Peter O. Philips (born June 21, 1970), better known by his stage name Pete Rock, is an American record producer, DJ and rapper. He rose to prominence in the early 1990s as one half of the critically acclaimed group Pete Rock & CL Smooth.
After the duo went their separate ways, Rock continued with a solo career that has garnered him worldwide respect, though little in the way of mainstream success. Along with groups such as Stetsasonic, Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest and The Roots, Rock played a major role in the merging of elements from jazz into hip hop music (also known as jazz rap). He is widely recognized as one of the greatest hip hop producers of all time, and is often mentioned alongside DJ Premier, RZA and J Dilla as one of the mainstays of 1990s East Coast hip hop production. Pete Rock is also the older brother and younger cousin, respectively, of rappers Grap Luva and the late Heavy D. Read more
Omar Credle (born May 13, 1971), better known by his stage name, O.C., is an American rapper and member of the group D.I.T.C., who has been involved with several renowned underground hip hop groups: Crooklyn Dodgers ’95, Luv NY, Perestroika. Read more
Cedric Dormaine Hill better known by his stage name E.S.G. (which stands for Everyday Street Gangsta or Everyday Serving God) is a southern hip hop recording artist from Houston, Texas. He helped to popularize the “Screwed and Chopped” style of rap music. Debut album Ocean of Funk was released in 1994 and it contain the hit single “Swangin’ & Bangin'”, which went national in 1995 in the album Sailin’ Da South and he released albums regularly since then. Read more
Doron Braunshtein (born May 2, 1976), better known by his pseudonym Apollo Braun, is an Israeli-born musician, author, and former owner of two boutique shops in the Lower East Side of New York City, both named Apollo Braun. The provocative, politically charged slogans of his self-designed T-shirts brought his boutiques public attention on numerous occasions before the eventual closing of his second boutique in 2009. He released his debut album in 2001 and has since released many more. His song “Party in My Pants” appeared in the film Religulous. In 2015, Apollo appeared on the Israeli TV show HaKokhav HaBa (English: The Next Star), where he sang two original songs.Braunshtein’s music consists primarily of spoken word, and often references or sexualizes celebrities, politicians, and religious figures. He began writing books in 1999 and has since published 7 books in English, and 5 more in his native language Hebrew. The content of his writing includes philosophical essays, plays, poems, and frequently concerns sexuality (Braun is himself openly biseuxal). Read more
The Roots is an American hip hop band, formed in 1987 by Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The Roots are known for a jazzy and eclectic approach to hip-hop featuring live musical instruments. Malik B., Leonard “Hub” Hubbard, and Josh Abrams were added to the band (formerly named “The Square Roots”).
Since its first independent album-length release the band has released 10 studio albums, two EPs, two collaboration albums (with other artists), and also collaborated on recordings and in live shows with a wide variety of artists in many musical genres. The Roots served as the house band on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon from 2009 to 2014, and in the same role (and accompanying show guest artists) on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon since 2014. The Roots’ work has consistently been met with critical acclaim. ThoughtCo ranked the band #7 on its list of the 25 Best Hip-Hop Groups of All-Time, calling them “Hip-hop’s first legitimate band Read more
Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born October 17, 1972), known professionally as Eminem (often stylized as EMINƎM), is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, record executive, and actor.
Eminem is the best-selling artist of the 2000s in the United States. Throughout his career, he has had 10 number-one albums on the Billboard 200 and five number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. With 47.4 million albums sold in the US and 220 million records globally, he is among the world’s best-selling artists of all time and is consistently cited as one of the greatest and most influential artists in any genre. Additionally, he is the only artist to have eight albums consecutively debut at number one on the Billboard 200. Rolling Stone ranked him 83rd on its list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, calling him the “King of Hip Hop”. Read more
The Black Eyed Peas (originally simply Black Eyed Peas) are an American musical group, consisting of rappers will.i.am, apl.de.ap, and Taboo, and formerly Fergie. Originally an alternative hip hop group, they subsequently changed their musical sound to pop and dance-pop music. Although the group was founded in Los Angeles in 1995, it was not until the release of their third album, Elephunk, in 2003, that they achieved high record sales. Since that time, the group has sold an estimated 76 million records (35 million albums and 41 million singles), making them one of the world’s best-selling groups of all time. As of 2011, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the Black Eyed Peas were the second-best-selling artist/group of all time for downloaded tracks, behind Rihanna, with over 42 million sales. Read more
The Beatnuts are a New York-based hip hop group and production duo from Queens, New York City. Its current members are JuJu and Psycho Les. JuJu (born Jerry Tineo on December 14, 1968) is Dominican American from Corona and Psycho Les (born Lester Fernandez on April 10, 1970) is a Colombian American from Jackson Heights. The Beatnuts are the only Latino members of the Native Tongues collective. Although only peripheral members, they are routinely acknowledged by Q-Tip. The Beatnuts were originally a trio before Fashion, now known as Al’ Tariq, left the group to start a solo career. V.I.C. (Groove Merchantz, Ghetto Pros) was also a member of The Beatnuts’ production team for a while. Read more
Cappadonna (also known as Cappachino, Strong Hands, Milk these cows) was known to the future members of the Wu-Tang Clan, and had been U-God’s mentor. However, Cappadonna went to prison and was replaced in the group by Method Man.
Cappadonna made his recording debut as an affiliate of the Wu-Tang Clan on Raekwon’s 1995 single “Ice Cream” on Only Built for Cuban Linx…. He was also a guest star, along with Raekwon, on Ghostface Killah’s solo debut album, Ironman. He made his first appearance on a Wu-Tang Clan album in 1997 on Wu-Tang Forever on the single “Triumph”. Following his appearance on Forever, he contributed significantly to the group’s third studio album, The W, at which point his appearances were no longer marked with “Featuring Cappadonna”, as they had been on Forever. After a falling out with RZA the next year over royalties, he did not appear at all on the group’s subsequent album Iron Flag. He eventually reunited with the group for their concert at 2004’s Rock the Bells, and appeared on 2007’s 8 Diagrams. Read more
N.W.A (an abbreviation for Niggaz Wit Attitudes) was an American hip hop group from Los Angeles, California. They were among the earliest and most significant popularizers and controversial figures of the gangsta rap subgenre, and are widely considered one of the greatest and most influential groups in the history of hip hop music. Active from 1986 to 1991, the rap group endured controversy owing to their music’s explicit lyrics, which many viewed as being disrespectful to women, as well as to its glorification of drugs and crime. The group was subsequently banned from many mainstream American radio stations. In spite of this, the group has sold over 10 million units in the United States alone. Drawing on their own experiences of racism and excessive policing, the group made inherently political music. They were known for their deep hatred of the police system, which sparked much controversy over the years.
The original lineup formed in 1986 consisted of Arabian Prince, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and Ice Cube. DJ Yella and MC Ren joined later, with Arabian Prince eventually leaving shortly before the official release of Straight Outta Compton, which came out in 1988, and Ice Cube following suit in December 1989. Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren and Dr. Dre would later become platinum-selling solo artists in the 1990s. Their debut album Straight Outta Compton marked the beginning of the new gangsta rap era as the production and social commentary in their lyrics were revolutionary within the genre. NWA’s second album Niggaz4Life would be the first hardcore rap album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 sales charts. Rolling Stone ranked N.W.A number 83 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. In 2016, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, following three previous nominations. Read more