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The 10 Best Events You Missed At Art Basel Miami 2017

These are the best events you'll be mad you missed at Art Basel in Miami. 

Those who hit the streets of Wynwood annually to witness the madness of Art Basel in Miami knows all too well that the struggle to attend every eye-popping function is always real. With hundreds of events announced just days in advance of the art world’s most anticipated week of the year, it’s easy to pick which momentous events to attend, but it becomes difficult to actually follow the intended schedule when certain events happen at the same time, or its simply impossible to find parking.

Every year, Art Basel in Miami gives visual artists and prominent musicians an opportunity to collaborate for rare art shows and events fans will remember for ages. Connoisseurs of fine art, music, and photography from around the world flock to the 305 to examine refreshing works of art from famed visual artists, and enjoy performances from some of the most iconic musicians in the music industry, especially hip-hop.

Swizz Beatz brought ‘The Dean Collection’ back to Miami and invited all of his superstar homies to come through and bless the stage at ‘No Commission.’ KRS-One and Fat Joe curated the ultimate VIBES while celebrating visual artists and photographers like Jonathan Mannion. If you missed the chance to experience this epic celebration of art and music, don’t sweat it. Here are the best events inspired by fine art, hip-hop & R&B that went down at Art Basel 2017.

10. 'The Flea Market' starring Prez P & More

Over a decade ago, flea markets like the late Carol Mart were essentially landmark in hip-hop, especially after Rick Ross shot his “Hustlin’” video there back in 2006. In the digital era of online shopping, Miami’s beloved flea markets are on the road to extinction. While tourists from around the world come to South Florida in search of culture during Art Basel, one event in particular aimed to school outsiders about Dade County’s OG marketplaces before they all disappear. Host OhRawkC and Redbull teamed up for an event dedicated to Miami’s urban culture called ‘The Flea Market’ at Rico’s Burgers & Hot Dogs, which culminated music and photography with the elements of flea markets in Miami.

Photographers Kovalski Jacques, Esdras "Photo Tea" Thelusma, Aaron J. Jackson, and Smith "Smitty" Durogene contributed rare photos from inside Carol Mart when it was alive and well plus other photos that were inspired by flea markets around Miami. Numerous clothing brands, accessory lines, and even a tattoo artist all had stations around the event while DJ’s like 99 JAMZ’s DJ Lucky C kept the event lit with classics from the crib from Trick Daddy, Rick Ross and more. Afterwards, rappers Sam Stan and Prez P performed live and put on for the new generation of Miami’s hip-hop culture.

9. Rémy Martin’s ‘MVP Experience’ w/ Tory Lanez, OT Genesis & More

The House of Rémy Martin blessed Art Basel with an exclusive event that really doesn’t happen often. The Rémy Martin MVP Experience was a joint venture with 13-year professional basketball veteran and former Miami Heat player, Roger Mason Jr. Mason Jr. The brand enlisted international visual artists and graphic designer Matt W. Moore to convert The W South Beach’s basketball court into an unforgettable mural filled with every color of the rainbow.

Along with the humongous mural, the opening reception inside one of the W’s classic bungalows also featured a life-size sculpture of a black and gold basketball as well as a sneak peek of Rémy Martin's latest collaboration with luxury custom sneaker designer, Kickasso, and Rémy Martin's latest limited-edition, the 1738 MVP sneaker box. Afterwards, Rémy Martin hosted a celebrity basketball game with Tory Lanez, OT Genasis, Ben Baller, DJ Irie, DJ Stevie J, DJ Steph Floss, Prince of ‘Love & Hip-Hop Miami’ and more. It was truly a unique event that fused art and basketball together in a way not many people get to experience.

8. Basel House featuring 50 Cent, Statik Selektah & More

Basel House was a true celebration of street art. SWARM and Effen Vodka’s mural festival put the spotlight on over 40 creations painted on the walls of the Old RC Cola Plant in Wynwood, but they had more to offer than just murals. Food trucks, pop-up bars sponsored by Effen, and cotton candy courtesy of Lyft kept guests fed as they roamed around the block admiring the huge murals.

DJ’s like Statik Selektah and DJ Laz provided the vibes each night and kept everyone at the mural festival partying until the early hours of the morning. At the peak of the festival, Effen Vodka's notable brand ambassador 50 Cent pulled up to scene and spent some time in the Effen tent, but he's not the only veteran rapper who appeared at Basel House. Along with the abundance of graffiti art, the #HappyKanye zone, which is an adult bounce house in the shape of a rainbow with Kanye West’s face on it, brought joy to parents and kids alike. Kanye wasn’t the only one to make a cameo at Basel House.

7. VIBES 305 with KRS-One and Fat Joe

After all the pre-Basel events throughout the week, all roads led to the Toejam Backlot to see iconic art and witness hip-hop veterans perform live at Vibes 305. The line outside the venue stretched down the street as mobs of people made their way through the unique indoor/outdoor gallery. Presented by 305 Films, Vibes 305 featured artwork from veterans in the art game like Jonathan Mannion, Rob Prior, and Martha Cooper just to name a few. Paintings inspired by rappers like the special guest of honor Fat Joe, risqué sculptures, and rare photos from Mannion’s vault covered the walls while the party continued outside by the stage.

Hosted by Felisha Monet of 99 JAMZ, numerous DJ’s like Tom La Roc, DJ Heron, and more came through to keep the spirit of hip-hop alive with mixes featuring old school jams and today’s trending MC’s. Later on, everyone surrounded the stage as Joey Crack and the Teacha himself KRS-One grabbed the mic and spit intricate rhymes like it was the ’90s. It was an epic night of mind-boggling art and classic hip-hop.

6. REVOLT & Cadillac’s ‘Art of Daring’ starring BJ The Chicago Kid & Saya Woolfalk

Over the last four years, REVOLT has never failed to come through with a bold approach to Art Basel. Upon walking into the MAPS Backlot in Wynwood, guests were greeted by the sounds of Ted Smooth at the DJ booth on the technicolor stage, which was designed by the artists of the night Saya Woolfalk and BJ The Chicago Kid.

Art and soul heads got to marvel at Woolfalk’s psychedelic pieces that served as the background to the white, glossy Cadillac Escalade, and decked the walls of the spacious gallery. As the various flavors of Ciroc made its way into everyone’s cup, BJ The Chicago hit the stage in an all-white outfit to perform a handful of his personal hits. Woolfalk’s kaleidoscope inspired creations danced in the background as BJ owned the mic with his band.

5. 1800 Tequila x SoundCloud 'Blank Canvas' w/ Dave East, Mick Jenkins & MadeINTYO

1800 Tequila and Soundcloud hosted a popping exhibition of music and art called ‘Blank Canvas.’ The corner of 26th Street and 5th Ave in Wynwod was jam-packed with people eager to watch artists SNARKITECTURE and Nick Thomm bring their creations to life to the sounds of Mick Jenkins, Dave East and special guest MadeINTYO.

As the tequila-based cocktails floated around the venue, multi-colored pieces of art from the featured artists began to flash in the background while all three rappers performed on stage. Mick Jenkins opened the show before surprise guest MadeINTYO appeared. The venue was at maximum capacity by the time Dave East hit the stage to close out the event. It wasn't as elegant as the other art shows in Wynwood, but it was definitely one of the most popular events of the night.

4. Bombay Sapphire’s Artisan Series Finale Hosted by Issa Rae

Issa Rae may have created the most popular television series of the year, but she’s also a major fan of fine art. Bombay Sapphire’s annual Artisan Series concluded at Art Basel with an elegant wrap party inside Villa Casa Casuarina -- the former Versace Mansion -- on South Beach. The “Insecure” creator brought out her fellow cast members, Broderick Hunter and Sarunas Jackson, along with musicians like Mark Ronson and movie stars like Eva Longoria to celebrate the extraordinary work of the program’s 16 finalists.

Guests got to sip on tasty, Gin concoctions like the “Epiphany” while admiring an extraordinary collection of art and jamming to the sounds of DJ Heron Preston. Towards the end of the night, Rae dubbed Vancouver’s Vanessa Lam as the Grand Finale Winner of the 8th Annual Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series competition. Along with Lam, Rae announced the second place winner Ariel Vargassal from Los Angeles and People’s Choice winner Charity White from Chicago.

3. Laolu’s ‘Sacred Art of the Ori Yoruba’ at SCOPE Art Show

SCOPE Art Show is always filled with unforgettable artwork, but this year an unsung hero in the art world made waves unlike any other artist in the building. In partnership with the Bronze Kingdom gallery, multifaceted artist Laolu “NYC” Senbanjo, who's artwork was featured in Beyonce's Lemonade film on HBO, has made a name for himself by embracing his family’s Yoruba roots from Nigeria to create Afromysteric pieces on everything from clothing to the human body.

After spending the last year curating exhibits from coast to coast, Laolu returned to Art Basel to put his ‘Sacred Art of the Ori Yoruba’ on display, which includes an extraordinary piece featuring ‘Orange Is The New Black’ star Danielle Brooks. Brooks poses nude but is completely covered with unique designs in white paint. Another amazing work of art that stood out from the rest was the beautifully complex ‘Dreamscape’ piece, which fuses colorful, urban art with his unique Yoruba style.

2. iii Points Art Basel Concert Series Presents Wu Tang Clan

iii Point has a tendency to bring out the legends for their Art Basel Concert Series, and this year they tapped the Shaolin Warriors to take over Wynwood for their iconic show. Mana Wynwood was jam-packed with thousands of loyal fans of the Wu-Tang Clan, who came to see the Staten Island OG’s reunite in Miami for a once-in-a-lifetime performance. Before the show, bright, yellow lights flashed all around the venue as fans were greeted at the doors with a Ketel One bar dispersing free samples. Wu’s iconic logo hovered above the ever-growing crowd as they snapped flicks of the Shaolin-inspired buildings made of bricks on stage.

Once the entire venue faded to black, the entire clan walked out to roars of cheers that Ol’ Dirty Bastard could hear in the heavenly skies. RZA, GZA, Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, U-God, Masta Killa, Cappadonna, and the Method Man sent the room into a frenzy once they established that Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothing to f*ck with. Although they just dropped their new album The Saga Continues, Wu-Tang focused on bringing their classic recorss to life like “Bring Da Pain”, “C.R.E.A.M” and plenty more.

1. Swizz Beatz & Bacardi’s ‘No Commission Miami’

After traveling around the world with a team of revolutionary artists, Swizz Beatz and Bacardi brought ‘No Commission’ back to Miami to celebrate the 2-year anniversary of ‘The Dean Collection.’ With his wifey Alicia Keys by his side, the seasoned artist and producer enlisted a squad of critically acclaimed visual artists like Derrick Adams, Michael Vasquez, and Renee Cox to curate the most popular gallery in Wynwood. SoHo Studios was transformed into a mecca of art and rap for three days while a wide range of performers hit the stage, including Swizz himself.

After DJ’s like Virgil Abloh kicked off the epic art show, the island theme was in full affect when reggae icons like Chronixxx and Stone Love hit the stage on Friday. ‘No Commission Miami’ had no choice but to close out with a bang with Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz on the playbill. Other special guests like A$AP Rocky, Busta Rhymes, DJ Nasty of We The Best, and DJ Khaled also made the show unforgettable with their impromptu performances.

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Kevin Winter

10 Hip-Hop Artists Who Released Two Albums In The Same Year

One presumes that when an artist reaches album release time, they’ll approach each cycle with a fully conceptualized idea of what they want for the album and how they want it to be received. Consider all the creation, recording, sample clearances, planning, and shipping deadlines that have to be met before an LP makes it to fans’ ears. It can take months, even years, for an artist to get an album done. Only a handful of hip-hop artists have gone against traditional methods and accomplished the ambitious feat of dropping two albums in the same year.

DaBaby has already made a strong case for rap’s Rookie of the Year in 2019, with his March album Baby On Baby featuring the hit song "Suge" and standout appearances on Dreamville’s Revenge of the Dreamers III, Post Malone’s “Enemies,” and Lil Nas X’s “Panini” remix. But with Friday's release of KIRK, he joins rare company. Rappers have been releasing multiple projects within a year in the form of mixtapes and EPs for a long time now, but putting out two full-length studio albums is a difficult task for any artist to shoulder. To accomplish such a feat is a testament to an artist’s dedication and drawing power if they take on the hefty task.

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2Pac Year: 1996 Albums: All Eyez On Me; The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory

2Pac had always been known for his intense work ethic, especially following his release from prison in 1995. After signing with Death Row, 2Pac spent endless amounts of hours in the studio churning out music at a quick rate. By February 1996, Pac had enough music to release hip-hop’s first double-full-length solo album, All Eyez on Me. The 27-track album has 2Pac embracing the “thug life” mantra heavily, a sharp departure from the social and politically conscious rhymes on his previous albums. It spawned five singles (two No. 1’s with “How Do U Want It” and “California Love”) and topped the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.

He earned another No. 1 album with The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, two months after his murder in September 1996. Under his Makaveli alias, the album has 2Pac taking on a darker tone and sending shots to his rivals at the time, including The Notorious B.I.G, Diddy, Mobb Deep, Jay-Z and more. Both albums are amongst the most celebrated and best-selling hip-hop albums of all time.

DMX Year: 1998 Albums: It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot; Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood

DMX made a huge impact when he dropped his first two albums, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, in 1998. In a time where hip-hop was dominated by flashy suits and feel good records, fans flocked to DMX’s brand of tough, gritty street rap and propelled his first two albums to the top of the charts. It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot is a grim introduction to the angry, chaotic mind of Earl Simmons. It featured Sheek Louch, Mase, The Lox, Drag-On and more. The album was a massive success, producing four singles with two of them earning a spot amongst (arguably) the greatest hip-hop singles of all time (“Get At Me Dog” and “Ruff Ryders Anthem”).

Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood has X embracing the dark, uncompromising aesthetic of his first album that his fans lauded. Its small guest list includes Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, and The Lox. Only “Slippin” and “No Love 4 Me” were released as singles but that didn’t stop the album from going three times platinum. There’s a six-month difference between the release of both albums, which made DMX the second rapper after 2Pac to release two No. 1 albums in a year. Despite his legal and addiction troubles in recent years, DMX is one of hip-hop’s most distinctive personalities and his first two albums are evidence of that.

Nas Year: 1999 Albums: I Am…, Nastradamus

In 1999, Nas was going through an intriguing phase in his career. After the commercial and critical success of his sophomore album, It Was Written, the Queens MC began work on his third studio album, I Am… The Autobiography. It was intended to be a double album that told his story from birth through the afterlife, but an internet leak forced Nas to record new material to replace the songs that were shared online – making him one of the first artists to have his music leaked by MP3 technology. The end result would be the creation of Nas’ third and fourth studio albums, I Am… and Nastradamus.

With I Am…, Nas earned his second No. 1 album and second best-selling release behind It Was Written. “Nas Is Like” and “Hate Me Now” were the only two singles off the album and helped push it to double platinum certification. Nastradamus didn’t fare too well with Nas’ listeners, with the lackluster production and rushed feel of the album, due to the leak, left critics and fans underwhelmed. It did manage to find moderate success as it hit platinum certification, but Nastradamus is widely regarded as Nas’ weakest album. Jay-Z dismissively referred to the two albums as "doo" during the two's iconic battle, leading the latter to reinvigorate his career with Stillmatic in 2001.

Nelly Year: 2004 Albums: Sweat, Suit

At the height of his massive popularity, Nelly became the first rapper to release two albums simultaneously when he dropped Sweat and Suit on the same day in November 2004. He originally planned to release one album for his third solo effort, but he eventually decided to drop two albums that could hold all the music that was being recorded at the time.

The first album, Sweat, is an upbeat, party-orientated hip-hop album that aims to capture club vibes with tracks like “Na-NaNa-Na,” “Flap Your Wings,” and “Tilt Ya Head Back.” It debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts and went platinum two months after its release. Suit, on the other hand, had smooth, R&B-tinged production with songs meant for the grown and sexy audience. Nelly showed his evolution as an artist on Suit with the different musical sounds he took on and the mellow vibe he exuded on each track. The album spawned two Top 10 singles in “My Place” featuring Jaheim and the global hit “Over and Over” featuring Tim McGraw. It was Nelly’s third consecutive No. 1 and was nominated for best rap album at the 47th Grammy Awards.

Lil’ Wayne Year: 2010 Albums: Rebirth, I Am Not A Human Being

Lil Wayne went through a brief creative shift in 2010 when he dropped his seventh studio album Rebirth. The album is Wayne’s first and only rock record, a move that puzzled fans. It received negative reviews but did well on the Billboard charts, debuting at No. 2 and selling 176,000 copies in its first week. Each of the four singles obtained success on the charts, including the Eminem-assisted “Drop The World” which went quadruple platinum. Unfortunately, Wayne spent much of 2010 dealing with legal issues that landed him in Rikers Island to serve an eight month sentence for criminal possession of a weapon.

Before going away, Wayne recorded material that formed into his eighth studio album, I Am Not A Human Being. The album was another success for the Young Money boss, as it debuted at No. 2 and later topped the charts thanks to its physical release. This made Wayne the first hip-hop artist since 2Pac released Me Against The World in 1994 to have a No. 1 album while incarcerated. The album received favorable reviews from critics and earned a Top 10 hit with its lead single “Right Above It” featuring Drake.

E-40 Years: 2010 and 2011 Albums: Revenue Retrievin’: Day Shift, Revenue Retrievin’: Night Shift, Revenue Retrievin’: Overtime Shift, Revenue Retrievin’: Graveyard Shift

In 2010, E-40 adopted Nelly’s approach to releasing an album on the same day when he dropped the first two entries in his Revenue Retrievin’ series. Instead of focusing on two different types of personas like what Nelly did on his same-day releases, E-40 focused on the various types of hustling. The first album, Day Shift, focuses on the “around the clock” hustle and boasts a whopping 19 tracks with features like Too Short, B-Legit, and Suga T with production by Rick Rock, Droop-E and others. The second album, Night Shift, plays on the late night hustle of go-getters with much of the same features and producers from the previous album.

In 2011, E-40 accomplished the feat once more with the next installments of the Revenue Retrievin’ series, Overtime Shift and Graveyard Shift. The first entry focused on that extra amount of hustle necessary to stay at the top of your game, while the latter detailed the dark, gritty side of hustling. Both feature-filled albums were favorably reviewed by critics. The Revenue Retrievin’ series was an ambitious effort for the Bay Area legend as he released an insane 191 songs in the span of two years.

Frank Ocean Year: 2016 Albums: Endless, Blonde

Four long years after his magnum opus Channel ORANGE, Frank Ocean made his heavily-anticipated return in 2016 with Endless and Blonde. Despite a few interviews and Tumblr posts, the music world had little information on new music from Ocean or on the artist himself. On August 1, 2016 their questions would be answered when a live stream of Ocean cryptically building a stairway structure premiered on his website. On August 19, it was revealed the livestream was actually a visual album titled Endless that reportedly fulfilled Frank’s recording contract with Def Jam Recordings. The album’s mix of avant-soul, ambient pop and R&B set it up to be a proper prelude for Blonde’s genre-bending sound.

Blonde was released a day later to widespread critical acclaim and found itself on several year-end lists. It came in at No. 1 on several music charts and has been certified platinum. The album was lead by “Nikes,” which also found its place amongst the best songs of 2016 according to Pitchfork’s “The 100 Best Songs of 2016” list. Blonde mostly explored the themes of falling in and out of love with ties to depression, hate, self-love, and family. Critics and fans applauded the improvement to his extraordinary sound with many considering to be one of the greatest R&B/pop albums of all time.

Gucci Mane Years: 2016 and 2017 Albums: Everybody Looking, The Return of East Atlanta Santa; Mr. Davis, and El Gato: The Human Glacier

Becoming a free man in 2016 following a two-year prison sentence for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, Gucci found himself back in the studio releasing a string of projects in the subsequent years. Gucci evolved into a new and improved artist throughout this time, working with some of the newest and biggest names in hip-hop. In 2016, Gucci dropped Everybody Looking, a personal look into his wild life. It featured production by Boi-1da, Drumma Boy, Murda Beatz and more, with Drake, Kanye West and Young Thug lending their vocals. Months later, Gucci dropped the next entry in his East Atlanta Santa series, The Return of East Atlanta Santa with features by Drake, Bryson Tiller, and Travis Scott.

Gucci did it again a year later when he dropped two more studio albums with Mr. Davis and El Gato: The Human Glacier. Mr. Davis debuted at No. 2 and boasted a stellar list of guest features and production credits including Chris Brown, The Weeknd, Hitmaka, Danja, former NBA player Chris Bosh and more. For El Gato, Gucci kept it to a minimum and found his lane taking on the rhymes on his own and enlisting Southside as the sole producer of the album. Each of the four albums were well-received by fans and critics and cracked the top 30 of the Billboard 200 with Everybody Looking becoming his highest charting album.

Future Year: 2017 Albums: FUTURE, HNDRXX

Future became the first artist in Billboard’s history to have two albums top the charts in successive weeks with this pair of releases in 2017. FUTURE finds the Atlanta native tapping into his fiery, no-nonsense trap persona, rapping about money and warning his enemies. Through 17 featureless tracks, Future weaves his way through the heavy trunk-rattling production of Metro Boomin’, 808 Mafia, !llmind, and more. There are a number of fun records on the album like “Draco” and “Super Trapper,” but the five times platinum “Mask Off” was the breakaway hit on the album.

On HNDRXX, Future took a different approach by embracing a melodic R&B vibe for the album. As opposed to the examination of his ego on FUTURE,  is a look inside Future’s emotions and soul where he croons about the pitfalls of the lavish, dangerous life he rapped about on FUTURE. The avant-pop sound of the album had Future go from toxic masculinity (“My Collection”), to admiring a woman despite his trust issues (“Incredible”), to betrayal (“Turn On Me”). HNDRXX was highly favored over FUTURE due to the emotional vulnerability, but both albums were platinum certified and gave Future his fourth and fifth No. 1 albums.

Lil Yachty Year: 2018 Albums: Lil Boat 2; Nuthin’ 2 Prove

Lil Yachty had a major year in 2018. To go along with starring in the sequel to the 2001 comedy How High and voicing Green Lantern in the animated film Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, Lil Boat became the latest rapper to join this matchless group of hip-hop artists who’ve released two albums in a year. Lil Boat 2 and Nuthin’ 2 Prove have Lil Yachty rapping about his expensive lifestyle and sumptuous riches all over various pounding trap-laden beats by Pi’erre Bourne, DJ Durel, Tay Keith, 30 Roc and more. Lil’ Boat 2 serves as a sequel to his debut mixtape Lil Boat and was a response to the day one fans who wanted to hear Lil Boat rap as opposed to the melodies he sang on his debut, Teenage Emotions. Regardless of the mixed reviews from critics, Lil Boat 2 did well commercially, debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, becoming his second top five album after Teenage Emotions.

Nuthin’ 2 Prove, however, was a mix of Lil Yachty’s auto-tune reliant melodies and boisterous raps. It was propelled by its lead single “Who Want The Smoke?” featuring QC labelmates Offset of the Migos and Cardi B. Its guest list also included Lil Baby, Juice WRLD, Gunna, Playboi Carti, Young Nudy and more. Critics gave the album mixed reviews, commenting on its lack of direction. Fans felt Lil Yachty had a lot more growth to show. The project debuted at No. 12 on the charts, selling only 40,000 copies in its first week.

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Apple Music

10 Things You Didn't Know About Brandy's Debut Album

Known as on the most important voices of her time Brandy Norwood's unique presence in music is one of a kind. It all started with the release of her self-titled debut album Brandy in 1994 which spawned many hits and a new sound in modern R&B.

Twenty-five years later, the album sounds just a fresh as its debut. With production from Keith Crouch, Curtis Wilson (of Somethin' for the People fame) and Damon Thomas, Brandy was a true teenage dream as it touched on friendships, young love while allowing Brandy to soar.

A Billboard notes, the album delivered two No. 1 singles on the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop chart ("Baby" and "Brokenhearted") and hit No. 20 on the Billboard 200. Grammy nominations and endless praise for the project from the older crowd was one thing, but the singer's ability to craft a genuine girl next door quality made her songs relatable to any 90s kid.

True Brandy fans know how her monumental project came together but for the rest, here's a list of things you should know about the album.

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1. "Best Friend" Was Meant To Be A Duet With Ray J

“That was about [my brother] Ray J. It was supposed to be a duet," the singer told Billboard for the album's 20th anniversary. The song also had a different aura as it includes flute solo. It was also the first time the singer sang a song outside of her Christian background. "I loved ‘Best Friend’ because I got a chance to do my own backgrounds. I come from a church where I grew up singing a capella," she said. "So I love playing with different notes and feeling that union with different harmonies and sounds. I love singing backgrounds more than I do lead. And this song was the first time I’d felt that feeling outside of the church.”

2. Keith Crouch Produced Tracks For Brandy And Lalah Hathaway In The Same Year

At 21, Crouch was a busy bee. Kicking his career off at age 15, the producer enjoyed a breakout year in 1994 when he produced and wrote for both Brandy and Lalah Hathaway. Crouch produced a majority of Brandy's self-titled album including the songs "Baby," "Best Friend," "I Wanna be Down" and the touching "Brokenhearted." Meanwhile, he made sure Hathaway's sophomore project A Moment, a true well, moment. Crouch produced tracks like "Separate Ways," "Rise" and "These Are The Things You Do To Me."

3. Brandy Earned The Coveted Best New Artist Grammy Nomination

Following the release of her album, the singer was nominated for Best New Artist and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "Baby." Brandy lost out on her Best New Artist nod to Hootie & the Blowfish but would go on to snag a gramophone for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for "The Boy is Mine" with Monica in 1999.

4. Chris Stokes Wanted To Sign Her

At the age of 11, Brandy was on the path to superstardom. The singer starred in the short-lived ABC sitcom Thea but wanted to pursue her singing career. This led her parents to Chris Stokes and a spot singing background vocals for the Marques Houston-led group Immature. Stokes helped to create her demo which was passed along to Atlantic Records. After slight hesitation regarding her age, then-A&R Darryl Williams signed the singer to the label.

5. Robin Thicke Performed Background Vocals/Co-Wrote "Love Is On My Side"

Brandy called her session for "Love Is on My Side" "vocally challengling." Produced by Damon Thomas with some assistance from a young Robin Thicke, Brandy told Billboard she was intimidated by drums and organs used on the song.

"I needed to give everything to that song," she said. "I had to push myself to give it what it deserved. To see Robin doing well now, and still being able to do his thing and write his own songs, it’s so amazing. He was 17, writing way back when we had some great times as artists.”

6. The Album Remained On The Billboard 200 For 89 Weeks

Brandy's chart takeover was all thanks to her singles "I Wanna Be Down," "Baby," "Brokenhearted" and "Best Friend." The tracks enjoyed spots across the Billboard Hot 100 chart (with many of them in the Top 10). Her self-titled album debuted on the Billboard 200 chart at No. 98 with arguably her best album Never Say Never entering at No. 3. Brandy went on to live on the charts for a whopping 89 weeks.

7.  Critics Constantly Compared Her Debut To Aaliyah's

With Aaliyah's chill demeanor and sweet vocals, it was sadly second nature for critics to pit another young black teen like Brandy against her but both ladies never gave in to the critics.

“I met Aaliyah when I was about 15. I was so excited to meet her because she was the first girl on the scene," Brandy said of their friendship in 2011 with Billboard.  "She came out before Monica and I did, she was our inspiration. At the time, record companies did not believe in kid acts and it was just inspiring to see someone that was winning and being themselves. When I met her I embraced her, I was so happy to meet her. I told her how much I loved her. She said the same thing about me and we connected. It was a great moment I’ll never forget."

She also made it clear to shout her out at the 1995 Soul Train Awards after one of her comments about the singer was misinterpreted.

8. She Heard "I Wanna Be Down" For The First Time At A Taco Bell

Every artist remembers the first time they hear their song on the radio. Most of the time they're at home or in a car but for Brandy, things were a little different. "It felt so good hearing it on the radio that first time at Taco Bell," she recalled. "It felt like it belonged there.”

9. She Rushed Through The Recording Process of "Brokenhearted" So She Can Get To An Amusement Park

She was 14, of course she did!

10. Brandy's First Album Inspired Jill Scott and Erykah Badu's Debuts

It's been said time and time again about the heavy number of vocalists Brandy has inspired. From Solange to Britney Spears, everyone found a little bit of themselves in Brandy's music and style. Fellow icons like Erykah Badu and Jill Scot have sited Brandy's first album as a blueprint of sorts for their respective debuts. "Brandy's first album was one of my inspirations when writing Baduizm," she shared on social media. "I looove that album [...] songs i liked were "I Wanna Be Down" and "Always on My Mind"... nice."

Brandi's first album. Was one of my inspirations when writting Baduism.

I looove that album

— ErykahBadoula (@fatbellybella) September 28, 2012

As peers celebrated the singer's 20 years in the business, Scott noted how she listens to jams like "Sunny Day" and "Always On My Mind." There's also the very long list of names like Miguel, Lil Mo, Luke James, Shante Moore, Jordin Sparks, Teyana Taylor, Sevyn Streeter, Elle Varner, Syleena Johnson, Maxwell and many more who have praised her debut album as a major inspiration.

Stream Brandy's self-titled album below.

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Tekashi 6ix9ine Identifies Cardi B And Jim Jones As Nine Trey Members And More Takeaways (Day 3)

Daniel "Tekashi 6ix9ine" Hernandez's witness testimony continues to shock the masses. On Thursday (Sept. 19), the rapper took the stand again to elaborate on his kidnapping as well as interviews he gave about his broken relationship with members of the Nine Trey gang.

Interviews by Angie Martinez and Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club were analyzed due to the rapper's subtle jabs towards his former manager Shotti and defendant Anthony "Harv" Ellison. 6ix9ine's social media personality was also broken down as he explained the definitions of trolling and dry snitching.

But perhaps the most questionable part of his testimony arrived when he name-dropped Cardi B and Jim Jones as members of the Nine Trey Gangster Bloods.

Below are some of the biggest takeaways from today.

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Day 3 1. Tekashi Claims Cardi B And Jim Jones Are Members Of Nine Trey Gang

Hernandez provided context to a wiretapped conversation between alleged Nine Trey godfather Jamel "Mel Murda" Jones and rapper Jim Jones. Complex notes a leaked 'individual-1' transcription revealed who appeared to be Jim Jones. During Mel Murder and Jim Jones conversation, the two discussed Hernandez's status as a Nine Trey member.

"He not a gang member no more," Jones reportedly said. "He was never a gang member. They going to have to violate shorty because shorty is on some bullshit." Hernandez went on to identify Jones as a "retired" rapper and a member of the Nine Trey.

Prosecutors play phone call between Nine Trey godfather Mel Murda and rapper Jim Jones. Tekashi says Jones is in Nine Trey.Jones: "He not a gang member no more. He was never a gang member. They going to have to violate shorty because shorty is on some bull--it."

— Stephen Brown (@PPVSRB) September 19, 2019

When it comes to Cardi B, the rapper named the Bronx native as a Nine Trey member. He was also strangely asked if he copies Cardi's alleged blueprint of aligning herself with gang members in her early music videos. "I knew who she was. I didn’t pay attention,” he said. In a statement to Billboard, Atlantic Records denied 6ix9ine's claims that she was a member of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods. 

In a now-deleted tweet on her official Twitter account, Cardi B responded to the allegation writing clarifying her affiliation, “You just said it yourself…Brim not 9 Trey. I never been 9 trey or associated with them.”

2. Tekashi Defines The Term "Dry Snitching"

In a quick back and forth with AUSA Micheal Longyear, the rapper gave an odd definition of dry snitching. He also made it clear that he was open to becoming a witness to reduce his prison sentence.

Q: Who is Jim Jones?#6ix9ine: He's a retired rapper.Q: Is he a member of Nine Trey?A: Yes.

— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) September 19, 2019

3. Tekashi Was Willing To Pay Hitmen $50,000 To Take Out Friend Who Kidnapped Him

Shortly after he was kidnapped by Harv, the rapper went on Angie Martinez to slam those in his camp. Without saying names, Hernandez promised he would seek revenge on those behind the kidnapping. The court was then showed footage of the incident which was recorded in the car of Jorge Rivera who was already a cooperating witness in the case. Hernandez reportedly confirmed he wanted to pay a hitman $50,000 on Harv after the kidnapping.

4. He Believed He Was "Too Famous" To Hold Gun Used In Assault Against Rap-A-Lot Artist"

The alleged robbery of Rap-A-Lot artist was brought up once again when Hernandez confirmed that he recorded the incident. A weapon allegedly used in the incident was tossed to Hernandez by his former manager Shotti. When asked why he refused to hold the gun the rapper said, "I'm too famous to get out the car with a gun." As previously reported, the rapper was kicked out of the car after the incident in Times Square and was forced to take the subway back to Brooklyn with the gun.

5. Tekashi May Be Released As Early As 2020

Cross-exam Q: If you get time served you'd get out at the beginning of next year, correct?#6ix9ine: Correct.

— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) September 19, 2019

There's that.

6. Footage Exists Of Tekashi Pretending He Was Dead

Harv's lawyer Deveraux: Do you recall publishing a video pretending you were dead?#6ix9ine: Can you show me? For now, a private viewing.

— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) September 19, 2019

Before wrapping up, the court briefly touched on his trolling ways. From setting up beefs to strange notions like faking his death, the videos were viewed privately.

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