The Roots Founding Member Malik B. Dead at 47

Rapper Malik B., one of the founding members of legendary hip-hop group the Roots, has died age 47, his cousin Don Champion confirmed.

"Mourning my beloved cousin today," wrote Champion on Twitter. "He was so talented and had a huge heart. I still remember when he and The Roots were starting out. He'd give me and my dad their cassette tapes to listen to. I miss you already, Malik." A cause of death was not specified.

Born Malik Abdul Basit, the Philly native remained with the group from their 1987 inception to the release of 1999's classic Things Fall Apart. He was considered to be an integral member on the Roots' first four albums, returning for guest appearances on later records despite his departure.

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Biz Markie has been hospitalized for weeks due to diabetes

Biz Markie has been hospitalized for several weeks with complications from Type 2 diabetes, according to multiple news reports.

The 56-year-old Marki is being treated in the Maryland area for a serious illness related to his diabetes, TMZ reported, clarifying the musician did not have the coronavirus.

His current condition was unclear.

“He is receiving the best care from an amazing team of medical professionals and we remain positive about the outcome,” said a representative for the musician, according to TMZ.

“We are grateful for the concern from his fans and industry peers but respectfully request privacy for Biz and his family at this time,” Markie’s manager Jenni Izumi said in a statement to WUSA9′s Delia Goncalves.

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The Cool Parent’s Guide to Classic Hip-Hop for Kids

If keeping the family indoors during a pandemic wasn’t excuse enough to start introducing your kids to good music, maybe the scorching summer heat will be. It’s July, live music is all but canceled (again) and most of our kids are likely feeling a little bored right about now.

If you’ve wanted to introduce your children to hip-hop but haven’t known the safest route to take, namely nothing with a Parental Advisory warning label, we’ve narrowed down a list of some of the best introductory LPs from the Golden Age of hip-hop, the mid-1980s through the mid-’90s (with one early exception), that won’t leave you awkwardly dodging questions like “Mommy, what does ‘I can eat you like Hibachi’ mean?” Our lineup of kid-friendly emcees didn’t spit much if any blue language or graphic descriptions at the mic, and we think it’s some of the best the genre’s had over the years — from simple and fun party anthems to tracks tackling complex issues of race and religion to others suggesting that parents just don’t understand. We have noted a few tracks on these albums, though, that you may want to keep off-limits to impressionable children.

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Friday, April 17, 2020

Rita Wilson And Naughty By Nature On Remixing 'Hip Hop Hooray' For Charity

Back in early March, Rita Wilson and her husband, Tom Hanks, were some of the earliest American celebrities to test positive for COVID-19. While quarantined in Australia, Wilson posted a video of herself rapping along flawlessly to Naughty By Nature's 1992 hit "Hip Hop Hooray," which circulated rapidly online.

"When I pushed 'send' I thought 'Well I'm going to get completely trashed for this, and people will think it's insane and Naughty By Nature will be trolling me on the Internet,' " she explains.

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Friday, March 6, 2020

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince was an American hip hop duo from West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rapper Will Smith (the Fresh Prince) met disc jockey Jeff Townes (DJ Jazzy Jeff) in the 1980s, when they were both trying to make names for themselves in West Philadelphia's local hip hop scene. They had as a support live member Clarence Holmes (Ready Rock C) – who was not officially credited to the duo. Holmes left the group in 1990 and later sued unsuccessfully for earnings, claiming a breach of oral contract.

The group received the first Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance in 1989 for "Parents Just Don't Understand" (1988), though their most successful single was "Summertime" (1991), which earned the group their second Grammy and peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Will Smith and Jeff Townes are still friends and claim that they never split up, having made songs under Smith's solo performer credit. DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince have sold over 5.5 million albums in the US. They also performed together as recently as September 2019.

Jeff Townes and Will Smith were introduced to each other by chance in 1985. One night, Townes was performing at a house party only a few doors down from Smith's residence, and he was missing his hype man. Smith decided to fill in. They both felt strong chemistry, and Townes was upset when his hype man finally made it to the party.

Soon after, the two decided to join forces. Smith enlisted a friend to join as the beatboxer of the group, Ready Rock C, who was not officially credited to the duo, only as a support live member. In 1986, Philadelphia-based Word Records (later changed to Word-Up Records) released their first single "Girls Ain't Nothing but Trouble," a tale of funny misadventures that landed Smith and his former DJ and rap partner Mark Forrest (Lord Supreme) in trouble. The song sampled the theme song of "I Dream of Jeannie." Smith became known for light-hearted story-telling raps and capable, though profanity-free, "battle" rhymes. The single became a hit a month before Smith graduated from high school.

Based on this success, the duo were brought to the attention of Jive Records and Russell Simmons. The duo's first album, Rock the House, which was first released on Word Up in 1986 debuted on Jive in March of 1987. The album sold about 300,000 units. That same year, the band found themselves on their first major tour with Run DMC, Public Enemy, and others.

Their 1988 follow-up album, He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper, made them multi-platinum stars. Mostly recorded in the United Kingdom, the album was rap music's first double-vinyl LP release; it was also issued as a single cassette and CD. "Parents Just Don't Understand", the lead-off single, made them MTV household names and also gained the honor of the first Grammy for a hip hop/rap song, which was met with mixed feelings. Nevertheless, the single was a success, launching the group into even more mainstream stardom. The video showed Prince's misadventures of trying to get around his parents' strict rules in a very comical way, very much like their first single "Girls Ain't Nothing but Trouble". It gained much airplay on TV channels such as MTV, giving the group much attention. The song was played in an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ("Someday Your Prince Will Be In Effect (Part 1)"), and referenced in two other episodes of the same series ("The Fresh Prince Project" and "Not With My Pig, You Don't").

Another single, "Nightmare on My Street", showcased a fictional confrontation with movie villain Freddy Krueger. Coinciding with the release of the fourth Nightmare on Elm Street film (1988’s The Dream Master); New Line Cinema was not pleased. A video allegedly shot for the single was buried, and a disclaimer was hastily included on pressings of the album indicating that the record was not officially affiliated with any of the Nightmare films. (Jive Records ended up releasing the soundtrack to the next film in the series, The Dream Child.) After this success, in 1988 the lead singles from Rock the House, including "Girls Ain't Nothing but Trouble", were re-released and changed a bit from their original 1985 release, with the outro referencing singles "Nightmare on My Street" and "Parents Just Don't Understand"

Flavor Flav Fired from Public enemy

Flavor Flav responded with shock to the announcement that he had been fired from Public Enemy after he sent a cease-and-desist letter over the band's performance at a campaign rally for Sen. Bernie Sanders.

"Are you kidding me right now??? ... over Bernie Sanders??? You wanna destroy something we've built over 35 years OVER POLITICS???" Flav wrote Monday on Twitter, addressing Public Enemy's co-founder Chuck D.

"All because I don't wanna endorse a candidate ... I'm very disappointed in you and your decisions right now," Flav wrote. "I'm not your employee ... i'm your partner ... you can't fire me ... there is no Public Enemy without Flavor Flav ... so let's get it right Chuck."

An open letter released Monday by Public Enemy contended that the group's decision wasn't about "political views."

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