Ifè Oshun and staff
2005 saw some real wild stuff go down in the world of rap music. Whether it was crime-by-fork, radio station gun battles or proclamations of the president's alleged racism, the year will go down in history as one of serious rap industry nuttiness. We've listed our picks of the Top 10 stories of the year just so you can see what we mean. Drumroll...
1. G-Unit's Young Buck starts off the year by pleading not guilty to an assault charge for allegedly stabbing a man during the infamous brawl at the 2nd annual Vibe Awards in 2004. The rapper, whose real name is David Darnell Brown, strikes a deal and has the charges dropped in December in exchange for a guilty plea of a lesser charge. Brown admits to having a fork and doing damage with it which gets him three years of felony probation and 80 hours of community service.
2. Meanwhile, the stabbing victim, Jimmy James Johnson, first pleads not guilty in January, then pleads guilty in September to sucker punching Dr. Dre at the same Vibe Awards. Unable to afford the same caliber of defense Young Buck does, he gets one year in jail, three years of probation and the command to stay away from Dre for three years. Johnson had earlier said that he was paid by Suge Knight to assault Dre, but it was never proven.
3. Gunfire erupts outside of New York's infamous Hot 97 radio station when 50 Cent kicks The Game out of G-Unit, citing disloyalty. Several months of highly-publicized and stage-y verbal wars go by before they call a truce at, what else, a press conference in New York. The next month the duo donate $200,000 to California schools. Meanwhile, fueled by the media-generated "tension," 50 becomes the first artist since the Beatles in 1964 to have four Top 10 singles at once when the duo's "Hate It or Love It" collabo makes the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 (joining "Candy Shop" featuring Olivia, "Disco Inferno" and the Game's "How We Do" featuring 50 Cent.)
4. The FBI closes its investigation into the 1997 murder of rapper Notorious B.I.G... months before the case is declared a mistrial in July.
5. Representatives for civil rights icon Rosa Parks finally settle the years-long lawsuit brought against Outkast, LaFace and their colleagues for the hip-hop duo's use of Parks' name as the title of their hit single. The relief is short-lived, however, when the legend, long suffering dementia, passes away in October.
6. Live 8, Bob Geldof's concert series brainchild, is a success. Taking place simultaneously in London, Philadelphia, Paris, Berlin and Rome it brings needy attention to international debt, aid and trade issues. Produced by Russell Simmons, the Philadelphia stage proves to be a rap powerhouse featuring performances by Will Smith, the Black Eyed Peas, and Jay-Z, who are joined around the world by others such as Stevie Wonder, U2, Destiny's Child, Snoop Dogg, Green Day, Elton John,Joss Stone and many, many more.
7. Lil' Kim becomes the first celebrity female rapper to be sent to prison when she earns 366 days behind the wall for lying to a federal grand jury in order to protect colleagues involved in a shootout outside, you guessed it, Hot 97.
8. An emotional Kanye West voices the frustration of a nation as he reacts to the slowness of the government in aiding the poor and mainly Black citizens of New Orleans in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophy. While hosting a live NBC telethon to spark aid, West ditches the script and begins a rambling monologue which ends with the now famous line, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Jay-Z later voices his support of West's freedom of speech.
9. After years of tension, beef, disses and bad feelings, New York rap mammoths Jay-Z and Nas end their onstage during New York radio station Power 105.1's Power House concert at New Jersey's Continental Airlines Arena.
10. Foxy Brown's lawyer tells the world that the Brooklyn rapper is almost totally deaf. Attorney Joseph Tacopina tells the press when asked why he and the rapper whose real name is Inga Marchand exchanged notes in Manhattan Criminal Court during a "hearing" for a 2004 assault charge. Foxy later fires Tacopina for talking about her deafness to the press against her wishes.