Black Music Month was initiated by President Jimmy Carter on June 07, 1979, who decreed the month of June to be the month of black music. Hip Hop Streets salute all the African American musicians and artists that has contributed to the world of Hip Hop. This list is to celebrate musical trendsetters in no particular order. It’s safe to say that there are so many people who created a path for the legacy of the Hip Hop culture which has been one of the greatest impacts on the world. Here are a few people on the list of Hip Hop game changers for Black Music Month:
For everything being bigger in Texas, Hip Hop’s transcending influence continues to grow from one man’s desire to slow the world down. DJ Screw is the creator of the chopped and screwed technique. Born as Robert Earl ‘DJ Screw’ Davis, Jr., he is considered the greatest A&R, producer, and disc jockey in the history of Houston. As Geto Boys began winding down, and as Scarface kept picking up steam as a solo artist, Houston’s own DJ Screw was popularizing a new sound. DJ Screw released over 200 mixtapes and was recognized as an innovator mostly on a regional level until his death. His legacy has gone on to influence a wide variety of artists such as 8Ball, MJG, Three 6 Mafia, T-Pain, and Drake.
Notable projects that were influenced by DJ Screw and changed the game because of his legacy is noted to Swishahouse being the first major record label having the first chopped and screwed release. Then, David Banner’s chopped and screwed version of his album Mississippi. Also, Three 6 Mafia’s Most Known Unknown album was the first chopped and screwed album in commercial light; selling over a million copies.
Most recently, Drake rapped about his love for Houston on his November 18th track. He sampled DJ Screw’s chopped and screwed version of Kris Kross’ “Da Streets Ain’t Right” from the classic freestyle June 27 tape. DJ Screw has had a substantial influence on Drake’s music.
In addition to notable influences, Director Barry Jenkins wrote the script of Moonlight to a Slim K chopped and screwed remix of Channel Orange by Frank Ocean.
In 2011, University of Houston libraries acquired over 1,000 albums owned by DJ Screw. Some of the albums were part of an exhibit in early 2012 and, along with the rest, went available for research in 2013.
He’s a member of the legendary rap group 2 Live Crew and this month actually marks 29 years since he went to jail for hip hop. Uncle Luke. Luke Nasty. Luke SkyyWalker and so many other monikers that he is referenced to is the epitome of the summer heat, booty shaking and daisy dukes. Born as Luther Campbell, the Miami native, is the reason why we have parental advisory stickers today. Twerking isn’t new in the south. It started with the 2 Live Crew. Their musical and show performance influences started a historical debate when the Supreme Court ruled in their favor.
In the late 80’s, the Miami rap group was famous for their bawdy and sexually explicit music that occasionally led to arrests and fines under some states’ obscenity laws. A record store clerk in Florida was charged with a felony (and later acquitted) for selling the group’s debut album to a minor. A store in Alabama was fined for selling their record to an undercover cop. Because of the group’s notorious reputation led by Uncle Luke, a few counties in Florida even tried to outright ban their 1989 album As Nasty As They Wanna Be. In 1990, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office arrested two of the band’s members for a nightclub performance because a Federal district judge there had ruled their music to be obscene. In 1992, a circuit appeals court overturned that judge’s ruling, and the Broward County court’s efforts to lodge an appeal to the Supreme Court failed.
The Miami rap group’s fourth album, Banned in the U.S.A, was the first album to hit the shelves with a parental advisory sticker which obviously changed the game forever. It was put in place in recognition of profanity or inappropriate references, with the intention of alerting parents of material for potentially unsuitable content for children and is still a requirement to this date.
In 2017, Luther Campbell was honored with the BET I Am Hip Hop Influence Award.
Raheem The Dream
There was a time when Georgia was booming with the sounds of Miami bass music. Many rappers were influenced by Uncle Luke, whose been mentioned in the lineup of game changers on our Hip Hop Streets list already. One of those lyricists who channeled the Miami bass trend was Raheem the Dream, born as Micaiah Raheem. He became the first Atlanta rapper to get airtime. His rap style was smooth, and he didn’t rush his flow.
Although he is originally from Dallas, he has lived in Atlanta since the 70’s and was one of the city’s well known pioneer music artists, working alongside emcees such as Kilo and MC Shy D. These artists paved the way in Hip Hop long before Outkast and Ludacris hit the scene.
He founded the record labels On Point Records, RTD Productions and Tight 2 Def Music. He is the author of The Record Business: The Uncut Truth. He was awarded the JMJ-Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 and The Architect Award for his status as a recording artist in 2011.
As an award-winning producer, rapper, and author who helped pave the way for Hip Hop, he was also awarded a Proclamation for Raheem the Dream Day on April 21, 2016 due to his efforts and contribution to the City of Atlanta music scene.
Raheem The Dream is most known for “The Most Beautiful Girl (In The World)”. He also put out a lot of groups like Dem Franchise Boyz with “White Tees” and Yola Da Great with “Ain’t Gone Let Up”. He put out Drama with “Left Right Left”. He contributed to exposing artists like The Dream (R&B star The Dream), Fa-Bo (D4L), and Young Dro (Grand Hustle).
Shock G, Chopmaster J, Money-B, DJ Fuze, Kenny K,and Atron Gregory – are founding members of Digital Underground.
Everybody knows the lyrics…
“Do the Humpty Hump, come on and do the Humpty Hump….Do the Humpty Hump, just watch me do the Humpty Hump.”
In the songs video, a young Tupac Shakur is visible in the background.
Tupac Shakur went on to become the most famous rapper in the world, but like most people Tupac had to work his way up to the spotlight. His career kicked off as a backup dancer and MC in the Digital Underground group before he became a solo artist.
Digital Underground gave Tupac his first tour (with Big Daddy Kane), his first released verse (“Same Song”) and his first movie role (Nothing But Trouble). Digital Underground produced and rapped on Tupac’s first Top 10 single, “I Get Around.”
Although Tupac began recording in 1988, his professional entertainment career did not take off until the early 1990s when he joined Digital Underground in early 1990. After Tupac’s rap debut with the group, he performed with Digital Underground again, on the album Sons of the P. Shakur went on to feature Shock G and Money-B from Digital Underground in his track “I Get Around”, which ranked #11 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
By 1991, as noted in The Source, the band had “sold more product domestically, than any other Tommy Boy artist, including De La Soul.”
Digital Underground toured the planet, discovering a worldwide audience that was made for P-Funk-inspired hip hop. They were widely known and Digital Underground will always be best remembered for one novelty song and giving 2Pac his big break but that completely undersells a pioneering hip-hop group. Digital Underground’s debut album is considered by many to be one of hip-hop’s greatest releases.
The birthplace of Hip Hop is New York. There are hundreds of music artists we can mention from the East Coast as undeniable game changers in Hip Hop. For the sake of Black Music Month, let’s salute a woman who changed the game for female MC’s from Queen Latifah to Cardi B. Brooklyn in the house!
MC Lyte, born as Lana Moorer, is the first female rapper to release a full-length solo album. She is considered one of the first female hip-hop MCs in the United States. Lyte As A Rock is one of Hiphop’s earliest and most significant albums. She was the first Hip Hop artist to perform at Carnegie Hall and the first female Hiphop artist to have a gold single and a solo Grammy nomination.
Roxanne Shanté and Salt N’ Pepa came before her but she knows what it is like to be first so maybe it’s not fair to call her the “first lady of hip-hop” in a chronological sense but MC Lyte set the stage in hip hop as a pioneer feminist.
MC Lyte boldly made a name for herself in Brooklyn, by stepping onto the scene at 16 years old. Unlike other female MCs, like Roxanne Shante, who’d been introduced to the rap game as the “first ladies” of mostly male rap groups; MC Lyte made her emergence into the hip-hop scene alone and remained that way. She wasn’t afraid to take on topics of sexuality, consent or talk about just how great she is.
Today, MC Lyte is still active within the hip hop community and cultivating the culture. Not only is she a rapper; she’s also a disc jockey and has done voice overs for tv shows. She is also a spokesperson for colleges and universities presenting a message about empowerment.
MC Lyte has long been considered a pioneer and she’s still going with over 30 years in the music industry impacting the culture beyond lyrics.
She’s currently the co-founder of The Hip Hop Sisters Foundation. Most recently this year, she was honored at The Glitz & Girl Power Awards in Miami, FL, with the Legend Award.
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