Tribute Series: 50 years for the 50th Hip-Hop culture: serie 3

December 31, 2023 by
Nation Hip-Hop, Alex Wallace

Here is the continuation of our series on iconic artists, highlighting five other personalities who celebrated their 50th anniversary during the festivities dedicated to hip-hop culture. Happy reading!



Tek, also known as Tekomin Williams, is a Brooklyn-born rapper and half of the influential duo Smif-N-Wessun also known as Cocoa Brovaz. Born on June 3, 1973, Tek played a crucial role in developing the sound of the East Coast rap.

Smif-N-Wessun, consisting of Tek and Steele, emerged in the early 1990s as part of the Boot Camp Clik collective, which also included bands like Black Moon, Heltah Skeltah and OGC.  The duo was recognized for their debut album, Dah Shinin', released in 1995. Tek’s distinctive voice and raw lyricism, combined with Steele’s contributions, created a dynamic partnership that resonated with hardcore rap fans on the East Coast.

The album’s first single, Bucktown, became a street anthem and showcased Tek’s ability to deliver sharp verses with an imposing presence.  Smif-N-Wessun’s fusion of robust lyricism and melodic hooks distinguishes them, contributing to the growing success of Boot Camp Clik and the wider rap movement on the East Coast.

Tek’s lyrical style often reflects the realities of urban life, incorporating street stories, social commentary and personal experiences.  His verses convey a sense of authenticity that has resonated with fans who appreciate the authentic representation of Brooklyn’s complexities.

Throughout Smif-N-Wessun’s career, Tek and Steele have consistently released music that reflects their growth as artists while remaining true to their roots.  Their ability to adapt to different production styles while maintaining a characteristic East Coast sound allowed them to navigate the changing landscape of hip-hop.

Trick Trick

Trick Trick, born Christian Anthony Mathis on June 28, 1973, is a Detroit-based rapper and an influential figure in the Midwest hip-hop scene.  Known for his powerful lyrics, distinctive voice and commitment to his city, Trick Trick has carved out a place for himself in the rap industry as a great artist and community advocate.

Trick Trick is known for his authenticity. and his unabashed approach to his craft.  His first album, The People vs. released in 2005, presented his aggressive but introspective style, addressing social issues, street life and personal experiences.

One of Trick Trick’s notable contributions is his concept of No Fly Zone, a term that represents his dedication to protecting and promoting local talent in Detroit.  This initiative aims to prioritize collaborations and opportunities for the city’s artists, reinforcing Trick Trick’s commitment to the growth and recognition of the Detroit hip-hop scene.

Trick Trick’s collaborations with leading artists such as Eminem, Royce da 5'9" and Kid Rock highlight his versatility and ability to bridge gaps within the rap community. His appearances on tracks like Welcome 2 Detroit and Stay 'Bout It highlight his distinctive voice and lyrical prowess.

Beyond his musical career, Trick Trick has been active in various community initiatives, advocating for positive change in Detroit.  He has been involved in efforts to address issues such as violence and poverty, reflecting his desire to use his platform for the good of his community.

Sean Paul

Sean Paul, born Sean Paul Ryan Francis Henriques on January 9, 1973, is a Jamaican dancehall and reggae artist whose contagious rhythms and charismatic performances have made him a global musical sensation.  Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Sean Paul has constantly pushed the boundaries of Caribbean music, mixing reggae, dancehall and pop influences to create a sound that resonates around the world.

A connoisseur of musical fusion, Sean Paul has also made connections with artists of various genres including those of hip-hop culture, thus expanding his influence. Her collaborations with iconic rap figures such as Busta Rhymes, T-Pain and Spliff Starr demonstrate her ability to transcend musical boundaries. Indeed, these musical alliances underline its versatility and ability to seamlessly integrate dancehall into various musical landscapes.

Sean Paul’s breakthrough came in the early 2000s with the release of his album "Dutty Rock". The album included the single "Get Busy", at the top of the charts, and the immensely popular "Gimme the Light", both of which propelled Sean Paul to the ranks of superstar and international celebrity. His distinctive voice, rhythmic flow and dancing rhythms made him a household name and contributed to the mainstream acceptance of dancehall music.

Known for his energetic stage presence, Sean Paul has become a staple of the global music scene.  Her collaborations with artists of various genres, including Beyoncé on Baby Boy and Sia on Cheap Thrills, highlight her versatility and ability to seamlessly integrate dancehall into various musical landscapes.

Sean Paul is a cultural ambassador who has played a crucial role in popularizing Jamaican music and culture globally.  Its influence extends to fashion, language and dance, with its distinctive style and dancehall patois contributing to the wider appeal of Caribbean culture.

Throughout his career, Sean Paul has received numerous awards, including the Grammy Awards for Best Reggae Album and Best Caribbean Performance.  His commitment to pushing the boundaries of dancehall music while remaining true to his Jamaican roots has cemented his place as one of the most influential figures in the genre.

Beenie Man

Beenie Man, born Moses Anthony Davis on August 22, 1973, is a Jamaican reggae and dancehall artist hailed as the King of Dancehall.  With a career spanning several decades, Beenie Man has left a lasting mark on the reggae and dancehall genre, earning praise for her lyrical prowess, charismatic performances and influence on the global music scene.

Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Beenie Man made his name in the early 90s with hits like Matie and Wicked Slam.  His agile and fast performances, combined with clever word games, quickly distinguished him on the competitive dancehall scene.  Beenie Man’s ability to effortlessly fuse influences from reggae, dancehall and hip-hop has contributed to the evolution of the genre

Among his notable collaborations, Beenie Man has worked with various rap artists, contributing to a rich and vibrant cultural exchange between Jamaica and the hip-hop scene.

Among the artists with whom Beenie Man shared his talent are Guerilla Black, Assia, TI, Lil Kim, OFB, Backroad Gee, French Montana, Clavish, Pa Salieu, KTrap and DoRoad. These collaborations transcend musical boundaries, creating bridges between diverse cultures and music styles.

Beenie Man’s flagship album, Art and Life, released in 2000, showcased its versatility and featured collaborations with leading artists such as Janet Jackson and Mya.  The album won a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album, consolidating Beenie Man’s status as a global reggae icon.

Throughout his career, Beenie Man has continued to innovate and adapt to changing musical landscapes.  His collaborations with international artists, including Sean Paul and Akon, have expanded the reach of dancehall music and strengthened his influence on the world stage.

Beenie Man’s impact on popular culture goes beyond music; he became a cultural ambassador for Jamaica, with his style and charisma that influence fashion and language around the world.  As King of the Dancehall, Beenie Man’s legacy is firmly rooted in the history of Jamaican music.  His contributions helped shape the dancehall genre, and his influence continues to resonate with fans around the globe.


Black Thought

Black Thought, born Tariq Luqmaan Trotter on October 3, 1973, is a Philadelphia-born rapper and MC principal of the legendary hip-hop group The Roots.  Renowned for its unparalleled lyricism, complex wordplay and imposing stage presence, Black Thought is one of the most respected and influential figures in the rap world.

Emerging from Philadelphia’s dynamic hip-hop scene in the late 1980s, Black Thought and The Roots were recognized for their stage instrumentation and socially conscious lyrics.  The organic sound of the band, led by the poetic verses of Black Thought, marked a break with conventional hip-hop standards and earned them rave reviews from the beginning of their career with their album Organix (1993), Do you want more?!!??! (1995) and Illadelph Halflife (1996)

Black Thought’s lyrical prowess became particularly evident in The Roots' groundbreaking album, Things Fall Apart (1999).  Tracks like The Next Movement and You Got Me in collaboration with Erykah Badu have not only shown her ability to effortlessly navigate complex rhyme patterns but also demonstrated her introspective narration and social commentary.

An iconic moment in Black Thought’s career occurred during a 10-minute freestyle during the Funkmaster Flex show on Hot 97 in 2017. His relentless and improvised rhymes left the hip-hop community in awe, solidifying his reputation as one of the industry’s greatest lyricists.

Beyond his work with The Roots, Black Thought has collaborated with various artists, displaying his versatility across genres.  Her collaborations with artists such as Common, Talib Kweli, Nelly Furtado and even on The Hamilton Mixtape alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda demonstrate her ability to adapt to various musical landscapes.

Black Thought’s impact also extends to the intellectual realm.  He has participated in educational initiatives and lectured at universities, sharing his ideas on the cultural and social importance of hip-hop.  This commitment to education reflects the conscious themes often found in rhymes.

As a founding member of The Roots and individually, Black Thought’s influence on hip-hop is immeasurable.  His constant ability to mix intelligence, narration and complex rhyme schemes solidified his place as a revered lyricist, making him a central figure in the ongoing narrative of hip-hop evolution.

To access the series articles, please click HERE.

Nation Hip-Hop, Alex Wallace December 31, 2023