“Who what have ever thought Hip-hop would take us this far?” Indeed. The culture has enabled many poor and working class young men gain access to the middle class at the very least and skip generations and gain large sources of wealth at the most. Undeniably, the most ‘bootstrap’ stories can be found. It is always fun to go back to the days that start it all to get a real glimpse into the personas they are now attached to. Included here are photo’s of Jay-Z, Nas, Method Man, Ice T, Busta Rhymes, DMX, Snoop Dogg, and Q- Tip during their more modest days. Thank God for memories. Thank God for Hip-hop.
The career trajectories of the three young men in this picture could not be more divergent. DMX came out of the gate as a blazing rapper with a moderately successful, yet promising film career that was cut short but consecutive prison stints and a recuring drug problem. Irv Gotti and his label imprint Murda Inc had control of the game from about 1999 to 2003 until 50 Cent came in an bulldozed his dreams away. And Jay-Z, still there, still relevent.
Nas is in the midst of solidifying the rap godfather status that has gotten away from him since the release of Hip-hop is Dead. But he has successfully taken back his persona and is pulling off being the elderstateman of Hip-hop. The above photo of rapper Nas would be be a nightmare if he were an actual politician.
Method Man was able to transition from his Hip-hop grunge phase during his initial Wu-Tang days and into appearing in videos opposite Alicia Keys and major motion pictures.
To Ryhmes has definately toned down his style since this photo was taken. Was he the real Shiney Suit Man afterall? Ice – T has focused on Hollywood and is now taking photos with more than just twenty dollar bills nowadays.
Snoop Dogg can do anything today. But back when this photo was taken, he was one of the most reveilled public figures by politians looking to capitalized on the anti-rap sentiments of the 1990s.
While Wu-Tang ushered in grunge Hip-hop style, A Tribe Called Quest and others decided to borrow from the 1960s flower child urban aesthetic. And I think they pulled it off.