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BB King

Source: Naom Vahaba / WENN

This month, we’ve brought you a number of #BOSSIPBHM stories to celebrate Black History Month the BOSSIP way. As we wind down Black History Month 2020, we decided to bring you some little known Black music facts that everyone should know, but probably don’t:

  • The legendary B. B. King named every guitar of his “Lucille” for a very unique reason. While he was performing in his early days, two guys got into a physical altercation over a woman named Lucille. During the fight, they knocked over barrels of Kerosene that heated and eventually set the venue on fire. While everyone was being rushed out of the building, King ran back in to save his $30 Gibson guitar. Thus he named his guitars Lucille as a reminder to never run into a burning building or fight over women.
  • Lil Wayne’s debut album is titled The Block Is Hot, but what many have never noticed about that album is that it contains minimal profanity. This is due to Wayne respecting his mother’s wishes for no cussing as he was only 17 years old when the project was recorded and released via Cash Money Records.
  • The title of Mary J. Blige’s debut album, What’s the 411?, reflected her life just months before its release. Before beginning her new life as a successful musician, Mary was a directory assistance operator. For all the youngins out there, 411 was the number you would dial to find out the phone number for a local business.
  • Michael Jackson’s groundbreaking music video for “Billie Jean” was one of the most iconic visuals of its time and played an integral part in his career. The music video also paved the way for future black artists, as it was the first music video by a black artist to ever appear on MTV.
  • Aretha Franklin is one of the most respected artists of all time and has a voice that will be cherished until the end of time. It’s no surprise that she was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, but what you might not know is that Franklin missed the ceremony due to her fear of flying.
  • Snoop Dogg is now one of the most famous rappers in the history of hip-hop. But before he made it big, he raised money by reportedly selling weed to Cameron Diaz back when the two attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School.
  • The start of hip-hop is credited to Clive Campbell, aka Hercules, aka DJ Kool Herc, which began at a back-to-school party Herc threw on August 11, 1973. The genre was born when he decided to use two turntables to extend the instrumental portions (aka breaks) of the songs he played, while people danced and MCs gave shoutouts over the music. Before it was crowned “Hip-hop,” though, it was called “disco rap.”
  • In the 1960s, ABC-Paramount offered Ray Charles a deal: a $50,000 annual retainer and the eventual ownership of his master recordings. Having grown up in the deep South listening to plenty of country music, Charles tested his label’s promise to give him full artistic freedom by recording an album of classic “hillbilly” songs, as he called them. The album was released to ample skepticism during a time of racial turmoil and the petty experiment became perhaps his best-loved album: Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.

  • Established in 1943, the Pulitzer Prize for music had only ever been awarded to classical composers. That is until 2018, when Kendrick Lamar broke barriers by winning the award for his album, DAMN. As it stands today, Kendrick is the only artist that could be considered Pop that ever has won the award.
  • Stevie Wonder’s composition and release of “Happy Birthday,” along with his tireless campaigning, led directly to the enshrinement of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, observed in the US for the first time in January 1986.


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