He's the best selling hip hop artist of all time amassing more than 115 million album and single sales worldwide, he's earned 15 Grammy awards and he's ranked 83rd on rolling stone magazine's list of the 100greatest artists of all time...and when he's not dominating the billboard charts watching his sales surge, he's involved in with his other business ventures which include his own record label shady records, his radio show shade 45 and acting in his own semi autobiographical film 8 mile amongst other projects.
An artist who really needs no introduction because you all know how I'm talking about, yep you guessed it, eminem!
And he recently graced our beautiful shores for just the second time ever on tour on his sold out Rapture tour accompanied by artists kendrik Lamar, J cole and Action Bronson in support of his 8th studio album "The Marshall Mathers LP 2", which is the sequel to his most acclaimed album over 13 years ago.
Eminem received mixed reviews for the album as you'd expect, but the general consensus from the critics was favourable with Darryl Sterdan of the Toronto Sun summing it up perfectly "it's the eminem you know and love (and love to hate)!"
The album is nostalgic, his jokes are offensive and funny and there's no apology!
He's also managed to secure another award to put on top of the mantelpiece taking out Top Rap album of 2013 at the billboard music awards.
Now I've turned all stalker on Eminem to see what else I could learn about the high school dropout with the passion for poetry and in the video "My name is" Eminem wasn't actually meant to get hit in the head with the newspaper or fall off the chair, but the director decided to keep the bloopers in.
He's been falsely reported dead in 4 car accidents
He's a low maintenance kinda guy favoring cutting his own hair rather than going to the barber
His hit song "Lose yourself" from the 8 mile soundtrack has topped the polls for the song that spurs ball players in the states to victory, but it also topped the poll of song most likely to cause a car accident
And if you're a huge Eminem fan chances are you already know quite a lot about his romantic relationships, after all many of his experiences are written in his songs, but the good news is Eminem has confirmed he's not getting back with his ex wife Kim again, and the on-going feud with Mariah is indeed over, but has come out and admitted that he feels he's never quite conquered love and attributes it to his traumatic childhood.
Written by Josette O'Sullivan
This week our act doesn’t get much bigger….
He goes by many names, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Snoop Dogg and more recently Snoop Lion…and He can do what most of us can’t and add “izzle” to the end of any word, just because well he’s snoop!
Originally hailing from California, Snoop, who’s real name is Calvin Broadus is the middle of three sons and began singing in Church and playing the piano when he was in year six.
As a teen Snoop Dogg frequently ran into trouble with the law, had gang affiliations and spent time in and out of jail.
But following on from this, he and his cousins Nate Dogg and Lil’ ½ dead along with friend Warren G recorded homemade tapes under the group name 213, which was the Longbeach area code at the time.
One of his early solo freestyles made it onto a mixtape which was heard by influential producer Dr. Dre who phoned him and invited him to an audition.
Snoop went on to sign with Dre at Death Row Records and Like 50 cent, Dre was a influential in teaching snoop the art of structuring lyrics and writing hooks.
When he began recording, he took on the name Snoop Doggy Dogg, which he actually got from his mother, who jokingly said that he looked like the peanuts character snoopy.
And his Debut album, “Doggystyle” was released in 1993 debuting at No. 1 on both the billboard 200 and Billboard hot r&b/Hip hop songs charts selling almost a million copies in it’s first week!
Now although it’s his debut album, in many ways it was definitely not his ‘debut’. Snoop had already featured on Dre’s album ‘The Chronic’ rapping on half of the 16 tracks and perhaps that’s why Doggystyle did so well, because millions of fans out there had already been exposed to his talents and knew what to expect.
Doggystyle became certified 4x platinum in 1994 and had several major his singles including ‘what’s my name’ and ‘gin and juice’.
Rolling stone magazine have also placed Doggystyle at number 14 in the best 100 albums of the 90s.
In 94 snoop released a soundtrack for the short film “Murder was the case”, which was a film about his murder trial, which he was eventually acquitted of all charges.
The 18 minute film was directed by Dre and Fab Five Freddy and chronicles the fictional death of snoop dogg and his resurrection after making a deal with the devil.
The album topped the Billboard 200 on the number one spot with 329,000 sales in the first week.
The following week it stayed on top with 197,000 copies sold and was certified Gold.
In all it sold over 2 million copies worldwide and the single “What would you do” was included on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack and nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or group in 1996.
Soon afterwards, he and his partner & their 20 pitbull terriers moved into a lavish house in the California hills and started up Doggy Style Records as a subsidiary of death row.
Snoop released his second album Tha Doggfather in 96 & that also debuted at No. 1 on both charts with "Snoop's Upside Ya Head" as the lead single. The album was certified double platinum in ‘97.
After officially leaving Death Row, Snoop signed with No Limit Records, where he recorded his next three albums. Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told in 98, No Limit Top Dogg in 99, and Tha Last Meal in 2000.
In 2002 he left again and signed with Priority/Capital/EMI and went on to release “Paid tha cost to be the boss”
He then signed with Geffen Records in 2004 for his next three albums R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece, Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, and Ego Trippin'. Malice 'n Wonderland in 09 and Doggumentary in 2011.
In 2012, after a trip to Jamaica, Snoop announced a conversion to the Rastafari movement and a new alias, Snoop Lion.
Under the new moniker, he released a reggae album, Reincarnated, and a documentary film of the same name, of his Jamaican experience, in early 2013.
Not one to be satisfied with just his rapping talents, Snoop has also starred in motion pictures, tv shows, music documentaries, adult films, other artists music videos and animated movies…with a list so long I’d need another half an hour just to name all the credits, but the most notable ones would be the Oscar winning drama Training Day, Starsky and Hutch which he starred alongside Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, and Scary Movie.
In 2007 he also had his own reality show, on E! Entertainment Television, called Snoop Dogg's Father Hood.
Then just when you thought Snoop couldn’t possibly have any spare time to do anything else, he’s also served as the offensive coordinator for his son’s Junior All American Football League.
He went to High School with Cameron Diaz, infact he was in the same year as her! He was good friends with 2pac before his untimely death and as mentioned earlier the cousin of Nate Dogg and Brandy.
One person he isn’t particularly close to though, is iggy azalea and if you’ve been following instragram, twitter or any other social media platform you would’ve seen the war of words going on between the two artists.
It all started with snoop firing the first shot, he jokingly posted an unflattering photo labelling it 'Iggy Azalea with no make up'.
Which unsurprisingly didn’t go down well with iggy and escalated to a war of meme’s and but if you believe what you read the feud is apparently over…or is it? The daily mail earlier this week reported that after arriving at LAX last Friday, Iggy was asked about collaborating with Snoop, only to laugh off the suggestion.
So what’s next for Snoop? Well in between launching his own high end coconut wax andle range, which you can find the link to purchase on his website snoopdogg.com, the Double-o-G has teamed up with Grenco Science and launched his very own herbal vaporizer under the Double G Series banner…so you can even smoke what snoop smokes but in a healthy way!
Written by Josette O'Sullivan
Ice Cube, or O’Shea Jackson, Mr. Cube, whatever you want to call him, really has done it all!
He began his career as a member of C.I.A and later joined N.W.A alongside Dr. Dre and Eazy-E. And despite controversy surrounding many of their lyrics, and facing bans from many mainstream American radio stations, the group managed to sell over 10 million units in the US alone.
After leaving N.W.A in 1989 due to business differences, he went on to build a successful solo career with his debut abum “AmeriKKKas most wanted” receiving mostly positive reviews at the time, and over the subsequent years has now become regarded as a hip-hop classic.
Davis Mills of the Washington Post sums up Ice Cube perfectly praising his album for it’s lyrical dexterity, and stating that Ice Cube clearly was NWA’s crucial element.
Ice Cube went on to produce 3 more albums, “Death Certificate”, “Predator” and “Lethal Injection” before taking a break from the rap scene to concentrate on some of his film projects and development of rap artists.
In ’98 he was back and reunited once again with Dre, who was now part of Death Row Records, and released his long awaited 5th solo album “War & Peace, Volume 1”.
The delayed 6th album entitled “Volume 2” was released in 2000 and featured appearances from Dre and MC Ren, who he had previously also worked alongside in NWA.
In 2006, and debuting at No. 4 on the Billboard Charts was Ice Cubes 7th solo “Laugh now, Cry later”, his 8th album “Raw footage” was released in ’08 and featured controversial rap single “Gangsta rap made me do it”…
The music clip to this song features some real life shootings in the US and Iraq, as well as the Virginia Tech Massacre where a senior at the school shot and killed 32 people before turning the gun on himself.
In 2010 Ice Cube released his 9th solo album “I am the West” and in it’s first week of release sold over 22,000 copies and debuted at No. 22 on the Billboard 200 chart.
So even though we know him as a rapper, as I mentioned earlier, Ice Cube in many people’s opinions is more Hollywood than Hood, having not only featured in many blockbuster movies, but also had a hand in writing and directing them as well.
John Singleton, the American Director of Ice Cube’s first movie “Boyz in the Hood” … and not to be confused with the Aussie entrepreneur John Singleton who made his fortunes in advertising says in an interview with MTV that he new Ice Cube was going to be a movie star long before even Ice Cube knew he was going to be a star because he just embodied the role of ‘Doughboy’ perfectly.
So Singleton encouraged Ice Cube to try his hand at screenwriting, pointing out the blindingly obvious, if you can write a record, you can write a movie. So he went on to write the screenplay for the comedy “Friday”, in which he also starred alongside an up-and coming comedian of the time, Chris Tucker.
The success of “Friday” was phenomenal earning $28 million worldwide on a $3.5 million US budget, it was followed with two sequels, “Next Friday” and “Friday after next”.
Ice Cube also starred in the family comedy “Are we there yet?” and the sequel “Are we done yet?” He was in “Beauty Shop” alongside Queen Latifah and the hit remake of the popular 80’s tv show “21 Jump Street” the movie.
But don’t think that his talents begin and end in comedy, Ice Cube has also starred in action flicks including Torque and Tresspass, he’s acted alongside Woody Harrelson in the drama film “Rampart” and in the thriller “Dangerous Ground” with Liz Hurley, and last but by no means least, he can add to his growing list of talents a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favourite Action Team for his work in the film Three Kings in which he starred with George Clooney and Mark Whalberg, he also nabbed himself a Best Supporting Actor Nomination at the Black Reel Awards.
He’s been quoted as saying “I’m not the type of actor who is trying to do a whole bunch of different shit, you know what I mean?”
Yes we do Mr. Cube, it’s just that you can do a whole bunch of different shit, and you’re really good at it!
But the exciting news today is that the hip-hop legend is coming back to Australia…and going off his past performances here, we can expect to see sold out concerts everywhere packed with his iconic rhymes such as “It was a good day”, “You can do it”, “Go to church” and of course “Gangsta rap made me do it”.
Written by Josette O'Sullivan
For those of you who I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting before I’m Josette
and I’m super excited about our rap artist this week, he’s one of my all-time favourites.
He burst onto the music scene in 2003 with the release of his album ‘Get rich or die tryin’ and has now sold over 30 million albums worldwide.
I’m talking about none other than Curtis James Jackson III who you may better know by his stage name 50 cent!
Jackson was raised in Queens, New York, and had a pretty rough start to life His mother was murdered in 1983 when he was just 8 years old and he was selling drugs on the streets by age 12.
At around the same time he got into boxing after a neighbor opened a boxing gym for local youths and he competed in the junior Olympics as an amateur boxer.
And he was later quoted as saying rappers condition themselves like boxers so they all kind of feel like they’re the champs...and he has shown us many times how much of a champ he is!
In a recent interview with Tavis Smiley, Fiddy revisited his childhood and revealed that his mum turned to drug dealing after having him at the age of 15 as a way to support herself
But the opposite was true for him and he decided to get out of dealing after the birth of his son, he said he wanted to be the role model for his son that he’d never had.
At age 16 he was caught by metal detectors bringing drugs and guns into school and had to explain to his grandmother that he was dealing.
Fiddy was then sent to a correctional boot camp, which is modeled after a
military style recruit training camp to help fix his wayward ways.
And Upon his release he adopted the name ’50 cent’ as a metaphor for ‘change’ When he was 21 years old rapping out of friends garages, he was introduced to jam master j of run dmc.
Jay taught Jackson how to count bars, write choruses, structure songs, and create a record and fiddy credits Jam Master Jay as an influence who helped him improve his ability to write hooks
In 99, after leaving Jam Master Jay, the platinum-selling producers Trackmasters took notice of Fiddy and signed him to Colombia Records they sent him to some studios in Upstate New York where he produced thirty-six songs in just two weeks.
Eighteen were included on his unofficially released album, “Power of the dollar” in 2000. Jackson's popularity increased after the controversial underground single, "How To Rob", was released, it’s a song that comically explains how he would rob famous artists, which he wrote in thirty minutes while in a car on the way to his studio.
The song was intended to be released with "Thug Love” featuring popular girl band Destiny’s Child, but two days before he was scheduled to film the music video, Fiddy was shot outside his grandmothers home.
He explains he came out of the house and hopped in the car, another car pulled up and a gunman walked over and fired a 9mm handgun into his car at close range.
In his autobiography he explains it like this..."After I got shot nine times at close range and didn't die, I started to think that I must have a purpose in life... How much more damage could that shell have done? Give me an inch in this direction or that one, and I'm gone".
Fiddy had fully recovered within six months but was dropped from Columbia Records and unable to find another studio to work with in the United States.
So he travelled to Canada and recorded over 30 songs for mix tapes with the
purpose of re-building his reputation.
And then it all changed...In 2002 Eminem was given a copy of Fiddy’s ‘Guess who’s back’ and was so impressed with the album he invited him to fly to Los Angeles where he was introduced to Dr. Dre and signed to Shady Records
In ’03 came the release of ‘Get rich or die tryin’, which ‘All Music’ described as “probably the most hyped debut albums by a rap artist in about a decade".
Get Rich or Die Tryin' peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 872,000 copies in the first four days! That is phenomenal!!!
The lead single, "In da Club” broke a Billboard record as the most listened-to song in radio history within a week.
Written by Josette O'Sullivan
BONE THUGS N HARMONY
This week we’re chatting about an iconic group hailing from Cleveland Ohio and made up of 5 rappers going by the names Krayzie Bone…Layzie Bone…Bizzy Bone…Wish Bone…& Flesh n Bone…
They’ve sold over 17 million records in the United States, released seven studio albums and are one of the most influential hip-hop groups of all time…
We’re talking about Bones Thugs & Harmony!
The Bone family, and that’s right, they are actually related…Flesh n Bone is Layzie Bone’s older brother and the cousin of Wish Bone! These guys had very humble beginnings rapping out of their families garages to winning a grammy AND performing at concerts all over the world! They were one of the first groups to “marry together hard core hip-hop with melodic tunes”.
The band originally formed under the name B.O.N.E and recorded an album entitled “Faces of Death”, and like so many other aspiring rappers at the time, they put in calls to record executives everywhere hoping that someone would listen to them. The group was given an over-the-phone audition with Eazy-E from Ruthless Records and a promise that he would call back…but he never did. So the group, determined to reach him, put all their money together and bought a one-way bus ticket to Los Angeles.
Once they were there they put in calls and pounded the pavement in the hope of tracking Eazy down, but they were unsuccessful. Then by sheer luck, they heard he was back in their hometown, Cleveland for a concert, so that raced back, got an introduction backstage, gave an audition on the spot which impressed Eazy and the deal was sealed. The group signed to Ruthless Records in 1993 and Eazy coined the name “Thugs & Harmony” but the group insisted on keeping the “Bone” for which they were known, and that’s how they became Bones Thugs & Harmony.
Their 1993 debut album “Creepin on ah come up” was selected as one of The Source’s 100 Best Rap albums and featured hit singles “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” and “For the Love of $”. It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 Chart and No. 2 on the top RnB/Hip Hop albums chart.
Shortly after signing the group, Eazy-E was diagnosed with aids after being admitted to hospital with what they suspected at the time was asthma, he lost his battle a month later and their smash, grammy winning single “Crossroads” was a dedication to him.
Their second album release was called “E.1999 Eternal” , a name which originated from one of the street names they were familiar with back home and after Eazy’s album Eternal E, and was another way the group showed their dedication and respect to Eazy. The album included hits “1st of tha month” & “East 1999”.
Then in ’97 the group released their 3rd album “The Art of War” which sold almost 400,000 copies in its first week of release. It was considered a more mellow sounding album compared to their previous hardcore hip hop releases and was rumoured to originally be called “DNA Level C” which is Cleveland backwards! Very clever. It featured singles “Look into my eyes”, “If I could teach the world” and “Thug Luv”, a collaboration the guys did with 2Pac. This album is the groups most successful release to date and the editors at about.com ranked them No.12 on their list of 25 best rap groups of all time.
In 2000, they released “BTNH Resurrection” and a few cracks were starting to show in the group fuelling rumours of a potential breakup. Bizzy had been absent from many public appearances and Flesh was sentenced to 11 years behind bars after being convicted for assault with a firearm and criminal possession of a weapon. The album featured the single “Resurrection (paper, paper) which peaked at No.57 on the hot RnB/Hip Hop songs chart.
Three of the group then went on to release solo albums, but were back together in 2002 for the launch of “Thug World Order”, which was an album filled with lyrics completely different to anything they’d previously released, focusing a lot on the group themselves. It debuted in at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 and featured collaborations with 3LW & Phil Collins.
At this time the group broke away from Ruthless Records after the label filed a lawsuit against them seeking undisclosed “substantial” damages. Billboard Bulletin reported that Bones Thugs & Harmony delivered material for only three of six albums stipulated in their contract.
In 2006, the remaining trio released “Thug Stories”, an album leaning more towards their harmonic roots than the “thug” style they can be known for and went to No. 1 on the independent music chart.
“Strength & Loyalty” was released in 2007, and was their first major record release in almost 5 years, it contained an appearance from none other than music royalty herself, Mariah Carey, aand also featured collaborations with The Game, Will.I.Am, Akon, Twista & Bow Wow just to drop a few names.
The first single released on this album was “I tried” and it became their first top 10 hit in 10 years and received a nomination at the American Music Awards for favourite Rap/Hip Hop album.
After nearly a decade in prison, Flesh n Bone was released in 2008, and Bizzy confirmed his return to the group…so put the band back together and what do you have…a new record! The group released “Uni-5: The World’s enemy” under their own record label BTNH Worldwide and featured singles “See me shine” and “Rebirth”.
“The Art of War: World War 3” was released in 2012 and although it named all of the group as contributing performing artists, Krayzie Bone told Hip Hop DX that himself and Wish Bone had not recorded any material for the album. It also came at a time that Layzie Bone announced his departure from the group to concentrate on his solo career.
So it’s been a long and interesting road, with plenty of ups and downs…There’s been prison time, rehab stints, band members leaving and coming back and leaving again…but on July 15, 2014 the group announced they are releasing just one final album, and here’s the catch…. Not only is it their last album together, but they’re releasing just one copy of their 20th anniversary reunion album for…wait for it…$1 million US dollars!!
So the album will be auctioned off in 2015 to coincide with their 20 year anniversary to the highest bidder and in an interview with XXL magazine Krayzie Bone said he’d gotten the idea off rap rivals Wu Tang Clan who did the same thing for their album “Once Upon A Time In Shaolin”, and being that it’s the groups last project together he said he wanted to do something a little special and memorable.
So guys start saving now, sell your souls, whatever you have to do because this album promises to be their best yet, and so far they’ve already recorded almost 100 songs for the double disc project! That’s a lot of Thuggish Harmonising!!
Written by Josette O'Sullivan