href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 20, 2023Christopher Polk/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images (2)

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 20, 2017: Five years ago, Nicki Minaj achieved a major milestone in her career that proved she is one of the top hip-hop artists in the rap game. The Queen of hip-hop surpassed the late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin for having the most Billboard Hot 100 entries by a female artist on this day in 2017.

For the Billboard Hot 100 chart ending April 1, 2017, Nicki Minaj premiered three songs on the tally, "No Frauds," featuring Drake and Lil Wayne (No. 14), "Regret in Your Tears" (No. 61) and "Changed It" with Lil Wayne (No. 71). This bumped her total up to 76 Hot 100 appearances, which passed Franklin's total of 73. The late soul singer held the crown for nearly 40 years, until June 18, 1977, before Nicki smashed it.

Following her historic chart achievement, Nicki spoke on her Queen Radio show in 2018 and paid homage to Franklin, who died on Aug. 16, 2018. "It's no secret she’s an icon—an icon of all icons," she said. "I don’t know anyone who she hasn’t inspired."

The Queens, N.Y. rapper, who's a doting mom of her two-year-old son affectionately named "Papa Bear," also boasted about her accomplishment on her February 2019 freestyle “Barbie Going Bad," which samples her ex-boyfriend Meek Mill's 2018 song "Going Bad" and features Drake. On the song, Nicki raps, "Neck tatt say 'Onika'/I got more slaps than Aretha."

And Nicki continued to break records on the Billboard Hot 100 chart after that. On 16 May 2020, Nicki Minaj and Doja Cat became the first female rap duo to rule the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 100 with the "Say So" (Remix). Additionally, on July 18, 2020, the 40-year-old rhymer broke her own record of having the most Billboard Hot 100 entries by a female artist with 110 chart entries.

In the end, Nicki Minaj is the Queen of the Billboard charts.

Watch Nicki Minaj and Doja Cat's Dance Visual of "Say So" (Remix) BelowListen to Nicki Minaj's Song "Changed It" Featuring Lil Wayne BelowHere Are the Many Times Nicki Minaj Gave Flowers to Other Women in Hip-HopFiled Under: aretha franklin, Nicki Minaj, Today in Hip-HopCategories: News, Today in Hip-Hop

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 19, 2023TMZ/YouTube/James Gilbert/Getty Images

Rick Ross loves his buffaloes but his neighbor is not happy that his animals are constantly roaming her yard.

According to a TMZ report, published on Sunday (March 19), Rick Ross' neighbor is angry that the rapper's buffaloes are always wandering in her yard and she's worried because her young kids are playing outside. The website reports that the neighbor lives behind Rozay's Fayetteville, Ga. compound, dubbed "The Promise Land," and the rapper's two buffaloes have wandered onto her property twice in a week.

The neighbor fears this could be dangerous because she has small children. Not to mention, these adult buffaloes are huge and often weigh up to 2,000 pounds.

TMZ posted a video of two buffaloes and a cow running through the neighbor's front yard. Apparently, this happened when the neighbor came home from work. She also snapped pictures of buffaloes grazing on the grass near parked cars.

The media outlet reports the neighbor confronted Ross about his roaming buffaloes. However, she was met with contempt after allegedly having a verbal argument with a member of the Miami rapper's team. The neighbor said that her next course of action is to file a neighbor dispute with the city of Fayetteville. She called the police but was told that it was a civil dispute and didn't take a report.

XXL has reached out to Rick Ross' reps for comment.

Rick Ross was presented with two buffaloes as a gift last March after revealing that he dreamed of having the large, ox-like animal on his property.

Rick Ross needs to keep his animals in check or someone could get hurt. Buffaloes are not known to be friendly to humans.

Watch Rick Ross' Buffaloes Roam on a Neighbor's Property BelowSee Rappers Who Share the Same BirthdaysFiled Under: Rick RossCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Max WeinsteinUpdated: March 19, 2023Contributing Authors: Newsweek

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 19, 1990: Tone Loc covered Newsweek for its "Rap Rage" issue, which arrived on newsstands on this day. The cover tagline read: "Yo! Street rhyme has gone big time. But are those sounds out of bounds?"

The choice was a confusing one, given how fun-loving the rapper was on wax. The editors apparently had to choose between LL Cool J and Tone Loc. The fact they opted for the latter says a lot about the magazine, which was hugely popular at the time. Their proclamation of rap being angry meant nothing to people who, by 1990, were well aware of that by then. That they felt the need to make it a cover story is much more telling.


The four-page essay, titled "The Rap Attitude," written by Jerry Adler was lambasted by over three dozen music critics across the nation as well as several outspoken hip-hop artists. In a letter to Newsweek's editor, drafted by Greg Sandow of Entertainment Weekly, the critics slammed the publication for its "lurid distortion" of rap music and for demonizing rap artists and the genre itself to one violent dimension.

Hip-hop icon Ice-T wasn't happy with the article and deemed it prejudicial.

Ice-T speaks onstage during Global Citizen Live, New York on September 25, 2021 in New York City.Theo Wargo/Getty Imagesloading…

"It was totally biased. I can’t believe they got so worked up about sexism and bad language," he told the Los Angeles Times on March 25, 1990. "[Jerry Adler’s] story is really a reflection of White parents who are freaked out that their kids are all into rap. More than half my fans are White kids now. That’s what’s scary about rap to the people who’re in power—it breaks down barriers between the races."

In response to the backlash, Adler told the L.A. Times that his essay represented a variety of opinions and not just his own.

"I really have no particular interest in rap. This was just an assignment. Our stories reflect many opinions other than the writers themselves," he said.

Although the essay was published 33 years ago, rap still continues to be one of the most polarizing genres in music history.

Watch Newsweek's Report Compton: ReBirth of a City Featuring N.W.A., DJ Quik and Lil Eazy E BelowSee Every XXL Freshman Cover Since 2007A look at every XXL Freshman cover since 2007.Filed Under: Today in Hip-Hop, Tone LocCategories: News, Today in Hip-Hop

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 18, 2023Victoria Sirakova/Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images (2)

NLE Choppa lost a song placement in a Powerade commercial following Memphis Grizzlies player Ja Morant's NBA suspension for waving a gun in a video.

According to a TMZ report, published on Saturday (March 18), NLE Choppa's latest song "Mo Up Front" was going to be the soundtrack for a Powerade ad featuring Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant. That is until Ja found himself in a PR nightmare when he flashed a gun in a video.

Following Ja's infamous video of him waving a gun, the NBA suspended him for eight games. This prompted Powerade to scrap their "What 50% More Means" ad campaign that featured Choppa's track. The TV spot was created to highlight the NCAA's March Madness tournament, according to the media outlet.

XXL has reached out to NLE Choppa for comment.

The Powerade commercial would have been an excellent look for NLE Choppa, who is a native of Memphis. Nevertheless, despite a missed opportunity to be in a national ad, TMZ reported that Choppa is not mad at Ja and is still a fan of him and his Memphis basketball team. In fact, last year, the 20-year-old rhymer walked the team out onto the court for their home opener.

Choppa is scheduled to participate in the team's Hoops for St. Jude's Day celebrity basketball game on Monday (March 20) to benefit St. Jude's hospital.

NLE Choppa has more music in the works. He plans to drop a new single called "Ain't Gonna Answer" featuring Lil Wayne ahead of his next project titled Cottonwood 2.

Watch NLE Chopra's "Mo Up Front" Video BelowSee Rappers Who Got to the Bag Through Video GamesFiled Under: Ja Morant, NLE ChoppaCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>XXL StaffUpdated: March 18, 2023Mr Bongo Worldwide LTD

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 18, 1983: The film Wild Style, which is considered the first hip-hop motion picture, was released in theaters on this day 40 years ago.

Directed by Charlie Ahearn, Wild Style tells the story of a young graffiti artist Zorro (played by real life tagger Lee Quiñones) looking to establish himself as the top graffiti artist in New York while balancing his relationship with his girlfriend. The film captures much of the early hip-hop culture at the time, and featured appearances and performances from hip-hop luminaries like Grandmaster Flash, Fab Five Freddy, Busy Bee, Cold Crush Brothers, the Rock Steady Crew, Rammellzee and more.

In a pivotal scene, DJ Grandmaster Flash shows off his turntable skills in his apartment's kitchen while Fab Five Freddy, who played a character named Phade, watches.

"For me, Wild Style from a movie's perspective is everything," he told Yahoo! Life in March. "Fab Five Freddy sat on the couch on the other side of the counter and he was kind of rocking with me. And I did my DJ thing, and that became one of the biggest scenes in the whole movie."

"[Director Charlie Ahearn] got what he had…and he had his film and he glued it together and then he showed it," he continued. "And that scene became the iconic scene."

Wild Style has been sampled by several hip-hop artists including Nas, Cypress Hill, the late MF DOOM, A Tribe Called Quest and others using clips of dialogue from the film on various recordings. The Wild Style soundtrack features classic audio from the movie including "Street Rap" by Busy Bee, "Military Cut" by DJ Grand Wizard Theodore, "Stoop Rap" by Double Trouble and the "Basketball Throwdown," featuring Cold Crush Brothers and the Fantastic Freaks (aka The Fantastic Five).

If you have never seen the film, you can watch Wild Style for free at

Watch Wild Style Movie Trailer BelowWatch Wild Style Scene: "Basketball Throwdown" – Cold Crush Brothers vs Fantastic Five BelowSee Essential Hip-Hop Movies to WatchFiled Under: A Tribe Called Quest, Busy Bee, cypress hill, Fab Five Freddy, Grandmaster Flash, MF Doom, Nas, Rammellzee, Rock Steady Crew, The Cold Crush Brothers, Today in Hip-Hop, Wild StyleCategories: News, Today in Hip-Hop

href=”//” rel=”author”>Sidney MaddenUpdated: March 18, 2023Contributing Authors: Delicious Vinyl

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 18, 1993: The Pharcyde dropped their second and most commercially successful single, "Passin' Me By," on this day in 1993.

As the second single off their 1992 debut album, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, the rap quartet—Slimkid3, Imani, Bootie Brown and FatliP—rapped about stories of love lost over a catchy, piano and saxophone-sampled beat created by producer J-Swift.

Slimkid3 credits J-Swift for finding the vinyls for Quincy Jones' 1973 song "Summer in the City" (featuring Valerie Simpson) and Eddie Russ' 1974 jazz tune "Hill Where the Lord Hides" (as well as The Jimi Hendrix Experience's 1967's song "Are You Experienced?") to sample for the song.

"I remember 'Passin' Me By' by The Pharcyde was supposed to be two separate songs that were later made into one. We had two different samples we were going to use: "Summer in the City" By Quincy Jones and "Hill Where the Lord Hides" by Eddie Russ," Slim detailed in a blog post about the making of the song on his official website. "But the two parts just fit together so well we combined them into one song. It was our musical peanut butter cup. Like…this s**t is kinda fantastic!"

The quirky yet emotional song made a big impact on mainstream music. At the time of its release, "Passin' Me By" peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart for the charting week of July 10, 1993.

"We were all blessed to find each other and have this music fall into our lap," wrote Slimkid3. "Quincy Jones was also a blessing for this song to exist for us as well. Without 'Summer in the City' (and his approval to use it for The Pharcyde album) and other sample elements, who knows what would have happened."

The Pharcyde's "Passin' Me By" is revered as a classic 1990s song by both critics and fans alike.

Watch The Pharcyde's "Passin' Me By" Video BelowSee 20 Surprising Facts About Hip-Hop Songs That Went No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Over Last 20 YearsHip-hop is all over the Billboard Hot 100 chart.Filed Under: Pharcyde, The Pharcyde, Today in Hip-HopCategories: News, Today in Hip-Hop

href=”//” rel=”author”>Max WeinsteinUpdated: March 17, 2023Contributing Authors: No Limit/Priority Records, LLC

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 17, 1998: New Orleans rapper C-Murder released his debut solo album, Life or Death, via No Limit Records on this day in 1998.

C-Murder is the brother of Master P, born Percy Miller, who founded No Limit Records and served as the label head throughout its lifetime. C-Murder, born Corey Miller, already had plenty of experience rapping by the time he released his first solo LP. The year prior, T.R.U. (a trio comprised of Master P, C-Murder and Silkk The Shocker) released their debut album, T.R.U. 2 Da Game.

In 1998, No Limit was reaching the peak of their ascension in the rap game before losing steam in the face of their fellow New Orleans rivals Cash Money Records. Still, the camp was making hits, and C-Murder released stellar singles like "A 2nd Chance" and "Makin' Moves."

In fact, some believe this album was the tipping point for the tension between No Limit and Cash Money, as the Big Tymers rereleased their debut album, How You Luv That, on the very same day.

Nevertheless, Life or Death did well on the music charts, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 3 on the Billboard 200 tally for the week ending April 4, 1998. Produced entirely by in-house production team Beats by the Pound, the LP eventually was certified platinum on Dec. 13, 1999, by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Unfortunately, C-Murder's life took a turn for the worse in 2003, when he was arrested for the murder of a 16-year-old fan. Six years later, he was sentenced to life in prison. It's been a long road for the embattled rapper, who has appealed his case several times, even to the Supreme Court. In spite of that, he hopes to be released from prison in the hopes of a retrial.

All that aside, Life or Death is still a classic all these years later.

Listen to C-Murder's Song "Makin' Moves" BelowListen to C-Murder's Song "Life or Death" BelowSee 44 of the Longest Prison Bids in Hip-Hop HistoryC-Murder, Max B, B.G. and more.Filed Under: C-Murder, Today in Hip-HopCategories: News, Today in Hip-Hop

href=”//” rel=”author”>XXL StaffPublished: March 16, 2023David Livingston/Robin Marchant/Vivien Killilea/Getty Images (3)

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this feature.

The list of formidable producers who’ve contributed to hip-hop culture is stacked. Beginning with Sugar Hill Records cofounder Sylvia Robinson, who produced Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five’s “The Message” and The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” in the 1980s, there are dozens of legendary beat magicians who’ve kept the party rocking and MCs rhyming. Through different eras, Marley Marl, Rick Rubin, Prince Paul, DJ Premier, Pete Rock and RZA are just a handful of producers who’ve made an indelible mark on the culture.

The tools have only become sharper, too. Before Serato, Abelton Live and other recording software, Easy Mo Bee manually chopped up samples and Marley Marl resorted to sampling kicks and snares from completely different records while other aspiring producers would use cassette boomboxes and their local radio stations to make loops. The advent of the internet changed the game entirely and it’s now easier than ever to find a sample that’s legally cleared to use. With that in mind, it’s a miracle that Prince Paul was even able to make De La Soul’s 1989 debut, 3 Feet High & Rising, due to the sheer amount of flips on the groundbreaking project. Same with Beastie BoysPaul’s Boutique, which was released that same year with insanely layered beats from The Dust Brothers and Delicious Vinyl cofounder Matt Dike.

Needless to say, production in 2023 isn’t the same as it was in 1973. However, there are still reputable talents such as Metro Boomin and Hit-Boy who have also found success in the new era. As the 50th anniversary of rap inches closer, XXL is celebrating 25 producers who’ve propelled the culture forward and simultaneously kept everyone's trunks rattling over the years. Looking into the imprint of other musicians such as Dr. DreKanye West and Timbaland, among others, check out the full list below.—Kyle Eustice

  • RZA

    RZA of the almighty Wu-Tang Clan has emerged as not only a vicious MC, but also a beat-making king. With plenty of credits under his belt, RZA has produced most of Wu-Tang’s albums, including the Staten Island group’s 1993 debut Wu-Tang: Enter The 36 Chambers and 1997’s Wu-Tang Forever. Splicing audio clips from old kung-fu movies with hard-hitting boom bap beats, RZA (also known as Bobby Digital) quickly established his signature sound. He’s gone on to both direct and score films as well as consult on the popular Hulu series, Wu-Tang: An American Saga, alongside Ghostface Killa, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa and GZA. On a commercial level, the legendary producer has received Grammy Award and Emmy nominations for his contributions to the culture.

  • Kanye West

    Love him or hate him, Kanye West’s production discography speaks for itself. Kicking off in 1999 with “It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop” by Dead Prez and “Joanne” by Trina & Tamara, Kanye has amassed a long list of production credits over the course of his career. From Beanie Sigel and Jay-Z to Scarface and Ludacris, the Chi-Town native quickly blossomed as Roc-A-Fella Records’ standout producer. After launching his solo career in 2004 with The College Dropout and establishing his own label, G.O.O.D. Music, Kanye explored a vast array of sounds, including symphonic arrangements, synthesizers and Auto-Tune. With more than 160 million records sold, 20 top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 (over 140 entries all together) and 22 Grammys, he’s among the most successful artists of all time—he also happens to be one of the most controversial.

  • Dr. Dre

    Before Dr. Dre became a billionaire Beats mogul, the Aftermath Entertainment trailblazer was in the lab cooking up the World Class Wreckin’ Cru’s electro funk album World Class (1985), N.W.A’s pioneering gangster rap album Straight Outta Compton (1988) and, of course, his seminal solo debut, The Chronic (1992). Built on a foundation of George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic samples, The Chronic ushered in the G-Funk era and paved the way for a slew of rappers to follow. He also earned a Grammy in the Best Rap Solo performance category for “Let Me Ride,” which relies heavily on Parliament’s 1976 single "Mothership Connection (Star Child).” A bona fide architect of West Coast G-Funk, he’s avidly working in the studio to this day (hopefully on that nearly mythical Detox project). When it comes to accolades, Dre has six Grammys, an Emmy and six top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 to his name.

  • Pete Rock

    Pete Rock—one half of Pete Rock & CL Smooth—created arguably one of the most recognized samples in hip-hop history with “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” from 1992’s Mecca and the Soul Brother. With an affinity for jazz samples and the SP-1200, Rock has crafted masterpieces for Stetsasonic, Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest and The Roots, among many others. More recently, he’s collaborated with the likes of Smoke DZA and Skyzoo, as well as put out multiple solo albums, culminating with 2022’s Return of the SP-1200 2. He hasn't received many nods on a commercial level, but his impact will never be lost within the genre and on the streets.

  • Marley Marl

    From RZA and DJ Premier to Madlib and Pete Rock, Cold Chillin’ Records in-house producer/DJ Marley Marl has influenced the careers of a wide array of hip-hop artists. The New York City native was discovered by local radio DJ Mr. Magic and the two went on to form the legendary Juice Crew. Marley Marl caught his big break in 1984 when he produced “Roxanne’s Revenge” for Roxanne Shanté. He went on to craft the entirety of Craig G's The Kingpin, Big Daddy Kane's Long Live The Kane, Biz Markie's Goin' Off, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo's Road to the Riches, MC Shan's Down By Law and Born to Be Wild and Roxanne Shante's Bad Sister. The platinum-selling producer is perhaps best known for producing “The Symphony,” a posse cut boasting verses from Juice Crew members Masta Ace, Kool G Rap, Craig G and Big Daddy Kane.

  • J Dilla

    J Dilla is one of rap’s most lauded producers. Despite his premature death in 2006, Dilla's extensive catalog has proven to be an influence on countless others. Beginning with Slum Village and Soulquarians, the Detroit native established his distinct sound with a customized Akai MPC3000. In addition to solo albums such as 2006’s Donuts, he went on to produce for The Pharcyde, A Tribe Called Quest, MF DOOM, Common and Erykah Badu (the latter two of which he earned Grammy nominations and Billboard entries with). Multiple posthumous projects started arriving shortly after his death, including The Shining, Jay Love Japan and Jay Stay Paid. Dilla’s mother, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, has worked tirelessly to keep his legacy alive, exceeding any and all expectations.

  • DJ Premier

    As a founding member of Gang Starr, DJ Premier is the production genius behind classics such as “Above The Clouds” and “You Know My Steez.” For the past three decades, he’s continued pushing the envelope, working with a wide array of artists; from J. Cole and Bishop Nehru to Oasis’ Liam Gallagher and Torii Wolf. When producing Christina Aguilera’s 2006 album Back To Basics, he admitted people were skeptical. But as he told Life + Times magazine, “I never want to be just attached to hip-hop. I want to be attached to music—country, rap, soul, jazz, blues, it doesn't matter, gospel music—I come from all of that.” And he’s kept his word. Additionally, Premier has taken home a few Grammy Awards for his genre-crossing productions.

  • Timbaland

    Always at the forefront of innovation, Timbaland made a name for himself producing for the likes of Ginuwine, Jodeci, Aaliyah and Missy Elliott throughout the 1990s. The aughts found him in the studio with Justin Timberlake, Brandy, LL Cool J, Xzibit, Snoop Dogg and dozens more. Needless to say, Timbaland’s versatility was like a secret weapon for any artist who stepped in the booth. From R&B to rap, the 4x Grammy Award-winner continues to flex his creative muscle. In 2022, he crafted two tracks for Jack Harlow’s Grammy-nominated album, Come Home The Kids Miss You, and followed up with contributions to The Game’s Drillmatic—Heart Vs. Mind project. As far as charts go, Timbaland has two No. 1 hits on the Hot 100, with five that have gone top 10.

  • Mannie Fresh

    Without Mannie Fresh, it’s unlikely Lil Wayne would be the superstar rapper he is now. The New Orleans producer is behind nearly most of the songs on 17 multi-platinum, platinum or gold albums for Cash Money between 1998 and 2004. His first Top 100 hit, “Ha” by Juvenile, put him on the map, but the group’s follow-up single “Back That Azz Up” made him a hot commodity. Credits include The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hope You N-ggas Sleep,” Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter and Big Tymers’ “Still Fly.” These days, he has the freedom to pick projects based on interest. He’s currently working on a collaborative album with The Cool Kids and traveling the world playing DJ sets. Yep, still fly.

  • The Bomb Squad

    As the powerhouse behind Public Enemy’s frenetic and often disruptive sound, The Bomb Squad sewed together swatches of samples like surgeons in an ER. Comprised of brothers Hank and Keith Shocklee, Eric Sadler, Gary “G-Wiz” Rinaldo, Bill Stephney and Chuck D himself, the production crew was behind Public Enemy’s most celebrated albums, including It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and Fear of a Black Planet. The Bomb Squad was also behind albums such as Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, Bell Biv Devoe’s Poison and Slick Rick’s The Great Adventures of Slick Rick. With all of that in mind, they are of course no strangers to plaques and chart placements.

  • Hit-Boy

    Hit-Boy was already a Grammy Award-winning producer, having crafted the Hov and Kanye West classic “N-ggaz In Paris” in 2004, Kendrick Lamar’s “Backseat Freestyle” from Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City and Beyoncé’s “Sorry” from Lemonade, but his work with Nas over the past few years have heightened his notoriety. In 2021, Hit-Boy won a Best Rap Album Grammy for his contributions to Nas’ King’s Disease. Its sequel, King’s Disease II, was nominated in the same category the following year. Last month, he added another gilded trophy to his collection after Beyoncé’s Renaissance took home the Best Dance/Electronic Album honor. With five Grammy wins altogether and a slew of Hot 100 entires, Hit-Boy continues to pump out classics to this day.

  • No I.D.

    Chi-Town native No I.D. garnered national acclaim first alongside fellow Chicagoan Common, pumping out multiple songs on 1994’s Resurrection—including the memorable ode to rap, “I Used To Love H.E.R”—and then as a co-producer with Jermaine Dupri. He also introduced Kanye West to both hip-hop production and Roc-A-Fella Records A&R Kyambo “Hip Hop” Joshua, who eventually signed West to Hip Hop Since 1978, inadvertently propelling the young rapper to superstardom.

    No I.D.’s résumé boasts a stint as G.O.O.D. Music president and additional credits with JAY-Z, Nas, Drake, Rick Ross, Big Sean, Rihanna and, of course, West. In 2008, he produced West’s 808 & Heartbreaks single “Heartless,” which sold more than four million copies. His latest work includes Beyonce’s Renaissance single “Church Girl” and two songs for Brent Faiyaz from the album Wasteland. Elsewhere, I.D. also won multiple Grammys for his contributions to Hov's "Run This Town," a record that of course landed on the Hot 100, out of the many, as well.

  • Mike Dean

    If there was no Mike Dean, Kanye West’s discography basically wouldn’t exist—at least not in its final iteration. In addition to mixing both The College Dropout and Late Registration, the Houston native—who made his initial mark with Rap-A-Lot Records artists—sprinkled his production magic on Graduation, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Yeezus, The Life of Pablo, Ye and the two Donda albums. His penchant for synthesizers and brooding, ethereal soundscapes largely define his body of work and easily sets him apart from other producers. Dean is the co-founder of Apex Sound along with fellow producer Apex Martin and a 7x-Grammy winner. Just give him a bong hit and watch him go.

  • Madlib

    A longtime Stones Throw Records affiliate, Madlib got an early taste of success with Tha Alkaholiks’ 1993 debut, 21 & Over. Credited as Lootpack—his production crew with Wildchild and DJ Romes—Madlib’s love of jazz, soul and funk weaved its way into his beats. He soon found himself clicked up with MF DOOM (as Madvillain), J Dilla (as Jaylib) and, eventually, Freddie Gibbs (as MadGibbs). His rumored project with Mac Miller, MacLib, was thwarted by Miller’s 2018 death. Madlib has produced for Erykah Badu, De La Soul, Living Legends, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, Anderson .Paak, Mos Def, Westside Gunn and Open Mike Eagle as well as his own alter ego, Quasimoto. Though he's never won a Grammy, commercial success has in fact been achieved, in instances like his work on Gibb's Bandana, which debuted in the top 25 on the Billboard 200 album chart.

  • The Dust Brothers

    The Dust Brothers (E.Z Mike and King Gizmo) are responsible for one of the most sample-heavy albums of all time—Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique (1989). With more than 100 snippets of songs from artists such as James Brown, Bob Marley, Afrika Bambaataa, The Eagles and ZZ Top, the ambitious project highlighted The Dust Brothers’ innate ability to make sense out of chaos. The Los Angeles-based duo later left their imprint on Beck’s Odelay, Midnite Vultures and Guero, the soundtrack for Fight Club and "MMMBop" by Hanson. Their work with the Beastie Boys has also earned them a stack of platinum plaques and Billboard chart nods.

  • Swizz Beatz

    When DMX died in April 2021, Swizz Beatz vowed to finish X’s comeback album, Exodus—and he did. Loyal until the end, Swizz Beatz was instrumental in DMX’s career, producing the infamous “Ruff Ryders Anthem” from his 1998 debut, It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, several tracks on Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood and “Party Up (Up In Here)” from 2000’s …And Then There Was X. Swizz Beatz, who’s also the co-founder of the popular Versuz series, has produced for his wife Alicia Keys, Eve, Cassidy, Hov, Beanie Sigel, Busta Rhymes, The Lox, Damian Marley and dozens of others. More recent work includes Mary J. Blige’s “Runnin’” off the Grammy-nominated Good Morning Gorgeous and Westside Gunn’s “Science Class” featuring Stove God Cooks, Bus-A-Bus, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah. The Grammy Award-winning producer is also no stranger to cracking Billboard's Hot 100 across decades.

  • DJ Quik

    DJ Quik is a pillar of early West Coast rap, widely known for the solo singles “Tonite,” “Born & Raised in Compton” and “Dollaz & Sense.” But his moniker is a giant clue as to what his first love is—DJing and producing. Once he’s behind the board, Quik is like a scientist, mixing little doses of funk with hip-hop to put his G-Funk signature on everything he touches. From Snoop Dogg and Tupac to The Game and Eazy-E, DJ Quik’s production discography reads like a who’s who of rap. Stints at Profile and Death Row Records only solidified his legacy. Quik is famous for using a vocoder, which was introduced to him by Zapp & Rogers’ Roger Troutman. As indicated by one of Quik’s latest Instagram posts, the platinum-selling beat architect still talking about his influence 30 years later.

  • Prince Paul

    With a penchant for weaving colorful sonic tapestries out of a plethora of diverse samples, Grammy Award winner Prince Paul stitched together De La Soul’s kaleidoscopic debut, 1989’s 3 Feet High & Rising. While he’d already established himself as a founding member of the Long Island hip-hop group Stetsasonic, his work with De La Soul put him on another level. He went on to form Gravediggaz with RZA, Too Poetic and Frukwan as well as Handsome Boy Modeling School with Dan The Automator. Subsequent collaborations include Gorillaz, Souls of Mischief and George Clinton, among many others. He's also scored Billboard 200 entries off of his own solo work, so shoutout to that.

  • Q-Tip

    As A Tribe Called Quest’s de facto leader, Q-Tip was among the catalysts of the jazz-infused hip-hop movement that dominated the ‘90s Golden Era. A member of the Native Tongues, Tribe was all about “beats, rhymes and life.” Behind the board, Q-Tip was an innovator, influencing future legends Pharrell, Kanye West, 9 Wonder and J Dilla. His production on Tribe’s The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders remains timeless. Outside of hip-hop, the Grammy Award-winner has smashed songs such as Mariah Carey’s “Honey,” which landed at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1997. He’s gone on to work with Nas, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Santigold, John Legend and Kendrick Lamar, among others. The “vivrant thing” is currently working on LL Cool J’s first album since 2013’s Authentic.

  • Metro Boomin

    Metro Boomin kicked off his career at just 16 years old while still living in St. Louis. After moving to Atlanta in 2011, he connected with a small army of ATL rappers, including Young Thug, Future, 21 Savage, Gucci Mane and Migos. He found mainstream success with 2014’s “Tuesday" by iLoveMakonnen and Drake, which reached No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. He landed his first chart-topper with Migos’ “Bad & Boujee” two short years later and hasn’t looked back. In 2017, he would produce what would become his first diamond-certified single, Post Malone’s “Congratulations” featuring Quavo. The versatile beat magician earned a Grammy nomination in the Album of the Year category for his work on Coldplay’s 2022 album Music of the Spheres at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards, has laced four top 10 hits on the Hot 100 and topped the charts with his own album Heroes & Villains last year. Boom indeed.

  • Just Blaze

    Just Blaze served as Roc-A-Fella Records’ in-house producer throughout the early 2000s, producing for the likes of Beanie Sigel, Jay-Z, Freeway and Cam’ron. Among his biggest hits are T.I.’s “Live Your Life” featuring Rihanna, which landed at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Just Blaze is the CEO of Fort Knocks Entertainment, has composed soundtracks for video games and was a character in NBA Street Vol. 2. The 8x-Grammy nominee even received a nod in the Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards for Lil Baby and Kirk Franklin’s “We Win (Space Jam: A New Legacy).” Other nominations include Album of the Year for Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Kanye West’s Late Registration.

  • The Neptunes

    Grammy Award-winning production duo Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo—collectively known as The Neptunes—are essentially a hit factory. With a discography that includes Nelly’s “Hot In Herre,” Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Got Your Money” featuring Kelis and the gold-certified “Lookin’ At Me” from Ma$e and Diddy, the proud Virginians haven’t let off the gas since producing Wreckx-n-Effect’s 1992 smash “Rump Shaker” while still in high school. In 2001, they catapulted to international recognition with Brittney Spears’ “I’m A Slave 4 U” and continued churning out tracks for Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg, Beyoncé and Hov, among others, in addition to their own group N.E.R.D and Pharrell’s solo work. In 2020, they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and honored with Honorary Doctorates from Berklee College of Music the following year. Altogether, they've won four Grammy Awards and stacked up plenty of platinum plaques to match their recurring Hot 100 entries.

  • Organized Noize

    Down South, Dungeon Family trio Organized Noize was making, well, noise. Throughout the 1990s, Sleepy Brown, Rico Wade and Ray Murray orchestrated culture-defining albums such as Outkast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, ATLiens and Aquemini and Goodie Mob’s Soul Food. But they also branched out into other genres, crafting several hit singles, including TLC's “Waterfalls,” En Vogue's "Don't Let Go (Love)” and Ludacris' "Saturday (Oooh! Ooooh!).”

    Outkast credits Organized Noize for their success. As Big Boi said in a 2017 interview with Billboard, "They were our big brothers, and they did a production deal with LaFace Records. They were the ones that gave us our first shot and we been doing music with them since the beginning.” Moreover, on a commercial level, they seem to have every relevant accolade under their belts, from Grammys to chart-topping hits.

  • Rick Rubin

    Rick Rubin is often exalted to deity status for his non-traditional approach to production. Using more feeling and energy than technical prowess these days, the Def Jam Recordings co-mastermind can usually be found holed up at his Shangri-La studio in Malibu guiding the creative direction of artists such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blossom and Run The Jewels. Early in his career, he was the driving force behind Beastie Boys’ Licensed To Ill, Public Enemy’s Yo! Bum Rush The Show and LL's Radio. Following Larry Smith and Russell Simmons’ work on Run-DMC’s albums Run-D.M.C. and King of Rock, Rubin took the reins on the trio’s third album, Raising Hell, which included the first big crossover Hip-Hop/rock hit,“Walk This Way” with Aerosmith.

  • The Alchemist

    An early member of Cypress Hill’s Soul Assassins, The Alchemist originally rapped under the moniker “Mudfoot” but ultimately found his calling as a producer thanks to guidance from DJ Muggs. After honing his skills as Dilated People’s primary producer, he branched out into producing for Mobb Deep, Nas, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Ghostface Killah and Snoop Dogg. He also landed a gig as Eminem’s tour DJ following Green Lantern’s departure from Shady Records in 2005. The Alchemist earned his first Grammy Award nomination in 2020 for Alfredo with Freddie Gibbs. That late nod doesn't tell the entire story though, as he's been racking up chart entries and RIAA certifications for years now.

See the Best Hip-Hop Albums Created by One ProducerWhich album is your favorite?Filed Under: DJ Premier, DJ Quik, Dr. Dre, Feature, Hit-Boy, J Dilla, Just Blaze, Kanye West, Madlib, Mannie Fresh, Marley Marl, Metro Boomin, Mike Dean, No I.D., Organized Noize, Pete Rock, Prince Paul, Q-Tip, Rick Rubin, RZA, Swizz Beatz, The Alchemist, the bomb squad, The Dust Brothers, The List, The Neptunes, TimbalandCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 16, 2023Bad Vibes Forever/Jack McKain

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 16, 2018: XXXTentacion was arguably the most polarizing artist of the SoundCloud era. Five years ago, the South Florida rapper released his second album, ?, via Bad Vibes Forever/Caroline/Capitol Records, on this day in 2018.

By the time XXXTentacion dropped his sophomore album, he was a rising star in the rap game after the success of his 2017 debut effort, 17, which exploded into the mainstream. On the ? album, XXX showcased his versatility by rapping over different sounds from boom-bap to pop to punk-rock and even Latin music.

For example, on the Joey Bada$$-assisted "infinity (888)," XXXTentacion spits intricate punchlines over the P. Soul-produced boom-bap track. "Make my flow shape-shift, cold expression like a facelift/At the Publix with like eight grips if you talkin' all that ape shit/I'm not talkin' YMBAPE shit, but I'm bangin' on my chest, bitch," he raps.

On the bouncy "I Don't Even Speak Spanish LOL," XXX delivers a sing-songy flow over a Latin, Caribbean-infused groove by producer Z3N. And on "Numb," the late rapper wallows in his tears over a charging electric guitar melody. He also flexed his musicality on the album's three hit singles: the bombastic track "SAD!," the piano-driven "Changes" and the psychedelic-trap banger "Moonlight."

For his stellar work, X's ? album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart during the week of March 31, 2018. On April 14, 2022, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the ? album quadruple platinum (4 million copies sold).

Sadly, three months after the album's release, XXXTentacion was shot and killed, on June 18, 2018, inside his vehicle after shopping for a motorcycle at Riva Motorsports in Deerfield Beach, Fla. Three men involved in the incident are on trial for his murder.

Even though XXXTentacion has passed away, his music lives on through his dedicated fans.

Watch XXXTentacion's "SAD!" Video BelowWatch XXXTentacion's "Moonlight" Video BelowListen to XXXTentacion's Song "Changes" BelowSee the Best Hip-Hop Projects From Rappers We LostFiled Under: Today in Hip-Hop, XXXTentacionCategories: News, Today in Hip-Hop

href=”//” rel=”author”>Sidney MaddenUpdated: March 15, 2023Contributing Authors: TDE

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 15, 2015: Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar dropped his third album, To Pimp a Butterfly, via Aftermath/Interscope Records and Top Dawg Entertainment, on this day in 2015.

Coming off the momentous acclaim of his major label debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, in 2012, everyone in hip-hop had an ear out for what K-Dot would come up with next. Hailed as one of the most nimble, imaginative storytellers in the rap game today, Kenny's second album had high expectations. Originally set to drop on March 23, Top Dawg Entertainment, Aftermath and Interscope moved up the release, surprising fans with a late-night drop one day after the 20th anniversary of Tupac Shakur's Me Against The World.

The album's lead singles, "Blacker The Berry," "King Kunta" and "Alright," asserted an unapologetically Black message in the wake of the increase in police brutality in America and the shooting deaths of young Black men like Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and more. Cuts like "Momma," "How Much A Dollar Cost" and "Institutionalized" examined Kendrick's personal struggle with newfound fame and guilt for leaving the hood that raised him.

To Pimp a Butterfly was almost immediately hailed as a classic among fellow MCs and music fans for its inventive use of funk influences and Kendrick's outstanding lyricism. Production credits on TPAB include Dr. Dre, Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith, Terrace Martin, Flying Lotus and Pharrell Williams. Though it was sparse with features, George Clinton, Snoop Dogg and Rapsody came through with memorable verses when they did assist.

Kendrick spoke on TPAB's message when he sat down for his XXL Winter 2015 cover story.

"The past few years or so has been very politically charged and controversial. From Trayvon Martin, to Eric Garner to Michael Brown and issues of police brutality and racism and for so many other reasons," he said. "All of it has really struck a nerve with me because when you experience things like that personally and you know the type of hardships and pain that it brings first-hand, it builds a certain rage in you."

"It brings back memories of when I’m 16 and the police come kicking the door in," he continued. "They don’t care that I’m a little boy and they stumped me in my back two times and they dragged me out the house and have us all handcuffed. It brings back those memories. Memories of losing loved ones. It brings back some of the most painful memories and deepest thoughts of real life situations that I didn’t even want to address on good kid. Or wasn’t ready to. Rage is the perfect word for it."

As far as accolades, TPAB was nominated for 11 Grammy Awards, including Best Rap Album and Album of the Year. At the 2016 Grammy Awards, K-Dot won five of his 11 nominations including Best Rap Performance for "Alright" and Best Rap Album but lost Album of the Year to Taylor Swift's 1989.

Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly serves as a reminder of the power of hip-hop.

Watch Kendrick Lamar's "Alright" Video BelowListen to Kendrick Lamar's "The Blacker The Berry"See Rappers and Hip-Hop Executives With a Key to the City Filed Under: Kendrick Lamar, Today in Hip-HopCategories: News, Today in Hip-Hop

href=”//” rel=”author”>XXL StaffUpdated: March 14, 2023Contributing Authors: Steve Granitz Archive/WireImage/Interscope Records

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 14, 1995: Tupac Shakur released his third solo studio album, Me Against the World, on this day in 1995. Featuring classic tracks like "Dear Mama" and "So Many Tears," the album was hailed by critics as one of the best releases of 1995, and Tupac's most personal work to date at the time.

The project included leftover tracks from Thug Life Vol. 1, which were recorded during the period between 1993 and 1994. Me Against the World was released while ’Pac was serving a one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half-year prison sentence for sexual abuse.

One of the most obvious and eerie themes of Me Against The World was ’Pac spitting so prolifically about his own death. Tupac and his Outlawz had been involved in shootings before, but as if predicting the future, songs like "If I Die 2Nite," "Lord Knows" and "Outlaw" directly reference Tupac going through a shooting, which would result in his death. That actually happened in 1996.

The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 during the charting week of April 1, 1995, and held the position for four weeks. The LP sold over 240,000 copies in its first week and was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on Dec. 6, 1995. Additionally, Tupac's beloved song "Dear Mama," his tribute to his late mother, Afeni Shakur, is certified triple platinum.

In 2017, Tupac was enshrined into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and saluted as a "definitive hip-hop anti-hero" who "wrote lyrics that spark conversations about rap, race relations and young Black men in America today."

More than 20 years later, Me Against the World remains one of Tupac Shakur's most beloved music projects and a certified classic album.

Watch Tupac Shakur's "Dear Mama" Video BelowWatch Tupac Shakur's "Temptations" Video BelowWatch Tupac Shakur's "So Many Tears" Video BelowSee 50 of the Most Clever Hip-Hop LyricsFiled Under: 2Pac, Today in Hip-Hop, Tupac ShakurCategories: News, Today in Hip-Hop

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 13, 2023Fat Beats

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 13, 2007: In October of 2005, Black Milk released his debut album, Sound of the City, to critical praise from both fans and critics alike. Two years later, he dropped his second project, Popular Demand, via Fat Beats, on this day in 2007.

Black Milk, born Curtis Eugene Cross, is a versatile producer-rapper from Detroit who is known for his soul-sample beats and bold drums. His second album, Popular Demand, is a 16-song collection of pure beats and rhymes. The LP elicited justifiable comparisons to the late and great J Dilla, whom Black has worked with on various Slum Village projects.

Standout tracks on the album include the first single "Sound the Alarm" featuring Guilty Simpson. On the song, Black stakes his claim as the most talented producer coming out of the Motor City. On the orchestral hip-hop banger "Three+Sum," the 39-year-old studio wizard details two ménage à trois sessions with some female acquaintances. Additionally, tracks like "One Song" and "Go Gone" not only feature Black's infectious soulful beats, but his impressive lyrical skills as well.

With his Popular Demand album, Black Milk represented his hometown of Detroit proudly.

"Being from Detroit, as a musician, as an artist, I feel like it’s one of those things where I’m pretty lucky," he told Red Bull Academy in 2018. "I’m kind of fortunate to come from that city, ’cause as [an] artist I feel like it has probably the richest music history out of any city in the world. …There’s no other place I would rather be from. That Detroit pride is always there."

Check out tracks from Black Milk's Popular Demand album below.

Watch Black Milk's "Sound the Alarm" Video BelowListen to Black Milk's "Three+Sum" Song BelowSee the Best Hip-Hop Albums Created by One ProducerWhich album is your favorite?Filed Under: Black Milk, Today in Hip-HopCategories: News, Today in Hip-Hop

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 12, 2023Amy Sussman/Getty Images/Finesse2tymes/YouTube

In the wake of three people who died from injuries suffered at the GloRilla and Finesse2Tymes' show, the family of one of the victims is planning to file a lawsuit against the rappers.

According to a TMZ report, published on Sunday (March 12), the family of one of the victims, Brandy Miller, has told the media outlet that they are planning to sue GloRilla and Finesse2Tymes, as well as the promoters and the Main Street Armory in Rochester, N.Y.

Brandy's sister, Michelle, reportedly told TMZ that her family is in the process of hiring an attorney, someone who is high profile, because the family "has no plans to back down."

As previously reported, three people have died after succumbing to their injuries following the GloRilla and Finesse2Tymes concert on March 5 the Main Street Armory in Rochester, N.Y. A crowd surge that occurred as people were exiting the venue, possibly frightened over the sound of what they believed were gunshots, caused a stampede that resulted in three deaths and several other people injured.

The three people who have died are identified as Rhondesia Belton, a 33-year-old female from Buffalo, N.Y., Aisha Stephens of Syracuse, N.Y., and Brandy Miller of Rochester, N.Y.

TMZ reported that GloRilla and Finesse had left the venue before the stampede and neither artist is under criminal investigation for the incident at this time. Both Glo and Finesse have expressed their condolences to the victim's family.

"I’m just now hearing about what happened wtf praying everybody is ok," Big Glo tweeted on Twitter.

"I am devastated & heartbroken over the tragic deaths that happened after Sunday’s show," she added in a follow-up tweet about the tragic event. "My fans mean the world to me praying for their families & for a speedy recovery of everyone affected."

XXL has reached out to reps for Glorilla and Finesse2Tymes for comment.

See Rappers’ BirthdaysFiled Under: Finesse2tymes, GloRillaCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 12, 2023Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images/DJVlad/YouTube

The streets are talking and apparently, they are alleging that Rich The Kid and producer Southside got into an altercation at a club.

On Saturday (March 11), while DJ Akademiks was on Twitch, he claimed that Rich The Kid and Southside, a producer on the production team 808 Mafia, got into a fight at a club. Although Ak didn't think it was true, he grabbed his phone to read a text message from someone who purportedly saw the incident. "808 Mafia just fought Rich the Kid in some club. They said Rich got knocked out," he said while reading the message.

It's unclear if it was 808 Mafia—the production crew—or if it was only Southside who was in the alleged fight with Rich The Kid. Due to the lack of video of this alleged altercation between the two artists, DJ Akademiks said it might not be true.

XXL has reached out to Rich The Kid and Southside for comment.

Interestingly, Rich and Southside have collaborated on a song together. In October 2022, the two men teamed up with producer TM88 and released the song, "Breakin' You Off," featuring Ty Dolla $ign and 2 Chainz.

So it begs the question of why Rich and Southside had an alleged fight at a club.

Hopefully, if the two men do have a disagreement with each other, they would settle it amicably rather than fisticuffs. Again, let's hope the rumors are not true.

Watch DJ Akademiks Claim That Rich The Kid and Southside Got Into an Altercation BelowSee 10 of the Shortest Beefs in Hip-HopBeefs within rap that ended quickly.Filed Under: 808 Mafia, Rich The Kid, SouthsideCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 12, 2023toosii/Instagram/Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

Toosii had a run-in with police last night and according to him, it could have turned deadly.

On Saturday (March 11), Toosii shared on his Instagram account a video of his interaction with police in North Carolina. In the clip, The 2021 XXL Freshman claims a cop pulled a gun on him after the rapper's own gun fell out of his car. The 23-year-old artist is seen arguing with police and explaining to them that he almost lost his life because a cop allegedly pulled a gun on him.

"I did not pull no gun on him," he argued at the police officers in the video below. "My gun fell on the ground…no it was not in my hand, bro, it fell out my car."

Toosii added that he picked up the gun and put it in the car, but when he put his hands up, a police officer allegedly still pulled his gun on him without probable cause.

"You was dead ass finna to shoot me," he tells the officer, adding, "this n***a said, 'gun, gun, gun' as if someone was finna to like, what the f**k?"

The police officer insisted that it wasn't him that yelled "gun, gun, gun." But Toosii vehemently disagreed with the officer's response, claiming he was the only one who pulled a gun on him. Several officers join in the conversation and started arguing with the rapper as well.

It's unclear where the incident happened in North Carolina.

In the caption of the video, Toosii explained what happened to him with the police. He wrote:

"Mind you I live in the state of North Carolina! An OPEN CARRY STATE where I am also LICENSED TO CARRY. You would think officers are more trained for situations like this but instead you get officer dip sh*t who pulls his gun out on me because he‘a so in fear for his life and ready to kill an innocent man and take him away from his family! I’m in disbelief at how someone who could have went throhhh so much training could have honestly reacted this way… I could have senselessly lost my life tonight because some coward was too afraid and doesn’t know how to do his job [thumbs down emoji]."

XXL has reached out to Toosi's rep for comment.

Watch Toosii's Heated Argument with Police in North Carolina BelowSee 22 Hip-Hop-Related Police RaidsThese rappers had some serious run-ins with the police.Filed Under: ToosiiCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 12, 2023Scott Gries/Getty Images

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 12, 2007: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five became the first group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame., on this day in 2007.

In hip-hop, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five are the pioneers of protest rap and one of the most influential groups ever assembled. The Bronx, N.Y.-based troupe—consisting of Grandmaster Flash (real name Joseph Saddler), Melle Mel (Melvin Glover), Kid Creole (Nathaniel Glover), Mr. Ness aka Scorpio (Eddie Morris), Raheim (Guy Williams) and the late Cowboy (Keith Wiggins)—are responsible for bringing social commentary into rap with their thought-provoking 1982 song "The Message," amid a time when party music was the norm in the genre. Their non-rapping member, Grandmaster Flash, is credited with being the creator of turntable tricks associated with hip-hop deejaying.

At the induction ceremony, which took place at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, Jay-Z delivered the induction speech, honoring the group's importance musically and culturally to hip-hop. Afterward, the founding members gave heartfelt speeches and followed it with a spirited performance of "The Message."

Rapper Jay-Z inducts Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 22nd annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel March 12, 2007 in New York City.Scott Gries/Getty Imagesloading…

"The fact that we're in the Hall of Fame speaks volumes," Melle Mel told the Associated Press in March 2007. "People try to separate hip-hop music like it stands alone, but it really doesn't. We're in with all the great groups in the history of music. It further legitimizes hip-hop."

Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five's induction into the Rock Hall opened the door for other rappers to be saluted. Since then, 10 rap acts have been ushered into the Hall of Fame. They are Run-DMC (2009), Beastie Boys (2012), Public Enemy (2013), N.W.A (2016), Tupac Shakur (2017), The Notorious B.I.G. (2020), Jay-Z (2021), LL Cool J (2021) and Eminem (2022).

Four years before their induction, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's song "The Message" was archived in the U.S. Library of Congress in January 2003.

Watch Jay Z Induct Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five Into the Rock Hall in 2007 BelowWatch Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five Accept and Perform Rock Hall Inductions in 2007 BelowHere Are Early Hip-Hop Groups That Made an ImpactFiled Under: furious five, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Today in Hip-HopCategories: News, Today in Hip-Hop

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 11, 2023Bennett Raglin/Getty Images/DJVlad/YouTube

Troy Ave and Taxstone appear to go back-and-forth with each other on Twitter this week.

On Friday (March 10), Troy Ave seems to have called Taxstone a "hater" during a heated Twitter exchange. It all started when Taxstone tweeted on Thursday (March 9), "Can’t wait for this delusional lying ass bozo to testify on Monday !!!"

Although the embattled former podcaster, born Daryl Campbell, didn't mention any names, he is likely referring to Troy Ave since Taxstone is on trial for the infamous 2016 shooting at Irving Plaza in New York City that took the life of Troy's bodyguard Ronald "Banga" McPhatter.

Taxstone's attorney, Kenneth Montgomery, has confirmed to XXL that Troy Ave, born Roland Collins, is expected to testify in his client's trial on Monday (March 13).

"Yes, he is. He is expected to testify concerning his cooperation," Montgomery said in a statement.

Troy Ave, possibly in response to Taxstone's tweet, wrote on Friday: "A call to action is crazy [rolling on the floor laughing emoji] 'I can’t wait' Said the person with nothing but time [skull emoji]…his friends cooked him [steak emoji] VERY WELL DONE! I might jus bring the dessert , wat kind y’all want!? [four tears of joy emoji] #UnSafeTho."

The "UnSafeTho" hashtag may be a flip on Taxstone's often used hashtag #BeSafeTho.

Troy then tweeted a strange message to former President Barack Obama and possibly called Taxstone a "hater" in his tweet.

"Dear @POTUS44 [former President Obama] this Hater tryna frame the murder of MY FRIEND on Me. I’m innocent I boomed @ the hater of self defense! His Mans Caswell & Malcolm ate the [cheese] on him already! My new album gon be called 'DEAR HATER I WON' pre order uP MONDAY!" he wrote.

On Saturday (March 11), Taxstone delivered several tweets that are possibly aimed at Troy Ave.

"Rejecting self reflection at any cost," he began his Twitter rant. Lowlifes think the most highly of themselves."

"Keeping their face far from mirrors but placing them in front of everyone else’s face," he continued. "Sometimes we get lost and have to find ourselves but never forget to self reflect[.]"

The trial is a result of Taxstone's involvement in the shooting and death of Banga. During a T.I show at Irving Plaza in New York City in 2016, an argument occurred in the VIP section around 10:30 p.m. Gunfire erupted, which ended the show and resulted in Banga's murder. Surveillance video of the venue showed Troy Ave firing a gun. He claimed he was shooting in self-defense. Troy, who also suffered a gunshot wound in the leg, was arrested for the shooting.

Taxstone was also arrested for his part in the shooting. He was charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one count of receipt of a firearm in interstate commerce. Taxstone's DNA was found on the gun that killed Banga and injured Troy Ave.

Twitter beefs aside, it will be interesting to see what will happen during Taxstone's trial on Monday.

See Wild Rap Beefs That’ll Probably Never Be ResolvedPusha-T and Drake, YG and 6ix9ine, and more.Filed Under: Taxstone, Troy AveCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Sidney MaddenUpdated: March 11, 2023Contributing Authors: Rap-A-Lot Records/Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 11, 1997: By the time he dropped The Untouchable, Scarface was one of the biggest names in Southern hip-hop. But the sonic scope he provided fans on his fourth studio project, which was released on this day, was beyond any other musical offering he had served up at that time.

The Untouchable is a shining moment in Scarface's discography. The 12-track collection featured cameos from the late Tupac Shakur, Daz Dillinger, Ice Cube, Too Short and Dr. Dre. The Houston-bred MC infused his own sound with some G-funk for good commercial measure but still managed to dazzled with witty lyricism on his own terms.

On songs like "Faith" and "For Real" Scarface made it a point to drop knowledge on issues of racism, poverty, and revolution. On tracks like "Smile" featuring Tupac Shakur and Johnny P, the heavy bass, distorted intro and competing lyrics of the rappers caught the attention of fans and highlighted the issues of corrupt government and America's societal drug problem.

The Untouchable was a success because 'Face, while being a member of the iconic rap group Geto Boys, wasn't afraid to branch out musically but still managed to uphold the H-Town sound he'd helped to craft. A week after the album dropped, it debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, making it his first No. 1 debut in his career. On May 16, 1997, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for one million copies sold.

Twenty-six years later, The Untouchable remains Brother Mob's standout masterpiece.

Watch Scarface's "Smile" Video Featuring Tupac Shakur BelowListen to Scarface's Song "Money Makes the World Go Round" (Featuring Daz Dillinger and Devin The Dude) BelowSee Rappers Named After Notorious Crime FiguresFiled Under: ScarfaceCategories: News, Today in Hip-Hop

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 10, 2023Theo Wargo/Getty Images

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 10, 2015: Occasionally, a song comes along that captures the heart and soul of the entire world. Wiz Khalifa teamed up with singer-songwriter Charlie Puth on an elegiac song for the soundtrack of Furious 7 as a tribute to the late actor Paul Walker, who died in a car accident on Nov. 30, 2013. On this day, Wiz and Charlie released "See You Again," which became a top-selling hit.

"See You Again" was co-produced and co-written by Charlie Puth, DJ Frank E and Andrew Cedar. Charlie, who is a piano prodigy from Berklee College of Music, wrote the song in memory of his late friend. He told Entertainment Weekly in April of 2015, "I was thinking of my friend who passed away in a similar way to Paul Walker. I'm really honored that the Furious franchise thought that I captured it the best."

Next up was finding the right rapper to complement Charlie's emotional lyrics and melodic piano tinkles. Several rappers were being considered including Wale but he turned it down because the song was too sad for him to write to it. Eminem and 50 Cent were also offered to have their take on "See You Again," but they decline because Em wanted to do music for the boxing film Southpaw since he was an investor of the movie.

Enter Wiz Khalifa. Using the Fast and the Furious franchise's core theme of "family," the Pittsburgh, Pa. rhymer used Walker's portrayal of Brian O'Connor as inspiration.

"I basically thought about what the movie stands for as far as family and the brotherhood, and of course, using the metaphor of…the last race [between Walker and Vin Diesel's character] in that last scene," he explained to MTV News in April 2015.

"See You Again" became a worldwide chart-topping smash for the duo. The Grammy-nominated tune premiered at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of April 25, 2015, and held the position for 12 weeks. Additionally, the accompanying visual has become the most-watched video on YouTube with nearly 6 billion views. The song was also certified 11 times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on Sept. 24, 2019.

Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's emotional ballad continues to resonate with fans worldwide.

Watch Wiz Khalifa's "See You Again" Video Featuring Charlie Puth BelowWatch Fast and Furious 7 Ending Scene BelowSee Every Hip-Hop Song Certified Diamond in Music HistoryFiled Under: Charlie Puth, Wiz KhalifaCategories: News, Today in Hip-Hop

href=”//” rel=”author”>Vanessa SattenPublished: March 9, 2023

Interview Vanessa Satten Images Ahmed Klink for XXL

Seen It AllFat Joe is known as hip-hop’s best storyteller. That’s a title he’s earned because of all the iconic moments he’s experienced during his 30 years in the game. And his witty way of recounting them. The Bronx native got his start with his 1993 debut album, Represent. To date, he’s dropped 10 solo albums and four collabo albums, and created his own successful label, Terror Squad, which launched the careers of Big Pun, Remy Ma and more. He’s been part of hip-hop history as an artist, a label head, a witness and a fan.

And after all these decades, Joe, 52, is arguably bigger than ever. In 2020, the rap star put out The Fat Joe Show podcast, which has offered a stage for his charismatic personality to shine. Last year, he put out The Book of Jose, an insightful memoir that has led to several upcoming TV projects. And with all that, the diehard rap fan and talented MC is just getting started.

On a cold February afternoon in lower Manhattan, Joe celebrated the upcoming 50th anniversary of hip-hop by looking back at the music genre’s highlights and his own. Like Joe says, legends never die.

XXL: It’s not about if you are a legend, but why you are a legend.

Fat Joe: I'm a legend in hip-hop more as a fan first, just being born in the Bronx, N.Y., birthplace of hip-hop. Having access. Could you imagine the whole world was just on my block, my community, and went from writing graffiti to breakdancing to rapping? MCing? Got my start at the Apollo. It's 30 years later, since I dropped my first album and we even more relevant today. Legends never die.

You got into rapping 30 years ago. Any idea that hip-hop would take you this far? 

I knew hip-hop would make it this far and much further, and I always knew that. My belief was always strong in hip-hop. Music, hip-hop culture. But would I have been here 30 years later? Would I have been in the game still doing things, and doing what I love to do, and sold-out concerts every week and stuff like that? Nah, I didn't think it'd last this long for me.

What do you remember about those days when you first started? What hip-hop was like?

When I first started in the Bronx, doing Club 2000, the Fever, it was the class of ’92, ’93. So, you had everybody from Diggin in the Crates, Lord Finesse, Diamond D to Gang Starr, to Craig Mack, Biggie, early Jay-Z, early, early Nas. This was the era that would change the whole game. There was nothing like it. It was just such a vibe, man. It was just, everybody trying to help each other. Everybody trying to succeed. Everybody trying to push this culture forward. And it was pretty much about the culture. Less about finances and making money and stuff like that. It was about getting your name out there. Getting your props. We call that clout now. Collaborating, you know, just lifting the hip-hop culture to another level. 

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My first biggest moment was “I Shot Ya,” LL Cool J's collaboration. I was going into my second album, and I got to work with Foxy Brown. That was the first time she ever rocked. LL Cool J was my idol, mentor. Keith Murray. R.I.P. Prodigy. It was just a breakout. It was letting people know I was real. It wasn't just like a rap hobby.

My next moment would be discovering Big Pun. I put him on the second album, and then we just focused on Pun, just making him a rap superstar. And Pun became the first Latino solo artist to sell 2 million records. Frenzy. Latinos never saw nothing like that. One of the greatest lyricists that ever lived in life. We dropped “Still Not a Playa” and played it on the radio in the morning show on Hot 97. By the time I made it to the lobby, Lyor Cohen, Craig Kallman, Steve Rifkind, every executive you name in the world was waiting for me at the lobby like, “Yo, you got any other Spanish cousins? I wanna sign them now.” That was my moment of becoming rich at that point, you know?

Big Pun was nominated for two Grammys. He went and got the finger waves like Dru Down. It's that iconic picture where we look like the kingpin. The big-ass suits. I remember when we went to the Grammys, they had told us that they do the hip-hop awards before, and we lost. Ricky Martin was doing the “Living La Vida Loca” and I'm looking around. It's Aretha Franklin. It's Kirk Franklin. I waited my whole life to get there. Pun was like, “Yo, fuck these people, man. They jerked us.” I was like, “What?” and he was like “Let's go.” I was like, “Yo, Pun, are you serious?” He was like, “Yo, let's go.” Fuck that, you my brother, let's go. I was like, “Aight, fuck it. We gotta go.” That was a big moment for us. We left. We left the Grammys. And we were strapped, like the cover, at the Grammys. 

Kevin Mazur/WireImageKevin Mazur/WireImageloading…

I'll never forget the night before Eminem's first album came out. We waited on line at the Tower Records on Sunset. Me and Big Pun, we waited online, just to get the CD. We bumped that all night. Then unfortunately Pun passed away and I had to step up. And put out hits like “We Thuggin’” and “What's Love,” and then it took me double platinum. I just kept fighting forever.

I’ve been blessed. A lot of people think if you win, win, win it's the biggest blessing, but you gotta know who's really here for you. Who's really with you. So, I went through ups and downs in my career. There was times where I was No. 1 in America, and then I fell off. So, I got to see who was with me, and then I came back and was No. 1 in America. And then everybody wants to jump back on, and then I fall back down. In this industry, when you fall, it’s unapologetic how the people just run away from you and leave you. And then I came back again, No. 1. And so, I got to see who my true friends were. 

“A lot of people think if you win, win, win it’s the biggest blessing, but you gotta know who’s really here for you.”

Who were some of those true friends?

Ahmed Klink for XXL

True friends is a N.O.R.E., Khaled, Remy Ma, Cool & Dre. You know, they were there for me at times I was depressed, and I needed to get talked to come out the house. When I hit 40 years old, I thought life was over. I thought, Who's gonna be a 40-year-old rapper. That was tough, bro. And I remember Dre came in and he started convincing me, he said, “Yo, man, you know Tina Turner made her first hit when she was 48.” “What?” 

So, big moments, Remy winning the Female Rapper of the Year. You know, Nicki Minaj had the game on the chokehold for many, many, many, many years. At one point, we felt like she was the only girl rapper in the world. You just felt like there was nobody else rapping. And then Remy came and took the title. That was big for us. My Rucker Park coaching, you know that was big for me. Street basketball. If I pass away, I got in my will that my hearse gotta drive through the Rucker. They gave me like seven incredible summers out there when we did incredible things. I'm still the all-time winningest coach out there. You know, bunch of things. We've been celebrating success a long time.

What's been the soundtrack for you? Key albums that you've gone to over the years as a hip-hop fan that you listen to and enjoy that bring you back to whatever made you love it?

Key albums, for me, to go back and get me focused is Illmatic by Nas. I feel like it's the greatest hip-hop album of all time. Slick Rick's Great Adventures. Big for me. Biggie's Ready to Die. I go back to that. My second album, Jealous Ones Envy ’cause I was just so hungry then. So, you know, when you start getting all this wealth and living different, you know sometimes you lose yourself. And so, that's always been my true DNA. My true blueprint. Where I've been able to go find myself as an artist back to the second album. You see how fucking raw you was? You see how hungry you was? And it puts me back into perspective with everything that I know now. 

Paid in Full by Eric B. Rakim is a go-to album for me. The Chronic is just like, I don't go to the Chronic all the time, but when I do, magic happens. Because if you listen to “Lean Back,” to me it feels like a lost tape of Dr. Dre. It just feels like that and, me and Pun with “Twins,” “Deep Cover,” you know, we sampled “Deep Cover.” It's another big moment for us, when Pun hit ’em with that “Dead in the middle of little Italy, little did…,” you know. That probably to me, being a hip-hop historian, was the greatest cover of any song. Like, it was the greatest flipping a classic into a classic, you know, which is hard to do, know what I mean? That was ahead of its time.

Similar to your highlights in your career, what are the highlights in hip-hop that you think have been amazing moments for the culture? 

The biggest moment I've ever attended was Verzuz, right out of the COVID, with The Lox against Dipset. You gotta understand, even though I grew up in the Bronx and I used to get these cassette tapes with the rap battles and all that, so when we heard these stories like Kool Moe D versus Busy Bee, you heard all these legendary battles. The Cold Crush against the Fantastic 5, Fantastic Romantic. This is stuff we heard of. This is almost like a unicorn or a Sasquatch. But when I was at the Verzuz, and Michael Buffer comes out and he goes, “Let's get ready to rumble! Here, out of Harlem, N.Y., Dipset. He goes by the name of Freekey Zekey…” I wanted to die. Like they could've killed me at that moment, and I'd've been straight with life. Like it was so fuckin' unreal. The environment was that raw, New York, gritty. Anybody that was somebody from outta town came in. And to see two super groups, The Lox and Dipset, go at it hit for hit…

I’ll tell a story. I was going in a bathroom, it's a unisex bathroom in the theater in Madison Square Garden. They shooting dice in there. They smoking blunts. Girls are stepping over the dice to use the bathroom. It was the craziest shit I ever been to in my life. The atmosphere was fuckin’ unreal. And I never forget the moment where Cam was like, “Yo, we got the biggest New York song.” And he plays “Welcome to New York City” with him and Jay-Z. And then Jadakiss comes out and just, “What? We got one, too.” [Makes the sound of the Ja Rule “New York” beat]. I was like, “Oh, my fucking God.” I've been playing like middleman, but I'm on “New York.” The rapper in Fat Joe wanted to run up there so fast and say my verse, but I would never disrespect Jimmy or Cam or any of them like that, so I just had to enjoy it from the crowd.  

One of the biggest moments is seeing Eminem for the first time, Lyricist Lounge. He was this skinny, and he came out with the Outsidaz from New Jersey. And he was rapping so crazy. Years ago, if you came out for the first time and you was dead nice, the crowd would lose their mind. I don't know what you gotta do now, but I remember he was so skinny they kept holding him from the back of his T-shirt, so he won't fall off the stage.

I was there when Big Daddy Kane brought Jay-Z out for the first time in Manhattan. He was like, “This is Jay-Z.” I was there when Biz Markie, in the Bronx, a club called Zodiac, too, when Biz Markie brought Big Daddy Kane out for the first time. And he did the “Supercalifragilisticexpialigocious,” and muthafuckas was running up the wall. KRS-One, I was at Cortlandt Ave., there was a jam, a block party, the shit you hear about where they used to have the turntables, and fuckin' speakers to the sky, and plug it into the light pole. He was this skinny kid. He had a Bob Marley T-shirt, and a white leather Rasta hat. And he did the “South Bronx.” And it changed my life. He did it, like, four times. And by the time that South Bronx, the whole crowd was like, “South Bronx, South, South Bronx, South Bronx.” It was like a overnight sensation.

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I was there the first time Lord Finesse brought out Big L and that was crazy. That was uptown, like 200 Street and Broadway, they had a club and Lord Finesse was like, “Yo, I got my lil' man. He rap.” He tore that down. I was also there when I brought out Big Pun for the first time. And we used to play that Trigger tha Gambler “the chop rocker, the clock clocker,” and Pun would just go stupid on that, and the whole crowd was just jumping up and down. I'll never forget, it was Virginia. First time I ever brought Pun out, and them boys was jumping to the sky, like, “Oh my God. This guy got the fatter Puerto Rican going crazy out here.” Those were big, big moments for me as a hip-hop fan.

Also, the Apollo Theater, the series, when Ice Cube came to New York and performed at the Apollo. I remember we was all standing on top of the chairs. Big Daddy Kane came down in the Apollo from the sky. He had a toga on with two girls looking like Isis with him. Then you had Biz Markie, who used to slide out of a nose. He used to have a big nose and he was picking boogers. I remember I went to a show one time, when Slick Rick just before he went to jail, he was like four-times platinum, and he sat down the whole show on a throne, with a crown. And he was just like, “Once upon a time, not…” and we was going crazy. I never been to a show where the guy sits down the whole time, but rips it down. Everybody's going “Lodi-doddie.” Everybody’s losing their mind. And you know, Slick Rick, his album got me through a lot, you know what I'm saying?

When I was young, I left my mother's house, I was selling drugs. I was living in a crackhead hotel. And people were really getting shot outside the door. I was still a kid. I thought I was tough, but I really was scared. And so, people was getting shot outside. I literally would open my door in the middle of the night and see women shooting heroin in front of my door. I knew I didn't wanna be home and Slick Rick's music just got me through. Every night I would throw on my Walkman and listen to his shit and just be like, Wow. He got me through a tough time. 

You mentioned a couple of times about hip-hop has changed your life. What’s your position like now? You have a new book, and a bunch of TV projects you are working on. Can you speak more about that?

You know, hip-hop, brothers like Puff, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, showed us the way to equity and ownership and being entrepreneurs. And so, I always came in the game as an artist, a rapper first, an MC, but as an entrepreneur. Hence Terror Squad Records. And now, 30 years later, it's about diversifying. And sure, I tour, make music, but I also own clothing stores and sneaker stores as well as a lot of investments I've done. COVID gave me a unique position to turn on my IG, and I don't know if it's a podcaster or an iPodster, I don't know what we gonna call it, but I like to think I helped people get through COVID, along with my friends. Anybody you name, from a Floyd Mayweather to a DJ Khaled, to a Mike Tyson, to Alicia Keys, to a Kehlani, to a Saweetie and just, getting people through the times, you know?

Dr. Fauci, at the time we needed to hear what he said. I asked him the first question, “Yo, they wanna know, Fauci, when can we go back in the strip clubs?” He said, “Well, Joe, it's not time for that yet.” But that was my first question because I knew the audience. And so, that has progressed to a TV show with Starz, executive-produced by LeBron James and Diddy. That's gonna be a talk show. 

Then I have a book I dropped, The Book of Jose, which is one of the greatest hip-hop memoirs ever made, and I read them all, so I know. I'm not delusional. Y'all need to get that Book of Jose if you ain't got it yet. It's almost like the hip-hop Bible. And it deals with everything, from depression to suicide, to selling drugs, to marketing, to promoting, to never giving up. It's all about bravery, that book. So, we have a TV show based on that with Kenya Barris, and Jesse and Uly Terrero. The series is based off The Book of Jose. We have a one-man show where I'm getting introduced by Dave Chappelle, and I'm pretty much doing like a Mike Tyson, John Leguizamo, Beastie Boys, Bruce Springsteen type of, you know, bring you through highs and lows, make you laugh, make you cry. Just explaining different stories in my life. People call me the best storyteller in hip-hop, so I might as well tell them some stories and, boy, do I got ’em.

“People call me the best storyteller in hip-hop, so I might as well tell them some stories and, boy, do I got ’em. “

Alright, you've shared a lot over the past 30 years through telling stories. Through music. What's something you haven't told anybody that you want to tell us about you?

I don't know what story hasn't been told yet, man. If you study my story and how hard it was for me. If you see what I had to go through to become successful, it'll teach you to never give up. I'm just a story within stories. It's a Pandora's box. I was around with Biggie. I was around with Tupac. Right now, you sound like a fossil if you say that. 

“If you see what I had to go through to become successful, it’ll teach you to never give up.”

Interview: Vanessa Satten  Images: Ahmed Klink for XXL

Ahmed Klink for XXLAhmed Klink for XXLloading…Ahmed Klink for XXL (Click to Enlarge)Ahmed Klink for XXL (Click to Enlarge)loading…See Fat Joe Photos for XXL’s Legends CoverNo hindsight music unit displayed.Filed Under: Fat Joe, FeatureCategories: Digital Covers, News, Videos, XXL Magazine

href=”//” rel=”author”>Peter A. BerryUpdated: March 9, 2023Contributing Authors: Craig Sjodin, Getty Images

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 9, 2011: By 2011, Eminem had proven his historical dominance 10 times over. On this day, in 2011, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) revealed that two of Em's albums had gone diamond.

On March 9, The Marshall Mathers LP, the Detroit rhymer's incendiary second album, officially reached diamond. This is a highly coveted certification given to music acts that have managed to sell at least 10 million units. The LP was the Grammy Award-winning rapper's second time to earn this distinction, with his 2002 effort, The Eminem Show, reaching diamond status two days earlier on March 7. As a result of these back-to-back achievements, Em became the first and only rapper to have two albums certified diamond.

The Marshall Mathers LP features many of what could be called Em's most defining tracks. There's "Kim," a gruesome cut that finds the rapper delivering what, aside from the emotional intensity, feels like the exact opposite of a love letter. Then there's "Stan," a storytelling exhibition that earned its song title a place in the Oxford English Dictionary over 15 years after its release.

The Eminem Show, an album that arrived just about half a year before Em made his first and only foray into the acting world in 8 Mile, was a similarly definitive opus. This project highlights the rapper's production talents as he created most of the beats himself. Dre only produced three beats on the project.

Eminem's platinum history doesn't end there. His hit singles "Not Afraid," "Lose Yourself," and "Love the Way You Lie" (featuring Rihanna), as well as his greatest-hits album, Curtain Call – The Hits, earned the Motor City lyricist four more diamond certifications.

So with six diamond plaques under his belt, Em is, arguably, one of hip-hop's all-time greats. In November of 2022, Eminem was enshrined into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which further cemented his legacy in hip-hop history.

Salute to Slim Shady.

See 20 of the Best-Selling Hip-Hop Albums of All TimeFiled Under: Eminem, Today in Hip-HopCategories: News, Today in Hip-Hop

href=”//” rel=”author”>Sidney MaddenUpdated: March 8, 2023Contributing Authors: Virgin Records America Inc.

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 8, 1994: By 1994, Gang Starr had established themselves as a force in the rap game when they dropped, on this day, their fourth studio album, Hard to Earn.

For their fourth album in five years, the dynamic rap duo went for a more stripped-down version of their signature sound. Guru rapped about politics, oppression and society's flaws over bare beats, a stark contrast from the jazzy production Gang Starr fans were familiar with on their 1992 project, Daily Operation. Everything from the stark intro to the classic closer "Comin' for Datazz' is some of the best East Coast boom-bap to come out in the 1990s.

Guest appearances by Gang Starr Foundation members Group Home, Jeru the Damaja and Big Shug added extra flavor to the project, making it feel like a collective effort. The 17-track project features outstanding production from DJ Premier, but had an overall biting tone to its message. Five years after the duo released their debut album, it felt like the industry was starting to get to them.

Fueled by the singles "DWYCK," "Code of the Streets" and "Mass Appeal," the EMI/Virgin Records release debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Top R&B and Hip-Hop Albums chart for the week ending March 26, 1994. Hard to Earn would be the last album the duo dropped until 1998's Moment of Truth, reason being that Guru and Premier were becoming increasingly fed up with where rap was going.

Check out DJ Premier talking about the making of the song "Mass Appeal" below. 

Rest in peace to Baldhead Slick.

Watch Gang Starr's "Code of the Streets" Video BelowWatch Gang Starr's "DWYCK" Video Featuring Nice & Smooth BelowSee 50 Great Albums From Rappers With Poetic FlowsFiled Under: DJ Premier, Gang Starr, Guru, Today in Hip-HopCategories: News, Today in Hip-Hop

href=”//” rel=”author”>Robby Seabrook IIIUpdated: March 7, 2023Contributing Authors: Def Jam Recordings/Columbia Records

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 7, 1987: On this day in 1987, three former punk rockers reach a rap milestone.

Starting out in New York City as members of a rock band before transitioning to rap, Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, Michael "Mike D" Diamond and the late Adam "MCA" Yauch formed The Beastie Boys. As they started to take rap more seriously, they sought out a DJ for their live shows: enter Rick Rubin, long before he became a living legend of the music business. Rubin went from DJing for them, to producing, to signing them to his new upstart label, Def Jam Recordings, which he cofounded with Russell Simmons in 1984.

With Rubin's production and Def Jam behind them, the Beastie Boys released their debut album, Licensed to Ill, on Nov. 15, 1986. The album had seven singles, but none were more commercially successful than "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)." The track found them going back to their rock roots, with a wailing electric guitar and the call-and-response chorus etching the song into music history.

With the rap trio alternating rhymes in each verse and singing the hook, everyone got a chance to shine. The first verse is about a typical day of a young kid: "You wake up late for school, man, you don't wanna go/You ask your mom, 'Please,' but she still says, 'No'/You missed two classes and no homework/But your teacher preaches class like you're some kind of jerk." Then, the part of the song that everyone knows: "You gotta fight…for your right…to party!"

Licensed to Ill hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart on March 7, 1987, and held that position for seven consecutive weeks. This was a huge moment for hip-hop, as an album from the genre never lead the chart before.

The album was also certified diamond (10 million copies sold) by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on March 4, 2015. This was the beginning of a career for the rap trifecta that featured accolade after accolade, including induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sadly, MCA passed away from cancer in May 2012, leading to the group disbanding out of respect for their late brethren.

Long live the Beasties.

spock star trek beastie boys galacticFrank Micelotta, Getty Imagesloading…Watch Beastie Boys' "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" Video BelowWatch Beastie Boys' "Hold It Now, Hit It" Video BelowHere Are Hidden Messages on Hip-Hop Album CoversKendrick Lamar, Eminem, Rico Nasty and more. Filed Under: ad rock, Beastie Boys, MCA, Mike D, Today in Hip-HopCategories: Music, Today in Hip-Hop

href=”//” rel=”author”>XXL StaffPublished: March 7, 2023Cash Money Records/Republic Records/Young Money Entertainment/Bad Boy Records/Arista Records/Universal Records Motown

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this feature.

There is no doubt that since the days of DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Blow, hip-hop dating back to the 1970s has produced some of the most culturally impactful albums in music history. LPs can be measured in quality metrics like verses, production and originality. However, few qualities can boost the legend of one like record sales. The role of moving units within rap is significant because it showcases the past five decades of evolution. And while the number of products shipped does not tell the entire story, these numerical milestones represent the growth of the genre’s popularity.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), less than 10 rap albums have received diamond recognition. Some of those celebrated efforts include legendary projects such as The Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death, the sophomore double-disc masterpiece by the Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn MC. And Tupac Shakur’s magnum opus, All Eyez On Me, the first double-disc album of original material in hip-hop history. However, it’s also important to recognize multiplatinum projects on this list, like 50 Cent’s hard-hitting, critically acclaimed debut, Get Rich or Die Tryin’.

In today’s digital age, measuring the importance of record sales in hip-hop is difficult because sometimes sales do not match impact. For example, respected artists such as Mos Def has failed to reach a million record sales, even on revered projects like The New Danger. Plus, legendary albums like MF Doom and Madlib’s hip-hop masterpiece Madvillainy didn’t even earn gold status. But for this list, we’ll celebrate those that set global sales numbers and elevated the genre of hip-hop.

Every day, tens of thousands of rappers produce music, but only a few have made it to the higher echelon of commercial success. So in celebration of rap’s 50-year anniversary this summer, here are the 20 highest-selling hip-hop albums of all time.—Antonio Cooper

See 20 of the Best-Selling Hip-Hop Albums of All Time

This editorial is presented by McDonald's.

Filed Under: 50 Cent, Biggie, Dr. Dre, Drake, Eminem, Feature, Galleries, Gallery, Lauryn Hill, MC Hammer, Nelly, Outkast, The Beastie Boys, The Fugees, The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Will SmithCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 6, 2023TraeABN/Instagram/Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Trae Tha Truth claimed that he was racially profiled after he confronted alleged officers who claimed a drug-sniffing dog smelled marijuana in his luggage at an airport.

On Monday (March 6), Trae Tha Truth hopped on his Instagram account and shared a video of two men stopping the Houston rapper outside of an airport and asking him if they could search his suitcase for illegal narcotics. Trae, clearly offended, allowed the two men, presumably officers, to look in his bag. It's unclear if the incident happened at an airport in Houston.

"Nah, I’m offended. I just got done doing a concert on tour and you gon’ talk to me about dope," he told the men. "I ain’t never did drugs in my life. I rap. I ain’t never smoke or drink in my life."

The two men then asked him if he was around people who smoke marijuana, attempting to explain that a drug-sniffing smelled marijuana in his bag. Trae said the dog went up to the suitcase stop and ran off.

In the caption of the video, Trae explained the situation. He wrote:

"Its Crazy, i Just landed at 6am From LA and out of all Tha people in tha Airport These Officers Decided to Profile me Like i aint see what they was doing… First they threw a dog toy by my bag so the drug dog can sniff it , then they say oh the dog came by yo bag [thinking man emoji]… Then the dog walk off and they ask me Do i Got Dope In My Bag [face with symbol on mouth emoji] Out of Hundreds of people his ass wanna pick me lol , He got tha right one Today… He thought it was gone be his moment to shine, Imma Help Him Get tha attention and recognition he need… Askin me do I Got Dope , Look how he search tha bag …. Harassing, Discrimination and Profiling….. Shit Got me Hot…. If U Know him Or How to find him off the badge number he said at tha beginning Send me his info or drop it in comments…"

XXL has reached out to officials at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby Airports as well as the Houston Police Department for comment.

Watch Trae Tha Truth's Instagram Video BelowSee Rappers’ Projects That Pay Homage to Jay-Z’s The Blueprint AlbumNicki Minaj, Gucci Mane and more.Filed Under: Trae Tha TruthCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 6, 2023Ruff Ryders/Interscope Records/Cindy Ord/Getty Images

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 6, 2001: On Eve's 1999 debut album, Let There Be Eve…Ruff Ryders' First Lady, the self-proclaimed "pitbull in a skirt" proved she could hold her own among her masculine Ruff Ryders labelmates DMX, the LOX and Drag-On. Two years later, on this day in 2001, Eve released her second album, Scorpion, and showed that she was a vital force in hip-hop.

Riding off the success of her first album, Eve returned with her follow-up LP Scorpion, which is in reference to the Philadelphia rapper's zodiac sign, Scorpio. The 16-track project amassed two crossover hits for her: "Who's That Girl?" and "Let Me Blow Ya Mind."

"Who's That Girl?", produced by Teflon, was Eve's breakout single from the LP. Over a horn blast sample from Demphra's reggaeton hit "Ya No Soy Tu Mujer," the Philly rhymer explained why she's the best rapper in the game. The girl-power anthem skyrocketed to No. 4 on the Billboard Rap Songs chart.

Her second single, "Let Me Blow Ya Mind," featuring Gwen Stefani, elevated her into the mainstream popularity. Co-produced by Dr. Dre and Scott Storch, the funk-pop song peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and earned her first Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2002.

"I got told that that song would not work, that people would be like, 'Why are these two chicks together?'" Eve recalled to Glamour in 2021. "I was like, 'Look, let's try it. If it sucks, no one ever has to hear it.' But of course, it didn't. I knew it wouldn't. Thank God. And you know, I won a Grammy. That was my first Grammy."

The confidence and strength Eve exhibited on Scorpion carried over to her successful careers in fashion, film and television.

Watch Eve's "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" Video Featuring Gwen Stefani BelowSee Women Rappers Who Made Hip-Hop HistoryFiled Under: Eve, Today in Hip-HopCategories: News, Today in Hip-Hop

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 5, 2023Randy Shropshire/Getty Images

There were plenty of concert sets being cut short at the Rolling Loud California festival, but in Blueface's case, his scheduled performance was canceled before he even hit the stage.

On Saturday (March 5), Blueface jumped on his Twitter account to inform his fans that police stopped him from hitting the stage at the 2023 Rolling Loud California music festival in Inglewood, Calif. "Sorry rolling loud they hit my bus police ain't let us in [toy gun and police officer emojis]," he tweeted.

Blueface didn't provide any explanation as to why police prohibited him from performing.

XXL has reached out to the Inglewood California Police Department and Blueface's rep for comment.

Read Fans' Reaction to Blueface Not Performing at 2023 Rolling Loud California BelowSee 22 Hip-Hop-Related Police RaidsThese rappers had some serious run-ins with the police.Filed Under: BluefaceCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 5, 2023Tom Hauck/Getty Images

Travis Scott's return to the festival circuit was short-lived last night at the Rolling Loud California festival.

According to a Variety report, published on Saturday (March 4), Travis Scott's headline performance at the 2023 Rolling Loud California music festival was cut short due to curfew. The media website reported that Trav performed for 30 minutes before his sound cut off abruptly mid-way through his 2018 hit "Sick Mode" at 11 p.m. Then on the video screens a message was displayed stating goodbye and encouraging people to get home safely. A fan video below captured the moment when Travis' show abruptly ended.

However, despite his music being cut, Travis was still trying to perform before apologizing to the crowd and informing them that he had to leave the stage.

"Thank you very much, I love y’all. I wish I could do more but they’re making me go," he said, while people in the crowd booed.

A rep for Travis reportedly told Variety that the rapper's set "ended at the conclusion of the show (11pm), which has been publicized on the Rolling Loud run of show for Saturday since the acts were announced."

XXL has reached out to organizers of Rolling Loud California for comment.

Travis Scott's performance was the most anticipated at the three-day music festival. It marked the rapper-producer's return to the festival stage for the first time since the Astroworld tragedy in November of 2021. At the Houston festival, 10 people died and hundreds were injured during a crowd surge, which suffocated people while Travis was performing.

Since the incident, Travis has been hit with over 200 lawsuits from concertgoers impacted by the calamity either physically, emotionally or psychologically. So far, the 31-year-old artist has settled one lawsuit out of court with the family of Axel Acosta, a 21-year-old man who lost his life at the festival.

See Rappers Who Got to the Bag Through Video GamesFiled Under: Travi$ ScottCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 4, 2023Rolling Loud/YouTube

Things got a little out of control during Playboi Carti's performance at Rolling Loud in California.

According to a Daily Breeze report, published on Saturday (March 4), Playboi Carti's show at the 2023 Rolling Loud California music festival was cut short after a rowdy crowd hopped over the barricades and smashed into fans in the front row. The Whole Lotta Red creator was three songs into his set when the incident happened.

The news website reported that Carti's energetic performance caused many people to start frantically moshing and burst through the barriers, and subsequently crush people in the front row. It prompted the "Magnolia" rapper to stop the show and tell the crowd to step back. He was soon escorted off-stage.

Tariq Cherif, co-creator of Rolling Loud, also reportedly yelled into the microphone to the audience: "The crowd needs to calm down, and anyone who jumped over the barricade needs to walk out, or we will shut this thing down."

According to an eyewitness on Twitter, who was at the show, a 16-year-old fan was smashed during the melee and lost oxygen. The observer added that the teenager did receive medical attention and is "doing better."

The shutdown reportedly lasted for 30 minutes and cut into Carti's set time. Nevertheless, the Atlanta rapper was able to resume his set for an additional 30 minutes. During his performance, Carti premiered a new song, which you can watch below.

XXL has reached out to officials at Rolling Loud California for comment.

Watch Playboi Carti's Full Concert Set at 2023 Rolling Loud California BelowSee Rappers You Didn’t Realize Were RelatedFiled Under: Playboi CartiCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: March 4, 2023Elektra Records

XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

March 4, 2003: Twenty years ago, on this day in 2003, Fabolous released his second album, Street Dreams, on Elektra Records.

Fabolous, born John Jackson, is one of the most versatile lyricists in the rap game. His 2001 project Ghetto Fabolous showcased his flair for delivering clever punchlines over sampled-based productions, and he continued that same modus operandi on Street Dreams. The 16-song collection, with four bonus tracks, boasted guest appearances from Snoop Dogg, Missy Elliott, Diddy, M.O.P., Styles P, Jadakiss and more. Additionally, studio wizards DJ Clue, Trackmasters, Just Blaze, Kanye West, the late Heavy D and more provided the beats on the LP.

Although the album offered a variety of party tracks and street-oriented songs, two of the biggest singles from the project were "Can't Let You Go" and "Into You (Remix)."

On the uptempo tune "Can't Let You Go," featuring Lil' Mo and Mike Shorey, F-A-B-O details his love for his main girl and his side piece and highlights what's best about both of them. In the song's accompanying music video, the Brooklyn, N.Y. rhymer drops a small clip of the head-nodding banger "Damn."

His second single, "Into You (Remix)," has become Fabolous' signature rap ballad. Initially, the song featured Ashanti singing the chorus, but after Murder Inc. CEO Irv Gotti refused to let her appear in Fabo's music video, the veteran rapper contacted Tamia to re-record the vocals. The lovely tune, which samples Tamia's 1998 ballad "So Into You," features Fabo delivering affectionate lyrics of things that make his ladylove so special to him.

Both "Can't Let You Go" and "Into You (Remix)" were top-10 hits on the Billboard Rap Songs chart. As for Street Dreams, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the album platinum on Sept. 22, 2003.

During his two-decade-long rap career, Fabolous has always stayed consistent with making bangers and is highly regarded as one of hip-hop's top-tier MCs.

Watch Fabolous' "So Into You" Music Video Featuring Tamia BelowWatch Fabolous' "Trade It All Part 2" Music Video Featuring Diddy and Jagged Edge BelowSee Rappers With the Most Jay-Z Guest VersesFiled Under: Fabolous, Today in Hip-HopCategories: News, Today in Hip-Hop