Adam Horovitz, best known as Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys. The Beastie Boys have both challenged and changed the music industry since their inception, with several ground-breaking albums, including Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Intergalactic, and To The 5 Boroughs.
Darryl McDaniels, immortalized as D.M.C. of Run-D.M.C., has the distinction of being one of the fathers of modern hip-hop, having helped start the ground-breaking trio in 1982 along with Joseph Simmons (Run) and Jason Mizell (Jam Master Jay). Run-D.M.C. essentially kicked in the doors of the record industry and declared how rap was going to sound from then on, combining edgy lyrics with driving beats and unafraid to mix with other genres (most famously in collaboration with Aerosmith in 1986’s Walk This Way). Their list of singles and albums reads like speech script that any current artist would cite as major influences: It’s Like That, Hard Times, King of Rock, Raising Hell, Tougher than Leather, and Crown Royal.
Jam Master Jay
Constituting one third of perhaps the most revolutionary hip-hop group of all time, Run-D.M.C., Jam Master Jay proved his talents beyond the shadow of a doubt over the years dominating his position at the turntables. Staying loyal to his hometown of Queens , NY , Jay also lent a helping hand to many other future talents, earning him a reputation as one of the most kind-hearted individuals in the business. Just weeks after a successful U.S. tour with Aerosmith, he was murdered at his music studio in Queens . Several tributes have been organized and performed in his honor, most of which count numerous icons of the music industry as contributors and attendees, ensuring that Jam Master Jay will always be remembered for pioneering the emergence of hip-hop.
Widely known as one of the most connected, intellectual, and inspiring pillars of the rap community, Chuck D built the foundations of his reputation by starting the outspoken, often controversial group Public Enemy. After leaving his undeniable mark on the industry with It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Fear of a Black Planet, Apocalypse 91’... The Enemy Strikes Back, he went on to release a solo album called Autobiography of Mistachuck in 1996 and a written version the following year. Chuck has become a popular speaker on the college lecture circuit and an active proponent of mp3 technology, even going as far as to release an entire album in that format, 1999’s There’s a Poison Goin’ On. Chuck D also launched www.rapstation.com in 1999, which serves as a central hub of the hip-hop world, with radio and television stations, interviews, mp3 downloads, and more.
Perhaps the only artist in history with fans that never, ever have to wonder what time it is, Flava Flav could just be categorized as Chuck D’s sidekick in Public Enemy, but that assumption would be a vast understatement. A classically trained pianist, Flava Flav also plays the drums in addition to providing vocals for the group. Flava Flav has once again blitzed back into the spotlight with his appearance on the third season of VH1’sThe Surreal Life, where his on-screen relationship with Brigitte Nielsen proved to be so simultaneously dramatic and comical that it alone fueled a spin-off series: Strange Love.
At the time, Notorious B.I.G. (born as Christopher Wallace and otherwise known as Biggie Smalls) was a classic Cinderella story of in the hip-hop scene, rocketing from high school dropout, crack dealer, and convict all the way to a rap phenomenon in only a few years. Under the watchful eye of Sean “Puffy” Combs, he was able to shrug off the mantle of his shady past and emerge straight onto the billboard charts. His first album was eerily prophetic, titled Ready to Die, posthumously followed up by his second release, Life After Death. Outshining his musical career, the Notorious B.I.G. is often referenced as one of the most notable casualties of the East-West conflict in the hip-hop community, along with rival Tupac Shakur, who was also murdered.Related articles, Click here!