It’s Black History Month! Which means it’s time for handing out flowers to our legends, raising up the names of the icons who paved the way and learn something in the process.
While we often recognize the trailblazers who defied the status quo and walked in courage to open up doors for us, it’s also important to underline some of the modern figures who’ve helped reshape and mold our culture.
From music and fashion trends, to completely disrupting industries, Black people have literally made American history and culture. Those trends and legacies have resurged in recent years, once again showcasing the magnitude of these creative titans.
Here’s 6 Golden Era hip-hop facts you should know.
The members of Crime Mob were in high school when they made “Knuck if You Buck”
This head-banging, club-jumping classic from 2004 became an instant Southern rap classic and is still played today. Diamond and Princess, the front women of the group, laid legendary verses on the song adding to the chorus of female rappers who left their mark on hip-hop during the time.
Click here for more on the oral history behind the song.
A studio mistake led to Missy Elliott’s iconic reversed lyrics on “Work It”
Hip-hop trendsetter Missy Elliott is known for her wordplay on the mic, futuristic music videos and epic songwriting skills. As such a force in the industry, many wonder what goes on in the booth with the “Get Your Freak On” rapper.
Back in 2018, on the 16th anniversary of the song’s visual release, Missy shared with fans on Twitter that the iconic reversed part of the song was actually a mistake that she ended up loving.
“The tape skipped backwards,” she wrote. “But when I heard it backwards I kept it like that.”
The chainmail-style dress Paris Hilton popularized in 2002 actually hit the red carpet on LisaRaye McCoy two years earlier.
The chain mail dress Paris Hilton wore for her 21st birthday quickly exploded on the fashion scene. But a similar style actually made its red carpet debut two years earlier on actress LisaRaye McCoy.
The “Civil Brand” actress wore a chain mail top to the Video Music Awards in 2000. Styled with a sequin mini tote and a retro flipped coiff hairdo, the actress was making certainly stepping out and making a statement. Check out the look below.
The deeper meaning behind airbrush t-shirts
Who can forget rocking airbrush t-shirts with catchy, unique phrases, and the ones honoring loved ones we’ve lost. There’s a long history behind the iconic shirts, including the notable creations of The Mighty Shirt Kings, who are credited with fusing the individuality required of hip-hop with edgy fashion statements.
The shirts also represent a direct rebellion against fast fashion, achieving a remarkable feat –– giving shirt-wearers a one-of-a-kind piece of clothing to wear. In a time when so much is the same –– now and then –– airbrush t-shirts offer a direct response to conforming.
Read more on the history of airbrush t-shirts by clicking HERE.
In 2004, Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below became the first rap album to win the Grammy for Album of the Year
In 1999, Lauryn Hill‘s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill won the award, but her iconic album was classified as an R&B record.
OutKast‘s 2003 diamond-certified Speakerboxx/The Love Below was the first rap album to get the award with tracks like “The Way You Move,” “Hey Ya” and “Roses.”
Three 6 Mafia Makes History at the Oscars
In 2005, just three years after Eminem became the first rapper to win an Oscar, Three 6 Mafia won for Best Original Song for their track “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” featured in the movie Hustle & Flow.
That was also the first year a rap group performed at the Oscar award ceremony.