‘Purple Rain’ Debuts: July 27 in Hip-Hop History
Gangsta anthems, a Caribbean classic, Destiny’s Child drama and an iconic Prince moment make this day in history.
2004 — Kevin Lyttle Releases Self-Titled Album
Kevin Lyttle is, to the best of our knowledge, the biggest musician to have been born in Saint Vincent, a small Caribbean island, and his first hit, “Turn Me On,” pulsed with the Soca rhythms of that region. With toasting courtesy of dancehall artist Sprigga Benz rounding out the vibe, “Turn Me On” bode well for Lyttle’s first album, which debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and eventually went gold. Party-forward tracks like “Last Drop,” “Ya Kiss” and a cover of Terence Trent D’Arby’s hit “Sign Your Name” kept Kevin Lyttle on CD and MP3 players all through that late summer and into the fall.
2004 — B.G. Drops 'Life After Cash Money.'
On his second record after leaving the Cash Money label, B.G. continues on with tales of his drug- and money-obsessed world on tracks like “I Want It (You Got It)” and "Geezy Where U Been.” He invites the Ying-Yang Twins to the booty-bounce anthem "Get Wild With It," and gets skittery with the beats on “Rollin’ in my Cadillac.”
It’s hard to believe B.G. was only 24 when Life After Cash Money was released. “The streets aged me most definitely,” he said in an interview in 2006. “When you're from where I'm from and you grew up where I grew up — [because] my daddy got killed when I was 12 years old ... it was like the streets adopted me after that.”
In 2012, B.G. was sentenced to 14 years in prison for gun possession and witness tampering, stemming from a 2009 traffic stop; when police searched his car, they found three loaded guns, two of which had been reported stolen.
1999 — Destiny's Child Release 'The Writing's on the Wall'
The Writing’s on the Wall preceded the exit of LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson from Destiny's Child (over business and management matters), making it the final album for the original lineup. It was a huge hit, spawning four singles (including “Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Say My Name”) and selling over six million copies in the U.S. It’s an album that also set up members Beyonce and Kelly Rowland for solo success.
However, by the time the third single was released, Luckett and Roberson were out of the group, replaced by Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin. Franklin would be gone in six months, whittling the group down to a trio. The group was not afraid to address her departure publicly.
"She actually did not show up for three major promotional events, one of which was MTV All Access,” Beyonce told a Total Request Live audience. She added, “We also had a five-day promotional tour in Australia, which was our first visit there and very important, and she didn't come. So we all agreed that Farrah and Destiny's Child should part ways, and we wish her the best in the future.”
1999 — The Hot Boy$ Release 'Guerrilla Warfare.'
Straight out of New Orleans, this Cash Money crew dropped street rhymes like “We on Fire” and “I Need a Hot Girl” (both from Guerilla Warfare, their second album) like they were living their rhymes every day, which they probably were. Of course, Lil Wayne and Juvenile would go on to bigger things, and B.G. and Turk would hold their own for a while. But to hear them come together, to come up together and hit the big time head-on, was something special.
1993 — Fat Joe Releases ‘Represent.’
Fat Joe Da Gangsta (as he was then known) came out swinging on his debut single, “Flow Joe,” riding a deep, echoing groove (with drums sampled from Lee Dorsey’s “Get Out of My Life, Woman,” a familiar hip-hop source), ready to cut down any MC in his path. Represent is full to bursting with such moments. The Godzilla stomp of “Livin’ Fat” shows “Flow Joe” was no fluke; the man’s flow is solid, his stories are captivating and his bragging on point. “I Got This in a Smash” is both warning and mourning — warning to all who might challenge him on the street, and mourning for those lost in the day-to-day desperation that seems to hang over that street. Fat Joe rhymes to this day, having survived that desperation, and it all started with the cracking beats and street tales of Represent.
1984 — 'Purple Rain' is Released in Theaters
The story of The Kid as he becomes king of the stage, yielded a bounty of hits not just for radio listeners in 1984, but for DJs and hip-hop producers for decades to come. The guitar solo in “Let’s Go Crazy” fed into Public Enemy’s “Brothers Gonna Work It Out.” “When Doves Cry” was incorporated in a wide array of songs, from Afrika Bambaataa’s “Return to Planet Rock” to MC Hammer’s “Pray.” The percussion effect from “Darling Nikki” showed up in tracks from 2Pac, Nicki Minaj and Three 6 Mafia, among others. So great was the effect of the film and its music on our popular culture that artists still plumb the record for inspiration, nearly 35 years after its release, and two years after its creator’s death.