Rap is the type of music where most of the time there is no middle ground; people either love it and can’t get enough of it or tend to despise it. However, those that do follow and like it are often moved by the reality of the situation it speaks about it. Many relate to hip-hop because they feel it is about reality. It’s symbolic of a movement toward equality that society is trying to achieve, but they personally feel has a long way to go. Many of these rap artists put their heart and soul into their music, even if we do not approve of the way that they go about it always.
So what is it that makes these rappers tick? What makes them so passionate about what they do and the perceived cause they do it for. I think you will be surprised at some of the things you do not know about these famous rap artists. Maybe we don’t always agree with how they go about things, but many contribute to society in some great ways you would not expect. Let’s take a look at some little known facts about some of them.
10. David Banner
Banner has the profanity-laced and edgy style rap that makes a lot of people uneasy and tends to give him a bad rap, pardon the pun. He sometimes is about as easy to like for those who don’t approve of his music as fingernails scraping on a chalk board, but there is another kinder and gentler side to this gangster rapper that people do not know about.
He is actually quite well educated and he graduated from Southern University and then went on to pursue his Master’s degree at the University of Maryland. In the process he was the President of the student government at Southern U and finished in the top 5 of his class at Maryland.
He received a Visionary Award from the states black caucus leaders for his efforts to help after Hurricane Katrina. He has also given away scholarships for the underprivileged to attend college. In 2007 when testifying before congress about the tone of gangster rap; he boldly told them to change the situation in his hood and he would change the tone in his music.
A lot is known about this Detroit based rapper and his bad boy image that came about from his ultra-rocky childhood, but there are some things you don’t know about him too. Marshall Bruce Mathers III (his birth name) was born on October 17, 1972, in St. Joseph, Missouri. Most people assume he was born and raised in Detroit.
Eminem spent his early childhood on the road with his parents in the Dakota’s and Montana as they toured around in a band called “Daddy Warbucks”; they played predominately in small clubs and hotel bars. Despite his often rocky childhood, his first encounter with the law was when he was twenty years old. He was arrested in connection with a drive by shooting, with a paintball gun that is. The charges were later dropped.
8. Kendrick Lamar
This rising hip-hop superstar got his start on the west coast in California and in 2013 was introduced as the next king of hip hop at the American Music awards. Lamar’s love of rap got even stronger,in his self-described most inspirational moment, when he witnessed his two idols Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre make a music video for the song “”California Love”. Ironically as fate would have it, he has recently worked with Dr. Dre on several of his albums. Dr. Dre and Lamar actually attended the same high school.
His real last name is Duckworth. He is addicted to sugary cereal, admires Lady Gaga, and openly professes his love and thanks for his parents and has recently taken a stand against drugs in hip-hop.
This soft rapper was recently called blasphemous for singing in a song on one of his albums. Drake is not American; he was born in Toronto, Canada. He was raised Jewish, attended a Jewish day school and was even Bat Mitzvah’d.
He was the voice of the young Mammoth, Ethan, in Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012). He has had a long time crush on singer/entertainer Nicki Minaj and admitted his hit song “Un-Thinkable” was about that crush.
6. Jay Z
The king of rap. Many say he bridged the gap between old school rap and the newer style without letting its important message slip. He is sometimes criticized for his extravagant spending on production and guest stars for his albums.
He owns a restaurant called the ‘Spotted Pig’. Bill Clinton is a regular customer. He once lost a rap contest where one of the judges was LL Cool J. In an ironic twist, years later he beat LL in a different contest. His school classmate and friend was Notorious B.I.G. He was extremely devastated in 2005 when his nephew was killed in an accident driving the Chrysler 300 he had recently bought for him as a graduation present.
5. J. Cole
This budding superstar and Grammy nominated artist boasts one of the most successful rap albums of 2013. Let’s see what else he can boast about or hide from. Until he finally settled on his professional name of J. Cole, he was previously known as Blaza and then subsequently, Therapist.
Before he became famous he worked part time at a skating rink in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He was a skate guard who sometimes had to dress up as the mascot there: a kangaroo. Maybe that is where his hip-HOP came from, sorry I couldn’t resist. He was good enough to be a walk on for the St. John’s basketball team but decided against it. When he was younger he was a first chair violinist in a youth orchestra.
4. Rick Ross
Sometimes the boss gets a bad ‘rap’ for boasting about himself all the time. Some say it’s an act and others say he truly believes it. I guess when you are making that much money you don’t care what other people think. Let’s see what else he does not care about that people know.
After graduating high school in Carol City, Florida he attended Albany State University on a football scholarship. He has a long standing feud with 50 cent because apparently 50 looked at him the wrong way at the BET awards. It was confirmed by Ross that he took his stage name after the notorious California narcotics trafficker of the 80’s, ‘Freeway Ricky Ross’. He worked as a prison guard in the early 1990’s.
3. Nicki Minaj
Ah yes, Drake’s crush raps better than most men and looks better than any rapper I know of too. Of course that is a personal opinion that many women do not share. She has carved out a nice niche for herself in a brand of music that is often dominated by men. She was the only person to ever have seven songs at the same time on Billboards Top 100.
She was born on the isle of ST. James in Trinidad and Tobago. Her first rap names were ‘Cookie’ and ‘Harajuku Barbie’,.Thanks to her for her for changing them. She was the daughter of an abusive, drug addict father who once tried to kill her mother by setting the house on fire. Nicki attended the high school that the movie fame was based on, La Guardia High School of Music and Art.
2. A$AP Rocky
This king of the rap club scene continues on his rise up the Billboard charts that further enhances his status of rapper elite. We are just beginning to get to know this young rap superstar. He leads the Harlem renaissance in the rap world. He is not only is a great rapper, but he produces music videos as well.
He proclaims he was a hustler back in the day not only in Harlem, he spent some time in Brooklyn too. The self-proclaimed pot smoking, liquor drinker is also a vegetarian. Rocky’s mother once pulled over to the side of the road when she spotted the rapper Rakim, and asked him to sign Rocky’s diaper; two decades later the duo did a song together.
His brand of pop mixed with rap has actually brought a very diverse following his way and many Caucasians have become fans as well. He sold more albums than any other rapper last year. With all the money he made last year, this wrapper still prefers to drive a Prius. Not surprising, since he professes he used to buy all his clothes second hand.
He once was a respected security guard at a youth prison. He also worked for a time at the Seattle zoo and admits to taking money from the register to help pay for his recordings; a generous donation to the zoo now would probably put things straight. There was a five year hiatus in his music career as he battled drug addiction. He said that while on drugs he could not create music.