Hip Hop Crooners V: Missy Elliot


I remember the first time I saw Missy Elliot rap. It was on the Puff Daddy Remix for Gina Thompson’s “The Things You Do”.

She took the world by storm with that slide dance she must’ve learned from Ginuwine and that now iconic “HeeheeheeheeHow, HeeheeheeheeHow”.

Everyone was wondering who was this chick? Where is she from? How do I do that slide dance? Was she signed to Bad Boy? Is Puff gonna rob her too? The questions were endless, but we all wanted to hear her again.

Didn’t have too wait long. Puff did another remix, this time for New Edition on the Bobby Brown featured “You Don’t have to Worry”. This time she hit us with a little bit of her vocal skills to along with the “HeeheeheeheeHow”…

Good Lord, was this Video Jukebox? Wooooow……

After saving Aaliyah’s career with her producer pal Timbaland, we found out she was putting her own album together and the world was giddy to see what came of it.

What we got was one of the most innovative hip-hop/R&B albums ever made.

“Supa Dupa Fly” was released in 1997 and gave us a sound we’d never heard before. She blended her crazy lyrics over Tim’s staccato beats and showed she really had some vocal skills.

Not only that, her wild and imaginative videos changed the way people did their clips.

One of my favorite songs and video was “Sock it to Me” featuring Da Brat.

Missy showed she wasn’t just a rapper, she was a legit vocalist. The Megaman video game theme took us all back to our Nintendo, blow in the cartridge days. Love this….

17 years later, this song still goes hard! Tragic Johnson Salute to Missy Elliot

– N.D. Face

Hip Hop Crooners IV: Lauryn Hill

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I can’t be the only person who was in love with Lauryn Hill. She was beautiful, could sing her ass off, AND spit a mean 16

She was like LeBron James in Cleveland the way she carried the Fugees. Don’t get me wrong, Wyclef and Pras were cool, but on “Fugee-La”, do you remember any of Wyclef’s verse? Yeah I thought so. I remember her verse and the “Oh-la-la-la” hook is legendary…

The multi-talented artist is the poster child for Hip Hop Crooners. She could’ve put out a pure hip-hop album or straight r&b album and either one would’ve killed the charts.

“The Score” had everyone drooling with anticipation. People couldn’t wait to see what she’d do on her own. Well all she did was create one of the greatest albums ever. A musical masterpiece, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” still gets heavy rotation in the Tragic Johnson offices.

L-Boogie was ill on the mic….

Then she could flip it and just sing you to tears…listen to this woman’s voice…

And no auto-tune or lip-syncing required…

It’s a shame she never followed that up with another studio album, but things happen. A little bit of Marley here, a couple of babies there, with some tax issues and now jail time.

It always seems like the most talented among us have the most “issues”. I just know I’m keeping my daughter away from any and all Marley’s.

My hope is that she can turn it around and get her life together. Even if she never makes another song, her footprint in the game looms large and we truly appreciate what she’s given us.

Tragic Johnson salute to Miss Lauryn Hill aka L-Boogie!

– N.D. Face

Let us know in the comments section which Lauryn Hill song is your favorite.

Throwback Thursday: ATLiens


Of all the hiphop albums I’ve ever heard, this one from Outkast seems to stick with me more than others. The lyrics, the beats…it all just combines so perfectly on this joint.

It was the 2nd album for Big Boi and Dre and you could see that they were growing as men and as artists. 17 years later, this album is still better than the majority of stuff out there right now.

The 1999 Source Hip-Hop Music Awards

This group was so ahead of its time and Dre had dudes looking like hadji from Johnny Quest with that turbin


I’m going to give you a couple of tracks off this one, to let you know how it goes down in the Tragic Johnson offices

Enjoy your Thursday folks!

– N.D. Face

A little Common Sense

Here is one outfit in Common’s closet that I am sure that he has not worn in the past two weeks.  In honor of the Bulls’ amazing play, I wanted to dedicate a song to the  City of Chicago and went digging in the crates for this week’s String Music.   Here is one of Common’s first hits about his love affair with hip-hop.

Chi-town, Stand Up!!

Hip Hop Crooners III


I remember the first time I ever heard Cee Lo on a track. It was on Outkast’s 1st album “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik” from 1994.

The song was “Git Up, Git Out” and Cee Lo had the 1st verse. “I don’t recall, ever graduatin’ at all. Sometimes I feel I’m just a disappointment to y’all“. To this day, I still have that verse memorized.

The next time I heard him, I was watching Rap City on BET and saw the video for “Cell Therapy” by Goodie MOB. Once again, Cee Lo had another standout verse. I couldn’t wait for their debut album “Soul Food”.


If you’ve never heard this album, shame on you!

It was here that we got our 1st taste of Cee Lo the Hip Hop Crooner. It was the opening track, an interlude entitled “Free” and was the perfect way to start this album….

Who would’ve known that from there, he’d team with Danger Mouse and form the critically acclaimed group Gnarls Barkley and release the hit single “Crazy”


Then completely blow up with “F*ck You” from his album “Lady Killer”. My personal fave is “Bodies”. Incredible song equally incredible video….

I personally love his album, love that he’s branching out artistically, and love that he’s doing big things with his new found fame, can’t knock his hustle. But I’m hoping that the rumors of a Goodie Mob reunion album dropping this year are true.

I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting Cee Lo to go back to his roots and bless the mic with a verse or two for old times sake.

– N.D. Face

Hip Hop Crooners II


My partner in crime, GPA Baller, did a post on the Hip Hop artists who push the boundaries of the music. He focused on Mos Def.

But when it comes to pushing the envelope past the point of no return, is there anyone more out there than 3000 (ICE COLD!)?

Starting with Southernplayalistic on through Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Dre and Big Boi have really showed us that there’s more to the art form than spittin’ lyrics over dope beats.

Dre threw some people off with the singing, but Love Below still gets heavy rotation in my music collection.

So today, we present to you a song that we both love and hope you will too…

– N.D. Face

Milk Dee & Giz are still chillin

I went digging in the crates and came up with a track that you should recognize in one form or another.  According to whosampled.com, it has been sampled over 193 times by other artists, making it one of the most sampled songs in hip-hop.  It is Top Billin by Audio Two.  In case you are curious, Milk Dee of Audio Two actually owns the rights to the song, so he is still eating from this 1987 gem.  Happy Sunday!

Hip Hop Crooners

At Tragic Johnson, we celebrate those in the world who push the envelope, those who look at the status quo and ask Why?, those who think boundaries are made to be hurdled.  In keeping with that philosophy, I wanted to share this bit of studio magic from Yasiin Bey, the artist formally known as Mos Def.  Tell me what you think.