The artist version, featuring recent departures like Pill and Ras Kass to legendary exits from Ice Cube and Game. Here are 15 examples that really impacted Hip Hop.
With Valentines Day ahead, HipHopDX recently took a look at famous Hip Hop couples who later broke-up. Realizing that might be a bit too far from the music for some, we also enjoyed creating a list of 15 break-ups within groups, or sometimes of groups altogether. We still hope some of these were just "break-ups to make-ups."
Pill & Maybach Music Group
One of the more recent separations, Pill’s late 2011 frustrations hit Twitter after a lack of radio and video support as compared to MMG brethren Wale and Meek Mill. Later information unraveled that it may have been the brass at Warner Brothers that were platooning the Grind Time Rap Gang protege in the 600 Benz. Politics as usual...
Ras Kass & HRSMN
With the exception of Killah Priest, three of the four Horsemen have been no stranger to drama, especially Can-I-Bus. Ras Kass has kept quiet since his January departure after a decade down with the mysterious click, but something might have been going on that was unsophisticated, tacky and just not G.
Elzhi & Slum Village
Like the Geto Boys in the ‘90s, Slum Village has often been quite the rodeo. T3 has managed to stay the course since the beginning, while former mid-’00s partner Elzhi was the latest to leave the group after Villa Manifesto. In recent days El called the group’s manager “poison,” while T3 thinks media sites like DX have an agenda with the legendary Detroit outfit. We hope neither of those things are true.
Mack 10 & West Side Connection
Around the same time wife T-Boz filed a restraining order against former star-husband Mack 10, WC and Ice Cube flew the coop from the self-proclaimed “chicken hawk.” In the years since, WC has released his albums on Cube’s Lench Mob imprint, making the trio a seeming pair. Mack’s been exiled so much so, there was even a rumor of Game stepping in as a replacement in the group with diverse ties to the streets.
Young Buck/Game & G-Unit
Childhood friends 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo have remained the Queens core of G-Unit. Compton, California rapper Game was around for a brief stint in 2004-2005, allowing him to raise a profile into his own solo endeavors. The Black Wall Street rapper learned in real-time that he was no longer down with the Unit, prompting a feud that still rears its ugly head at times. Young Buck lasted through 2008, until his frustrations with label head 50 Cent bled to an embarrassing taped phone-call, and a contract dispute that’s put the once platinum Tennessee rapper’s career in commercial quicksand.
Ice Cube & N.W.A.
One of the first high-profile group departures, Ice Cube broke from the legendary N.W.A. group in late 1989, early 1990. The writer of many of Eazy E’s most notable verses began to dispute the slim royalties he was receiving. The South Central, Los Angeles emcee reunited with childhood C.I.A. partner Sir Jinx and Public Enemy’s production outfit The Bomb Squad to make a five-mic album in AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted in 1990. N.W.A. responded, claiming credit for Cube’s solo success on “Real Niggaz.” A year and a half later, by the time Cube released scathing diss record “No Vaseline,” Dr. Dre was already looking at the front door, as N.W.A. dissolved.
In 2010, when Bone Thugs-N-Harmony released Uni5: The World’s Enemy, it felt like a decade-plus in the making: all five members, a major label deal, DJ U-Neek on the boards. It did not last, as Bizzy Bone’s notorious behavior blemished the corresponding tours. In April 2011, Krayzie Bone and Wish Bone left the group, citing personal differences and the desire to pursue solo careers. With on-again, off-again status, there is talk of reunions, but Ohio’s greatest Rap group is in as much turmoil as ever.
Cuban Link & Terror Squad
During Big Pun’s life Terror Squad was an emerging group with a lot of promise. The collective of Pun, Fat Joe Armageddon, Triple Seis, Prospect and Cuban Link released The Album in 1999, just months before Pun’s untimely death. The core sound of the group featured sounds from New York crate-diggers like The Beatnuts and D.I.T.C., with dazzling lyrical display. With the group on hiatus for several years, Joe, Pun’s mentor revamped the lineup. Few careers were put on hold more than Cuban Link, Pun’s band-mate going back to the Full-A-Clips days. During a 2001 altercation in the Bronx, Cuban’s face was slashed, by whom he claims was Fat Joe. One of Pun’s oldest affiliates was not leaning back with T.S. three years later when the group got mainstream recognition in Pun’s absence.
One of the most mysterious break-ups to ever hit Hip Hop. The Fugees called it quits in the aftermath of one of Hip Hop’s most successful and most acclaimed albums, The Score. The following solo endeavors produced Lauryn Hill’s immortal Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album, while Wyclef Jean embarked on a prominent, genre-fusing solo career with The Carnival and production work. Pras focused on feature and soundtrack work. However in the time apart, the group’s closed-door-issues impacted the music, with six years of hiatus. When 2004’s Chappelle Show Block Party reunion happened, the group opted for a European tour to follow. In the wake of that tour, Pras and Wyclef both cited differences with Ms. Hill, and it was 2008 all over again.
DJ Quik & AMG
DJ Quik and his Inglewood have had an off-again, on-again relationship for 20-plus years. Quik produced on AMG’s biggest album, Bitch Betta Have My Money. With back and forths at times since, the group landed an Interscope Records single deal in 2006, as The Fixxers. The success of “Can You Werk Wit Dat?” prompted a full album of work. The piece was shelved, and two longtime homies have apparently had bitter words for each other since. We hope (and secretly) suspect more blush-inducing collaborations to come.
Guru & DJ Premier
One of the saddest of all break-ups. Luckily the Gang Starr duo had a bedside reunion before Guru’s untimely death. However, fans of wise, hardcore Hip Hop were sad to see the 15-plus year duo part ways after The Ownerz.
Lil’ Kim & Junior M.A.F.I.A.
The death of The Notorious B.I.G. was very nearly so for his group. Following 1995’s Conspiracy, Lil’ Kim found solo success with her acclaimed solo debut, 1996’s Hardcore. Three years later, Lil’ Cease’s own debut broke through. However, once the ‘00s hit, Kim was focused on her own brand, while Cease, Klepto, Nino Brown and Banger trucked along. Other members vacated too, proof that often times when a lady leaves the party, the party loses its fun.
Cormega & The Firm
When Nas released It Was Written in 1996, one of the stand-out moments was “Affirmative Action,” featuring longtime friends AZ, Cormega and Foxy Brown. Called “The Firm,” the mid-’90s super-group signed a deal with Dr. Dre’s fledgling Aftermath Entertainment, by way of manager Steve Stoute. Only, ‘Mega and Stoute were at odds, along with rising tensions with Nas, causing the lyrical emcee to leave the group. Nature replaced Cory, who inked a deal with Def Jam, and remained at odds with Nas for much of the next decade. As for The Firm, it was a one and done as fans still dream of a reunion.
Busta Rhymes & Leaders of the New School
The Long Island, New York Hip Hop crew was all fun and games from 1991 to 1996. The animated emcee Busta Rhymes emerged from the quartet including Dinco D, Charlie Brown and Cut Monitor Milo, and inked a solo deal with Elektra Records, who had signed the group. Already three years removed from lackluster sophomore L.O.N.S. album T.I.M.E., things were apparent to the band that the focus was now on Trevor Smith. After a bittersweet appearance on The Coming, that was it for the Leaders we knew and loved.
Uncle Luke & 2 Live Crew
When Luke Skywalker signed the already-buzzing 2 Live Crew in the late 1980s, he inserted himself as their leader. Mr. Mixx, Fresh Kid Ice and Amazing V. accepted the decision (Brother Marquis was added soon later). However Luke became the unyielding star of the show, and the poster-child of 2LC’s controversies. By the early 1990s, Fresh Kid Ice and Luke fought over the rights to band name with competing releases, while Marquis formed 2 Nazty. Luke went out to focus on a short-lived solo career while some true Southern pioneers disbanded.