Apollo Brown is a hip hop producer from Detroit, MI. He began making music in 1996, graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Business Administration, and immersed himself in the hip hop community. He formed a production group with Bronze Nazareth called Black Day In July. In 2007, Apollo released an instrumental album, Skilled Trade, followed by Make Do in 2009. After winning the Detroit Red Bull Big Tune Championships in 2009, he signed with the Mello Music Group as a producer. In 2010, Apollo released The Reset, a series of remixed tracks with new music and verses by Rapper Big Pooh, Black Milk, MED, Grap Luva, Kenn Starr, Oddisee, Diamond District, and more. That same year, he released a collaborative album with Boog Brown called Brown Study, and a group album with The Left called Gas Mask. In 2011, Apollo released the instrumental album Clouds and a collaborative album with Hassaan Mackey called Daily Bread. In 2012, Apollo released his biggest album to date, Trophies, with O.C. of D.I.T.C. Several months later, he released Dice Game with Guilty Simpson.
Apollo Brown Albums
Guilty Simpson & Apollo Brown – Dice Game (2012)
Apollo Brown & O.C. – Trophies (2012)
Hassaan Mackey & Apollo Brown – Daily Bread (2011)
Apollo Brown – Clouds (2011)
The Left – Gas Mask (2010)
Boog Brown & Apollo Brown – Brown Study (2010)
Apollo Brown – The Reset (2010)
Apollo Brown – Make Do (2009)
Apollo Brown – Skilled Trade (2007)
Detroit emcee Moe Dirdee drops a new visual for the single “Ride Clean”. The song is from Moe’s 2012 album, Dirdee Moetown 3. Purchase the album here and check out Moe Dirdee’s interview on TheBeeShine.
Hype men have been an essential part of the live performance since the beginning of hip hop. Known to fire up the crowd and emphasize lyrics for the main act, often times the hype man plays a big role with the audience’s experience. What is less known is that many now-famous legends of the game began their careers in this role for more popular acts. To highlight some of the major players who evolved from side kick to main attraction on the stage, we have compiled a list with LuvJonez of some of the most notable hype men in the rap game; some great, some not so great, but some that have climbed the ladder of success.
“The original hype man” as quoted by Kool Moe Dee. Forever remembered as the creator of the “yes, yes ya’ll” chant from raps early days, Kidd Creole was one of the founding members of Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five. He was noted as one of the first rappers to “style” rhymes and helped promote park jams by warming up the crowd for the more lyrical members of the crew. Creole was always handing out flyers, hauling turntables and records for his crew, and is now immortalized in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame for his efforts in the early days of rap.
Probably the most well-known hype man in the rap game, Flavor Flav was always the balance and comic relief for Chuck D’s more serious rhymes as part of Public Enemy. Flav has become a reality TV star in recent years, but his grind in the early Def Jam days for Public Enemy earned him the status of an icon. From outlandish colored suits, his iconic over-sized clock and willingness to make jokes, Flav built his status from only occasionally rapping, but chanting in the background of songs and performing skits for PE along the way. Always willing to bounce around to get people excited for the heavy subject matter from PE, Flav helped make hype men a necessity in hip hop.
Though Jigga has become one of the few giants of the culture, eventually becoming a full-fledged NBA and clothing mogul, his humble beginnings in the Marcy projects of Brooklyn helped shape the man he is today. Most people know of Jay-Z from his debut album Reasonable Doubt introducing him to the masses, but long before Roc-A-Fella Records, Jay was the understudy and hype man for Jaz-O, another Brooklyn emcee in the 80s. Often appearing in photos and videos with Jaz-O, the “Hawaiian Sophie” music video shows a young, floral-print wearing Jay before he branched out on his own. The similarities in name of Jaz-O and Jay-Z is no coincidence, and regardless of their disagreements, Jay started as a side kick at a young age to learn the game and eventually graduate to much more success.
The So So Def prince of Atlanta, Jermaine Dupri, has established himself as a hit-maker for groups like Kris Kross, Nelly, Ludacris and many others in his long run as an entertainer. One of JD’s lesser known facts is that his origins come from being a dancer and hype man for Whodini back in hip hop’s infancy days. Learning the entertainment business at a young age helped JD understand marketing, which was used throughout his career in R&B, slow jams, and rap. Few people know that his father was Michael Mauldin, a long-standing record executive at Columbia Records. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree where talent scout and empire building was concerned.
Forever a household name and arguably the world’s most popular rapper since the mid-90s, 2Pac was an iconic rap solider and fallen hero. His career began with the fun-loving and somewhat novelty act from Oakland known as Digital Underground. Starting out as a dancer and side kick for Shock G and scarcely recording with the crew, 2Pac used his connections to create his own recording deal that eventually birthed his incredible back catalog of material. Though graduating from a less serious version of rapper and image in his early career, 2Pac hit the ground running with political issues and anthems for struggle with his early solo records, and found his thug life voice to brand himself as a superstar in the years to come.
Sean “Puffy” Combs had a mogul mindset even before his career began. His determination helped him evolve from his early claim to fame as a dancer for Heavy D and other Arista/Uptown artists under the executive watch of Andre Harrell. Quickly connecting with artists at Uptown from R&B and rap, Diddy orchestrated glossy remixes and built a roster for his own label, Bad Boy Records. His artist persona was only talking in the background of tracks until Biggie encouraged him later on to fully embrace standing out as a solo artist. With the charisma and business-mind to create a record label, clothing line, alcohol brand, and many other ventures, Diddy took his life-long hustle and dancing energy all the way to the bank and continues building his empire decades later.
Perhaps one of the most slept on hype men in all of rap, Memphis Bleek quietly built a career from being Jay-Z’s side kick in the 90s and on almost every record since. Some people were convinced that Bleek saved Jay’s life or served as his assistant to have stuck around as long as he did. Bleek released four albums under Roc-A-Fella Records. While he didn’t record many hit singles, all of his albums went gold, which is a feat unmatched by most of rap’s former hype men.
Forever immortalized as the blood covered, shooting victim from the album cover of We Can’t Be Stopped, Bushwick Bill was one of the first to rap about horror and graphic imagery. As the scary and unpredictable “Chucky” persona and hype man for the Geto Boys, the pint-sized rapper had no shame in showcasing his mutilated eyeball on stage, while embracing the violent, gangster, and thug image of the rest of the group. After a career of tough talk and horrific tales, Bill explored Christianity and disappeared from the lime light. Though he started as almost a mascot for Geto Boys, Bill grew into a rapper capable of holding down a full-length album. Despite waning popularity in the Internet age, Bill will always remain an icon to rappers exploring the dark side of life.
The now historic relationship of Proof and Eminem is recorded on film in 8 Mile, but the true story of Proof’s influence on Em is his determination to bring a young Marshall Mathers on stage at open mics and emcee battles to showcase his skills in front of an audience in the 90s. Proof served as an usher in the Detroit hip hop scene and constantly pushed Eminem to do more. Though his life ended tragically and his role with D12 never launched him fully into the limelight, Proof has validated that a hype man can do more than chant your lyrics hype up the crowd. A hype man can push you into a legendary and superstar status career.
Cut down in his prime as one quarter of The Lost Boyz crew, Freaky Tah parlayed his friendship with the other members into a career as a hype man for a few albums. Though he never was responsible for incredible rhymes, his contributions to The Lost Boyz was that of video mainstay and sometimes DJ. He promoted his crew heavily and served as backup emcee at times, but Tah pushed hard for his Queens crew to make noise and celebrated the high life with them, before being gunned down at age 27.
Named after the Tony Montana “Scarface” character, Yayo is one of the more shadowy figures of the G-Unit crew. Always present in videos and concerts, but Yayo rarely recorded rhymes until G-Unit was diminishing and Young Buck left. Though he released an album in 2005 that was not as successful as his crew mates’ projects, he did contribute to the group’s 2x platinum debut album. Yayo proved his loyalty to G-Unit and long-time friends 50 Cent and Lloyd Banks by sticking around for both the good and bad times.
Detroit’s own Moe Dirdee releases a neck-breaking music video from the album Dirdee Moetown 2. Support quality hip hop and purchase Dirdee Moetown 2, and watch Moe Dirdee’s interview with TheBeeShine!
From Coney Island, NY, Nems has been causing havoc on the underground hip hop scene for over a decade. Featured on MTV’s Fight Klub, Nems’ record has an impressive 25 wins and only 4 losses. He is also a champion of both EOW’s Emcee Challenge and Braggin’ Rights. Signed to Necro’s label Psycho+Logical Records, Nems toured heavily while recording his debut album Prezident’s Day. In 2010, he released the album with Creative Juices Music, receiving critical acclaim. Nems followed up in 2011 with a mixtape titled Filthy Fly Shit. Check out Nems’ albums and music videos listed below, and keep an eye out for the mixtape Coney Soprano, an EP with producer Nemisis called The First Will & Testament Of A Real Nigga, and the sophomore album titled “Tha Second Coming Of Nyce”.
Nems Music Videos
From Detroit, MI, Midwest Miles is an emcee most known for battling rapping in The Lions Den and URL. In 2008, he released a mixtape titled “The Suicide Note”, mixed by DJ P Dog. Follow Midwest Miles on Twitter and check out his music videos for “Murda Mook Diss” with X-Factor and “Where You From” with Bizarre, King Gordy, and Kuniva.
Midwest Miles Battles
Midwest Miles Vs. Tech 9 (URL – September 2011)
Midwest Miles Vs. Shotgun Suge (URL – June 2011)
Midwest Miles Vs. E Ness (URL – August 2010)
Midwest Miles Vs. Aye Verb (URL – February 2010)
Midwest Miles Vs. Rich Dolarz (URL – November 2009)
Midwest Miles Vs. T-Rex (Fight Klub – March 2008)
Midwest Miles Vs. Loaded Lux (URL – January 2007)
Midwest Miles Vs. Eddie Morris (Skrilla Gorillas – Lost Footage)
From Detroit, MI, Swann is one of several pioneers in the art of freestyle battle rap. He has gained recognition nationwide by showcasing his off-the-top wit beyond street cyphers. Swann has been featured in The Source, on MTV, VH1, Fight Klub, and Scribble Jam. Some of his most notable battles are from Scribble Jam, battling against Illmaculate and Rhymefest. On a larger scale, Swann has faced off with Blind Fury on MTV’s MC Battle competition.
D12, aka The Dirty Dozen, is a hip hop group from Detroit, MI. They formed in 1996, and achieved mainstream success after one of the members, Eminem, achieved international fame. In 1997, they released their debut album The Underground EP. Bizarre was named Inner City Entertainment’s Flava Of The Week and released an EP called Attack Of The Weirdos, while Proof won a freestyling competition run by The Source. During Eminem’s first record deal, Proof recruited Kuniva and Kon Artist into the group, formerly known as Da Brigade. D12 has released two albums, titled Devil’s Night (2001) and D12 World (2004). Devil’s Night sold four million albums worldwide and two million in the U.S, while D12 World sold over 500,000 copies in its first week. In 2005, Bizarre and Proof managed to see solo success with their solo album releases, titled Hannicap Circus and Searching For Jerry Garcia. D12 appeared on Tech N9ne’s 2002 album, Absolute Power, on the track “She Devil”. In 2006, Proof was fatally shot at a club in Detroit. In 2008, D12 released a mixtape, titled Return Of The Dozen Vol. 1 in preparation for new material. Because of Proof’s passing and Eminem working on solo material, the mixtape features several guest features from Royce Da 5’9″, King Gordy, and more. In 2011, a former member from the early incarnation of D12, Fuzz Scoota, rejoined the group. D12 released another mixtape, titled Return Of The Dozen Vol. 2.
D12 – Return Of The Dozen Vol. 2 (2011)
Bizarre – Friday Night At St. Andrews (2010)
D12 – Return Of The Dozen Vol. 1 (2008)
Bizarre – Blue Cheese & Coney Island (2007)
Bizarre – Hannicap Circus (2005)
Proof – Searching For Jerry Garcia (2005)
D12 – D12 World (2004)
D12 – Devil’s Night (2001)
Bizarre – Attack Of The Weirdos (1998)
D12 – The Underground EP (1997)
Marvwon is a great example of the talent that Detroit has to offer hip hop. As an emcee, Marvwon has earned a reputable name by competing in battles over the years, both freestyle and written. In 2007, Marv teamed up with Quest Mcody for the World Rap Championship tournament to battle The Saurus and Illmaculate in the finals. Since then, Marv has been featured in URL, KOTD, and Grind Time Now. In addition to battling, MarvWon makes quality music. His two albums are “Way Of The Won” from 2009 and “Wayne Fontes Music” from 2010. Support quality hip hop by purchasing “Wayne Fontes Music” and download “Way Of The Won” for free. Also, watch Marvwon’s music videos for “Stomp”, “Totally Awesome” (ft Rio Data), “My City” (ft Trick Trick & Guilty Simpson), and “Nuttintasayaboutit” (ft Quest Mcody).
Marvwon Vs. Pat Stay (KOTD – September 2011)
Marvwon Vs. Loe Pesci (KOTD – May 2011)
Marvwon Vs. Ness Lee (Grind Time Now – April 2011)
Marvwon Vs. Cortez (URL – October 2010)
Marvwon & Quest Mcody Vs. Soul Khan & Dirtbag Dan (Grind Time Now – May 2010)
Marvwon Vs. Madness (Grind Time Now – February 2010)
Marvwon Vs. Locksmith (MTV – December 2009)
Marvwon Vs. Aye Verb (Grind Time Now – October 2009)
Marvwon Vs. Nemz (Who Wanna Battle – September 2009)
Marvwon Vs. Famous (Fight Klub – October 2004)
Seven The General is a talented and hungry artist from Detroit, Michigan. He has worked with artists from the group D12, as well as Royce Da 5’9″ and Redman. After a decade in prison, Seven wasted no time contributing to music and building a name for himself. His first single “We In The Building” is featured on the Legendz Entertainment album in 2008 titled “Bout Time”. Seven is featured in Al Profit’s crime documentary titled “Murder City: Detroit, 100 Years of Crime & Violence” that has sold over 100,000 copies. Seven also stars in the motion picture “Dancing Shoes” directed by Darren Brown. Check out Seven’s 2010 album titled “Sanctum Sanctorium” and watch his music videos listed below.
Seven The General Music Videos
“West Side Capital” (ft B-Down The Boss & Bizarre)
“I’m From 7 Mile”
“Rap’s Finest” with Bizarre, Royce Da 5’9″, & Kuniva
“On Everything” with K’Jon
“Detroit” with Da Heat
“Young Boy Fresh”
“We In The Building”
Hip hop’s super group crashed New York City via Detroit, Long Beach, Brooklyn, and Jersey City for a powerful performance at SOB’s. Support quality hip hop and purchase their self-titled album “Slaughterhouse” on iTunes.
Detroit native Moe Dirdee is a midwest hip hop breakthrough artist and well-connected in his home city. Moe represents the generation following Royce Da 5’9″, Kid Rock, Eminem, and D12. Known for battling in Grind Time Now and URL, Moe has released countless compilations, mixtapes, and singles to earn him a strong reputation. In 2010, Moe released Dirdee Moetown: The Mixtape, which explains his professional relationships with some of the hardest hip hop artists in Detroit. In the same year, “M.O.E.” (Mark of Excellence) brought forth the city’s anthem “You Don’t Belong In Detroit”, produced by Chanes. In 2011, Moe released Dirdee Moetown 2, along with the music video “What Happened”. Support quality hip hop by purchasing Moe Dirdee’s albums and watch his music videos listed below.