Cam’ron Shades Roc-A-Fella Records: Sept. 5 in Hip-Hop History
Today in hip-hop history, Cam'ron turns down Dame Dash's offer to become the vice president at Roc-A-Fella Records, En Vogue powerhouse vocalist, Terry Ellis is born, and Young MC drops his debut album, Stone Cold Rhymin'.
1966: Terry Ellis of En Vogue is born
Singer-songwriter Terry Ellis was born on Sept. 5, 1966. The Houston native shot to stardom as one-fourth of the bestselling group, En Vogue, alongside Dawn Robinson, Maxine Jones and Cindy Herron. Ellis was added to En Vogue after the group had already formed, based on the strength of her vocal talent. Armed with a mezzo-soprano voice and a three-octave range, Ellis sang lead on the group's 1990 smash breakthrough hit, "Hold On" from their debut album, Born to Sing. She also sang lead vocals on the follow up tracks, "Lies" and "Don't Go," both of which charted in the Top 5 of Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. "Free Your Mind" from En Vogue's follow-up album, 1992's Funky Divas, also featured Ellis on lead vocals.
"When I’m singing it, we feel like we’re delivering a message," she told Golden 1 Center in 2016 about the song. "It’s a plea to humanity to respect each other. God created us equal; blood is blood, it’s the same color and our spirits and souls are connected in the same way. I believe that’s why it affects so many people, because so many can relate. In some form or fashion everyone has experienced some type of prejudice, in some type of way. The lyrics in that song were actually personal experiences we all had."
After releasing an unsuccessful solo album in 1995, Ellis re-linked with En Vogue, and in 2018, the group (now a trio) released their most recent album, Electric Cafe, on which Ellis serves as an executive producer.
1989: Young MC drops Stone Cold Rhymin'
In 1989, Young MC released his debut album, Stone Cold Rhymin', on Delicious Vinyl. The album went double platinum, and reached No. 9 on the charts, propelled by the crossover success of the album's signature track, "Bust a Move." The song remains Young MC's best known song, earning him a Grammy for Best Rap Performance in 1990. It stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 for 39 weeks and 20 weeks in the Top 40 alone, and has become a staple track in pop culture in the nearly 30 years since it was first released, appearing in films like George Clooney's Up in the Air and on The Big Bang Theory.
"'Bust a Move' I wrote in 90 minutes, and those 90 minutes pretty much changed my life," he told Albumism in a 2018 interview. "I called it 'Make that Move' and then they changed it to “Bust a Move,” and that was pretty much it. Other than that, the body of the verses pretty much stayed the same. It was all like a stream of consciousness kind of thing. There were four verses and the song is four minutes and 20 seconds long, with a break. There’s no way to be able to make a song that long today."
2002: Cam'ron turns down vice president gig at Roc-A-Fella
Cam'ron's 2002 deal to run childhood friend Dame Dash's Roc-A-Fella Records label fell through due to a salary disagreement. "I wanted $750,000 to do it annually, and he didn’t feel it was reasonable, so I didn’t take the job," Cam told Newsday at the time. Although the reason was straightforward, the pockets of beef between Jay-Z and Cam was not. There were previously reports that Jay was upset about Cam taking the position, alluding to tension between him and Dame Dash, which the hip-hop world would watch play out in later years.