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VIBE's Editors Share 44 Of Their Favorite Hip Hop Moments

The genre has had a pivotal effect on all of our lives. 

Hip-hop's official birthday (Aug. 11) has left us feeling thankful.

After all, where would we be if not for the albums, images and moments that helped create a culture the masses can't get enough of? On top of hitting it's 44th year in existence (although historians would debate this), hip-hop has cemented its place in history for birthing legends like Rakim, JAY-Z, Nas, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G. and MC Lyte to Hollywood's elite like Will Smith, LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, Common and many more. Providing a blueprint for storytelling in the projects in the Bronx to the streets of Compton has allowed us to grow up with a genre that has gotten better with time.

While it's hard to narrow down our favorites, we gave it a shot. In no particular order, take a look at the VIBE staff's personal as well as monumental moments attributed to hip-hop.


Datwon Thomas | Editor in Chief | Coolest Living Dinosaur

44. Going to my first concert at the Apollo. Biz Markie, Kwame, EPMD and Redhead and the F.B.I. performed.

43. Recreating  the “Great Day In Harlem” photograph for XXL.

42. Breakdancing for money and later battling my best friend (I lost).

41. Being on stage with Jay Z & Kanye West in 2011.

40. Helping out at the DJ battle between X-Men and The Invisibl Skratch Piklz.

39. The release of Illmatic.

38. Hearing good kid, m.A.A.d city in full on an Amtrak ride to Howard University.

Marjua Estevez | Senior Editor | Feels Whisperer

37. Discovering writing through Hip-hop, because it eventually introduced me to poetry.

36. Big Pun becoming the first Latino rapper to have an album certified platinum as a solo act.

35. One of the greatest love songs ever, Method Man and Mary J. Blige's "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By."

34. JAY-Z and Nas’ beef (Nas reigned supreme, hands own).

33. Alicia Keys for me embodied Hip-hop through an R&B lens.

32. Hip-hop giving birth to a new generation of politicians, poets, journalists, educators, professors, filmmakers and artists.

31. “Ladies Night Anthem.”

Mikey Fresh | Music Editor | Purveyor Of Cholula Hot Sauces

30. When Naughty By Nature filmed their "Feel Me Flow" video with a bunch of snowboarders.

29. When Jin became the first Asian-American to be inducted in the Freestyle Friday Hall of Fame, which earned him a deal with Ruff Ryders.

28. That time Rage Against The Machine toured with Wu-Tang.

Camille Augustin | Associate Editor | Silent Assassin

27. Helping out with the J. Cole & Nas 2013 VIBE cover and getting Nas lunch (I almost "Let Nas Down").

26. Watching Rap City: Tha Basement Freestyles.

25. Looking forward to each G.O.O.D Friday release.

24. Hearing Young Jeezy's "My President Is Black" after Obama won the '08 election.

23. Wishing I had a pair of S. Carter sneakers in junior High School, especially the black and pink version.

22. TDE's Cypher At The 2013 BET Awards.

Desire Thompson | Associate News Editor | Bronx Girl

21. Kool Herc DJing the Bronx Ten Mile I ran in 2015.

20. Listening to my first hip-hop album at 11; Warren G’s debut album, Regulate...G Funk Era.

19. Swag surfin for the first time.

18. Sharing adoption stories with King DMC at a hip-hop health benefit show.

17. Knowing all the words to Nicki Minaj’s “Itty Bitty Piggy.”

16. Having all of the DJ Ty Boogie and Kay Slay mixtapes from the neighborhood bootleg man.

15. Deciphering hidden messages in BET’s Videolink series.

14. Watching the world premiere of Kendrick Lamar’s "King Kunta" at Times Square and later chanting "Alright" at a Black Lives Matter march.

13. Busta Rhymes' "Scenario" verse.

Pedro Pincay | Social Media Assistant | Nickname Avoider

12.When trigger fingers turned into twitter fingers (Drake vs. Meek Mill).

11. Frank Ocean made us wait 4 years for two timeless albums.

10. With The Smoke Part 1 (Swizz vs. Just Blaze).

9. Lenny S. Pins Pedroski (Lenny Santiago gives me the Roc-A-Fella pin off his hat).

9. Obama bringing the Hip-hop Avengers to the White House.

7. Never forget, J. Cole goes double platinum twice with no features.

6. Being at the 40/40 Club when 4:44 dropped.

Darryl Robertson | Contributing Editor | Resident Book Man

5. Watching Krush Groove for the first time.

4. When Wu-Tang dropped Wu-Tang Forever.

3. Reading Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation.

2. JAY-Z’s induction into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.

1. Kendrick Lamar’s "Control" verse

Tell us your faves in the comments below.

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New Music Fridays: Pete Rock and Skyzoo, Gang Starr Ft. J. Cole, DaBaby And More

For today's New Music Fridays, New York City hip-hop from past and present both represent heavy in the release schedule, while one of rap's rookies of the year and a new Young Money artist also make strong impressions.

Skyzoo and Pete Rock – Retropolitan Rappers have spoken for years about wanting to "bring New York back," but Skyzoo and Pete Rock take the task personally on their new album Retropolitan. Skyzoo said that joint album “came from a feeling of necessity. The album is both a love letter and a wakeup call to the city of New York. In an age where hype dominates reality, FOMO supersedes integrity and gentrification has supplanted tradition, this album is screaming for NYC to wake TF up---even as Pete & myself thank the city for all it’s done for us at the same time." Their single "Eastern Conference All-Stars" with Conway The Machine, Benny The Butcher, Westside Gunn and Conway has been getting obsessive listens over here, so we're excited to hear the rest of the album by the elite Brooklyn wordsmith and the GOAT level producer. Apple Music | TIDAL

Kemba – Gilda Since changing his name from YC The Cynic, Kemba has built much of his buzz in recent years with stunning freestyles – namely an impromptu performance with and cosign from Kendrick Lamar in Brooklyn, and a bar-heavy freestyle on Hot 97 with host Peter Rosenberg. But his Republic debut Gilda – named after his recently deceased mother – showcases both his exquisite bar work, a vulnerable singing voice, and a willingness to distort his vocals to convey the whirlwind of emotions that comes with such painful loss. The album features appearances by Jagged Edge, RL of Next, Smino, Chris Scholar and Portugal, The Man, along with production by Black Milk, Brasstracks, and Kemba himself. Apple Music | TIDAL

Boosie Badazz and Zaytoven – Bad Azz Zay Boosie Badazz released two projects in 2018 – Boosie Blues Cafe and Savage Holidays – and he's taking time away from his hilarious IG live appearances to drop another album, Bad Azz Zay, produced by Zaytoven, the Atlanta producer known for his collaborations with Gucci Mane, Usher, and Future. The album clocks in at 13 tracks and 41 minutes, with one feature from Tokyo Vanity. Apple Music | TIDAL

Gashi – Gashi Libyan lyricist Gashi has spent the last few years racking up streams and building up his fan base with songs like "Safety" with DJ Snake and "Creep On Me" with French Montana and DJ Snake. This week, off the momentum of the G-Eazy-assisted single "My Year" performing in the top 40, Gashi releases his self-titled debut with RCA Records. He showcases his various musical influences across 16 tracks and 51 minutes. Apple Music | TIDAL

Euro – Don't Expect Nothing Providence, Rhode Island rapper Euro first introduced himself to the masses with an appearance on "Live Life," a song from Lil Wayne's Dedication 5 mixtape. After paying dues and dropping loosies over the years, he's releasing his debut album Don't Expect Nothing under Secret Weapon Entertainment and Empire, with Young Money's backing. He reunites with Tunechi on "Talk 2 Me Crazy," and other album highlights include "A Billion Dollars," "Georgia" and "More Life, More Luv." Apple Music | TIDAL

Gang Starr featuring J. Cole – "Family and Loyalty" It's been more than 15 years since Gang Starr's last album, and nine years since the rap half of the group, Guru, died of cancer. But after a cryptic voicemail from Nas on DJ Premier's phone surfaced earlier this week, DJ Premier has released a brand new single from the legendary duo. "Family and Loyalty" features DJ Premier's timeless scratches and focused, thematic lyrics by a posthumous Guru. And after a year and a half of bodying every guest appearance in sight, J. Cole continues his run with another passionate, multisyllabic 16 that he says will be his last feature. Apple Music | TIDAL

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Mickey Factz - Enigma "Y'all know what I do to lyrics. Why I gotta do a gimmick just for you to get it?" On the self-titled song from this three-song EP, Bronx lyricist Mickey Factz ponders that, sick loved ones, and other pressing issues. Mickey is a rapper's rapper, and that's clear from these songs: the wit, wordplay and flows are always precise, and this is a solid sampling of his skill set. Apple Music | TIDAL

Cantrell – "I’m So Georgia YAKWTFGO" After impressing us with his video for Devil Never Even Lived single "WaY BaCK," Mass Appeal lyricst Cantrell has continued his #FreeShxtFriday series with his take on Casanova and Fabolous' "So Brooklyn."

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Tekashi 6ix9ine performs at the 2018 Made In America Festival - Day 1 at Benjamin Franklin Parkway on September 1, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation

Footage Of Tekashi 6ix9ine's Alleged Kidnapping Surfaces

A new video showcasing the kidnapping of rapper Tekashi69 last year in Brooklyn by his former Nine Trey Bloods associates has been obtained by The Daily News. Although we don’t see Tekashi or his accused kidnappers—Anthony “Harv” Ellison and Ellison’s friend who goes by “Sha”—we do hear the whole ordeal as they drive through the dark, rainy streets of Brooklyn.

When the footage of the kidnapping ends, the video transitions into scenes with Jorge Rivera, Tekahi’s driver, who attempted at following the vehicle in which he was kidnapped and retrieve the license plate number. We hear Rivera calling 911 in Spanish to come to Tekashi’s aid. Rivera immediately became a witness in the case.

The “FeFe” rapper’s alleged feud with Ellison came after a dispute over how the rapper (né Daniel Hernandez) would share all his earnings with the gang.

During his recent testimony at Manhattan Federal Court earlier this week, the 23-year-old recalled the kidnapping stating the gang members ended up going against each other. “The gang, it was divided. We’re all part of the same gang but we’re attacking each other,” Tekashi revealed.

Hernandez also detailed that the kidnapping began around 4 am ET when Ellison crashed a stolen car into Rivera’s Chevy Tahoe SUV at Atlantic Avenue and Bedford Ave on July 22, 2018.

According to Tekashi, Sha opened the door of the Chevy armed with a gun and demanded that he get into the car with him and Ellison. Ellison was allegedly armed as well. In the video, you can hear Tekashi trying to reason with Ellison about the situation.

“I put money in your pocket, bro, I’m scared, bro…I don’t know...everybody is saying extortion this, extortion that,” he said.

“I’m pleading with my heart...yo, don’t shoot,” Tekashi would later say in court about the incident.

Ultimately, after the rapper obtained several injuries from both Ellison and Sha beating him up and demanding that he say loud that he is no longer part of the Bloods gang, they came to a settlement. If Tekashi relinquished all of his jewelry, they would let him go.

“We came to an agreement. If I gave them the jewelry, they would let me go,” Tekashi said.

Eventually, the crew made it to his girlfriend’s home where they retrieved the jewelry. Later, Tekashi would allegedly escape from the backseat and get into a random car which dropped him off at a precinct.

During part two of his testimony, Hernandez also revealed other inner workings of the gang and their attempts to fatally shoot rappers like Cheif Keef, Casanova and Trippie Redd.

More details on the fate of Tekashi’s case are still pending. You can hear/watch the alleged kidnapping over at The Daily News.

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Santiago’s out of the box style seems like an anomaly among his peers which is refreshing. The artist told Billboard earlier this year that his stage name, Guaynaa, is a term used to describe a wealthy/high-class person in his native country of Puerto Rico. He also expressed how his parents are his main inspiration for his musical aspirations.

“There are many factors that inspire me as an artist. But, my family is my inspiration. My mom and dad are trovadores,” he said. “But, I really felt the inspiration after listened to other singers, like Residente. Growing up, I tried to imitate them and I realized that I have a true passion for music.”

Guaynaa's musical inspirations also come from some of reggaeton's other classic acts like Zion y Lennox and Julio Voltio.

Watch the video for "Buyaka" above.

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