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Cypress Hill - The Golden Era and Beyond
Category: The Golden Era
Tags: cypress hill golden.era beyond word life production new quality entertainment

Cypress Hill were notable for being the first Latino hip-hop superstars, but they became notorious for their endorsement of marijuana, which actually isn’t a trivial thing. Not only did the group campaign for its legalization, but their slow, rolling bass-and-drum loops pioneered a new, stoned funk that became extraordinary influential in ’90s hip-hop — it could be heard in everything from Dr. Dre’s G-funk to the chilly layers of English trip-hop. DJ Muggs crafted the sound, and B Real, with his pinched, nasal voice, was responsible for the rhetoric that made them famous. The pro-pot position became a little ridiculous over time, but there was no denying that the actual music had a strange, eerie power, particularly on the band’s first two albums. Although B Real remained an effective lyricist and Muggs’ musical skills did not diminish, the group’s third album, Temples of Boom, was perceived by many critics as self-parodic, and the group appeared to disintegrate shortly afterward, though Muggs and B Real regrouped toward the end of the ’90s to issue more material.

DVX, the original incarnation of Cypress Hill, formed in 1986 when Cuban-born brothers Sen Dog (born Senen Reyes, November 20, 1965) and Mellow Man Ace hooked up with fellow Los Angeles residents Muggs (born Lawrence Muggerud, January 28, 1968)  and B Real (born Louis Freese, June 2, 1970). The group began pioneering a fusion of Latin and hip-hop slang, developing their own style by the time Mellow Man Ace left the group in 1988. Renaming themselves Cypress Hill after a local street, the group continued to perform around L.A., eventually signing with Ruffhouse/Columbia in 1991.

With its stoned beats, B Real’s exaggerated nasal whine, and cartoonish violence, the group’s eponymous debut became a sensation in early 1992, several months after its initial release. The singles “How I Could Just Kill a Man” and “The Phuncky Feel One” became underground hits, and the group’s public pro-marijuana stance earned them many fans among the alternative rock community. Cypress Hill followed the album with Black Sunday in the summer of 1993, and while it sounded remarkably similar to the debut, it nevertheless became a hit, entering the album charts at number one and spawning the crossover hit “Insane in the Brain.” With Black Sunday, Cypress Hill’s audience became predominantly white, collegiate suburbanites, which caused them to lose some support in the hip-hop community. The group didn’t help matters much in 1995, when they added a new member, drummer Bobo, and toured with the fifth Lollapalooza prior to the release of their third album, Temples of Boom. A darker, gloomier affair than their first two records, Temples of Boom was greeted with mixed reviews upon its fall 1995 release, and while it initially sold well, it failed to generate a genuine hit single. However, it did perform better on the R&B charts than it did on the pop charts.

Instead of capitalizing on their regained hip-hop credibility, Cypress Hill slowly fell apart. Sen Dog left in early 1996 and Muggs spent most of the year working on his solo album. Muggs Presents the Soul Assassins was released to overwhelmingly positive reviews in early 1997, leaving Cypress Hill’s future in much doubt until the release of IV in 1998. Sen Dog had come back for the record. He had left because he felt he did not get enough mike time, but after a few years with a rock band he was more than happy to return. Two years later, the group released the double-disc set Skull & Bones, which featured a disc of hip-hop and a disc of their more rock-inspired material. Appropriately, the album also included rock and rap versions of the single “Superstar,” bringing Cypress Hill’s quest for credibility and crossover hits full circle. The ensuing videos for both versions featured many famous rap and rock musicians talking about their profession, and the song was a smash on MTV because of it. In the winter of 2001, the group came back with Stoned Raiders, another album to heavily incorporate rock music. Three years later, the band issued Till Death Do Us Part, which incorporated several styles of Jamaican music. In 2010 they announced their signing to Priority Records thanks to the label’s creative director, Snoop Dogg. The label released their eighth studio album, Rise Up, that same year.

Source: Official Website

In honor of those we've lost, let's celebrated the life of the awesome actress, "Shirley Hemphill" Tags: honor loved lost ones actress shirly hemphill word life production feature blog

Shirley Ann Hemphill (July 1, 1947 – December 10, 1999) was an American stand-up comedian and actress.

A native of Asheville, North Carolina, Hemphill moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian. After working the Los Angeles comedy club circuit, her routine eventually attracted attention leading to her being cast in guest starring roles on television. In 1976, she landed the role of wisecracking waitress Shirley Wilson on the sitcom What's Happening!!. The series was a modest hit for ABC, but production and cast problems caused ABC to cancel the series in 1979. The following year, Hemphill was cast in her own sitcom, One in a Million. The series failed to attract an audience and was canceled in June 1980.

In 1985, Hemphill reprised the role as Shirley Wilson in the syndicated revival of What's Happening!! titled What's Happening Now!!. Like its predecessor, What's Happening Now!! aired for three seasons. After the show's cancellation, Hemphill returned to stand-up comedy and also made occasional appearances in films and television.

In December 1999, Hemphill died of renal failure at her West Covina, California home at the age of 52.

Hemphill was born in Asheville, North Carolina to Richard and Mozella Hemphill. She had a brother, William. Hemphill attended Hill Street School and Stephens-Lee High School, and later won an athletics scholarship to Morristown College where she majored in physical education. Hemphill returned to Asheville two years later where she got a job in a factory manufacturing nylons.

An aspiring stand-up comedian, Hemphill sent a cassette tape of one of her comedy routines to Flip Wilson. Wilson was impressed by her routine and in turn, sent her a cassette recorder and a dozen roses. Wilson also invited Hemphill to visit the set of The Flip Wilson Show. After the visit, Hemphill returned to her job in Asheville but decided to pursue a career in comedy instead. She quit her job and traveled to Los Angeles by bus. Hemphill got a job waitressing during the day and performed at The Comedy Store at night.

By 1976, Hemphill's stand-up routine started to get noticed and caught the attention of casting agent Joan Murray. Murray cast Hemphill in guest roles on Good Times which lead to another guest starring role on All's Fair. After seeing her performance on Good Times, Norman Lear offered Hemphill her own spin-off series but she turned it down. Instead, she auditioned and won the role of sarcastic waitress Shirley Wilson on the ABC sitcom What's Happening!!. Loosely based on Eric Monte's film Cooley High, the series follows the adventures of three teenaged boys: Raj (Ernest Thomas), Rerun (Fred Berry), and Dwayne (Haywood Nelson). Hemphill's character worked at Rob's Place, the restaurant the boys frequented. The series was a modest hit for ABC but was beset with behind the scene problems. In the series' second season, Fred Berry and Ernest Thomas staged a walkout over their dressing room conditions which they claimed were unsuitable. During the series' third season, Fred Berry demanded more money and reportedly convinced Ernest Thomas and Haywood Nelson to join him in a strike. Producers opted to cancel the series instead of increasing the actors' salaries.

Following the cancellation of What's Happening, Hemphill auditioned for the role of the cook on Archie Bunker's Place, but lost out to Anne Meara. The day after losing the role, Hemphill was offered the starring role in her own sitcom One in a Million. On the series, she portrayed Shirley Simmons, a taxi driver who inherited a huge corporation and fortune from one of her customers. The series debuted on ABC on January 8, 1980 but failed to attract a sufficient audience. ABC canceled the series in June 1980.

Afterward, Hemphill would spent most of the early '80s working in nightclubs around the country and doing the occasional guest appearance on TV shows, including The Love Boat and Trapper John, M.D.. In 1985, she was invited to co-star on the revival of What's Happening!! entitled What's Happening Now!!, which aired in syndication from 1985 to 1988. After What's Happening Now!! ended its three-year run, she again worked the nightclub scene and doing the occasional acting gig on a number of '90s comedy sitcoms, including Martin, and The Wayans Bros., among others. In 1994, she appeared in her first movie, CB4, starring Chris Rock. Two years later she co-starred in her second movie, Shoot the Moon, starring Whitney Anderson.

Throughout her career, Hemphill performed her stand-up routine on a number of popular TV shows including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, A&E's An Evening at the Improv, BET's Black Comedy Showcase and Black Comedy Tonight. She was also a regular at The Laugh Factory comedy club in Los Angeles. A year before her death, Hemphill appeared in an episode of The Jenny Jones Show in a What's Happening!! reunion show; actors Ernest Thomas and Haywood Nelson also appeared.

On December 10, 1999, Hemphill died of renal failure at her West Covina, California home. May her soul forever rest in peace!

Source: Wikipedia

Lauryn Hill MTV Unplugged Complete Live Acoustic Tags: Lauryn hill.unplugged mtv live acoustic mtv complete word life production video feature month

 

 

Lauryn Hill is beautiful, talented and a true definition of a princess warrior
Category: The Golden Era
Tags: lauryn hill princess warrior talented golden era word life production feature blog

Lauryn Hill was born in South Orange, New Jersey, on May 26, 1975. In 1998, Lauryn Hill released her solo debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and became the first woman or hip-hop artist to win five Grammy Awards—for album of the year, best new artist, best female R&B performance, best R&B song ("Doo Wop (That Thing)") and best R&B album.

Singer-songwriter, producer and actress Lauryn Noelle Hill was born in South Orange, New Jersey, on May 26, 1975, to Valerie Hill, a teacher, and Mal Hill, a computer consultant. After releasing her solo debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, in 1998, Hill became the first woman or hip-hop artist to win five Grammy Awards—for album of the year, best new artist, best female R&B performance, best R&B song ("Doo Wop (That Thing)") and best R&B album.

A natural performer, Lauryn Hill was singing at Harlem's Apollo Theater by the age of 13. Soon after, she met Prakazrel "Pras" Michel and his cousin, Wyclef Jean, and the three formed a band focusing on hip-hop, soul and R&B. First called Tranzlator Crew (later becoming the Fugees), the group began performing in area clubs, with Hill singing lead vocals.

Hill tried her hand at acting at an early age, as well. When she was just a high school sophomore (attending Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey), Hill landed a recurring role on the television soap opera As the World Turns. Soon after, she earned a featured part in the popular film Sister Act II: Back in the Habit, starring Whoopi Goldberg.

Instead of heading to Hollywood, in 1993, Hill enrolled at Columbia University, where she studied for a year before pursuing a performance career. That same year, the Fugees released their first album, Blunted on Reality, which met with mixed reviews. Three years later, the group released a hugely successful second project, The Score (1996). Featuring the hit single "Killing Me Softly," which highlighted Hill's bold and soulful vocals, the album sold 17 million copies—making the Fugees the highest-selling rap group of all time—and garnered two Grammy Awards (best rap album and best R&B performance by a duo or group).

Following The Score's release in 1996, the Fugees have briefly reunited for live performances, but have not worked on another album. In 2003, the group released a Greatest Hits album.

Going Solo

Lauryn Hill's first solo effort, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998), established her as a major talent in her own right. The album sold more than 12 million copies and earned the singer-songwriter five Grammys, three American Music Awards, a Billboard Award, a Soul Train Award and an MTV Music Award.

After an extended hiatus, Hill returned in 2002 with MTV Unplugged No. 2.0, a recording of her two-hour acoustic performance on the popular series MTV Unplugged. In October 2005, Hill performed two songs at the Take Back TV concert launching Al Gore's CurrentTV.

Outside of her performance career, Hill is a dedicated activist. She founded an organization dedicated to serving underprivileged urban youth called the Refugee Camp Youth Project; the group raises money to send inner-city children in Hill's native New Jersey to summer camp.

Hill has five children with longtime boyfriend Rohan Marley, the son of legendary reggae singer Bob Marley: Zion (born in August 1997), Selah Louise (born in November 1998),

Joshua (born in January 2002), John (born in 2003) and Sarah (born in January 2008). Hill also has a son from a later relationship, Micah, who was born on July 23, 2011.

Recent News

In May 2013, a 37-year-old Hill made headlines when she was sentenced to three months in prison for not paying federal taxes on approximately $1 million in earnings. The hip-hop singer had pleaded guilty to the tax-evasion charges in 2012. "I needed to be able to earn so I could pay my taxes, without compromising the health and welfare of my children, and I was being denied that," Hill said in a statement, following her sentencing.

© 2013 A+E Networks. All rights reserved. http://www.biography.com/people/lauryn-hill-9542643?page=1

Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of the most popular and inventive groups of modern times Tags: red hot chilli peppers wltimate rock classic word life production feature blog

MichRed ael Balzary aka Flea (bass; born October 16, 1962), John Frusciante (guitar; born March 5, 1970), Jack Irons (drums; born July 18, 1962), Anthony Kiedis (vocals; born November 1, 1962), Josh Klinghoffer (guitar; born October 3, 1979), Cliff Martinez (drums; born February 5, 1954), Hillel Slovak (guitar; born April 13, 1962, died June 25, 1988), Chad Smith (drums; born October 25, 1962)

The Red Hot Chili Peppers created a synthesis of punk, funk, rock and rap to become one of the most popular and inventive groups of modern times. They have sold more than 60 million albums worldwide, and five of their albums have been certified multiplatinum in the U.S. They created two of the defining albums of the Nineties, Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Californication, and one of the most ambitious releases of the past decade, the double-disc Stadium Arcadium.

Their eclectic music has ranged from thrashy punk-funk to Hendrix-laced neopsychedelic rock to tuneful, ruminative California pop. “For all us to agree on a piece of music’s validity,” noted bassist Michael “Flea” Balzary, “that piece of music must cover all the blood types, all the seasons and all four corners of the globe.” The Red Hot Chili Peppers also rank high among rock’s most electrifying live acts, described by Flea as “a whirlwind of spontaneous anarchy, locked in with a cosmic hardcore soul groove.”

Their live shows possess an energizing physicality that is liberating to both band and audience. “I take a total beating,” vocalist Anthony Kiedis told writer Steve Roeser. “It’s the sign of a good show. When you come off bleeding with bones poking out of you, you know that you put on a good show.”

The group’s principal subject, to which lyricist Kiedis has often returned, was the state of California. Much like the Beach Boys and the Eagles before them, they obsessed over the virtues and vices of life in the Golden State. Their musical outlook has always reflected the Southern California milieu, appealing to the hard-partying skateboard and slacker subcultures while also reaching those looking for sunnier, more spiritually uplifting grooves. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have experienced triumph and tragedy in their 30-year history, scaling the heights of popularity while confronting drug addiction and the death of a founding member along the way.

The roots of the Red Hot Chili Peppers extend back to 1977, when guitarist Hillel Slovak and drummer Jack Irons formed a KISS-inspired hard-rock band named Anthym with friends at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. Flea became their bass player in 1979, while another high-school chum, Anthony Kiedis, would adopt the role of emcee. As their musical sophistication grew, Anthym evolved into What Is This?, an exploratory New Wave group serving as vehicle for Slovak and Irons.

Meanwhile, the departed Kiedis and Flea moved on to college, jobs and other projects. However, when they set some of Kiedis’ words to Flea’s music, the pair laid the groundwork for Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1983. They needed bandmates and asked Slovak and Irons to join them, which they did while still maintaining What Is This? For their first gig, at a club on L.A.’s Sunset Strip, they used the name Tony Flow & the Miraculous Majestic Masters of Mayhem, an indication of their offbeat humor.

Settling on the name Red Hot Chili Peppers, they built a following on the L.A. club circuit. They became known for the gimmick of performing nude, save for strategically placed tube socks. (After getting popular, they’d generally save the sock stunt for encores.) The Red Hot Chili Peppers were signed to EMI Records, but Slovak and Irons did not appear on the group’s self-titled 1984 debut, opting to focus on What Is This?. Guitarist Jack Sherman and drummer Cliff Martinez replaced them on The Red Hot Chili Peppers, which was produced by Andrew Gill (from Britain’s Gang of Four). The album, whose most memorable song was “True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes,” failed to make Billboard’s Top 200.

Slovak was back in the lineup for Freaky Styley, produced by Parliament-Funkadelic mastermind George Clinton. Its more overt punk-funk hybrid better captured the band’s witty, forceful style, but the album still failed to chart. Drummer Irons rejoined for 1987’s The Uplift Mofo Party Plan, which would turn out to be the only Red Hot Chili Peppers album to feature the founding foursome of Kiedis, Flea, Slovak and Irons. Cut with producer Michael Beinhorn, it was an early pinnacle, capturing the band’s raucous high spirits and groundbreaking style. Yet The Uplift Mofo Party Plan peaked at only Number 148, and the uncategorizable Red Hot Chili Peppers struggled to gain a foothold at a time when synthesized New Wave dance music still ruled. The group received a crushing blow when guitarist Slovak died of a heroin overdose in his apartment in June 1988. Kiedis and Flea decided to continue, though drummer Irons left the band for good. Guitarist John Frusciante and drummer Chad Smith were selected as replacements.

The role of guitarist has been the least stable in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ career, but during two tenures Frusciante achieved the most longevity and success. The foursome of Kiedis, Flea, Frusciante and Smith recorded the classic albums Mother’s Milk (1989), Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991), Californication (1999), By the Way (2002) and Stadium Arcadium (2006). In 1992, they broke through to a mass audience with “Under the Bridge,” an ode to California with plainspoken lyrics about drug addiction that became their first Top 10 hit. They would later make the Top 10 again with “Scar Tissue” (1999) and “Dani California” (2006). This definitive lineup also acquired a reputation as one of rock’s premier live acts.

After Frusciante’s recruitment, the Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded Mother’s Milk, with Beinhorn returning as producer. The album consolidated their strengths as a punk-funk powerhouse and included their rousing cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” Among the last tracks recorded by Hillel Slovak, it was included as a tribute to his memory and link to the revised lineup. Mother’s Milk reached Number 52, by far their best-selling and highest-charting album to date, and the first to go gold. Moreover, it laid the groundwork for their breakthrough album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik. For this and subsequent releases, the Red Hot Chili Peppers teamed with producer Rick Rubin, who’d previously worked with the Beastie Boys, Danzig, Public Enemy, Run-D.M.C. and Slayer.

Blood Sugar Sex Magik was Red Hot Chili Peppers’ fifth album and first for Warner Bros., to which the group signed after its contract with EMI expired. At Rubin’s suggestion, the band moved into the producer’s mansion turned recording studio in Los Angeles during sessions for Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Living and working at “The Mansion” promoted maximum creativity and unity, and enough material was cut to fill two CDs. At the label’s insistence, they edited it down to a single CD, albeit a long one with 18 songs – which would’ve made it a double album in the vinyl era. The hit single was “Under the Bridge” (Number Two), but “Give It Away,” “Breaking the Girl” and “Suck My Kiss” became popular modern-rock radio tracks.

Adjusting to their sudden popularity proved particularly difficult for guitarist Frusciante, who was the youngest band member by nearly eight years. Conflicted about success and grappling with drug addiction, he asked to leave during a 1992 tour of Japan. The remaining dates were canceled, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers searched for a replacement. Arik Marshall served as interim guitarist for the group’s headlining spot on the Lollapalooza ’92 tour, and Jesse Tobias (of Mother Tongue) was briefly a member. Dave Navarro, formerly of Jane’s Addiction, officially became their new guitarist, making his public debut at the Woodstock ’94 festival. However, his tenure was relatively short-lived, as he appeared only one album, 1995’s One Hot Minute, which was released four years after Blood Sugar Sex Magik. It proved to be one of their more difficult projects, as the musical chemistry with Navarro never quite gelled. In addition, Kiedis was dealing with physical injuries and resurgent drug issues during its making. In the band members’ own words, it was a “darker” and “sadder” album. Two of its songs, “Tearjerker” and “Transcending,” were written about the recently deceased Kurt Cobain and River Phoenix, respectively. Even with its moodier vibe and difficult gestation, the album yielded the Red Hot Chili Peppers classics “Aeroplane,” “My Friends” and “Warped.”

Meanwhile, Frusciante’s drug habit had become so debilitating that he lost most of what he owned and very nearly died. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were foundering in their own way in his absence. The troubled group performed only one show in 1997 – and even that was cut short. Navarro left the band by mutual consent in April 1998. With encouragement from his former bandmates, Frusciante entered drug rehab and was offered back his role as guitarist. The reconstituted Red Hot Chili Peppers thereupon entered the most stable period of their career, enduring without another personnel change from 1998 to 2008. The first product of their reunion was Californication (1999), a highly creative endeavor that Kiedis considered the band’s best work. Generally more melodic, philosophical and song-oriented, the 15-song album yielded a bounty of singles, including “Scar Tissue” (Number Nine), “Otherside” (Number 14), “Californication” (Number 69) and the popular modern-rock tracks “Around the World,” “Road Trippin’” and “Parallel Universe.”

In the summer of 1999, the Red Hot Chili Peppers embarked on a two-year world tour to support Californication. This included a notorious closing performance at the violence-marred Woodstock ’99 festival, during which their highly charged encore of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” (with a naked Flea covered only by his bass guitar) ignited an already incendiary situation.

The group started working on By the Way soon after the end of the Californication Tour. Released in July 2002, the album was noticeably light on the extroverted rap-funk that had established the group. Peaking at Number Two – making it the band's highest-charting album to date – By the Way yielded four singles: “The Zephyr Song,” “Can’t Stop,” “Universally Speaking” and the title track. Another marathon tour outing, lasting more than a year, followed its release, culminating in huge shows at Ireland’s Slane Castle and London’s Hyde Park.

Stadium Arcadium became the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ magnum opus and first Number One album, entering the Billboard chart in the top position on its release in May 2006. Once again there was a wealth of material – enough for what they initially conceived would be three albums released at half-year intervals. Instead, they issued a mammoth 28-track double CD, with leftovers parceled out as B sides. Truly, it was a Herculean achievement that cemented the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ stature as the hardest-working and most ambitious band in popular music. The album won the group five more Grammys. Another world tour followed, for which guitarist Klinghoffer – a friend and collaborator of Frusciante’s – joined as an auxiliary tour guitarist.

After a decade of ceaseless touring and recording, Frusciante left the Red Hot Chili Peppers for a second time. In this case, his departure was amicable, as he felt he’d accomplished everything he could with the band and wanted to devote his creative energies to his solo career. Having toured with the band, Josh Klinghoffer stayed on as Frusciante’s replacement. He appears on I’m With You, the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s 10th studio album, released in 2011.

Without question the Red Hot Chili Peppers are a band of survivors, having hit many bumps but never missed a beat. “I think without a genuine love for each other, we would have dried up a long time ago as a band,” Kiedis remarked of the band’s longevity. “There have been tragedies and incredibly inspirational experiences along the way, but the one thread that has been consistent has been the desire to create something honest, soulful and powerful.”

Source: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame http://rockhall.com/inductees/red-hot-chili-peppers/bio/ 

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