One night, one stage, six legendary Hip-Hop artists, countless throwbacks. HOT 96.9 Presents the Art of Rap Tour w/ Bone Thugs N Harmony, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Rakim, EPMD and Slick Rick on Friday, November 10 at the Boch Center Wang Theatre.
Bone Thugs N Harmony - Crossroads http://www.bonethugsnharmony.com
Bone Thugs N Harmony
Formed in the early 90s by Layzie Bone, Bizzy Bone, Krayzie Bone, Wish Bone and Flesh-N-Bone, Bone Thugs N Harmony were signed and nurtured by the late great Eazy-E. The group’s initial impact was astounding. Their 1994 EP Creepin On Ah Come Up, spent over 70 weeks on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart, and sold well over four million units. The following year’s E. 1999 Eternal went to number 1, selling over 330,000 copies in its first week of release and subsequently becoming one of the bestselling rap albums of all time. The quintet’s popularity could be attributed to their appealing blend of vocal harmonies and tough street raps, as featured on the hugely successful singles ‘1st Of Tha Month’ and ‘Tha Crossroads’. "Creepin' On Ah Come Up", exploded Bone onto the rap scene with their debut single, "Thuggish Ruggish Bone," selling more than 500,000 copies, with the video becoming cable music channel the "Box's" most-requested of 1994. The album started moving large quantities shortly after its June 1994 release, shot past triple-platinum sales, and became an R&B, and Rap chart topper. As the EP continued its reign atop the charts, the group began work on their debut LP, "E. 1999 Eternal". The LP entered all charts at #1 and hasn't slowed down, selling over six million plus copies and counting. The LP proved a great blend of sweet soul harmonies and boulevard mentalities. The album's tribute to their dead homies, called "The Crossroads," became an MTV smash hit, launching them into mainstream radio play. The song took on an unexpected meaning after Eazy-E's March 1995 death from the aids virus. "Tha Crossroads" later won a Grammy, went double-platinum, and made history when it tied with the Beatles' 32-year-old record ('64's "Can't Buy Me Love") for the fastest rising single on the pop charts. The group returned in 1997 with their next album "The Art Of War", a 2 disc album that garnered hits such as “Look Into My Eyes” and “If I Could Teach the World”.
One of the nine founding members of the legendary Hip-Hop collective Wu-Tang Clan, Raekwon is often cited as one of the most influential members of the group and a pioneer of the ‘Mafioso rap sub-genre’. In 2007, the editors of About.com placed him on their list of the Top 50 MCs of Our Time (1987–2007). The Miami New Times described Raekwon's music as being "street epics" that are "straightforward yet linguistically rich universes not unlike a gangsta Iliad." When the time came for him to release his first solo album, the classic, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… (1995), hip-hop, once again, underwent a momentous transformation. Fast forward to September 8, 2009, Raekwon released a sequel to his debut masterpiece, garnering instant success, reaching #1 on ITunes charts while 66,000 copies during its first week of release. Critics and fans both heralded it the best album of 2009. Receiving accolades from: Time Magazine, iTunes, Complex Magazine, The Source Magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine and Hip Hop DX.
Ghostface Killah debuted with the rest of the Wu-Tang Clan on "Protect Ya Neck" and "Tearz" from the Clan's critically acclaimed debut classic, ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993). A roommate of WuTang founder The RZA, Ghostface helped bring together the other seven members, and would function as executive producer on all the Wu-Tang Clan releases. In 1995, Ghostface would guest star extensively on fellow Clan member Raekwon's debut album, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. His first solo LP, Ironman (1996), debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and went on to be widely considered as a hip-hop classic. Ghostface became well-known for both his up-tempo, seemingly indecipherable stream-of-consciousness rap and, later in his career, for his emotionally charged raps. His highly anticipated (2000) follow-up to Ironman, Supreme Clientele, was critically acclaimed by both hip hop enthusiasts and mainstream critics and largely credited as playing a major role in reviving the waning Wu-Tang dynasty. "Cherchez LaGhost", a single off the album, became a minor club hit. Ghostface would go on to release additional fan and critically acclaimed projects such as Bulletproof Wallets (2001) and The Pretty Toney Album (2004).
In the history of the Hip-Hop, few artists have had as great an impact on the development and progression of the art forms lyrical style as Rakim. Universally referenced as one of the Masters of the Microphone and an influence and inspiration to his peers and followers alike. His recordings – including the all-time classics with Eric B, Paid In Full, Follow the Leader and The 18th Letter - have sold in the multimillions worldwide. Billboard, Rolling Stone, MTV and a host of others consistently refer to Paid in Full as “the greatest Hip-Hop album of all time” – a claim that often repeated in audience polls. With recent tributes in 2012 such as being named the #1 Lyricist of All Time by The Source magazine, receiving the coveted BET Lifetime Achievement Award and being nominated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, two original music projects, his first feature film role and sold-out international tours keeping the world’s eye on the one many call The GOD EmCee, Rakim Allah continues to lead where others just follow.
Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith were once described as "the rap equivalent of a rock & roll garage band”. In 1987, EPMD released the 12-inch single ("It's My Thing" b/w "You're a Customer"), which sold 500,000 copies. Within six weeks of its release, their debut album Strictly Business had topped the Billboard R&B LPs chart (#1, 1988) and gone gold. Hits included "You Gots to Chill" (#22 R&B, 1988) and "Strictly Business" (#25 R&B, 1988). EMPD’s initial sound blended suburban angst with the hardcore edge of their inner-city rap brethren. The groups self-produced raw, bass-heavy rhythm tracks were fortified liberally by sampled loops (Steve Miller's "Fly Like an Eagle," Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff"). Their next album, Unfinished Business offered more of the same. By the early '90s, with the vast popularity of gangsta rap, EPMD acknowledged the style by injecting Business as Usual with a harder edge, and it paid off. The album went to #36 on the pop chart and scored hits with "Gold Digger" (#14 R&B, 1991) and "Rampage" (#30 R&B, 1992). In 1992 the duo released Business Never Personal (#14 pop, #5 R&B), which contained the hit "Crossover" (#42 pop, #14 R&B, 1992). After a breakup, the MC duo reunited as EPMD to record 1997's Back in Business (#4 R&B).
Grammy-nominated, English-born performer and the most successful British-American rapper in music history, the one and only Slick Rick is known as Hip-Hop’s Greatest Storyteller. Originally from London, the hip-hop veteran began his career in 1983 as a member of Doug E. Fresh’s Get Fresh Crew, pioneering what is referred to as the “Golden Age of Hip-Hop”. Sick Rick is best known for his acclaimed hits “Mona Lisa”, “Children’s Story”, “The Show”, “Lodi Dodi” and “Teenage Love”. With four albums to his credit – The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988), The Ruler’s Back (1991), Behind Bars (1994) and The Art of Storytelling (1999).