Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock Drop a Rap Classic: Sept. 20 in Hip-Hop History
Today in hip-hop history, Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock release one of the biggest songs in the history of rap, Craig Mack helps put Bad Boy Records on the map, and two members from two legendary hip-hop groups are born.
1988: Luther Vandross releases Any Love
In 1988, Luther Vandross released his platinum selling Any Love. It was nominated for three Grammys and spent two weeks on top of Billboard's R&B Albums chart. Although the single "She Won't Talk to Me" received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male in 1990, it was really the title track that pushed the album. The song remains one of Luther's most well-known mid-tempo jams. Any Love features another signature Luther ditty, one of his most revered slow jams, "Love Won't Let Me Wait," which features Kirk Whalum and was a cover of Major Harris' 1978 hit. Like most Luther covers, he completely made it his own. Another notch in Luther's stacked discography, Any Love came on the heels of his classic 1987 outing, Give Me the Reason, further establishing his legacy as one of the best voices in music.
1988: Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock drop "It Takes Two"
Released in 1988, Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock's classic track, "It Takes Two," remains one of the most important songs in hip-hop, if only for its never-ending ability to get any party started... still. The track is a certifiable rap classic, and helped mainstream hip-hop in a way that few other songs were able to do at the time. The song became a Top 40 hit, and is certified platinum.
To that end, it's become a staple song in pop culture, an instantly recognizable party jam that's been used in movies and television. In fact, Questlove named "It Takes Two" No. 15 in his Top 50 Hip-Hop Songs of All Time (featured in Rolling Stone). The song almost didn't even happen, however. Rob Base explained that back in the day, he was a "street rapper" and "It Takes Two" was mostly about him wanting to stretch himself creatively. He even caught flak for his decisions.
"I was a street rapper in the beginning," Base told the Boombox in 2012. "I used to do more of the hardcore thing … When we [made "It Takes Two"], I just wanted to do something different. … There were a few groups that were saying, 'Oh, you're selling out. You're this, you're that.' And I look at them now and they can't even get one show."
1994: Craig Mack introduces Bad Boy with Project: Funk da World
Bad Boy Records' flagship artist, Craig Mack, dropped his debut, Project: Funk da World in 1994, propelled by the massive single, "Flava in Ya Ear," which remains one of hip-hop's most revered posse cuts to this day. The album was Bad Boy's first official release, and helped set the label up as rap powerhouse in the mid-'90s. The "Flava In Ya Ear" remix isn't only considered one of the best songs ever recorded in hip-hop, it served as a proper introduction to the Notorious B.I.G. as well.
"We cannot forget one of the greatest hip hop single debuts in the culture," Questlove wrote on Instagram of Mack's hit single when he passed from complications due to congestive heart failure in 2017. "That song was the gym routine mc’s brushed their skills on. All due respect to brother Craig Mack w/o him & his cant lose single who knows what empire #BadBoy woulda become."
Robert Keith "Keef Cowboy" Wiggins of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and David Trugoy of De La Soul are born.
Born in 1960, Robert Keith "Keef Cowboy" Wiggins was a member of groundbreaking hip-hop group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. He was recruited to the group by Grandmaster Flash in 1978, and has been credited with introducing the "call and response" aspect of rap songs that remains popular to this day. "He was definitely the backbone of the group, and the most popular on stage with the crowd response," Melle Mel said of his Cowboy, who tragically died in 1989 of a drug overdose.
In 1968, David Jude Jolicoeur aka Trugoy the Dove, aka Plug Two (or Dave) was born. One-third of influential, trendsetting rap group De La Soul, the Brooklyn born rapper/producer helped introduce alt-rap to the scene with De La's monumental records, 3 Feet High and Rising and De La Soul Is Dead. The group continues to be one of the most revered in rap.