Happy Birthday Jennifer Lopez + More: July 24 Hip-Hop History
On this day we celebrate the life of an iconic singer and actress, the release of a New Jack Swing comedy and more.
1969 - Jennifer Lopez is Born
Singer, actress, and overall international superstar Jennifer Lopez was born in the Bronx on this day in 1969. After spending time in the late '80s working in musicals in Europe and Japan, Lopez received her first big career break as a backup dancer for New Kids On The Block. She later joined the cast of In Living Color as the lead Fly Girl dancer and danced for Janet Jackson before pursuing a solo career in acting and singing. Her portrayal as the late Selena Quintanilla 1997's Selena launched her into immediate superstardom. Her role actually led Sony music executive Tommy Mottola to advise Lopez into developing a music career even further.
After a few more high profile roles in Anaconda, U-Turn, and Out of Sight, Lopez would go into the Pop and R&B market as a singer. Her debut album On The 6 became a chart-topping success, with singles “If You Had My Love” and “Waiting For Tonight” cited as two of her all-time best songs. During this time, Lopez was in a blissful romance with Sean “Diddy” Combs that ended following the aftermath of the New York City nightclub shooting in 1999. The controversy eventually led to her distancing herself from the hip-hop and R&B for a few years and her love life became the center of attention for anything she did going forward.
She is currently a host of the reality competition World Of Dance and is releasing an album named Por Primera Vez later this year.
1990 - 2 Live Crew Drops Banned in the USA
Legendary Miami Bass group 2 Live Crew took their vulgarity and raunchiness to new heights with Banned in the USA. Their fourth studio album that was released on this day in 1990, it came during a time when the group was in a legal obscenity battle with the state of Florida after the release of their previous album As Nasty As They Wanna Be. The album marked the first time the RIAA parental advisory sticker was used for a project that containing explicit content. In an interview with Sway on Sway in the Morning, Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell spoke about his time during the trial and how it was trying to tear hip-hop down more than eliminate obscenity in music.
“At the time, it was an attack on Hip-Hop,” Luke explained. “You had Tipper Gore, Al Gore’s wife, create a list that put me, Ice-T and N.W.A. in along with a bunch of artist Rock N’ Roll artists….My first album got banned by a federal judge, said it was explicit lyrics and it shouldn’t be sold. So we actually got it taken off the shelf so we ended up going have to fight that.”
1992 - Mo’ Money Opens in Theaters
Adding to the litany of films created by the comedic Wayans Family, Mo’ Money opened on the big screen on this day in 1992. Written by Damon Wayans and directed by Peter MacDonald, the crime dramedy starred Damon and Marlon Wayans as conmen siblings Johnny and Seymour Stewart who are involved in a credit card scam at Johnny's job. The film featuring a cast including Stacey Dash, John Diehl, and the film debut of Bernie Mac. While it was critically panned, it was a box office smash nearly tripling the film’s budget with over $40 million brought in at the box office.
2001 - Cormega Drops The Realness
After his unceremonious departure from The Firm, Queens rapper Cormega went on solo with his 2001 debut The Realness. Originally, The Testament was expected to be Mega's debut, but it was shelved after he was dropped from Def Jam Recordings. After landing with LandSpeed Records, Cormega’s long-awaited debut came through. With production from Havoc, The Alchemist, and Ayatollah, it was critically-acclaimed and No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers for two consecutive weeks. At this time he was beefing with his former friend Nas, resulting in Nas dissing Mega on "Destroy and Rebuild" from his album Godson
“When he responded, my record sales increased 70%. I could have milked that beef for years,” Cormega said in an interview with NPR's Microphone Check Podcast. “I stopped because you can look at my old interviews. I say I’m gonna let - because the media start trying to pimp me because controversy sells.”
2004 - Terror Squad Release True Story
At the height of his mainstream career peak, Fat Joe had the summer on smash thanks to his collaboration with Remy Ma, “Lean Back.” Under the Terror Squad moniker that Joe was a part of, it was a single that helped boost the anticipation for the collective’s second and final album True Story. Led by the number one hit platinum single, True Story was a slight departure from the previous Terror Squad album with the inclusion of Remy Ma and Cuban Link following the departure of Triple Seis. The album also featured posthumous verses from DITC alum Big L and late Terror Squad comrade Big Pun (“Bring ‘Em Back”) along with production from Scott Storch, Cool & Dre, and Buckwild.
The album peaked No. 7 on the Billboard 200 and certified gold to date with over 500,000 copies sold.
2007 - Freekey Zekey Drops Book Of Ezekiel
Dipset affiliate Freekey Zekey dropped his first and only studio album Book of Ezekiel on this day in 2007. It peaked No. 8 on the Top Rap Album (No. 154 on the Billboard 200) and featured all of the core Diplomat members (Cam’Ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, and Hell Rell).
2007 - Prince Releases Planet Earth
The late musical icon Prince released his 32nd studio album Planet Earth on this day in 2007. The album was released in the United States one week later after its initial release in the United Kingdom. Debuting No. 3 on the US Billboard charts, the album housed the singles “Guitar,” “Somewhere Here On Earth,” and “The One U Wanna C” with collaborations from Bria Valentine, Shelia E. and former Revolution members Wendy & Lisa.