History
On this day, the worse terrorist attack n American soil in modern history happened. This day also saw the release of Jay-Z's classic album, The Blueprint and Fabolous' debut, Ghetto Fabolous. Fellow rappers Ludacris and Jae Millz also celebrate birthdays today. Check it out below.
2001: Terrorists attack the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and United Flight 93
On Sept. 11, 2001, America witnessed the worst terrorist attack ever imaginable. Four airplanes were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists. Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, crashed into the twin towers at the World Trade Center in New York City. Within hours, both 110-story towers collapsed killing nearly 3,000 people who were trapped inside - including police, firefighters and emergency responders - and injuring over 6,000 others on the ground.
Meanwhile, a third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, was used to crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Va., and a fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was initially headed towards Washington, D.C., but crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pa., after several brave passengers thwarted the hijackers’ plans.
To commemorate the 17th anniversary of 9/11, thousands of mourners gathered at the Ground Zero memorial site in lower Manhattan to hear the names of all 2,983 people killed in the attacks at the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and aboard Flight 93.
During a ceremony at the Pentagon, Vice President Mike Pence delivered a tearful address remembering the lives lost and the heroic men and women on this tragic day. "We gather here today to reflect on what we remember, to remember the fallen, their families and the heroes that day," he said. "But be assured, we also gather here to ensure that each succeeding generation knows the story of what happened that dark day, and understands why. We must learn the lessons of Sept. 11, and remain ever vigilant in the defense of our nation and our people."
2001: Jay-Z delivers his classic album The Blueprint
Jay-Z’s sixth studio album The Blueprint is arguably his masterpiece. It solidified Hov as one of the all-time greats in hip-hop history and helped launch the careers of then-unknown producers Kanye West and Just Blaze.
One of the many highlights from the project is the reflective “Song Cry.” In a 2012 interview with Complex, Just Blaze, who produced the track, said that when Jay heard the beat it prompted him to proclaim Blaze as the greatest producer ever.
"When Jay did his verse all the way through, I went back and did the whole beat over," he recalled. "When he heard it, he called me and told me ‘Yo, you’re the best. I want you to know that. Right now you’re the best producer around. Nobody can take that from you and I’m glad you stuck around.’ Then he called Timbaland and said, ‘Yo, you cool but Just Blaze is the best.'"
In light of the 9/11 attacks, The Blueprint managed to sell 427,000 copies in its first week of release. It was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales of two million units in the U.S. Overall it has sold over three million copies worldwide.
2001: Fabolous releases his debut album Ghetto Fabolous
Fabolous also had the terrible misfortune of dropping his new project on Sept 11, 2001. Nevertheless, the 16-track Ghetto Fabolous was a monumental achievement for the then-25-year-old rhymer. Prior to his LP release, Fabolous was a lyrical phenom on the mixtape circuit, but his debut proved that he had the chops to become a major rap star. Standout tracks on the album include "Can't Deny It," "Trade It All," and "Young'n."
Fabolous canceled all promotional events for the album and focused his attention on helping his beloved New York City recover from the horrific events of 9/11. But something rather unique happened while Ghetto Fabolous was in stores. His video for “Can’t Deny It” started to get increase airplays on BET and MTV. Apparently, the clip's unintentional red, white and blue motif inspired fans to constantly request on video shows in a show of patriotism following the terrorist attacks.
"We didn’t purposely [add] the stars and stripes and red-white-and-blue color scheme in the video," Fabo told Genius in 2016. "It was a weird coincidence that the country needed to see something patriotic and uplifting. In tragic times people need something to comfort them. So they find some kind of entertainment to hold on to."
2007: 50 Cent and Kanye West fake a feud to sell their new records
In what is arguably one of the strangest marketing moves in hip-hop, 50 Cent and Kanye West concocted an imaginary rap feud to promote their albums Curtis and Graduation, respectively, which were both dropping on this day in 2007. Their fictional beef set up the first-ever album sales battle between Fif and Yeezy. At that time, 50 boasted that his project will trounce Yeezy’s album and if it doesn’t, he would stop recording music altogether (he lied, of course).
Despite the convoluted nature of their beef, it was entertaining to watch two rap icons seemingly have a disdain for one another. The hype of their album sales battle garnered them a cover on Rolling Stone magazine.
In the end, Kanye was the victor with Graduation moving 957,000 copies in its opening week and topping the Billboard 200 album chart. Meanwhile, 50’s Curtis didn’t do so bad at all. He sold 691,000 copies in its first week. In September 2008, Billboard released the one-year sales numbers for both albums with Graduation finishing with 2.1 million copies sold to Curtis’ 1.3 million. In the end, it was a win-win for both artists and the fans.
“It's a great promotional tool. To me, it's the greatest thing ever,” said Timbaland of 50 and Kanye’s album sales battle at that time (via MTV News). “I think people should do it more often. I'm a fan of both albums."
2007: Chris Brown drops "Kiss Kiss” featuring T-Pain
On this day, Chris Brown released his second single “Kiss Kiss,” which became a chart-topping hit from his sophomore album, Exclusive. Produced by T-Pain, it’s a fun, bouncy club single with Breezy and T-Peezy bragging about their riches while trying to holler at the ladies.
"Kiss Kiss" would become Brown's second No. 1 hit in his career and it spent three consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song reached double platinum status by the RIAA in 2008 for selling two million copies. Overall, the single sold three million copies worldwide.
The "Kiss Kiss" music video was filmed on Florida International University's University Park campus in Miami. Although videographer Erik White handled most of the directorial duties, a then-18-year-old Brown was also hands-on and making sure everything was perfect on the set. "I gained tons of respect for Chris, he was really taking charge of [the] whole thing," recalled T-Pain (via USA Today). "Although Brown had already scored hits with 'Yo (Excuse Me Miss)' and 'Say Goodbye' prior, it made me feel like Chris had grown up and was doing his thing."
1977: Ludacris is born
Born Christopher Bridges, Ludacris is originally from Chicago but moved to Atlanta when he was a teenager. In 1998, while studying music management at Georgia State University, he interned and then became a DJ at Atlanta's Hot 97.5 (now Hot 107.9) under the name "Chris Lova Lova.”
Between his radio gig, he dabbled with rapping and release mixtapes locally. Luda later earned his first rap placement on “Phat Rabbit” on Timbaland’s album, Tim's Bio: Life from da Bassment. During this time, he was also saving his money and recording songs for his debut album Incognegro, which he released independently in 1999 under his own Disturbing the Peace label.
A year later, he secured a record deal with Def Jam and dropped his major-label debut, Back for the First Time. Since then, Luda has released seven more albums, including Ludaversal in 2015. In addition to his music, the 41-year-old artist is a successful actor who has appeared in a dozen films, most notably in the Fast & Furious franchise.
In a 2015 interview with Time magazine, Ludacris credits his love for the music for his longevity in the rap game. "I can only say my love for music has never left - my hunger, my loving the competition," he states. "I’m not only competing against people who came before me or the people who came up around the same time as me, but also the people who came after me. It’s a competition and a love of music."
1983 Jae Millz is born
On this day, Jarvis Mills, aka Jae Millz, was born in Harlem, N.Y. A battle rap veteran, Millz garnered fame in 2003 for his debut single, “No, No, No,” which samples the 1994 dancehall classic of the same name by Dawn Penn. That same year, he signed a deal with Warner Bros. Records, but due to creative differences, he left the label without releasing an album.
In 2008, a chance meeting with Lil Wayne led to him securing a record deal with Young Money Entertainment. A year later, he appeared on the Young Money compilation album, We Are Young Money, where he secured his first gold plaque by the Recording Industry Association of America.
He left YM in 2017 to forge his own musical path and dropped the EP, Lenox Ave Legend. Millz told the Boombox that life as an indie artist has its perks. "I prefer the indie route, but everybody doesn't know the [music] business," he said. "Some people need [a major record label] because it helps pick up the slack of what they don't know or can't do. I'm just more hands-on with mines at this point ... and I'm a Virgo, so I'm kinda hands-on with everything." Currently, Jae Millz is living the Cali life and is the father of two children who are both Virgos just like their dad.