On this day in hip-hop history, Cam’ron, Lupe Fiasco and Nature all released their respective projects. We also give birthday shout-outs to music icon Nile Rodgers and former Roc-A-Fella Records artist Amil. Check it out below.
2000: Cam’ron brings S.D.E. (Sports, Drugs & Entertainment) to the rap game
On this day, Cam’ron dropped his second album, S.D.E. The title refers to the Harlem legend’s fast pace life in the rap game, as well as the dreams young people often have living in poverty in New York City.
“A lot of people coming out of the neighborhood I’m from, they don’t look at being a lawyer or a doctor or a pilot or something,” Killa Cam told MTV News in 1999. “Everybody looks up to the sports figures, the entertainers, the music people, the actors. And sometimes they look up to the drug dealers.”
The collection featured guest appearances by N.O.R.E., Destiny’s Child and the late rappers Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Prodigy. S.D.E. is also the first time rap fans are introduced to his new collective, the Diplomats with members Jim Jones and Juelz Santana appearing on several tracks. The set’s first single is “What Means the World to You,” which samples the Police‘s classic 1978 song, “Roxanne.”
2000: Nature releases his debut album For All Seasons
Queensbridge rapper Nature, whose real name is Jermaine Baxter, was ushered into the rap business through Nas who enlisted him as part of the rap supergroup the Firm, whose members also included AZ and Foxy Brown.
After several delays, Nature released his debut album For All Seasons in 2000 on Columbia Records. Produced mostly by the Trackmasters, the album garnered high praise for showcasing New York’s diverse sound and Nature’s deft lyrical skills.
“My sound is pretty vintage. I come from an era where you had to make sense when you rhyme and it isn’t much about the materialistic things that seem to populate the airwaves right now,” said Nature about his lyrical style (via Manhattan Digest). “Mine is a mix of old and new [and] beats that I like. I am a fan of what is out today but I came in the game in the 90’s so I am attached to everything that was out in that era.”
2006: Lupe Fiasco delivers his debut album Food and Liquor
On this day, Lupe Fiasco dropped his debut album Food & Liquor, which was executive produced by Jay-Z (who initially wanted to sign him to Roc-A-Fella Records). The title refers to the Chicago rapper’s observation that human beings are in a constant tug of war between good (food) and evil (liquor).
“I just tried to create a balance of good and bad, and that’s where Food and Liquor comes from. Food is good. Liquor’s always been bad – without being a Muslim,” he explained to AllHipHop in 2006. “I’ve been working on Food and Liquor for like five years, and it’s really like my baby and masterpiece, and it’s changed as I grew up with the album.”
Standout tracks include “Kick, Push,” “I Gotcha,” “The Cool” and “Daydreamin’” featuring Jill Scott. For his hard work, Fiasco garnered three nominations for Best Rap Album, Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Song for “Kick, Push” for the 2007 Grammy Awards. In 2008, Fiasco nabbed his first Grammy trophy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance for “Daydreamin'” at the 50th annual Grammy Awards.
1942: Freda Payne is born
Born Freda Charcillia Payne in Detroit, Freda Payne is famous for her 1970 hit single, “Band of Gold.” She’s also worked as an actress in television, film and on the Broadway stage.
1952: Nile Rodgers is born
Nile Gregory Rodgers Jr. was born on this day in New York City. The songwriter, guitarist and super-producer is the founder of the R&B/funk group Chic, whose 1979 song “Good Times” became the sonic template for Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” one of the greatest rap songs in hip-hop history. With over 30 years of hits under his belt, Rodgers is thrilled that people – both young and old – still fondly embrace his older hits with Chic and other artists.
“As a composer, the most satisfying thing in the world is to have people know your music. It’s such a solitary, lonely job,” he told EW. “So imagine you do something all alone by yourself, and you go out on stage and 100,000 people start singing and you go ‘Holy shit, I guess it was a good idea.’ I have a pretty good educated guess that a fair amount of my compositions will outlive me, particularly ones like [Sister Sledge’s] ‘We Are Family.’”
1978: Amil, former Roc-A-Fella Records artist, is born
Born in New York, Amil Kahala Whitehead was involved in an all-female rap group called Major Coins before pursuing a solo rap career. In 1999, she signed with Jay-Z’s label, Roc-A-Fella Records, and joined him on his 1999 “Hard Knock Life” tour. The following year, she dropped A.M.I.L (All Money Is Legal) with the kick-off single “I Got That,” featuring Beyoncé, followed by the ROC posse track “4 Da Fam” featuring Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel and Hov.