Check How It Happend: J. Cole

Before J.Cole was signed to Roc Nation…

J. Cole, birth name Jermaine Lamarr Cole, was born (January 28, 1985) in Frankfurt, Germany, and at the age of 8 months old, moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina where he was raised by his mother and aunt and his cousin Christian. His father is African American and his mother is Caucasian. Cole attended Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville and graduated in 2003. He decided that he had a better chance of getting signed in New York City, so he attended St. John’s University on an academic scholarship where he majored in communication and minored in business, graduating magna cum laude.

J.Cole started rapping at the age of 14 when his cousin showed him the basics of rhyming and word play. Inspired by rappers such as 2Pac, Canibus, Nas, Eminem and Jay-Z,Cole developed a love for telling stories in his lyrics. At age 15, J. Cole had notebooks filled with rhymes but no beats of his own to record them with. His mother bought him an 808 beat machine so he could produce music himself.  By the age of 17, he was posting songs on various internet forums under the moniker “Therapist” J.Cole stood outside of Jay Z’s place of business for three hours in order to give him a beat he sampled by Idris Muhammad, so that Jay Z could use it. However, when Jay Z came out of his building he shunned the up-and-coming rapper.  Before J.Cole was signed to Roc Nation, he worked a job as a bill collector. One morning, he turned on his cell phone and noticed that he received a text from an associate asking J.Cole to call the associate back. He went into the bathroom to answer the phone because he was not allowed to have his phone out on his business’ floor. When J.Cole called his associate back, the associate told J.Cole that he received a call from Jay Z’s associates and that he had to meet with them as soon as possible. J. Cole decided not to stay at work and left to go back home to change and get ready for his meeting.

Source: Wiki


J. Cole – Interview With Jack Thriller For ThisIs50[yframe url=’′]


J. Cole – Simba[yframe url=’’]


J. Cole – Til Infinity[yframe url=’’]


J. Cole – Rags To Riches[yframe url=’’]


J. Cole – Who Dat[yframe url=’’]


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Check How It Happened: Fashawn

Fashawn is making a name for himself by…

Shout out to the underdogs in the game who are from an unrecognized hood and are making it on pure raw talent, no gimmicks; because there aren’t many well-known rappers from Fresno. As an independent hip-hop artist being compared to Nas, you’d have to have dope lyrical skills to live up to the hype and Fashawn seems to be doing it well. Fashawn is making a name for himself by touring and winning people over city by city. For those that have taken the time out to watch him perform and listen to his lyricism, many would say that he’s hard to ignore. His creativity and flow makes him a powerful contender as one of the most anticipated rappers in the game. It’s no wonder he was named The Phenom by a local California DJ.

  • Fashawn was born Santiago Leyva in Fresno, California on October 27, 1988.
  • He grew up in the 3420 building on 1st Street in Fresno, which is tattooed on his wrist.
  • Fashawn has been rapping since he was 12 years old.
  • He gave himself the name Fashawn because his real name, Santiago, is a Spanish name and no one believed that his name was actually Santiago in school.
  • Fashawn went to McLane High School and dropped out because he didn’t have enough credits to graduate so he decided to focus solely on his music career.
  • Fashawn met his manager Aren when he was about 15 years old.
  • He describes his sound of music as bridging old school and new school hip hop.
  • Fashawn calls himself Bart Simpson as a representation of rappers being as well-known as the cartoon character and it signifies his love of skating.
  • At 17 years old, he released his first mixtape in 2006 called Grizzly City.
  • After the release of Grizzly City, Planet Asia invited Fashawn to tour with him.
  • In 2007, he released The Phenom Vol. 1 mixtape and Grizzly City Vol. 2 mixtape.
  • In 2008, Fashawn met Exile and they had an instant rapport with each other and Exile started sending him beats via email.
  • In 2008, he worked on the One Shot One Kill mixtape with Mick Boogie and Terry Urban and on the Higher Learning mixtape for and
  • In 2008, he also released The Phenom Vol. 2.
  • In 2009, Fashawn released The Antidote mixtape and his debut album called Boy Meets World.
  • Fashawn has toured with Brother Ali, Ghostface Killah, Wiz Khalifa, Blu & Exile, and Mistah Fab.
  • Around the time Fashawn found out he was about to have a daughter, he got a call from New York offering him a record deal.
  • Fashawn is signed to an independent record label called One Records.
  • He has collaborated with Dilated Peoples, Alchemist, Exile, Blu, Planet Asia, and U-n-i.
  • In 2010, he was featured in XXL as part of the Freshmen 10.
  • Fashawn released Ode to Illmatic on June 11, 2010 in tribute to Nas and he also released the mixtape Grizzly City Vol. 3.
  • In February 2011 he released the mixtape Higher Learning Vol. 2.
  • His sophomore album The Ecology is set to be released sometime in late 2011.

In an interview with Parlé Magazine, Fashawn’s advice to for upcoming artists: “Make sure you’re making the kind of music you want to make. Work hard and keep a strong team around you and you’ll go far.”




Fashawn Talks To 90.5 KSJS[yframe url=’’]


Fashawn – Streets Of Fresno[yframe url=’’]


Fashawn – Life As A Shorty ft. J. Mitchell[yframe url=’’]


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No I.D. – From The Common Producer To VP Of Def Jam

No I.D., who has been instrumental in the…

Producer No I.D. is adding another title to his resume, one that will have him overseeing many of the same artists he’s crafted beats for.

“I’m (now) executive VP of Def Jam,” he told Billboard. “I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing and take it to another level.

No I.D., who has been instrumental in the careers of artists such as Common, Kanye West and Big Sean, to name a few, plans on setting the tone for future labelheads.

“Def Jam is a cultural staple,” No I.D. said. “It’s not just a label, it’s part of the culture that I came up in and that I’ve been involved with for 20 years. It’s very important that the next generation of executives grab it by the horns and keep it on track as it grows.”

Recently, the Chicago native added his beatmaking skills to Big Sean’s ‘Finally Famous’ debut, for tracks like ‘My Last,’ ‘So Much More,’ ‘Wait For Me’ and ‘Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,’ among others. He’s also currently crafting sounds for Common’s forthcoming ninth studio album, ‘The Dreamer, The Believer.’


Common – Resurrection Produced by No I.D.[yframe url=’’]

No I.D. Talks Death Of Autotune[yframe url=’’]

Jay-Z – D.O.A. Produced by No I.D.[yframe url=’’]

Big Sean – My Last ft. Chris Brown Produced by No I.D.[yframe url=’’]


Source: The Boombox

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A Quick Study Guide For Hip-Hop And R&B – Cliffs Notes

From solo acts to groups, there’s a bunch of…

August is coming to a close and while it signifies summer’s end, it also marks the beginning of a new school year for a wealth of students. With class back in session, The BoomBox is teaching some valuable lessons with this Hip-Hop and R&B Study Guide. Not in tune with rap veterans? Can you never quite get a grasp on R&B’s roots? Not a problem. From solo acts to groups, there’s a bunch of lyricists and singers to listen to but we’ve narrowed them down to a select few — though there are so many more to include. Adding these 10 essential albums to your collection will have you on your way to understanding the fundamentals of hip-hop and R&B. After all, it’s never too late to get schooled.

‘The Chronic’ – Dr. Dre

With ‘The Chronic,’ Dr. Dre single-handedly launched a West Coast rap takeover, popularizing gangsta rap and introducing both his signature Parliament-Funkadelic-sampled G-Funk sound and his team, which included Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Lady of Rage, Daz Dillinger and Kurupt. While Dre never considered himself a rapper, and has regrettably only released one studio album since, he more than held his own with his smooth vocal delivery. His beats will always be unf—withable.

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‘Share My World’ Mary J. Blige

R&B fans had grown accustomed to Mary J. Blige providing the perfect anecdote to love’s hangover, but the release of 1997’s ‘Share My World’ moved the Brooklyn native in a different direction. From the authoritative Lil’ Kim-assisted single ‘I Can Love You’ to the euphoric title track, Blige showed the different facets of her professional range. And the move paid off when ‘Share My World’ became her first album to top Billboard’s Hot 200 in 1997.


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‘The Low End Theory’ – A Tribe Called Quest

A Tribe Called Quest forever altered the face of East Coast hip-hop with their sophomore release, which featured their breakout hits ‘Scenario’ and ‘Check the Rhime.’ Over Tribe’s signature jazzy production, the original rap hippies waxed eloquent on a variety of subjects, including wack promoters, the importance of owning a SkyPager and the dangers of date rape, unwittingly creating a conscious rap masterpiece that sounds as good today as it did back in 1991.

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‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ – Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill’s 1998 debut album, ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,’ is a staple for any music lover’s collection. Blurring the lines between hip-hop, soul and R&B, the former Fugees frontwoman proved to be one of the few artists whose rhymes were as commanding as her vocal abilities. The album not only showcased her prolific writing skills but was hailed by critics, revered by fans and earned her a record 10 Grammy nods, of which she took home five in 1999.

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‘Songs In A Minor’ – Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys changed the tide of R&B music with five simple words: “I keep on fallin’…” The lead single ‘Fallin’,’ off her seminal debut LP, ‘Songs in A Minor,’ acted as a precursor to a new sound that was part R&B, part soul, part hip-hop and all piano. The New York native delivered each track with the gusto of a woman well beyond her years. Mix that with her around-the-way-girl persona and lyrics touching on love and self-esteem, and it’s no wonder that the album remains relevant today.

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‘Illmatic’ – Nas

Arguably the most hyped debut, with the biggest payoff of all time, at the age of 20, Nasty Nas’ name was murmured everywhere from junior high schools to prison yards as hip-hop’s second coming. With the most impressive production lineup of all time — depending on which hip-hop head you ask — including DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor and Q-Tip, Nas delivered a legendary lyrical performance. The voice of a teenage poet immortalized a New York that no longer exists with his visual wordplay.

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‘The Writing’s on the Wall’ – Destiny’s Child

Regardless if Destiny’s Child were comprised of four ladies with a penchant for soulful singing or three, the R&B set grabbed hold of the spotlight and shared their fresh formula for girl group super stardom with the masses. Their words on their sophomore LP were replete with getting rid of cheating men (‘say My Name’), paying their own way (‘Bills, ‘Bills, Bills’) and spending quality time with their lady friends (‘Jumpin, Jumpin”). The album scored multi-platinum sales mainly for Beyonce and Kelly Rowland’s chemistry on record.

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‘Reasonable Doubt’ – Jay-Z

An undisputed classic album from a Brooklyn rhymer who’s never seemed to falter in front of a mic, Jay-Z’s ‘Reasonable Doubt’ put his life growing up in a drug-infested neighborhood riddled with crime on public display. His brutal honesty and the gritty imagery showcased in his rhymes proved that he had a story to tell and he wasn’t shy in sharing the highs and lows of it all. Legends like DJ Premier and Clark Kent added beat work while Hov’s braggadocio raps on ‘Can I Live’ and ‘Brooklyn’s Finest’ gave hip-hop fans lyrical food to feed off of.

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‘One in a Million’ – Aaliyah

Aaliyah worked with the likes of R. Kelly on her debut album ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number,’ but she helped to usher in a new sound of R&B when she released her sophomore album in 1996. Crafted in part by beatmaker Timbaland and Missy Elliott, who wrote many of the R&B beauty’s songs featured on the LP, the trifecta came together as a force to be reckoned with and served as a new guideline to follow. The title track as well as ‘If Your Girl Only Knew’ and ‘4 Page Letter’ were just an inkling of the changing musical landscape that R&B was heading towards.

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‘Life After Death’ – Notorious B.I.G.

His sophomore album and unfortunately a posthumous one, Biggie showcased his rhyming dexterity on this follow-up to 1994’s ‘Ready to Die.’ The rotund rapper was more polished on this effort and gave new meaning to feature collaborations when he teamed with some of hip-hop and R&B heavyweights — Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, 112, R. Kelly, Too $hort — and still had the ability to outshine his counterparts. From ‘Sky’s the Limit’ to ’10 Crack Commandments’ the esteemed storyteller took listeners on a lyrical journey into his world that was unbelievable.

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Source: The Boombox

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Way Back Wednesday – Live From Brooklyn: Special Ed

Special Ed is best known for the songs…

Special Ed is the performing name of Edward Archer (born May 16, 1973 in Brooklyn, New York), an American hip hop musician of Jamaican descent. Hailing from Brooklyn in New York City, he was raised in Flatbush before moving to Canarsie, and is identified with East Coast hip hop.

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Special Ed is best known for the songs “I Got It Made” and “I’m The Magnificent”, produced by “Hitman” Howie Tee and released in 1989 on the Youngest in Charge album, recorded when Ed was 16 years old.  He album sold more than half a million copies.   In 1990, he released his album Legal, the title a reference to his turning eighteen, with the singles “Come On Let’s Move It and “The Mission”.


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Way Back Wednesday – Live From Brooklyn: Audio Two

Audio Two were the Brooklyn, New York hip hop duo of…

Audio Two were the Brooklyn, New York hip hop duo of emcee Kirk “Milk Dee” Robinson and DJ Nat “Gizmo” Robinson, most famous for its first hit, the classic “Top Billin’.” The members of the duo are also the older brothers of female hip-hop star MC Lyte.

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The duo’s debut single, “Make it Funky,” was released in 1987, but it was the b-side, “Top Billin’,” that hit, making not only the group instant stars but also making a deep cultural impact on hip hop. The beat by Daddy-O of Stetsasonic and Milk Dee’s lyrics would be sampled and referenced time and time again, even by the group itself: both the group’s full-length debut, 1988’s What More Can I Say? and its 1990 follow-up, I Don’t Care: The Album, were titled after lines from the song

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Way Back Wednesday – Live From Brooklyn: MC Lyte

Raised in Brooklyn, Lyte began rapping at the age of 12…

MC Lyte (born Lana Michele Moorer; October 11, 1971) is an American rapper who first gained fame in the late-1980s becoming the first solo female rapper to release a full album with 1988’s critically acclaimed Lyte as a Rock.

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Raised in Brooklyn, Lyte began rapping at the age of 12. Two of her brothers later formed the hip-hop duo, Audio Two, which later helped to collaborate on Lyte’s records. Lyte recorded her first song, “I Cram to Understand U (Sam)”, in 1986. Lyte had originally written the song in 1984. The song, about a relationship that fell apart due to the protagonist’s lover’s crack addiction, got her notice from First Priority, who signed Lyte in late 1987. Soon after she was signed with Atlantic Records by its VP Sylvia Rhone.

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Way Back Wednesday – Live From Brooklyn: Dana Dane

Dana Dane’s career began as part of the Kangol Crew…

Dana McLeese, better known by his stage name Dana Dane, is an American hip hop recording artist known for performance of humorous lyrics and for his fashion sense.

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Dana Dane’s career began as part of the Kangol Crew with fellow MC Slick Rick, to whom he sounded markedly similar, although Slick Rick’s English lilt was actually genuine.

Dana Dane’s debut album, Dana Dane with Fame, peaked at #46 on the Billboard album chart and was certified gold. His biggest hit in the United States was “Cinderfella Dana Dane”, which peaked at #11 on Billboard magazine’s R&B charts in 1987, He was among at Profile Records’s core artists, then recorded briefly for Rap-A-Lot Records but did not release anything. He released his last album in 1995 on Maverick Records.

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Way Back Wednesday – Live From Brooklyn: Big Daddy Kane

Big Daddy Kane is regarded as one of the most influential and…

Antonio Monterio Hardy (born September 10, 1968) better known by his stage name Big Daddy Kane, is an American rapper who started his career in 1986 as a member of the rap group the Juice Crew. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential and skilled MC’s in Hip Hop.Regarding the name Big Daddy Kane, he said: “The Big Daddy part and the Kane part came from two different things. The Kane part came from my fascination with the Martial Arts flicks when I was young. The Big Daddy came from something that happened on a ski trip one time involving a young lady.”

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Big Daddy Kane is regarded as one of the most influential and skilled golden age rappers. MTV put him at No. 7 in their Greatest MCs Of All Time list,  he is placed at No.4 in Kool Moe Dee’s book There’s A God On The Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs, and RZA lists him as one of his Top 5 best MCs. Allmusic says, “his best material ranks among the finest hip-hop of its era, and his sex-drenched persona was enormously influential on countless future would-be players”,and describes him as, “an enormously talented battle MC”, “one of rap’s major talents”, refers to his, “near-peerless technique” ” and “first-rate technique and rhyming skills” and says he “had the sheer verbal facility and razor-clean dexterity to ambush any MC and exhilarate anyone who witnessed or heard him perform”. Kool Moe Dee describes him as “one of the most imitated emcees ever in the game” and “one of the true greatest emcees ever”, and Ice-T says:

“To me, Big Daddy Kane is still today one of the best rappers. I would put Big Daddy Kane against any rapper in a battle. Jay-Z, Nas, Eminem, any of them. I could take ‘Raw’ right now and put it up against any record [from today]. Kane is one of the most incredible lyricists… and he will devour you on the mic. I don’t want to try to out-rap Big Daddy Kane. Big Daddy Kane can rap circles around cats”.

His first two albums are also considered Hip Hop classics and Rolling Stone says, “he has received consistent critical kudos”. In the book, Rap-Up: The Ultimate Guide To Hip-Hop And R&B, Cameron and Devin Lazerine say Big Daddy Kane is “widely seen as one of the best lyricists of his time and even today regularly gets name-checked by younger dudes”,[23] and music journalist Peter Shapiro says Kane is “perhaps the most complete MC ever”.[12] Eminem references Big Daddy Kane in the lyrics to his song ‘Yellow Brick Road’ from his Encore album, saying, “we (Eminem and Proof) was on the same shit, that Big Daddy Kane shit, where compound syllables sound combined” and he quotes the same lines in his book, The Way I Am – this illustrates how Big Daddy Kane had an influence on both Eminem’s and Proof’s rhyme technique.

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Way Back Wednesday – Live From Brooklyn: Just Ice

Just Ice was one of the first of the New York MCs to embrace…

Just-Ice (born Joseph Williams Jr.) A former bouncer at punk clubs, Ice was one of the first of the New York MCs to embrace hardcore rap, and when he burst out of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, as Just-Ice, he gained instant notoriety. Muscle-bound, tattooed, aggressive—he resembled Mike Tyson in more than just looks—and with a mouthful of gold teeth, which was the style in his neighborhood. His slickly produced debut single “LaToya/Put that Record back On” was an instant hit.

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However, a more down-and-dirty sound could be found on the 12″ B-Side track, “That Girl is a Slut,” which, for the time, was relatively profane and owed at least some inspiration to Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick’s “La Di Da Di.” Released soon afterward, his debut album Back to the Old School proved he was more than just a pretty face. It came out on the independent New York label Fresh/Sleeping Bag label in 1986 and sounded like no other hip-hop album, thanks to his fast, forceful rhymes, human beatbox DMX, and the distinctive production of Mantronix’s Kurtis Mantronik. Ice was also one of the first MCs to embrace the teachings of the Nation of Gods and Earths on a recording, as well as being a pioneer in incorporating dancehall-style toasting into hip-hop rhymes. The album is best known in Hip Hop circles for the single “Cold Gettin’ Dumb”; the universally known beat can be found reworked on Redman’s single “It’s Like That” featuring K-Solo, from the 1996 album, Muddy Waters.

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