According to huffingtonpost.com, Grammy-nominated rapper Craig Mack, who performed the 1994 hit “Flava in Ya Ear” for Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Bad Boy label, has died at age 46. The New York Daily News confirmed his death with Alvin Toney, the producer of Mack’s breakout album, “Project: Funk Da World.”
Mack succumbed Monday to heart failure at a hospital near his home in Walterboro, South Carolina, the producer said. He had been ill for some time. “It was a pleasure to know you & rock with you,” tweeted LL Cool J, who performed on Mack’s remix for “Flava in Ya Ear” with Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes and Rampage.
The New York City-born rapper hit it big in his debut album for Bad Boy, “Project: Funk Da World,” which also generated a second single, “Get Down,” Billboard noted.
To read more about Craig Mack’s life and music, click here.
Notoriouss, which opened this weekend on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, not only draws from Biggie’s name and branding but from hip-hop as a whole as well as New York City itself, from which Biggie drew a lot of the inspiration for his songs.
On Saturday, people packed the newly opened shop to celebrate not only Wallace’s success but Biggie’s life as family members reminisced about him. Others in attendance included the likes of Jadakiss, Lil Cease, DJ Snuff and DJ Mr. Cee.
“This is a huge, huge, huge monument, huge milestone for her. We’re happy for her, and we’re just excited to be here,” said CJ Wallace, Biggie’s son and T’yanna’s brother.
As for how Wallace is distinguishing herself from her father while still paying tribute to him, CJ Wallace pointed to the spelling of the store: “Two S’s for her individuality. She wanted to do something a little different but still be tied to her father, our father.”
Notoriouss brand clothing has been available online since 2013, but the store in Brooklyn marks the first brick-and-mortar boutique for Wallace.
Hip-Hop and art have once again merged in an exciting way, thanks to the inventive mind of a graduate student. Regina Flores Mir is the brains behind the Hip-Hop Project, a program being implemented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that allows visitors to navigate the various collections with guiding narration from MCs. Lyrics from songs by artist including Missy Elliott, Notorious B.I.G., Eric B. & Rakim, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Queen Latifah, and more are used as keywords and then cross-referenced with the Met’s massive archive of art, providing listeners with a Hip-Hop-centric blueprint by which to examine and understand the museum’s collections.
According to the Hip-Hop Project’s website, “although the rap lyric may not be directly correlated to the art work in meaning, it allows visitors to see work that they may not have otherwise known existed,” allowing for the kind of accidental discovery that could inspire Heads to establish bridges between music and art in uniquely individualized ways.
As Kari Paul wrote for Vice’s Motherboard channel, the relationship between the lyrics and pieces of art in question aren’t necessarily straightforward, but are nevertheless engaging. “For example, in ‘Juicy’ when the Notorious B.I.G. says ‘fuck all y’all hoes,’ the Hip-Hop Project pulls up an ancient hoe artifact. Users can click on it and explore this work and others,” she explains. The Hip-Hop Project’s site allows users to experience the museum tour without a trip to the Met, simply by picking a rapper and delving into the lyrical matches to items available for viewing. Heads will also appreciate the website’s domain (www.rappersdelight.nyc).
According to Deadline.com, VH1 has announced production of The Breaks, an original movie about the Hip-Hop business set in New York City during the early 90s, that will serve as a backdoor pilot for a potential series. Christopher Edward Martin, better known as DJ Premier, multiple Grammy-award winning member of the seminal rap group Gang Starr, will serve as executive music producer and compose the score.
The Breaks is based on Dan Charnas’ non-fiction book The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop, which covers the rap from its infancy in the 1970s house party and park scene through the staggering financial and cultural milestones of the early 2000s. Set in 1990, the series will follow three friends from different backgrounds attempting to break into the business just as the art form became part of the pop music mainstream.
Given the setting, which happens to mark the middle point of the golden age of hip hop, the rise of gangsta rap, and the height of New Jack Swing, Texas native DJ Premier’s involvement is a huge advantage. In addition to his work with Gang Starr, Premier has been involved with some of the most influential and successful rap and R&B albums of all time, including works by KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane, Snoop Dogg, Compton’s Most Wanted, Nas, D’Angelo, The Notorious B.I.G., and Jay Z.
The Breaks follows VH1’s previous TV films, 2013’s CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, and 2014’s Drumline: A New Beat, both of which saw great ratings for the network. Single Ladies, an original series which ran for three seasons on VH1and is now enjoying a fourth on Centric, started as a two-hour back door pilot. If successful, The Breaks could similarly spawn a full series aimed at the audience of other shows with soundtracks overseen by music titans, like Fox’s Empire, with music production by Timbaland, and ABC’s Nashville, which saw T-Bone Burnett as music producer during its first season.
The Breaks will be written, directed and executive produced by Seith Mann, whose previous credits include episodes of The Wire, Fringe, The Riches, Entourage, and Homeland. In addition to his production work, DJ Premier is also the host of a weekly show on Sirius XM’s Hip-Hop Nation. Filming for The Breaks will begin in June, and the film is scheduled to air sometime in late fall 2015.