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2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee - Deep Purple Tags: deep purple rock roll hall fame word life production new quality entertainment

They created a riff everyone knows, a concert format no one had previously presented, and a sound to which countless bands owe a great debt. That gives Deep Purple at least three claims on history. The chugging chord progression of “Smoke on the Water” became so deeply embedded in the culture, it now has the resonance of a Biblical quote. The 1969 Concerto for Group and Orchestra was the first live release ever to pair a rock band with a full symphony, while Deep Purple’s essential musculature forged the hard-rocking sound that later solidified into heavy metal. “If there were a Mount Rushmore of hard rock, it would have only three heads – Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple,” according to guitarist extraordinaire Tom Morello. “They are the Holy Trinity of hard rock and metal bands.”

Of the three, Deep Purple has the fastest attack. While Zeppelin and Sabbath weighed their music down, to powerful effect, Purple has kept theirs fleet, presaging the pace that later helped define thrash. They further distinguish themselves with a particular mix of classical and proto-metal sounds. Several other groups in the late 60s may have drawn significant inspiration from the classical world, including the Nice, Procol Harum and the Moody Blues. But none of them grounded it in such a fiercely rocking style.

Such assets allowed Purple to progress through a range of incarnations while holding fast to their prime hue. The consistent power of the band’s lineups explains why players from iterations both preceding and following the version that fans know best are being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Of course, the band’s peak lineup – singer Ian Gillan, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, keyboardist Jon Lord, bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice – minted the most indelible works, including In Rock and Machine Head. But every incarnation has held the music to a high standard, anchored by the encompassing drumming of Paice, the sole member to bash with the band from Day One.

That day occurred in 1968, but its roots snaked back to 1967, when Chris Curtis – the former drummer of U.K. band the Searchers – had an idea for a “supergroup” of revolving musicians. It was to be called, aptly enough, Roundabout. Curtis’ first hire was Hammond organ player Jon Lord, a classically trained musician who had worked with the Artwoods (led by Ron Wood’s brother Art). Next he brought in Ritchie Blackmore, a successful session player who performed with the campy Screaming Lord Sutch. When the mercurial Curtis lost interest in the project he conceived, Lord and Blackmore decided to fill out the lineup on their own.

For the bass, Lord brought in Nick Simper, with whom both he and Blackmore had played in the past. Another audition drew a twofer of talent from a band called the Maze: vocalist Rod Evans and drummer Ian Paice. Both made the cut. (Previously, Lord and Blackmore had asked singer Ian Gillan to audition for the band – an interesting foreshadowing of the band’s future – but he turned them down, believing that his group at the time, Episode Six, had a better chance of breaking through.)

The finalized lineup began rehearsals in March 1968 in Hertfordshire. During those sessions, Blackmore suggested a fresh name: “Deep Purple,” which referenced his grandmother’s favorite song. (The band’s best rejected moniker was Concrete God.) Two months later, the group recorded its debut, Shades of Deep Purple, in just three days, which accounts for four cover songs balancing an equal number of originals. Luckily, the band had a role model for turning other artists’ compositions into vehicles for personal expression in the American group Vanilla Fudge. That U.S. band went gold by larding pop hits from Motown and the Beatles with heavy doses of psychedelia. Purple’s LP was released in America on the Tetragrammaton label, followed by a U.K. release on EMI/Parlophone.

The United States was first to embrace the band, making its cover of the Joe South song “Hush,” burnished by Evans’ commanding vocal, a Top Five hit. Purple’s sonic treatment of “Hush” as well as the Fab Four’s “Help!” was distinguished by a rash of classical quotes and flourishes borrowed from composers Rimsky-Korsakov and Ravel. Much of the impetus for this came from Lord, balanced by Blackmore’s own feverish leads in the opening instrumental “And the Address” and the funky psychedelia of “Mandrake Root,” a clear homage to Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady.” Grounding their differing approaches was the holistic drumming of Paice who, at 18, had the voraciousness of Keith Moon, but with far more precision. The album reached Billboard’s Top 25, and the band garnered an opening slot on Cream’s Farewell tour.

Purple’s second LP, The Book of Taliesyn, was released in the U.S. a brisk three months after the band’s debut. It featured three covers, including Neil Diamond’s “Kentucky Woman,” which entered the Top 40. To vary things, the songs ran longer and delved deeper into prog-rock soloing. The original lineup’s first two albums may have been promising, but with their third release, a self-titled effort issued in June 1969, they encountered a creative standoff and a business disaster. Their American label folded, ruining the prospects of any promotion for the disc. At the same time, the ruling body of Lord and Blackmore felt that the harder direction on the album should be pushed exponentially, and sacked Simper and Evans.

Blackmore wanted to replace Evans with the powerhouse vocalist Terry Reid, but when Reid turned him down, the band tapped Ian Gillan – Episode Six, it turned out, had gone nowhere. (Reid, incidentally also rebuffed Jimmy Page, who wanted him as frontman for a little band to be called Led Zeppelin.) This time, Gillan signed on, as did the bassist from Episode Six, Roger Glover. The revamped band began its next phase with a bold twist. Fulfilling a long-held dream, Lord created a symphonic extravaganza to be known as Concerto for Group and Orchestra. In September 1969, Purple recorded that groundbreaking, three-movement work with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra live at the Royal Albert Hall. Though, in places, the music seemed less a collaboration than a face-off, the concerto’s most exciting sections proved the connection between the drama of classical music and the impact of rock. The novelty helped heighten the band’s press profile, and gave it its first U.K. chart presence. The album also included a new rock song, “Child in Time,” which would find ideal expression on the band’s next album, the pivotal Deep Purple In Rock (1970).

In Rock presented the first fully focused sound for Purple, with a velocity, density, and skill that formed the blueprint for heavy metal to come. It found a thrilling balance between Blackmore’s flight-of-the-bumblebee leads and Lord’s surging organ solos – an argumentative, call-and-response pattern that established Lord as one of the only rock organists with the power to challenge the primacy of the electric guitar. It was on this album that Gillan perfected a scream that would become one of metal’s defining cri de coeurs; a yowl so hallowed that it inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber to cast him in the lead on the original Jesus Christ Superstar recording the same year.

In Rock holds as much value in the annals of metal history as Sabbath’s Paranoid and Zeppelin’s second album, offering the ideal setup for its chaser, Fireball, released one year later. The title track opens the album like a bullet out of a gun. In the style of Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown,” it predicted the racing subgenre that, decades later, became known as speed metal. Still, those albums served as mere test runs for the band’s masterpiece, Machine Head. The 37-minute disc contains not a single slack second, from the opening rallying cry, “Highway Star,” to the final freakout, “Space Truckin.’” With its flickering riffs and pulsing rhythm, “Highway Star” captures the excitement of automated travel, with more wind-in-the-face veracity than any song this side of “Born to Be Wild.” Yet another track would become the band’s most referenced, most revered recording: There isn’t an electric guitarist alive who didn’t cut his or her teeth on the key chords of “Smoke on the Water.” Says Morello: “Only Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony gives it a run for the money as far as recognizability and badassed-ness.”

The song’s lyrics became legendary for telling the story behind the album’s creation. Originally, Purple planned to record Machine Head at the Montreux Casino, “by the Lake Geneva shoreline.” But when “some stupid with a flare gun/ burned the place to the ground,” they had to cut it in a corridor at the nearby Grand Hotel. The adversity intensified their creativity, making the album a commercial colossus upon its 1972 release, spending 118 weeks on the Billboard chart and going Number One internationally. Perhaps no work could properly follow that, but the group did manage some high points on Who Do We Think We Are (1973), especially the catchy single, “Woman From Tokyo.”

More exciting was a live album, Made in Japan, cut in 1972 in Osaka and Tokyo, which showed both the potency of the band in concert and its improvisational skill, evident in a 19-plus minute take on “Space Truckin.’” Despite their creative high, exhaustion from touring and internal tensions caused a potentially ruinous split: Both Gillan and Glover ditched the band in 1973. The defection of the signature singer proved so challenging that the remaining members wound up hiring two vocalists to replace him – the unknown David Coverdale, and ex-Trapeze player Glenn Hughes, who doubled on bass.

In 1974 the recast band released Burn, with a title track that ably underscored its trademark balance of speed and skill. While the album and its followup went gold, the band faced another potentially deadly blow when Blackmore ankled in 1975. They tried to rally by hiring the fleet, jazz-tinged American guitarist Tommy Bolin. But the drug-hampered musician lasted just one album, the funk-influenced Come Taste the Band. Clearly, the spirit had gone out of the group. They finally called it quits in March 1976. Nine months later, Bolin died of an overdose.

It seemed a sad end to a great legacy, but after a 9-year Purple diaspora, its peak lineup reunited in 1984 for the platinum-selling Perfect Strangers. Blackmore would bow out again a decade later, but the remaining core of Gillan, Paice, Lord, and Glover soldiered on with dexterous guitarist Steve Morse and, following the retirement of Lord in 2002, organist Don Airey. In 2012, at 71, Lord died of pancreatic cancer. Still, Purple continues to tour and record, with Gillan’s peacocking voice, Paice’s barreling drums, and Glover’s pumping bass extending a sound that will always epitomize a singular expression of rock’s power.

By Jim Farber

- See more at: http://www.rockhall.com/inductees/deep-purple/bio/#sthash.YWsi2FwJ.dpuf

Source: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Kool Moe Dee - Classic Hip Hop Legend
Category: Classic Hip Hop
Tags: kool moe dee classic hip hop legend word life production new qulatiy entertainment featured

Mohandas Dewese (born August 8, 1962), better known as Kool Moe Dee, is an American hip hop MC prominent in the late 1970s through the early 1990s. He was one of the first rappers to earn a Grammy Award and was the first rapper to perform at the Grammys.

Dewese was born in Manhattan, New York City. He had a reputation for being a quiet, eccentric young man, frequently holding a pen and paper to write his rhymes. He holds a B.A. degree from the State University of New York College at Old Westbury.

In the late 1970s, Kool Moe Dee met Special K, DJ Easy Lee, and LA Sunshine to form the influential old school hip hop group the Treacherous Three on Enjoy Records. It was with The Treacherous Three in 1981 that Kool Moe Dee performed his freestyle onstage roast of old school party rapper Busy Bee Starski, a performance frequently cited as a pivotal moment in the development of the battle rap and the lyrical rapper.[1] In 1981, they moved to Sugar Hill Records along with another Enjoy Records act Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The Treacherous Three became well known for their singles "Feel the Heart Beat" and "Action", and their song "The New Rap Language" (with Spoonie G) earned Kool Moe Dee the distinction of inventing the "double time" flow, which involved rapid sixteenth-note delivery with a lot of internal rhyme. The Treacherous Three were featured in the 1984 movie Beat Street, performing the song "Xmas Rap" with Doug E. Fresh.

In 1985, the Treacherous Three disbanded. After leaving the group, Kool Moe Dee attended the State University of New York at Old Westbury, where he received a degree in communications. In 1986, he went solo, releasing a self-titled album that ranked 83 on Billboard. He co-operated with the young producer Teddy Riley which contributed greatly to the New Jack Swing movement that would gain popularity in the years to follow.

Kool Moe Dee released his second album, How Ya Like Me Now which was his most successful album commercially, achieving platinum status. He then went on to release his third album, Knowledge Is King in 1989, which went gold.

In 1990 he performed on Quincy Jones' album Back on the Block along with fellow rappers Melle Mel, Big Daddy Kane and Ice-T. The album gained considerable critical and financial success and winning the 1991 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

In 1991, the release of his album Funke, Funke Wisdom signaled Kool Moe Dee's decline. Moe Dee himself has stated that this was his worst album. He induced his release from Jive Records in 1992. After a two year layoff, he released his greatest hits album which regained some of his former success and acclaim. In 1994, his album Interlude was released and failed to gain Moe Dee much of his former success of the mid '80s.

In 1993, he re-united with his fellow ex members of the Treacherous Three to release the album Old School Flava on Ichiban. His last commercial release was the single "Love Love/What You Wanna Do" which was released onSpoiled Brat Entertainment inc'.

Feud with LL Cool J

Kool Moe Dee conducted a long-running rivalry with fellow New York rapper LL Cool J. Along with other rappers such as MC Shan, Kool Moe Dee claimed that LL had stolen their rap styles. He also felt that LL was disrespecting rap pioneers such as Melle Mel and Grandmaster Caz by proclaiming that he was "rap's new grandmaster" without paying due respect to those who came before him. He challenged LL on his platinum selling album How Ya Like Me Now on the single of the same name. He also took a shot at LL by appearing on the album cover with a jeep in the background with the wheel crushing one of LL's trademark red Kangol hats.The feud persisted, with both MCs proclaiming themselves the victor.

Other appearances

Kool Moe Dee appeared on Will Smith's #1 pop hit "Wild Wild West" from Smith's 1999 motion picture, Wild Wild West, on which he re-performs the chorus to his 1988 single also named "Wild Wild West".

In 2003, he authored a book called There's a God on the Mic, which breaks down his 50 favorite MCs in terms of originality, concepts, versatility, vocabulary, substance, flow, flavor, freestyle, vocal presence, live performance, poetic value, body of work, industry impact, social impact, longevity, lyrics and battle skills, where he ranked himself as number #5, ahead of MCs such as The GZA, and Tupac Shakur. He placed LL Cool J at #7, despite their past disputes and rivalry, even referring to LL as an "unbreakable master".

In 2007, Kool Moe Dee appeared on the remix of Nas' "Where are They Now", with fellow old school rap artists. He released some new tracks and a video on his MySpace page to accompany one of the songs. He also appeared on the Ice-T track "Fight Club" and re-recorded several of his more popular songs.

In 2008, he began hosting SpitFire with Kool Mo Dee, an internet hip hop talk show. The show contains discussion on issues relating to both hip hop culture and general issues that affect the world. Each show has a different panel of guests, including Xzibit, Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, DMC, and many others.

Kool Moe Dee had a brief cameo appearance in the movie Wild Style and appeared in the film Beat Street with the Treacherous Three and Doug E. Fresh. Since then, he has appeared in a total of 17 movies and TV shows as an actor and 21 as himself. He portrayed a bartender in the Britney Spears feature film Crossroads. He has also appeared on the TV show My Wife and Kids.

Source: Official Website

This week's celebrity pick is the awesome actor, Billy Dee Williams
Category: Celebrity Pick
Tags: celebrity pick billy dee williams word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

William December "Billy Dee" Williams, Jr. (born April 6, 1937) is an American actor, artist, singer, and writer known for his work as a leading man in 1970s African-American cinema, in movies including Mahogany and Lady Sings the Blues, and for playing the character of Lando Calrissian in the movies Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.

Williams was born in New York City, New York, the son of Loretta Anne, a West Indian-born elevator operator from Montserrat, and William December Williams, Sr., an African-American caretaker from Texas. He has a twin sister, Loretta, and grew up in Harlem, where he was raised by his maternal grandmother while his parents worked at several jobs. Williams graduated from the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art in Manhattan, where he was a classmate of Diahann Carroll, who coincidentally played the wife of his character Brady Lloyd on the 1980s prime-time soap opera Dynasty.

He first appeared on Broadway in 1945 in The Firebrand of Florence. He returned to Broadway as an adult in 1960 in the play version of The Cool Word. He appeared in A Taste of Honey in 1961. A 1976 Broadway production, I Have a Dream, was directed by Robert Greenwald and starred Williams as Martin Luther King, Jr.[4] His most recent Broadway appearance was in August Wilson's Fences, as a replacement for James Earl Jones in the role of Troy Maxson in 1988.

He made his film debut in 1959 in the Academy Award nominated The Last Angry Man, opposite Paul Muni, in which he portrayed a delinquent young man. He rose to stardom after starring in the critically lauded blockbuster biographical television movie, Brian's Song (1971), in which he played Chicago Bears star football player Gale Sayers, who stood by his friend Brian Piccolo (played by James Caan), during his struggle with terminal cancer. The film became so popular that it was given a theatrical release. Both Williams and Caan were nominated for Emmy Awards for best actor for their performances.

Having broken through, Williams became one of America's most well-known black film actors of the 1970s, after starring in a string of critically acclaimed and popular movies, many of them in the "blaxploitation" genre. In 1972, starred as Billie Holiday's husband Louis McKay in Motown Productions' Holiday biopic Lady Sings the Blues. The film was a box office blockbuster, becoming one of the highest grossing films of the year and received five Academy Award nominations. Diana Ross starred in Lady Sings the Blues opposite Williams; Motown paired the two of them again three years later in the successful follow-up project Mahogany.

The early 1980s brought Williams the role of Lando Calrissian, which he played in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Calrissian's charm proved to be popular with audiences and Williams now had a substantial fanbase within the science fiction genre as well. He reprised this role when he lent his voice for the character in the 2002 video game Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, as well as the audio dramatization of Dark Empire, the National Public Radio adaptation of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, and two productions for the Star Wars: Battlefront series: Star Wars: Battlefront II and Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron. (However, the appearance in Battlefront II was archive footage and it is unknown whether it was him or another actor in the role of Calrissian in Elite Squadron however he appears through Archive footage for that game's full-motion sequences). Between his appearances in the Star Wars films, he starred alongside Sylvester Stallone as a cop in the critically acclaimed film Nighthawks. He co-starred in 1989's Batman as district attorney Harvey Dent, a role that was planned to develop into Dent's alter-ego, the villain Two-Face, in sequels. Unfortunately for Williams, that never came to pass; he was set to reprise the role in a more villainous light in the sequel Batman Returns, but his character was deleted and replaced with original villain Max Shreck. When Joel Schumacher stepped in to direct Batman Forever, where Two-Face was to be a secondary villain, Schumacher decided to hire Tommy Lee Jones for the part.

There is a rumor that Joel Schumacher had to pay him to hire Tommy Lee Jones, but Billy said that it was not true. “You only get paid if you do the movie. I had a two-picture deal with 'Star Wars.' They paid me for that, but I only had a one picture deal for 'Batman.'”

Television

Williams's television work included a recurring guest-starring role on the short-lived show Gideon's Crossing. He has had a brief cameo in the television series Scrubs Season 5, where he plays the godfather of Julie (Mandy Moore). Turk hugs him, calling him "Lando", even though he prefers to be called Billy D. He is also well known for his appearance in advertisements for Colt 45 (a brand of malt liquor) in the 1980s and early 1990s, for which he received much criticism. Williams responded indifferently to the criticism of his appearances in the liquor commercials. When questioned about his appearances, he allegedly replied by saying, "I drink, you drink. Hell, if marijuana was legal, I'd appear in a commercial for it."[9]

Williams was paired with actress Marla Gibbs on three situation comedies: The Jeffersons (Gibbs's character, Florence, had a crush on Williams and challenged him on everything because she thought he was an imposter); 227 (her character, Mary, pretending to be royalty, met Williams at a banquet); and The Hughleys (Gibbs and Williams portrayed Darryl's parents).

In 1992, he portrayed Berry Gordy in The Jacksons: An American Dream.

In 1993, Williams had a guest appearance on the spin-off to The Cosby Show, A Different World as Langston Paige, a grumpy landlord, in a backdoor pilot for his own series.

Williams made a special guest appearance on the hit sketch comedy show, In Living Color, in 1990. He portrayed Pastor Dan in an episode of That '70s Show. In this episode entitled "Baby Don't You Do It" (2004), his character is obsessed with Star Wars, and uses this to help Counsel Eric Forman (himself a major Star Wars fan) and Donna Pinciotti about their premarital relationship. Williams made a cameo appearance as himself on the television series Lost in the episode "Exposé". He also appears regularly on short clips on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! as a semi-parody of himself.

In February 2006, Williams appeared in Scrubs, where he guest starred as himself, in the episode "Her Story II". He played Toussaint Dubois for General Hospital: Night Shift in 2007 and 2008. Williams reprised his role as Toussaint on General Hospital itself beginning in June 2009. Also in 2009, he took on the role of the voice of Admiral @!$%#face the head of the military on the planet Titan in the Adult Swim animated series Titan Maximum. In July 2010, Williams appeared in the animated series The Boondocks, where he voiced a fictionalized version of himself in the episode "The Story of Lando Freeman".

In February 2011, Williams appeared as a guest star on USA Network's White Collar as Ford, an old friend of Neal Caffrey's landlady June, played by Diahann Carroll. In February 2012, Williams was the surprise guest during a taping of Oprah spotlighting Diana Ross. Ross and Williams were reunited after having not seen each other in 35 years. In October 2012, Williams appeared as a guest star on NCIS in Season 10 Episode 5 titled Namesake, as Gibbs' namesake and his father's former best friend, Leroy Jethro Moore. On January 9, 2013, Williams appeared as himself in a cameo role on Modern Family, Season 4 / Episode 11 "New Year's Eve".

It was announced on March 4th, 2014 that Williams will be competing on the 18th season of Dancing with the Stars. He partnered with professional dancer Emma Slater. The couple had to withdraw from the competition on the third week due to an injury on Williams' back.

Music

In 1961, Williams ventured into the music industry when he recorded a jazz LP produced by Prestige Records entitled Let's Misbehave, on which he sang several swing standards. The album, which was a commercial success at the time, made Williams eligible for an appearance in the legendary Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever (1983).

Video games

Williams voiced Mr. Lando Calrissian in the video game Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Star Wars Battlefront as well as the spin-off Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron (however, the Battlefront appearances were archive footage and his voice-appearance in Elite Squadron is left uncredited or unknown). He also played a live-action character, GDI Director Redmond Boyle, in the game Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, which was released in March 2007. This made him the second former Star Wars actor to appear in a Command & Conquer game, with the first being James Earl Jones as GDI General James Solomon in Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun.

Internet

In 2008, Williams reprised his role as Lando Calrissian to appear in a video on FunnyOrDie.com in a mock political ad defending himself for leader of the Star Wars galaxy against vicious attack ads from Emperor Palpatine. Williams is currently a cast member of Diary of a Single Mom, a web based original series directed by award-winning filmmaker Robert Townsend. The series debuted on PIC.tv in 2009.

Art

Even before he began acting, Williams attended the National Academy of Fine Arts and Design in New York. In the late 1980s, he resumed painting. Some of his work can be seen at his online gallery BDW World Art. He has had solo exhibitions in various galleries around the United States, and his work hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution and the Schomburg Museum. The covers of the Thelonious Monk Competition programs since 1990 are by him. He was also on the Martin Lawrence situation comedy Martin.

Source: Wikipedia

One of the greatest hip hop duos during the golden era – Mobb Deep
Category: The Golden Era
Tags: mobb deep hip hop duo golden era word life production feature weekly blog

As golden age rap suddenly gave way to West Coast gangsta in the early '90s, an East Coast variety of hardcore rap arose in turn, with Mobb Deep initially standing tall as one of New York's hardcore figureheads on the basis of their epochal album The Infamous. Released in April 1995, The Infamous was released almost exactly a year after Illmatic and about a half year after Ready to Die -- the debut masterpieces of Nas and the Notorious B.I.G., respectively, both albums likewise of momentous significance for East Coast hardcore rap. On The Infamous, Mobb Deep (comprised of Prodigy and Havoc) set the tone for future generations of hardcore New York rappers, from G-Unit to Dipset. Subsequent releases from the duo were likewise influential, especially Hell on Earth (1996). However, by the late '90s, Mobb Deep was no longer setting trends; in fact, they seemed to be following them, and they lost some of their stature as subsequent generations of hardcore rappers arose. For a few years, Mobb Deep struggled to reclaim their commercial standing, until they eventually drifted into the G-Unit camp, where they signed a lucrative deal to join 50 Cent and company. Blood Money (2006), Mobb Deep's first release under the G-Unit banner, rekindled interest in the veteran duo, who enjoyed a substantial uptick in sales and airplay.

Juvenile Hell

Prodigy (Albert Johnson, born November 2, 1974) and Havoc (Kejuan Muchita, born May 21, 1974) grew up in Queens, specifically the Queensbridge area, yet met in Manhattan, where both were students at Graphic Arts High School. Their shared love of hip-hop resulted in a natural companionship, and while they were still teens, the two young men had themselves a record deal with 4th & Broadway, a major rap label affiliated with Island Records. In 1993, the label released Juvenile Hell, a confrontational album featuring noteworthy production work by DJ Premier and Large Professor, who both within a year's time would move on to produce the debut of another young Queensbridge rapper, Nas. Not much came of Juvenile Hell, however, and it would be two more years before Mobb Deep would return.

When they did return in 1995, it was on a different label, Loud Records, and with a significantly developed approach. The Infamous featured a mammoth street anthem, "Shook Ones, Pt. 2," but it was a solid album all around, featuring also the in-house production work of Havoc and a couple high-profile features (Nas, Raekwon). The Infamous was more hardcore than its two key stylistic predecessors, Illmatic and Ready to Die; the beats were darker and harder-hitting while the rhymes were downright threatening yet still inventive and crafty. Moreover, there were no crossover hits like "Big Poppa" or "Juicy." In fact, there were no light moments at all. The Infamous was an uncompromising album for the streets, and it was championed as such.

Murda Muzik

A year later, in 1996, Mobb Deep returned with a follow-up, Hell on Earth, which was a little slicker than The Infamous yet still emphasized hardcore motifs. It spawned a couple hit singles that were given appropriately theatrical videos. At this point, hardcore rap was at its peak, with Death Row Records flourishing on the West Coast and a legion of New Yorkers jumping into the scene, following the lead of Nas, the Notorious B.I.G., and Mobb Deep. So when it took over two years for Mobb Deep to return with a new album, Murda Muzik, not released until April 1999, the rap landscape had changed significantly. Mobb Deep now had significant competition, and since Murda Muzik offered few innovations and lacked the spark of the duo's past two albums, it was met with some disappointment. By and large, fans enjoyed it, yet the album didn't appeal beyond the already established fan base, as the album only offered one major hit, "Quiet Storm." The following year, Prodigy released a solo album, H.N.I.C. (2000). It got a lukewarm reception, appealing to the duo's fan base yet spawning no hits.

Infamy

When Mobb Deep resurfaced, in December 2001 with Infamy, they showcased a new willingness to reach beyond their fan base. "Hey Luv" was issued as a single, and it was the first Mobb Deep song to flirt with R&B crossover, or even to mention love, for that matter. The song got some airplay, thanks in part to its hook, which is sung by the R&B act 112, and its video, which played up the song's air of seduction. Nonetheless, Infamy proved to be a relative disappointment commercially, and it seemed like Mobb Deep was beginning to see their popularity erode with each passing year. It didn't help, either, that around this time the duo -- and Prodigy, in particular -- had been attacked by Jay-Z on "Takeover." And too, that Loud Records would go out of business, leaving Mobb Deep without a label deal. For the next few years, from roughly 2002-2005, Prodigy and Havoc tried to regain their footing. There were one-off albums released via various label arrangements -- Free Agents: The Murda Mix Tape (Landspeed, 2003), Amerikaz Nightmare (Jive, 2004), and The Mix Tape Before 9/11 (X-Ray, 2004) -- that made minimal impact. By this point, not even the fan base was all that interested; it had been eroded with each passing year, leaving few faithful.

The Massacre

Then came a surprise announcement that 50 Cent had signed Mobb Deep to his G-Unit family and that an album would be forthcoming. First came a quick remix featuring the latest G-Unit signing, "Outta Control," which supplanted the original version when 50's The Massacre was reissued in 2005 as a CD/DVD. Too, Mobb Deep had become omnipresent on the New York mixtape scene, releasing all kinds of streets-only material in attempt to re-establish themselves. It evidently worked, as Blood Money debuted in the Top Ten of Billboard's album chart and brought more exposure to Mobb Deep than the duo had enjoyed since their late-'90s heyday. Not everyone was convinced by the group's makeover, however, as the G-Unit approach was substantially more polished than the Mobb Deep of The Infamous. Still, Mobb Deep found a new generation of younger listeners -- the large G-Unit market base, in particular -- who were mostly unfamiliar with them. It had been over a decade since The Infamous, after all, and Mobb Deep had been out of the spotlight for years. Then, in early 2008, Prodigy went away to prison to serve a three-year sentence, putting Mobb Deep's future in question.

Artist Biography by Jason Birchmeier

Source: AllMusic

Deep Purple are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock Tags: deep purple ultimate classic rock heavy metal word life production feature blog

Deep Purple shifted halfway through its career from rock with pseudo-classical keyboard flourishes to guitar-dominated heavy metal; in the latter, vastly popular phase, it was listed as loudest rock band by the Guinness Book of World Records. In the wake of a highly publicized regrouping of the classic lineup, Deep Purple has emerged as one of the longest-lived (with a few interruptions) U.K. hard-rock/metal outfits and a showcase for some of the most successful hard-rock stars of the '70s, '80s, and '90s, including guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and singer David Coverdale.

After woodshedding in Hertfordshire, England, Deep Purple had its first success with an American hit, a version of Joe South's "Hush" (#4, 1968), followed by Neil Diamond's "Kentucky Woman" (#38, 1968). The group's popularity couldn't keep its label, Tetragrammaton, from going under after the band's 1968 tour. In 1969, with a new lineup including Ian Gillan, who had sung in Jesus Christ Superstar, Deep Purple recorded Lord's Concerto for Group and Orchestra, but after it failed to sell, Ritchie Blackmore began to dominate the band. His simple repeated guitar riffs helped make Deep Purple one of the most successful groups of the early '70s, but his personality clashes with other band members, particularly Gillan, precipitated several personnel shifts in between.

In Rock and Fireball attracted attention, and Machine Head made the U.S. Top 10 (#7), thus adding to the band's success in England, Europe, Japan, and Australia. One year after Machine Head was released, "Smoke on the Water" —about the band's near-disastrous Montreux concert with Frank Zappa —became a #4 hit single, and the album returned to the Top 10, eventually selling over 2 million copies. By late 1974, Deep Purple had sold nearly 15 million albums. But the band had begun to fall apart. Gillan left for a solo career in 1973. He released a number of albums in the U.K. In 1975 he formed the Ian Gillan Band and after it dissolved in 1983, joined Black Sabbath. Roger Glover followed Gillan, moving on to session and production work (for Judas Priest, Elf, Nazareth, Ian Gillan, Spencer Davis, Michael Schenker of UFO, Barbi Benton, and Blackmore's Rainbow). Gillan's replacement, David Coverdale, sang on Burn and Stormbringer. He would find greater fame, however, in the '80s with Whitesnake [see entry] and his collaboration with Jimmy Page. Jon Lord recorded a British solo album, Gemini Suite (1974). Blackmore left in 1975 to form Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow [see entry]. He was replaced by Tommy Bolin, with whom the group recorded one LP, Come Taste the Band, before announcing its retirement in 1976.

In 1980 a bogus reincarnation of Deep Purple led by original vocalist Evans popped up on the West Coast bar circuit. Blackmore and Glover took legal action to prohibit Evans from using the name. In 1984 they reclaimed the name for themselves, reuniting for their first new LP since 1976, the Top 20, platinum Perfect Strangers, which included "Knocking at Your Back Door." Despite being welcomed warmly by its fans, Deep Purple was plagued by personal tensions, and Gillan again departed in 1989. He pursued a solo career, only to return again for 1994's The Battle Rages On, but left again shortly thereafter.

This biography originally appeared in The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001).

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