Murder Inc.: The Supergroup That Never Was

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Originally, Murder Inc. was to be the name of a supergroup comprised of Jay-Z, DMX, and Ja Rule. All three were signed to Def Jam (through their own imprints of Roc-A-Fella, Ruff Ryders, and Murder Inc.) and had known one another for years. They appeared in each other’s videos, shouted out one another, and performed on the same stage during the Hard Knock Life tour.

In 1999, when all three were at – or very close to – the peak of their popularity, they appeared on the cover of XXL to announce the formation of Murder Inc. Some believe that the three could’ve become the greatest hip-hop group in history, but it never happened. As Ja Rule said, “We tried to deliver that album. It was a situation where egos all just played a part in its demise.”

We’ll most likely never get a Murder Inc. album so, just as I did with Detox, I have collected the tracks they did record together in various combinations.

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Documentary Tuesday: “American Meth”

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North America is gripped by a meth epidemic. The quality of the drug has skyrocketed and the cost has dropped, meaning that more and more people are getting their hands on stronger and stronger stuff. That’s a bad combination.

This documentary, narrated by Val Kilmer, looks at how the drug has affected so many Americans in so many places, skipping from Wyoming to New Mexico to a city I’ve spent quite a bit of time in, Portland.

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The NBA & Hip-Hop: Til Death Do They Part

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The NBA has a complicated history with hip-hop, but the sooner it embraces the fact that the two are forever entwined, the better it will be. My latest for The Musical Outcast.

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Christopher Pierznik is the author of eight books, all of which can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, and many more. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Nineteen Ninety-Sex: The Year of Rap’s Femme Fatales

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I used to be scared of the dick/Now I throw lips to the shit, handle it like a real bitch

Lil’ Kim was 22-years-old on November 12, 1996, when she uttered those lines, the first lyrics on her debut album, Hard Core. Just one week later, 18-year-old Foxy Brown released her own debut, Ill Na Na, and together the two Brooklyn College Academy alumni set the course for female emcees for the next two decades, changing the way women in hip-hop present themselves to the world — and how they are received by it.

From the cover photos to the lyrics to the album titles, almost nothing was left to the imagination, and with their lethal combination of sexy and street, they easily appealed to fans from both genders.

While Kim and Foxy may not have been the first female hip-hop artists to use their looks as their strongest weapon, they were certainly the most visible and, at least up until that point, the most successful.

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The Shifting Narrative of the Manning/Brady Rivalry

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Brady didn’t play a snap his freshman year in high school even though his team was 0-8 and didn’t score an offensive touchdown. He had to send out tapes to get colleges interested. Manning was overwhelmed by scholarship offers. They have taken different paths but wound up in the same place as two of the all-time greats.

— Gary Myers, author of Brady vs. Manning

In sports, very few things change. Stats don’t move. They may lie or deceive, but once a season or a career is over, they’re set in stone. The same is true for championships. Once you win one, it’s yours, regardless of what you do the rest of your career.

The only thing that is truly malleable is the narrative.

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