EASY MO BEE
Osten Harvey Jr. (born December 8, 1965), better known by his stage name Easy Mo Bee, is an American hip hop and R&B record producer, known for his production work for artists such as Big Daddy Kane and Miles Davis, as well as his affiliation with Bad Boy Records in its early years, and his production involvement in The Notorious B.I.G.'s debut album, Ready to Die. He also produced two songs on 2Pac's album, Me Against the World. According to Easy Mo Bee on the Art of Dialogue in 2022 Tupac ignored him when he saw Easy Mo Bee in his vehicle on Los Angeles, CA. That was the last time he saw him.
Kenyatta Blake (born November 19, 1974), known professionally as Buckshot, is an American rapper from New York, best known as a frontman of hip hop groups Black Moon and Boot Camp Clik. He is a founder of Duck Down Music record label with Drew "Dru-Ha" Friedman. He has released one solo studio album – three with producer 9th Wonder, one with KRS-One, four albums with Black Moon and four albums with the Boot Camp Clik. Buckshot and Smif N Wessun worked with Tupac for the One Nation Project in 96. Tupac gave Buckshot the nickname B.D.I. Thug.
Edward K. Archer (born May 16, 1972), known professionally as Special Ed, is an American rapper and producer. Ed is perhaps best known for the songs "I Got It Made", "Think About It" and "I'm the Magnificent" from his debut album Youngest in Charge, released in 1989 when he was 17 years old.
Born in Brooklyn, New York City to an Afro-Jamaican father and Indo-Jamaican mother, Ed was raised in Flatbush before moving to Canarsie, and is identified with east coast hip-hop. Ed attended Erasmus Hall High School and Samuel J. Tilden High School. At the age of fifteen, he established a rapport with his neighbor Howie Tee, who worked with him on his demo. Ed's debut album Youngest in Charge was released in 1989 and included the songs "I Got It Made", "Think About It" and "I'm The Magnificent", which were produced by "Hitman" Howie Tee.
In a 2015 interview on Thisis50 Special Ed stated that Pac helped him get a cameo role in the movie Juice.
Dwight Arrington Myers (May 24, 1967 – November 8, 2011) known professionally as Heavy D, was a Jamaican-born American rapper, record producer, and actor. Myers was the leader of Heavy D & the Boyz, a group which included dancers/hype men G-Whiz (Glen Parrish), "Trouble" T. Roy (Troy Dixon), and DJ and producer Eddie F (Edward Ferrell). The group maintained a sizable audience in the United States through most of the 1990s. The five albums the group released were produced by Teddy Riley, Marley Marl, DJ Premier, his cousin Pete Rock, and Eddie F. Myers also released four solo albums and discovered Soul for Real and Monifah.
Public Enemy is an American hip hop group formed by Chuck D and Flavor Flav on Long Island, New York, in 1985. The group rose to prominence for their political messages including subjects such as American racism and the American media. Their debut album, Yo! Bum Rush the Show, was released in 1987 to critical acclaim, and their second album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988), was the first hip hop album to top The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll.
Their next three albums, Fear of a Black Planet (1990), Apocalypse 91... The Enemy Strikes Black (1991) and Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age (1994), were also well received. The group has since released twelve more studio albums, including the soundtrack to the 1998 sports-drama film He Got Game and a collaborative album with Paris, Rebirth of a Nation (2006). In 1989 Flavor Flav and Tupac Shakur hanged out and attended the American Music Awards greeting fans. Chuck D has shared a letter that Tupac Shakur wrote to him detailing the respect he had for the Public Enemy emcee.
Fred Lee Scruggs Jr. (born April 18, 1971), better known by his stage name Fredro Starr, is an American rapper and actor best known as a member of the hardcore rap group Onyx. Fredro Starr was discovered by the late hip hop star Jam Master Jay of Run-D.M.C. who signed Onyx on his label JMJ Records. Onyx went on to release three top selling albums before Fredro began his solo career. As a part of Onyx, Fredro Starr was nominated as "Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop New Artist" on American Music Awards of 1994 and won "Best Rap Album" on 1994 Soul Train Music Awards.
Fredro Starr has starred in more than 55 films and television shows. He made his acting debut in the HBO drama Strapped. His film credits include Spike Lee's Clockers, Sunset Park, Ride, Light It Up, Save the Last Dance and Torque. He also performed the Save the Last Dance's theme song, "Shining Through", with Jill Scott on the multi-platinum soundtrack.
Gregory O. Mays (born May 30, 1967), known professionally as Greg Nice, is a rapper and beatboxer from the Bronx, New York. He is a member of the duo Nice & Smooth alongside Smooth B. Mays began his career as a beatboxer for T La Rock in the mid-1980s. He released his debut solo single, "Set It Off", in 1995. Greg Nice and Tupac started the One Nation Project with some of the members from the Boot Camp Clik in 96.
James Campbell (born March 27, 1969), better known by his stage names Freddie Foxxx and Bumpy Knuckles, is an American rapper and music producer from Long Island, New York. Foxxx got his start rapping in the early 1980s.
In 1986, he recorded "You Gotta Come Out Fresh / Handling Things" under the alias Freddie C. as a member of the Supreme Force (other members were Cool Cee and Easy E) on NIA Records. Later in 1986 he was slated to meet with producer Eric B. who was searching for an MC to pair up with; Foxxx missed the meeting, and Eric B. ended up pairing up with MC Rakim and forming the group Eric B. and Rakim.
Despite this, Foxxx's first LP, Freddie Foxxx Is Here, was produced entirely by Eric B. and Foxxx and was released in 1989 through MCA Records. He soon parted ways with the label and became a member of Queen Latifah's Flavor Unit establishment. In 1993, only promo copies of his second album, Crazy Like A Foxxx, were circulated when Epic Records decided to shelve it.
Michael Gerard Tyson (born June 30, 1966) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1985 to 2005. Nicknamed "Iron Mike" and "Kid Dynamite" in his early career, and later known as "The Baddest Man on the Planet", Tyson is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. He reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990. Tyson won his first 19 professional fights by knockout, 12 of them in the first round. Claiming his first belt at 20 years, four months, and 22 days old, Tyson holds the record as the youngest boxer ever to win a heavyweight title. He was the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles, as well as the only heavyweight to unify them in succession. The following year, Tyson became the lineal champion when he knocked out Michael Spinks in 91 seconds of the first round. In 1990, Tyson was knocked out by underdog Buster Douglas in one of the biggest upsets in history.
In 1992, Tyson was convicted of rape and sentenced to six years in prison, although he was released on parole after three years. After his release in 1995, he engaged in a series of comeback fights, regaining the WBA and WBC titles in 1996 to join Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali, Tim Witherspoon, Evander Holyfield and George Foreman as the only men in boxing history to have regained a heavyweight championship after losing it. After being stripped of the WBC title in the same year, Tyson lost the WBA title to Evander Holyfield by an eleventh round stoppage. Their 1997 rematch ended when Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield's ears, one bite notoriously being strong enough to remove a portion of his right ear. In 2002, Tyson fought for the world heavyweight title, losing by knockout to Lennox Lewis. Tyson and Shakur were very close friends up until the latter's untimely death. They became particularly tight while Tyson was in prison Tupac would show him support.
Anthony Peaks (December 26, 1964 – January 22, 2010) better known as Apache emerged from New Jersey in the late 1980s as a front man for the Flavor Unit, a hip-hop group. He first appeared on the Flavor Unit album, The 45 King Presents The Flavor Unit, in 1990. Apart from his individual records, he also featured on the albums of Naughty By Nature, Queen Latifah and 2Pac. He was featured on the song 5 Deadly Venomz for the album Strictly 4 My Niggaz.
Apache signed with Tommy Boy/Warner Bros. Records and released his debut album, Apache Ain't Shit (1993), which peaked at number 69 on the Billboard 200 and No. 15 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Also featured on the album was the single "Gangsta Bitch", which peaked at number 67 on the Billboard. Apache released the single "Do Fa Self" in 1993. Apache
BIG DADDY KANE
Antonio Hardy (born September 10, 1968), better known by his stage name Big Daddy Kane, is an American rapper who began his career in 1986 as a member of the Juice Crew. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential and skilled MCs in hip hop. Rolling Stone ranked his song "Ain't No Half-Steppin'" number 25 on its list of The 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time, calling him "a master wordsmith of rap's late-golden age and a huge influence on a generation of MCs". Big Daddy Kane had the chance to collaborate with Tupac in 96 on Wherever U Are and Too Late Playa.
Christopher Reid (born April 5, 1964), formerly known as Kid is an American rapper, actor and comedian. During the peak of his career with the rap duo Kid 'n Play (with Christopher Martin), Reid was notable for both his seven-inch, vertical hi-top fade and freckles. Kid n Play toured with Digital Underground and Public Enemy numerous times in the early 90's.
Parrish J. Smith (born May 13, 1968), better known as PMD ('Parrish Mic Doc' or 'Parrish Making Dollars'), is an American rapper from Brentwood, New York, a member of EPMD and Hit Squad. He attended Brentwood High School and has released four full-length solo albums, one extended play, seven EPMD albums with Erick Sermon, a collaborative album with Japanese hip hop producer DJ Honda, and a collaborative project with Sean Strange and German hip hop group Snowgoons.
Naughty by Nature is an American hip hop trio from East Orange, New Jersey consisting of Treach (Anthony Criss), Vin Rock (Vincent Brown), and DJ Kay Gee (born Keir Lamont Gist). The group formed in East Orange, New Jersey, in 1986 as The New Style. The group first appeared on the music scene in 1989, releasing an album called Independent Leaders, and the album generated the minor hit "Scuffin' Those Knees". After the release of their first album, the group was mentored by fellow New Jersey native Queen Latifah, and subsequently changed their name.
Naughty by Nature's first hit was "O.P.P.", which sampled the Jackson 5's hit "ABC" and was released in 1991 on their self-titled album Naughty by Nature. The album generated another hit with a reworking of Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry" called "Everything's Gonna Be All Right" (the track was also called "Ghetto Bastard" on some explicit releases). That song detailed the experiences of Treach growing up in poverty, and now rising up to live a better life. Powered by the success of that song and "O.P.P.", their self-titled album went platinum. Tupac made a cameo appearance in the music video Uptown Anthem for the Juice soundtrack.
Edward Anderson (born November 27, 1970) is a hip-hop artist from Boston, Massachusetts, better known by his stage name Edo G. Edo is the seniormost hip-hop artist from Boston (if not from anywhere in Massachusetts), in the sense that he was the first to gain recognition in New York City and in the wider United States of America, and remains one of the best-known Boston rap artist internationally, having collaborated with large numbers of independent rap artists all over the globe. He is additionally known by the name Ed O.G., which was initially a misspelling by a record label but has endured.
He released his first album in 1991 with his group Da Bulldogs, titled Life of a Kid in the Ghetto. The album included the song "Be a Father to Your Child," which received airplay on local Boston radio stations, and "I Got To Have It", which was sampled later by Mary J. Blige on the track "Ooh!". The group was dropped from Mercury Records in 1993.
Louis Eric Barrier (born November 8, 1963) is an American rapper, producer and DJ for the golden age hip hop duo Eric B. & Rakim.
Eric B. & Rakim's album Paid in Full was named the greatest hip hop album of all time by MTV in 2006 and the duo were nominated in 2011 for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Eric B. and Rakim released their first single, "Eric B. Is President," in 1986. Eric B. included an uncredited sample of James Brown's "Funky President" on the track which led Brown to sue the duo, in one of the earliest court cases related to sampling in hip-hop. The duo then went on to release their debut album, Paid in Full, in 1987. This album was highly acclaimed immediately upon its release, and has come to be regarded as one of the greatest albums in hip-hop history; Eric B. has been praised for his "martial and percussive" production and effective use of samples on the album.
After three more albums, Eric B. and Rakim's record contract with MCA came to a close. Concerned that Rakim might abandon him, Eric B. refused to sign the release contract, leading to a protracted legal battle between him, Rakim, and the label.This situation led the duo to split up completely in 1992. After separating from Rakim, Eric B. released one solo album - 1995's Eric B. - but primarily worked as a producer and executive for Street Life Records, a now-defunct subsidiary of Scotti Brothers Records.NEric B. and Rakim fell out of contact after they ceased to collaborate musically, but in 2016, they reconnected and announced their reunion. The duo has once again begun holding concerts, and is working on remastering their albums, but indicated that they were not planning to release new music.
Eric B was part of the Death Row East with Tupac and that the first artist for Death Row East was Craig Mack. He also stated on the Flip the Script podcast in 2017 that the beef with Nas was squashed after he convince Tupac to speak to him at Bryant Park.
Majesty, the brother of Big Stretch and member of Live Squad would go on to clarify a mystery around one of Tupac’s most renowned songs – ”God Bless The Dead”. Majesty spoke about the lyrics being dedicated to a person with the nickname Biggie Smalls, but it had nothing to do with the famous Christopher Wallace. The lyric was intended to honor the memory of Big Dric, who was a close friend of Tupac and the Live Squad. As Majesty recalls, Dric had nothing to do with the musical world and would never rap. Rather than that, he was a graffiti artist, who had a fantastic bond with Pac from the start, which fueled the sentiment in the soul of the fallen great.
ASSOCIATES & COMRADES
Maxwell Dixon (born March 4, 1966) known professionally as Grand Puba, is an American rapper and emcee, best known as one of the members of the group Brand Nubian from New Rochelle, New York. On the song "Old School" by 2Pac, Grand Puba was sampled and used in the hook. The sample originates from Grand Puba's verse on the song "Dedication" by Brand Nubian. Grand Puba recorded with Tupac on Let's Get It On ft Biggie Smalls & Heavy D on Eddie F and The Untouchables album released in 94.
Keith Edward Elam (July 17, 1961 – April 19, 2010), better known by his stage name Guru was an American rapper and record producer. He was a member of the hip hop duo Gang Starr, along with DJ Premier. He was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Elam began his music career under the pseudonym MC Keithy E but later changed his stage name to Guru. He founded Gang Starr in 1987. The group initially released three records, produced by The 45 King, on the Wild Pitch Records record label, but these records received little attention. After a change in line-up, the group consisted of rapper Guru and producer DJ Premier. Gang Starr released its first LP No More Mr. Nice Guy on Wild Pitch Records; the group achieved a sizable following and released six critically acclaimed and influential albums from 1989 to 2003. Two albums, Moment of Truth (1998) and compilation Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr (1999) were certified gold in the United States by the RIAA. Gang Starr made archetypal East Coast hip hop with Guru's rhyming described as sharp-eyed but anti-ostentatious.
Smif-N-Wessun, also known as Cocoa Brovaz and Tek-N-Steele, is an American hip hop group from Brooklyn borough of New York City. Composed of rappers Tekomin "Tek" Williams (born June 3, 1972) from Bedford–Stuyvesant and Darrell "Steele" Yates (born December 18, 1972) from Brownsville, the duo comprise one quarter of supergroup Boot Camp Clik, together with Buckshot, Heltah Skeltah and Originoo Gunn Clappaz. Both members are known for their Jamaican Patois during their raps, which was more evident during the earlier stages of their career.
The duo debuted on Black Moon's 1993 album Enta da Stage on the tracks "Blac Smif-N-Wessun" and "U Da Man". They released their first single "Bucktown" b/w "Let's Git It On" in early 1994, which became an underground smash and gave the group considerable hype for their debut album, Dah Shinin'. Released in January 1995, their album peaked at number 59 on the Billboard 200 and went on to sell over 300,000 copies in the United States.
The Lords of the Underground is a hip-hop trio based in Newark, New Jersey. The group is composed of Dupré "DoItAll" Kelly (born January 14, 1971), Al'Terik "Mr. Funke" Wardrick (born November 15, 1972) and Bruce A. "DJ Lord Jazz" Colston (born November 20, 1968). The group released its debut album, Here Come the Lords, on March 9, 1993, on Pendulum/Elektra, with production handled by Marley Marl and K-Def. The album peaked at 66 on the Billboard 200 and featured five charting singles, including the group's signature song, "Chief Rocka". By the end of 1993, the Lords had received an award from BET as best rap group of the year.The group released its second album, Keepers of the Funk, on Pendulum/EMI, the following year on November 1, 1994. Keepers of the Funk peaked at 47 on the Billboard 200 and featured three charting singles, the most successful of which was "Tic Toc"
Back in June 2022, the rapper-turned-politician won a city council seat in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey after three years of campaigning. According to Patch, this makes Kelly the first Platinum-selling Hip Hop artist to be elected to public office in the United States. Recalling the advice ‘Pac gave him, Kelly continued: “25 years ago, he and I were in an Orlando hotel room and he said that we shouldn’t move from our cities. He said, ‘We should come back and create non-profits and create youth initiatives and youth programs. We might also need to do some things that we may not want, and that means running for office.
Reginald Noble (born April 17, 1970), better known by his stage name Redman, is an American rapper, DJ, record producer, and actor. He rose to fame in the early 1990s as an artist on the Def Jam label. He is well known for his collaborations with his close friend Method Man, as one-half of the rap duo Method Man & Redman, including their starring roles in films and sitcoms. He was also a member of the Def Squad in the late 1990s. In 1990, Redman made his official debut on EPMD's album Business as Usual, appearing on the tracks "Hardcore" and "Brothers on My Jock".
In 1992, Redman released his debut album, Whut? Thee Album, which AllMusic noted for blending "reggae and funk influences" with a "terse, though fluid rap style". The album peaked at number forty-nine on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold. He was named "Rap Artist of the Year" by The Source. Redman followed this up with his 1994 album, Dare Iz a Darkside. The first single, "Rockafella", samples Leon Haywood's "I Want'a Do Something Freaky to You" and George Clinton's "Flash Light", two of the most sampled songs in hip hop. Redman's second album was notable for having most of the tracks produced by the artist himself (later on Redman would let other producers make most of his beats). During this time he used former mentor Erick Sermon to produce his records, including "Pick It Up" and "Whateva Man" from Muddy Waters.
On December 10, 1996, Redman released his third album Muddy Waters, which was highly praised by critics. The album featured two of his Billboard's hit singles: "Whateva Man" and "It's Like That (My Big Brother)". The song "Do What You Feel" appeared on the soundtrack to the video game Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. The album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on February 12, 1997. During this time, with newfound friendships with Method Man and Tupac, they both appeared on Tupac's double album All Eyez on Me on the song "Got my Mind Made Up".