Drake Graduates from ‘Degrassi’ to ‘So Far Gone': Sept. 15 in Hip-Hop History
On this day, Drake releases his breakthrough, Public Enemy gets remixed and rapper Eve gets her own sitcom. In addition, 2Pac drops his final song and Vanilla Ice curses the Houston Texans football team. Check it out below.
1992: Public Enemy delivers Greatest Misses
Public Enemy's compilation project Greatest Misses, wasn’t an official album from the iconic hip-hop group, but rather a one-off compilation to hold fans over until their released their fifth studio album, Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age. The LP consisted of six new songs from PE, along with six remixes and one live recording. A big standout is the politically-charged track "Hazy Shade of Criminal," where Chuck D runs down some of the criminal acts the American government is guilty of committing on black people.
1992: Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch Drop You Gotta Believe
Before Mark Wahlberg became a Hollywood superstar, he had a brief rap career as Marky Mark. His second album, You Gotta Believe, wasn’t as successful as his previous effort, Music for the People (1991), but it garnered one hit, “You Gotta Believe,” which samples Lovebug Starski’s track of the same name.
1996: Tupac Shakur's "I Ain't Mad at Cha" is posthumously released
A few days after Tupac Shakur’s death, a new single, “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” was released. The song was produced by Daz Dillinger and sampled DeBarge’s 1983 ballad “A Dream.” The video is especially chilling (and somewhat prophetic) because it features 2Pac getting shot in front of his best friend (played by Bokeem Woodbine) and passing away. Upon entering heaven, the late rapper is greeted by deceased entertainers like Redd Foxx, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Nat King Cole and others. As a spirit, 2Pac returns to Earth and raps to his friend who doesn’t see or hear him. He tells him not worry he will be alright, but more importantly, "I ain't mad at cha."
"I first met ‘Pac when I got the call that he wanted me to be in his video," he recalled in a 2011 interview with XXL. "Some of his people ushered me to meet him. He was very, very cool and one of the first things he said to me was that he was so happy that I was gonna be involved in the video."
"We were so focused on making it the best video it could be that that’s where the focus remained," he continued. "I was a huge fan of him, so to get to meet him under those terms and have him be so hospitable was a thrill."
1996: Foxy Brown drops romantic rap ballad "Get Me Home" featuring Blackstreet
On this day in 1996, Foxy Brown released her debut album, Ill Na Na, on Def Jam. The set’s first single is the rap&B ballad, “Get Me Home” featuring Blackstreet, which was produced by the Trackmasters. “Our whole thing was that we tried to make her Foxy Brown the uptempo sexy bitch. That’s what we wanted to make her, the hard, uptempo bitch,” said Samuel 'Tone' Barnes of Trackmasters in 2012 (via Complex). As for the song, Tone added, “We always tried to make event records, tried to make the record so it’s a pin in time so everybody is like, ‘Yo that time was crazy.’”
1998: Def Jam drops all-star Rush Hour soundtrack
Def Jam pulled out all the stops for their all-star soundtrack for Rush Hour, the 1998 flick starring funnyman Chris Tucker and action star Jackie Chan. The soundtrack boasts the chart-topping hits "Can I Get A..." (by Jay-Z, Amil and Ja Rule) and "How Deep Is Your Love" (by Dru Hill featuring Redman), which rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The collection also feature songs by Case and Joe, the Wu-Tang Clan, Slick Rick, Terror Squad, Too Short and more.
2003: Eve premieres on UPN
Following Will Smith, LL Cool J and Brandy -- music artists who launched their own TV sitcoms -- rapper Eve was approached by UPN executives to star in her own series. The Philadelphia native's eponymous show ran on UPN from September 2003 to May 2006. Set in Miami, the show starred Eve as a budding fashion designer named Shelly Williams who is trying to balance her love life with her work life. Actor J.T. Hunter (played by Jason George) played her on-and-off again love interest on the show. In addition, Ali Landry and Natalie Desselle-Reid played Eve's best friends who offered their advice on love and life.
The show received mixed reviews from critics and was canceled following UPN's merger with the WB Television Network to launch the CW in 2006. "There was a lot of politics going on at UPN with the black sitcoms and with Will Smith’s show [All of Us], so I had a feeling we weren’t coming back," she told Giant magazine in 2017. "There are no guarantees in television, and they don’t even give you a heads up. The show ended two seasons shy of syndication eligibility and was sold to TV One."
2005: Mary J. Blige releases emotional ballad "Be Without You"
“Be Without You” is one in a long line of emotional ballads from Mary J. Blige. The song was the official kick-off single from her seventh studio album, The Breakthrough. Produced by Bryan-Michael Cox and Ron Fair, the ballad features the R&B veteran exuding her love and devotion to her man. The song was a major hit for the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul and for it, she garnered two trophies for Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 2007 Grammy Awards.
2009: Drake graduates from Degrassi to rap stardom with So Far Gone EP
The year of 2009 was a breakthrough for Drake who was an independent artist at that time. In February, he released his third mixtape, So Far Gone, which was critically praised for his love-lorn lyrics and melodic production courtesy of then-unknown producers Noah “40” Shebib and Boi-1da.
The tape caused a bidding war among the major labels, but Young Money won due to Drizzy’s loyalty to his mentor Lil Wayne. To confirm their partnership, Drake re-released So Far Gone on this day as an EP featuring five tunes from the original 17-track mixtape and two previously-unreleased songs. The set’s first single is “Best I Ever Had,” which turned the Toronto native into rap matinee idol. The video, directed by Kanye West, is a visual eye-candy with Drake playing a coach of an all-female basketball team.
“Basically we decided, as opposed to taking ourselves super serious, we just wanted to have some fun with it,” he told Complex in 2009. “Myself, being a young man, a young single man at that, I kind of wanted to be real about the way I function with women at this current point in my life.”
The song became Drake’s first No. 1 hit on both the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and Top Rap Songs charts. Plus, it went platinum (1 million sold) in the U.S. Drake finally arrived and he has never looked back.
2013: Vanilla Ice curses the Houston Texans
Following a promising 2012 season in which they went 12-4, the Houston Texans were making a run for the Super Bowl. That is, until Vanilla Ice performed a halftime show for them during the second game of the 2013 season. After the veteran rapper's performance of "Ice, Ice Baby," the Texans went absolutely cold on the field. The Texans won that game, but proceeded to lose the remaining 14 games of the season.