Discover more from The Musicians Series by Adam Villacin
who sampled? who loves you better? who shot ya? hey joe, where you goin' with that gun in your hand?
This is a good week, there’s a nice flow to it. Check out the Spotify playlist at the end, follow it and listen later. And for whatever reason, when I beg you to share this newsletter with a friend who might enjoy it, I actually get new subscribers. So… please do that. Alright, here’s Three Stacks.
When André 3000 and Big Boi started performing together in high school, they called themselves The Misfits. After realizing the name was already taken, they used a synonym - Outkast. He went to night school during the ATLiens sessions and got his GED.
Ms. Jackson is about Erykah Badu’s mom. André ‘s stepfather, Reverend Robert Hodo, played the harmonica on Rosa Parks. The actual Rosa Parks sued Outkast over the song in 1999. He originally wrote the beat for Total, but ended up using it himself. He wrote Prototype for Janet Jackson, but kept that, too. André was in a couple episodes of The Shield. He also played Jimi Hendrix in a 2013 biopic. He invented the alley-oop with Jackie Moon. He shared his kale recipe with Bon Appétit.
André was a vegan for fifteen years, but stopped because he realized eating salads made him mean. He has social anxiety and hypersensitivity disorder. Sometimes he can be found in random places playing a Mayan double flute.
Jimi Hendrix was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division. He was caught twice in stolen cars, and chose the Army over prison. Before making it on his own, he backed Sam Cooke, Little Richard, Wilson Pickett, Ike and Tina Turner, and The Isley Brothers. He was discovered performing as Jimmy James at Café Wha? by The Animals’ Chas Chandler. He took Jimi to England, where he got onstage to jam with Cream and blew Clapton away. Jimi was once kidnapped, and was let go unharmed after two days. Some suspect that his manager Michael Jeffrey arranged it to end a contract dispute.
Jimi had synesthesia, and described purple as jealousy, and green as envy. Purple Haze was inspired by the sci-fi novel Night of Light by Philip José Farmer. When Jimi died from a barbiturate overdose, Eric Burdon hurried to his apartment to clear it of drugs before the cops came.
Ron Isley and his brothers had their first hit with Shout in 1959. They added a step, and had another hit with Twist and Shout. The various combinations of the six Isley brothers and one brother-in-law put out thirty albums, and have charted in six different decades.
When they first auditioned Jimi Hendrix to join the band, they had to help him get him guitar out of the pawn shop and buy him new strings. Then they gave him a place to crash and bought him a white Stratocaster to replace his beaten up guitar. On their ninth album, 1971’s Givin’ It Back, they covered white rock artists, after years of white rock artists making money playing their music.
The Isley Brothers’ songs have been sampled by many hip hop artists--most notably Ice Cube's It Was a Good Day and Biggie Smalls' Big Poppa. Ron became a sought after hook vocalist in the 90s, featuring on tracks by R Kelly, Keith Sweat, Warren G, 2Pac, and UGK. In 2006, Isley was convicted for tax evasion and served three years.
The Notorious B.I.G.
Christopher Wallace, aka The Notorious B.I.G., originally went by Biggie Smalls, after a character from the Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier film Let’s Do It Again. He went to high school with Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, and DMX. He collaborated with both Shaq and Michael Jackson. He appeared on Martin as himself.
That’s really a recording of Big getting top at the end of Respect. 2Pac bought him his first Rolex. He liked pranks, and would stick lit matches in between the fingers of people who fell asleep at the studio, or pour hot sauce on their lips. He was married to Faith Evans, but had an affair with Lil’ Kim. Cam’ron auditioned for him while Biggie was in bed with two models.
On March 9th, 1997, Wallace was shot four times and killed outside of an after-party at the Peterson Automotive Museum. He was 24 years old. His murder remains unsolved, though it was believed to be an assassination.
Lil’ Kim was kicked out of her house when she was 15 for allegedly trying to stab her father with a pair of scissors. She attended the same high school as Nas and Foxy Brown. She met Biggie on the street when she was seventeen and he was nineteen. Her relationship with him was very violent- he once choked her until she passed out, and one time Jermaine Dupri witnessed him put a pistol to her head.
In 2002, Kim dated Damion World Hardy. He abused her, and punched her to the point where she need several nose jobs. She went to prison for a year for perjury after being involved in a shoot-out with Capone-N-Noreaga, related to a beef with Foxy Brown, her former schoolmate. While inside, she watched Dancing with the Stars, on which she would later appear.
Lil’ Kim is a philanthropist, and has raised money and awareness for children's hospitals, the Humane Society, and the fights against HIV and AIDS, breast cancer, child neglect, and violence against women.
Sean John Puff Daddy Combs' father Melvin was in the USAF and was an associate of Frank Lucas. He was shot to death in his car when Sean was two. In 1991, he promoted charity event with Heavy D after a basketball game. It was oversold, and nine people died in a stampede that occurred. Puffy was the talent director at Uptown Records before he was fired. He took his act The Notorious B.I.G. with him when he founded Bad Boy Records.
When Puffy and his girlfriend J.Lo were in the middle of a shootout at the club, he hired Johnnie Cochran and Benjamin Brafman to defend him. He assaulted a record exec with a chair and a champagne bottle for allowing the crucifixion scene of the Hate Me Now video to air. Puff Daddy became P. Diddy in 2001. Combs has a fragrance inspired by MLK, Muhammad Ali, and Barack Obama. He’s collaborated with Jimmy Page, and opened for N*sync on tour in 2002.
Both of his kids were on MTV's My Super Sweet 16. Diddy gave one son a Maybach, and the other a Range Rover and a classic Cadillac. He gave Justin Bieber a Lambo for his sixteenth birthday. He planned on giving J.Lo and Ben Affleck matching Rolls Royces for their wedding. In 2006, he sold 150 of his cars on eBay. He is absolutely baffled by one dollar bills.
Here’s this week’s playlist
This video is of Three Stacks as Jimi covering The Beatles. Paul McCartney tells this story in interviews and goes on to say that Jimi’s use of the whammy bar sent his guitar out of tune. After the song, Jimi spotted Clapton in the audience and asked him to tune his guitar for him.
The Isley brothers talking about getting hustled by Jimi.
A mid-nineties Isley Brothers and Angela Winbush jam remixed by Puffy, featuring Lil’ Kim and 112. Kim tells Ron to make it shift in her uterus and he makes a funny face. This is a cool video.
Here is a commercial Biggie did for St. Ides.
This was a proposed commercial for Pepsi that never got made.
Biggie’s reference track for Lil’ Kim’s Queen Bitch. Listen to him say that he’s Got buffoons eatin’ my pussy while I watch cartoons.
Okay, that’s it for this week. Consider subscribing if you haven’t already, and if you enjoy it, forward this email to a friend who likes the same things you do.
ALSO - I do another weekly newsletter with Eric Nusbaum about remarkable and underpraised people from sports history. It’s good as hell, even if you don’t like sports. Click here to take a look.