Today in hip-hop history, we celebrate the lives of a Houston rap legend, a legendary actor and the release of highly significant albums from legendary groups.
1971 – DJ Screw is Born
Houston hip-hop legend Robert Earl Davis, Jr. was born on July 20, 1971, in Smithville, Texas. The originator of the Chopped and Screwed DJ style, the man who would take on the moniker DJ Screw remains one of the most critical figures in Houston rap. He led the iconic Screwed Up Click in the 1990s and released over 200 mixtapes and four albums within that timespan, with 3 N THe Mornin’ Part Two and June 27th being his most significant and notable releases.
He would, unfortunately, pass away on November 16, 2000, due to a codeine overdose, but will always be remembered as a Texas Music pioneer. More recently, Denver Broncos Linebacker and Dallas, Tx. native Von Miller got a tattoo in honor of the Texas DJ.
1973 – Omar Epps is born
Born on July 20, 1973, in Brooklyn, New York, Omar Epps was the quintessential young actor of the 1990s. Acquiring notable roles in films such as Juice, The Program, and Higher Learning, Epps rose to new heights for his portrayal as Quincy McCall in the romantic drama Love & Basketball. It was in that film where was nominated for Most Outstanding Actor In A Motion Picture for the NCAAP Image Awards. He later would win three NCAAP Image Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor for the medical drama series House.
Now a father of three, Epps has written a book From Fatherless To Fatherhood, detailing his life growing up in a single-parent household and how his mother and wife inspired him to be a positive figure in his children’s lives.
“She anchors me in a way that I can only relate emotionally is like how I feel anchored by my mom,” Epps said about his wife Keisha Spivey from the R&B trio Total. “Through her, I really am still learning, but I have learned to become present…. She loves hard and she’s taught me a lot, about everything.”
1993 – Cypress Hill Releases Black Sunday.
Two years after their self-titled debut, the Latin-American hip-hop group Cypress Hill returned in full force with Black Sunday Columbia/Ruffhouse Records. It debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 261,000 copies sold in the first week, eventually going triple platinum in the country. The album is most recognizable for the crossover hit “Insane In the Brain,” receiving radio play across Hip-Hop and Rock stations. Other singles from the album include “Hits From The Bong” and “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That” (peaked No. 65 on the Billboard Top 100), with both songs praising their love for cannabis use.
Two weeks ago, The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced that the group will receive the honor of having a star for the Hollywood Walk of Fame. "Salute to my legend crew #cypresshill for the upcoming star on the "Walk of fame," group member B-Real said in an Instagram post. "Got the word while out here in Stockholm. Thanks to everyone who made it happen."
1993 – Tag Team Drops Whoomp! There It Is.
On this day, the Miami Bass/hip-hop duo Tag Team released their album Whoomp! (There It Is). The album and the group itself are popularly known for their title-track single “Whoomp! (There It Is),” which peaked No. 2 on the Billboard 100 and No. 4 on the rap charts. “U Go Girl” also charted but failed to capture the same amount of success as the former, leading for many critics and fans to render Tag Team as one-hit wonders.
1999 – Public Enemy Releases There’s A Poison Goin’ On.
In 1999, the rebellious hip-hop powerhouse Public Enemy released their seventh studio album There’s a Poison Goin’ On Atomic Pop Records. The title is in tribute to Sly & The Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On with an original internet-only release in May 1999. Built heavily on a strong industrial sound, the only single that spawned from the record was “Do You Wanna Go Our Way???.” In one of the controversies surrounding the album, the Anti-Defamation League complained that the final track of the album “Swindler’s Lust,” had “anti-semitic content” and deemed it “outrageous.” The Anti-Defamation League sent a letter to Atomic Pop claiming that the group provided “classic anti-semitic code words and seemed to blame Jews for the plight of financially underprivileged Blacks.”
2004 – Lloyd drops Southside
On July 20, 2004, a young R&B upstart from Atlanta by way of New Orleans named Lloyd made his Murder Inc./Def Jam debut with Southside. It reached No. 11 on the Billboard Top 200 and Top 10 in the US Hip-Hop/R&B charts with 67,000 copies in the first week. The album had several guests including Ja Rule, Ashanti (on the Top 30 single “Southside”), and the start of the musical relationship with Lil Wayne on “Trance.” The duo went on to work on every Lloyd album since, including on Lloyd’s biggest single “You” and “Dedication to My Ex (Miss That).”