From Cypress Hill to De La Soul, Hip Hop Honors 2008 Celebrates Old School Heroes

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Roll through hip hop’s old school and you quickly get goosebumps: the array of innovative artists that helped establish the music is daunting. Our annual salute to the masters who gave rap its early achievements has become a great tradition. This year, VH1′s Hip Hop Honors is saluting five wildly creative acts, Cypress Hill, De La Soul, Naughty By Nature, Slick Rick, and Too $hort. Each brought a wealth of ideas to the table, guiding the music to the next level.

The show is hosted by Tracy Morgan. It premieres on October 7 on VH1.

Watch videos by all the honorees!

Cypress Hill

“Hummin’, comin’ atcha…” B Real and his buds Sen Dog and DJ Muggs put asses in gear and had dudes glancing over their shoulders when they busted out of L.A. in 1991 with a wildly aggressive debut. They were weed-smoking bangers who loved all sorts of funk. Sometimes rapping in Spanglish, sometimes letting their anger dominate, and always explaining their frustrations, they made tracks like “How I Could Just Kill a Man” sound like chilling reports from the ‘hood.

Slick Rick

A Brit raised in the Bronx, Slick Rick had MCs all around him during his teenage years. He’d bang beats on the school desks and freestyle through the afternoons. The borough was rap’s Mesopotamia, of course, and superhero Doug E Fresh help Rick get a leg up. Almost instantly the party people were constantly shouting one of his improvised refrains. Hip-hop, most assuredly, would be a lesser place without “La Di Da Di.” Turns out the MC had compelling way with a narrative, too, and “Children’s Story, from 1988′s The Great Adventures of Slick Rick is one of rap’s masterpieces.

De La Soul

If everyone’s zigging, maybe it’s best to zag. De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising sounded like nothing hip-hop had heard before when the Long Island trio dropped it in 1989. Nothing. If rap had fashioned itself into a music that was perpetually hard, Trugoy the Dove, Posdnuos, and Pacemaster Mase came on like flower children. Indeed, with their iconoclastic debut declared hip-hop’s “daisy age” to be in full effect. Oddball samples, unusual flow, giddy subject matter – the guys brought a sense of frolic to the foreground, and it was utterly refreshing.

Naughty By Nature

They took a Jackson 5 sample, turned it inside out, layered some glib sex talk on top, and came up with one of hip hop’s catchiest tracks, 1991′s “O.P.P.” Three Jersey kids – Treach, Vinnie, and Kay Gee – knew how to make party music, no question. They came up under Queen Latifah, and in no time had New York bobbing its head to some dope beats. There was a tough side to the Naughty boys, but by the time they dropped “Hip Hop Hooray,” everyone knew they destined to celebrate, not intimidate.

Too $hort

“I met another girl/her name was Ann/all she wanted was to freak with a man/when i met Ann, I shook her hand/we ended up freaking by a garbage can.” Too $hort was just telling it like it was when stepped out of Oakland onto the national scene in 1987. He let everyone know he was born to mack, and his rhymes were filled with the action of dope fiends, sex freaks, and pimp problems. Radically stark, the music behind his performances was woozy and ominous. But something about it was addictive, and it remains so to this day.

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  1. Venancio says:

    These guys are great, but where is Nice and Smooth

  2. Jay Selph says:

    ‘Bout time… I remember when I was young and I heard the opening beat to “Life Is” by …Too Short and I was like damn, that’s kickin. It’s about time he gets recognized. Cypress Hill…. being latino, it was cool to hear some vato’s from the barrio coming out and letting ppl know how it is in the barrio. The first time I heard “PIGS” I was rollin on the ground laughin!!! We used to drive up to police units blastin that jam, and hell it was worth the laugh when they’d pull us over to mess wit us!!!!

  3. SEVETH LETTER MADE says:

    ALL DAMN DAMN DAMN ! COME ON PEOPLE Y’ALL %+(&&@(^#@&+&^__ UP THIS YEAR DAMN I KNEW IT ^`)#*+(%(*_%@#$^ WAS 2 GOOD EVERY SHOW A BANGER NOW THIS A YOU KIND OF SAVED YOU +@#&(`^&_#~`#** WITH SLICK RICK & TOO $HORT ^`)#*+(%(*_%@#$^ CRASH AFTER THAT A NEXT YEAR DO ^`)#*+(%(*_%@#$^ WRIGHT LET CATS VOTE A NO MORE OF THIS ^`)#*+(%(*_%@#$^ AFTER THIS YEAR DAMN DAMN ALL YEAR LONG HERE IS SOME HELP 4 NEXT YEAR ( KOOL G RAP,D.O.C,NICE & SMOOTH,CHUB ROCK SPECIAL ED.EPMD,OUTKAST,DEF JEFF,DIGITAL UNDERGROUND.GHETTO BOYS.THE FAT BOYS,MC SHANE,MAL LEE MAL,JUNGLE BROTHERS COME ON PEOPLE HOW YOU GONE HAVE DE LA SOUL BEFORE JUNGLE BRO. DANA DAN, A ASK ME I’LL LOOK OUT JUST 2 GET THINGS BACK 2 WHERE THEY WERE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LET THIS BE YOU LAST TIOME %+(&&@(^#@&+&^__ ING UP I MEAN I GOT EVERY HIP-HOP HONORS ON D-V-D NOW Y’ALL %+(&&@(^#@&+&^__ ED UP MY COLLECTION THANK YOU VERY MUCH ^`)#*+(%(*_%@#$^ I WOULD LOVE M.C. HAMMER

  4. Kim says:

    Hello
    Does anyone know where I can purchase tickets at to attend the show>

  5. hope says:

    when are the Fat Boys going tp be honored?????

  6. Deano Browne says:

    When are cats like Busy B, T La Rock and Mantronix gonna get some love. VH1 never really cared about Hip Hop back then anyway. I don’t think VH1 really cares for Hip Hop now, I think they just want the ratings.

  7. rich says:

    The fact that EPMD is not before Missy Elliot, Teddy Riley, Cypress Hill is a travesty!!!!!!

  8. T Rock says:

    What the hell the honorees been good so far can’t really knock these but when is the FATBOYS, EPMD, and the GETOBOYS gonna get there due respect. These cats where in the forefront of the video and radio explosion of hip hop. Making movies the fatboys did it. Being gansta and dirty the getoboys invented it. EPMD right in the mix wit LL and BIG DADDY KANE fo real. U got one right u been leaving off SHORT DOG. O. G. PIMP but spit the real and ills of growing up in the ghetto that’s real talk. The south was raised off SHORT DOG along with the NEW YORK sound before the West was popular. So next year PLEASE INCLUDE THESE GIANTS OF HIPHOP FATBOYS, EPMD, AND THE GETOBOYS

  9. terrance says:

    10/6/08 thats when true hip-hop arrives but wat about kris kross epmd the hit squad/def squad,the geto boyz outkast the trbute to mence to society

  10. Coop says:

    When are they going to honor Kurtis Blow He is the first hip hop artis to have a gold record. All these honorees are good, but man they have to honor Kurtis Blow sooner or later

  11. M&A alumni 83 says:

    This is great to honor a classmate of Music & Art, but it would have been off the hook to include Dana Dane this year also. He graduated along side Slick Rick. That performance and induction would have raised the stakes even higher. Not taking anything away from Slcik Rick. Their contributions to Hip Hop started in the cafeteria in the 80′s. (you M&A’ers know what I’m talking about) I guess you had to be there to understand. But they are both gracious now and always a delight to see outside of the realm of the industry. Many props to you Rick and congrat’s, Dana you’re next.

  12. Diggitydap says:

    No diggity doubt that this years nominees aren’t up to par to years past. I see nobody ever mentioned Heavy D & The Boyz, Kid N Play, Biz Markie, Roxanne Shante, or MC Shan. What about UTFO, Das EFX, Nice & Smooth, Chubb Rock, Kurtis Blow (getting robbed hard), The Fat Boys too. Who makes these decisions. What about Uncle Luke or Digital Underground as well?

  13. james says:

    WHERE’S EPMD

  14. james says:

    I GUESS LIL WAYNE WILL BE HONORED B4 EPMD AND NAS HAH…..THIS SHOULD BE CALLED VH1 WHITE BOYZ PICK AN ARTIST….FAT BOYS,MARLEY MARL…NAUGHTY BY NATURE BEFORE EPMD PLEASE……………..

  15. dj stevie d says:

    de la de la de la!! love em.

  16. dj stevie d says:

    hey james? i dont think “WHITE BOYZ ” have anything to do with the reason why the time line of the history of hip hop is not being done correctly on vh1, i think its the fact that if they did the first honors with just soul sonic,hollywood,kool herc,flash,caz,busy bee and all the rest of the pioneers, it would be too outa date for the rest of the hip hop people not from that era to relate to. and it wouldnt produce enough $$$. get it?? it’s all about the $$$. they dont follow the time line so they can put the artist on by there relavancy not there date of arivall on the hip hop seen. but i feel for the true hip hop fan who wants the culture if hip hop up held to the upmost respect, but i guess were lucky to even have a show for us!!!!! peace.

  17. dj stevie d says:

    plus…. check the record sales of all the artist gettin honored?? they choose there artist by sales,and relavancy at the time of the honoring..

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