August 20 is a day of important births and — especially if you live anywhere near Atlanta — will henceforth be known as “Isaac Hayes Day.” The Clipse introduces us to Virginia, where there's nothing to do but cook, and Vanessa Williams takes us to The Comfort Zone.
1942: Isaac Hayes Is Born
Isaac Hayes was born in Covington, Tennessee, about an hour from Memphis, where he began his recording career with the legendary Stax Records. A composer of timeless hits, his discography includes 22 studio albums, five film soundtracks and three live albums, as well as Grammys and an Academy Award.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has declared August 20, 2018 “Isaac Hayes Day” in the city of Atlanta, his son Isaac Hayes III, who is also a music producer and manages his late father’s estate, shared on Twitter.
“I think the job of any celebrity’s estate is to find their place in pop culture to continue the legacy, whatever that is,” Isaac Hayes III asserted to Billboard in 2014 when he began unvaulting unreleased recordings of his father’s. “Whatever essence of my father that some 17-year-old can find in his music is the job that I have to do. Someone who is that young is not going to necessarily know the music in the same way that my parents knew it or that I know it, but the essence is still there. You have to find that bridge.”
1965: KRS-One Is Born
The Teacha is celebrating his 53rd birthday today! Lawrence Parker, best known as Kris, was born in the Bronx. There, he adopted his MC name, which stands for Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone, and developed his educational flow.
“I don’t really have a favorite break—as an MC you are trained to rhyme over any break,” he mentioned to Bandcamp Daily last year. “In fact, it is your MCing that actually brings life to the break itself.”
1974: Big Moe Is Born
Rapper Big Moe was born 44 years ago today in Houston, which marks 11 years since his untimely passing from a heart attack.
“I grew up kinda hard,” he told the now-defunct Down-South.com. “The kitchen stove would be used to keep the whole house warm. I remember one time when we didn’t have no heat so we got together in one room and used two or three space heaters so we could keep warm. Sometimes we’ve have to rent a room for two hours in order to take a bath right quick. It was real hard back then, man, real hard."
1990: Prince Releases the Graffiti Bridge Soundtrack
Prince’s 12th studio album doubles as the soundtrack for the 1990 film Graffiti Bridge and featured guest cameos from Mavis Staples, The Time, Tevin Campbell (who sang the notable single “Round and Round”) and George Clinton. The artist formerly known as the Artist felt like the release, which rose to No. 6 on the Billboard 200, was a departure.
“There’s nothing a critic can tell me that I can learn from,” Prince told Rolling Stone in 1990. “If they were musicians, maybe. But I hate reading about what some guy sitting at a desk thinks about me. You know, ‘He’s back, and he’s black,’ or ‘He’s back, and he’s bad.’ Whew! Now, on Graffiti Bridge, they’re saying I’m back and more traditional. Well, 'Thieves in the Temple’ and 'Tick, Tick, Bang’ don’t sound like nothing I’ve ever done before.”
1991: Vanessa Williams Takes Us to The Comfort Zone
Vanessa Williams had both pop and R&B chart success (No. 17 and No. 1, respectively) with her second album, the Platinum-certified The Comfort Zone. Despite the enduring power of singles “Running Back to You” and “Save the Best for Last,” the former Miss America was always well aware of her haters.
“You're always going to have people that are naysayers, that don't believe in your talent, that don't believe that you have any kind of longevity,” she pointed out to CNN in 2012. “I am happy to be able to look back — because the book is called ‘You Have No Idea,’ and every time there has been a major triumph in my career, nobody ever expected it. On Broadway: ‘I didn't know she could sing and dance.’ A No. 1 hit on the radio: ‘I had no idea that she could be a recording artist.’ With ‘Ugly Betty’ and three Emmy nominations: ‘I had no idea she was funny.’ It is always redefining who you are and raging against the machine.”
2002: Clipse Show Fans Around Virginia With Lord Willin’
The debut album from Clipse, the brotherly rap duo from Virginia (Pusha T and No Malice, formerly known as Malice), was produced by the Neptunes and took off on the strength of the addictive single and Top 40 hit “Grindin.” And with Lord Willin’ came a new standard for rapping about the street drug game with unflinching pens.
“I remember being young and being desensitized to so much…whether it was jail, whether it was death, things like that,” Pusha T told Genius in 2017. “And I feel like, you know, there have been things that happen in my life, and with age I’ve become re-sensitized to it.”
2002: Angie Martinez Releases Animal House
New York radio DJ Angie Martinez flirted with a side career as a rapper for two albums. Animal House was the Voice of New York's second and most popular, hitting No. 11 on the Billboard 200 and racking up Platinum sales for the catchy Fabolous and Sacario single “If I Could Go!” Guests include Missy Elliott, Fat Joe, Petey Pablo, Lil Mo, Kelis, Tony Sunshine and N.O.R.E.
"I cringe sometimes when I hear some of those songs, I really can’t,” Angie told Complex in 2012. “I don’t want to disrespect the producers or anybody else but it’s like looking at an old high school picture of yourself, you’re like, ‘Oh, there’s that picture again,’ or ‘There I am in that outfit or saying that stupid thing again.’ It’s that type of thing. I don’t think I’d go back to making music, that was an experience I had and it was great but it wasn’t a natural state.”