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On March 4th, 1966, emcee extraordinaire, official producer, DJ, urban fashion mogul, 5% Nation Of Gods & Earth representative (Allah's Five Percenters aka The Nation Of Gods & Earths), former member of The Masters Of Ceremony, and founding member of the hip hop collective Brand Nubian-Grand Puba Maxwell (Maxwell Dixon) was born in NYC, NY. Puba has been in the game for over 40 years. As a teen he rhymed, and searched for breaks worthy of looping and cutting up. Puba made his hip hop major label debut with The Masters of Ceremony, in 1988, on their Dynamite LP. The album only saw moderate sales-which caused the band to end their recording career. Puba, already a seasoned producer, started making tracks for other groups like KMD, while holding tight to the 5% teachings. While working with others, he also continued to write rhymes for a solo project.
However, before he could drop a solo joint, he met Now Rule (New Rochelle) emcees Derek X (Sadat X), Lord Jamar, and an up an coming DJ named Alamo. The four all shared a common bond under the 5% teachings, and created a group called Brand Nubian. Puba was the unofficial group leader; and did most of the rhyming and production on their debut album One For All-released on Elektra Records in 1990. Puba’s status and popularity expanded greatly off of the success of this LP; and he went solo in 1991. In 1992 he released his solo debut Reel To Reel on Elektra Records, which sold very well and earned Grand Puba a spot among hip hop’s greatest rappers. Puba continues to rhyme, produce, and speak about Hip Hop & Allah's 5% Nation Of Gods And Earths. He’s 53 today.
On March 4th, 1944, singer, songwriter, producer, left-handed guitarist, good friend of Sam Cooke, and new husband of his widow Barbara Cooke-Bobby Womack (Robert Dwayne Womack) was born in Cleveland, Ohio. The Editor In Chief for the blog, Jabriel Allah, doesn’t like Mr. Womack-as a person-very much based on the last point listed in the descriptive liner (he married Sam’s widow three short months after he was murdered). Even worse, he showed up to Sam's funeral with her on his arm. However, he does like his music. Everyone does in some way. Bobby had a long time musical and personal friendship with Cooke. He played guitar with Sam’s band, and Sam repaid the favor by signing his group-The Valentinos to his SAR label (Sam & Alex Records).
Bobby got started on guitar, via his father, Friendly Womack Sr., who played and sang in church. When Bobby broke one of the strings on his father’s guitar, Friendly gave him the choice between playing some good licks or getting some good licks. Bobby did the former…He says he played everything from country, to blues, to soul, to classical music. His father was quite impressed, and purchased him a guitar. In his teens, he sang with his four brothers in The Womack Brothers gospel outfit. This is how he met Sam Cooke. When Cooke went secular, so did Bobby and his brothers-changing their name to The Valentinos. Womack, a prolific songwriter and composer, wrote songs for many people-even The Rolling Stones first hit single-It’s All Over Now. Bobby Womack was 70 years old, when he died in 2014.
On March 4, 1932, anti-apratheid activist, singer, songwriter, and actress-(Zenzile) Miriam Makeba was born in "What’s The Word-Johannesburg!," South Africa. She’s most noted for her work with Harry Belafonte, The Manhattan Brothers, Dizzy Gillespie, Hugh Masekela, Paul Simon, Nina Simone, The Skylarks, Paul Simon, The Cuban Brothers, and Bongi Makeba (Miriam’s daughter). Miriam’s mother was Swazi (Bantu), and her father was Xhosa (Nguni Bantu). They combined to create a talented, revolutionary child-that helped bring the sound of African Folk Music to the mainstream. She also helped bring attention to the racial injustices faced, under Apartheid, by occupied South Africa.
Miriam’s early musical influences were Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. She made her professional start with the African cover band The Cuban Brothers. They’d sing western soul & pop staples-add some South African flavor, and sprinkle in sparse original numbers. She then joined The Manhattan Brothers, and recorded her first hit single Laku Tshoni Ilanga (1953). In the mid 1950s she met Nelson Mandela, and a year later in 1956, she recorded her first solo single Lovely Lies for Gallotone Records. After this her career took off, and she began singing in Broadway plays and appearing on TV internationally (with Harry Belafonte and The African Jazz & Variety Show). This award winning singer was 76 when she died in 2008.
HONORABLE MENTION: On March 4th, 1921, the first Black-Owned American record label was established in Harlem, NY, during the rise of The Harlem Renaissance. Matter of fact, Black Swan Records is one of the major catalysts that sparked the rise of The Harlem Renaissance. Henry Pace, Harlem mogul and Pace Phonograph Corporation owner established the label. His recording manager and session pianist was Fletcher Henderson. The imprint’s musical director and arranger was William Grant Still. W.E.B. DuBois was a major stockholder in the company; and they released several ‘Race Music' records (Black music was called Race music, before the advent of The Billboard Charts). Black Swan Records would've been 98 years old today!
On March 4th, 1967, Alternative-Punk musician, guitarist, singer, pianist, songwriter, and former member of The Lemonheads-Evan Dando (Evan Griffith Dando-c) was born in Essex, Massachusetts. Dando's professionally debuted with The Whelps in 1986 (with Jesse Peretz & Ben Deily). The group morphed into The Lemonheads, and made their live debut at The Cambridge House in July of 1986. Later that year they signed to Taang! Records, and went on to release three albums on the imprint: Hate Your Friends, Creator, and Lick. He’s 51 today.
On March 4th, 1979, singer, songwriter, dancer, and the youngest member of The Jacksons-Randy Jackson (Steven Randall Jackson-l) was in a near fatal car accident. As the story goes, he was involved in a wreck that left him with both of his legs broken-and created other bruises and bumps. He nearly died in the emergency room, when the nurse mistakenly injected him with methadone…judging from my brother’s medical credentials, injecting someone with methadone will only make them drowsy unless they are already on some other drugs…We’ll say Randy wasn’t high on anything else, but maybe the doctors had him spruced up on something for pain and it collided badly with the methadone (pun intended).
On March 4th, 1993 Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston welcomed the first offspring of their union in holy matrimony. Bobbi Kristina Brown was born in Livingston, New Jersey. She died 22 years later, on July 26th, in 2015, in Duluth, Georgia. The cause of death was Lobar Pneumonia, which was caused by her lungs filling with the water from the tub she was found dead in face down. Bobbi was a Reality TV show personality, singer, actress, and media mogul. I’m not sure if her family ever got over her death. I believe it was accelerated and exacerbated Whitney’s self-destructive behavior while married to Brown, which may have led to Whitney's untimely death in 2012.
For more information on any musician or event reviewed in posts, or for additional information on The Wandering Eyes Blog overall, use the search bar and search the artist or event using keywords. It’s like a Google search for the site. A myriad of information, covering several topics exists on this site going back to 2013 when it was created. PEACE