In anticipation of Fathers Day, here are 10 Hip Hop dads who have shared the microphone with their children.
In Hip Hop’s more formative years, it was common for both the music and culture to be viewed as a taboo of sorts—something children hid from their parents. In a 2008 interview with HipHopDX, MC Ren said he was all too familiar with stories about how an entire generation would sneak off to secretly listen to N.W.A’s music.
“It’s just like how when I was little, we used to sneak and go listen to Richard Pryor,” Ren recalled. “We used to get in some serious trouble for that shit [laughs].”
As the times change, Ren can regularly be found collaborating with his son, Waxxie. With Hip Hop surpassing the 40-year mark, it’s now common for fathers to bring their offspring into the “family business” of Hip Hop. Emcees like Ice Cube regularly talk about allowing their children to hear their music. And in the case of Ghostface Killah and Sun God or Will and Jaden Smith, current generations are passing both the familial emcee gene and the mic to their progeny. In anticipation of Fathers Day 2014, here are 10 fathers who have graced the microphone with their children.
Jay Z & Blue Ivy Carter
Key Collaboration(s): “Glory”
In January of 2012, Blue Ivy Carter was recognized by Billboard magazine as the youngest person to appear on their R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, when the Jay Z song “Glory” debuted at the #74 spot. Credited as B.I.C., Blue’s contributions were minimal, as she essentially cooed over a Pharrell Williams track after Jay finished rhyming. But to hear her multiplatinum father tell it, B.I.C. has been a big influence.
“I’m a writer, so literally I’m saying, ‘The birth of my child gave me this new energy and focus,’” Jay explained in a 2013 interview with BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe. “Blue told me, remind you...just the focus and energy she gave me. She obviously can’t say, ‘Fuck that shit y’all talkin’ about. My dad’s the one [laughs]. She’s 17 months. She’s amazing, but come on. So I’m using a metaphor to say her energy and her presence gave me the focus to remind you again exactly who I am.”
With multiple name drops, including the “Holy Grail” lyrics referenced above, it will be interesting to see how the Carter union develops over the years.
Nas & Olu Dara
Key Collaboration(s): “Life’s A Bitch,” “Bridging The Gap,” “Jungle Jay”
In earlier years, if you lived outside of the tri state area, most if not all of the available information about Nas’ father, Olu Dara came from Nas himself. A cursory glance at the Illmatic liner notes reveals the man Nas referred to as a “legendary Jazzman” was responsible for the horn solo on “Life’s A Bitch.” After subsequent references on tracks like “Poppa Was A Player,” Olu Dara showed off both his horn skills and his vocal chops on the 2004 duet “Bridging The Gap.” Over the years, both Nas and Olu have provided glimpses into the characteristics that inform their respective artistry.
“I had a lot of faith in him as an artist, since he was a child,” Dara revealed during a 2009 Vulture.com interview with Amos Barshad. “He drew his own comic book, illustration and story, at a very young age. And I know he enjoyed the books I read—I had a lot of Eastern history and philosophy, and he read a lot about that. I remember always telling him, ‘Read these books, read these books, read these books…’”
E-40, Droop-E & Issue
Key Collaboration(s): “It’s All Bad,” “I’m Loaded,” “Catch A Fade”
They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but in the case of E-40’s two sons, they definitely can drop in different creative colors. The Bay Area legend has been making undeniable bangers since the early ‘90s, a sound which his eldest son Droop-E is gladly carrying on for a whole new generation. Droop-E began by dropping vocals on two early 40 Water songs, “Questions” and “It’s All Bad.”
“I had to help quarterback [“It’s All Bad”] with him, lyrically and everything,” 40 told SPIN.com in a March 2012 interview. “It’s just a fact that for him to be so young and have the nuts to really getting in the vocal booth and get on the mic and really gas that thing, you know what I’m saying? I pat him on the back for that. He delivered it right. Like the youngest rapper I ever heard. Then a couple years later he’s nine-years-old, and he put the pen to the paper and showed up on a song called “Growing Up.”
While Droop-E seems to have the Hyphy blood running through his veins, his younger brother Issue has his whip ghostriding to a whole different wavelength, fusing his flows with elements of Electronica, Classical, Industrial, Psych-rock, and more. Regardless of their styles, this family is going to always stay representing the Bay, no matter how many times you tell them when to go.
Common & Lonnie Lynn
Key Collaboration(s): “Pop’s Rap,” “Pop’s Rap Part 2 / Fatherhood,” “Pop’s Rap III… All My Children”
Common epitomizes longevity in Hip Hop. His tenure in Rap is now in its third decade with no signs of slowing down with the Chi Town native just announcing the release date for Nobody’s Smiling, his tenth retail effort. Yet his 20-plus years in Hip Hop may have housed an altered narrative if it wasn’t for the help of his Father, Lonnie “Pops” Lynn. Lonnie, a former basketball player, can be seen listed on the credits for most of Common’s albums, yet his most notable appearance was on “Pop’s Rap” off Common’s 1994 album Resurrection. He went on to to guest star on “Pop’s Rap Part 2 / Fatherhood” off his 1997 release One Day It’ll All Make Sense and “Pop’s Rap III… All My Children” off his Like Water for Chocolate album.
“I was just in the studio with him in Chicago years ago, and they had pizza and what have you all over the place,” Lynn told NPR in a 2005 interview. “So when he got through recording, he came out and say, ‘Hey, Dad, why don't you do something, man?’ So I stood up and I go, ‘What you want me to do, go get some more pizza or something?’”
More than deep dish, the elder Lynn supplied some deep, unrehearsed thoughts on fatherhood and his own journey. His addition to the album became a staple on further Common projects.
Lil Wayne & Birdman
Relationship: Father/Son...sort of
Key Collaboration(s): “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy,” “Bling, Bling,” “I Run This”
Although not biologically related, Lil Wayne and Birdman have one of Hip Hop’s most illustrious father/son relationships. Their links can be traced back the very early stages of the ‘90s with Wayne signing to Birdman’s Cash Money Records. Since then the duo have gone onto make history.
“My proudest moment was watching my son [Lil Wayne] emerge,” Birdman said in a 2012 interview with Complex. “I’m proud of all our accomplishments, but when I see my son do what he do, that shit means the world to me. I saw the emergence from Tha Carter. At that time, that’s when all the bullshit happened, when everybody was leaving [the label]. Honestly, I was like, ‘It’s on you, Wayne. I’m done with it.’ I knew however far this shit was going to go, it would have to be on Wayne. So I just gave it all to him, ‘It’s your turn, homie. It’s your world. We’re going to follow your lead. Whatever you want to do is what we’re going to do.’ That was right around the time we did the Like Father, Like Son album. That was something he wanted to do like, ‘Let’s bring it back like this with me and you.’ It’s been his movement ever since.”
As an emcee, Birdman isn’t starting wars or making any jaws drop, yet his astute business acumen has landed him consistency among Hip Hop’s wealthiest. In 2013, Baby earned the #4 slot on Forbes’ list of “Hip Hop’s Wealthiest Artists,” with an estimated $160 million. The pair released Like Father, Like Son, a collaborative album in 2006, and rumors of a sequel have been floating around ever since. Together the fusion of Wayne’s intense charisma and Birdman’s braggadocio money rants make for records that will forever be played at LIV on Sundays and King of Diamonds Monday.
Hailie Jade & Eminem
Key Collaboration(s): “Doe Rae Me (Hailie’s Revenge),“ “My Dad’s Gone Crazy”
For aficionados of Eminem’s early career, Hailie Jade was a name that was continually floating on the periphery. Shady’s eminent daughter has been the inspiration for some of his most personal records, (“When I’m Gone,” “Mockingbird”), but her name can also be seen appearing alongside her father on some of his lesser-known releases. We first heard Hailie on “My Dad’s Gone Crazy” off Em’s 2002 project The Eminem Show, however her name was catapulted to the top after Murder Inc. artist Ja Rule threw that stinging shot at the end of “Loose Change.” Eminem along with a likely oblivious Hailie, responded with “Doe Rae Me (Hailie’s Revenge)” an all out lyrical brawl with himself and his subordinates, D12 and Obie Trice, at the helm.
Hit-Boy & Big Hit
Key Collaboration(s): “Grindin’ My Whole Life,” Rude Awakening,” “G’z Don’t Cry”
In most father/son relationships, the elder paves the way with the progeny following suit. With Hit-Boy this phenomenon is flipped 180. After proving that he can dabble with the best of them, (being the architect behind Jay Z & Kanye West’s triple-platinum smash “Ni**as in Paris”) the California native has since gone on to establish his own label, Hits Since ’87. After a lengthy stint on the inside, Hit-Boy’s father, known as Big Hit is the latest to co-star alongside his son. “It’s beautiful, it’s God’s creation,” Big Hit said regarding his son’s success in a recent interview with REVOLT. “It was inevitable. I already knew it was possible and this is the manifestation.” He recalls the unforgiving ways of the street with some gritty lyrics on “Grindin' My Whole Life” off HS87’s We The Plug album and has recently enlisted the production services of his offspring for his first solo release “G’z Don’t Cry.” Big-Hit oozes OG-style characteristics, blend this in with Hit-Boy’s diverse and contemporary sound and we could have an enthusing tandem on the horizon.
Kid Frost & Scoop DeVille
Key Collaboration(s): “It’s Tha Kid,” “We Run Shit”
Little did Kid Frost know that when he was paving the way for Latinos in Hip-Hop, that his son would be leaving his own mark on the same trail decades later. The Los Angeles emcee brought Chicano Rap to the forefront with his 1990 anthem “Chicano Rap.” Aside from the video for the track being one of the first to freely portray the L.A. Hispanic Rap culture, it was also Scoop Deville’s introduction to the world at the tender age of three.
“I'd watch [my dad] pacing back and forth on the phone making deals,” DeVille told LA Weekly in a 2012 interview. “When independent shit was just barely kicking off, he'd have, like, a hundred grand in a backpack type of shit. All that was motivation.”
Scoop has definitely came a long way since then. Aside from providing production and features for his father Frost since the age of 15, Scoop Deville has helped produce for artists such as Too Short, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, and Busta Rhymes to name a few. However, his most acclaimed work to date was with fellow hometown hero Kendrick Lamar. His work on K. Dot’s “The Recipe” and “Poetic Justice” earned Scoop’s two first Grammy nominations. With Frost still going strong performing and Scoop Deville’s production career taking off, it seems this California father/son duo still has plenty left in the tank.
Master P & Romeo
Key Collaboration(s): “I Need Dubs,” “On A Bubble,” “Tight Whips”
When it came to making music, being an entrepreneur, and launching successful business ventures, Master P was definitely “bout it bout it”. The No Limit boss helped lay the blueprint in the early 90’s for what it took to become a successful Hip-Hop CEO, one his son Romeo definitely took notice of. Although he hasn’t exactly had the same amount of success as his father (a very difficult task seeing that Master P’s net worth was once estimated to be $350 million), he still did his best to get his “Master P” on. From his 2001 single “My Baby” peaking at the #3 spot on Billboard magazine’s “Hot 100” chart, to becoming CEO of his own record label at 17, Romeo is proof the hustler gene is alive and well in the Miller family.
“To me he’s the future,” P gushed in a 2007 interview with DJ Skee. “I call him super baby. I mean to be able to make movies, play basketball, run a business, and go to school? Super baby right there.”
Snoop Dogg & Cori B
Key Collaboration(s): “No Guns Allowed,” “Daddy’s Girl,” “Do My Thang”
When Snoop made the transition from Dogg to Lion for his Reincarnated album, it became a family affair. His listening audience became familiar with his daughter, Cori B courtesy of the ultimate assist—being on a track alongside Drake. While the harmony is provided by the two Broadus generations, Drake brings things home with some heartfelt bars about violence in his native Toronto. Early indications are that Cori’s debut, Chocc’s World will feature a Pop-infused R&B, making it decidedly tamer than her father’s debut. And that’s apparently by design of Cori’s parents.
“When she first wanted to do it, I didn’t like it because I didn’t think she was strong enough,” Snoop told Artisan News Service in an October 2011 interview. “But she went and did all the things to get herself better and better, and I’m working with her. I love her spirit, and she’s just a little angel to me. She wants to do it and push her mom’s label Boss Lady Entertainment. That’s just bringing our family together and closer.”
Bonus: Ice Cube, OMG & Doughboy
Key Collaboration(s): “Y’all Know How I Am,” “She Couldn’t Make It On Her Own”
Straight outta L.A. and straight into Hip Hop history as one of the most prolific MCs to ever pic up a mic, Ice Cube’s legacy is already set in stone. His two sons however, OMG and Doughboy, hope to carry on that legacy with their own Los Angeles tales. Both made their lyrical debut in 2010, spitting some bars on Cube’s album I Am The West as well as rocking the mic in the BET Cypher with their pops alongside another father son trio of Rev Run, Diggy Simmons, and Jo Jo. Now although no new musical projects have been announced from OMG or Doughboy for 2014, OMG will reportedly play a young Ice Cube in F. Gary Gray’s new N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton. Whether with music or with film, it seems the Ice Cube legacy shall continue to grow.
“They dope,” Cube told RapBasement in a 2010 profile. “They still ain’t better than me, but they dope. I’m impressed. I’m really impressed by what they doing.”
Bonus: Mellow Man Ace & Cazal Organism (The ZZYZZX)
Key Collaboration(s): “Cali,” “The Rhythm”
Having Mellow Man Ace as a father could entice you to swerve into the Hip-Hop lane, but combo that with having Sen Dog from Cypress Hill as your uncle? For Cazal Organism it turned that swerve into a full blown right turn.
“About two years ago, we decided to enroll him in homeschooling, so that he could be on the road with me more… We took a project up to Mike Ross at Delicious Vinyl,” Mellow Man Ace explained in a June 2014 interview on Money B’s Goin Way Back Show. “I was shopping something for myself, and he thought it was too grown. So before I left the meeting, I dropped him a CD of some stuff me and Cazal had been working on at our home studio. And he was all like, ‘Yo, what the fuck is this? Hold on...’”
With his dad holding it down since his 1989 debut Escape From Havana, 2011 saw Cazal Organism join his father to form the Hip-Hop duo The ZZYZZX, which released their first single on the exact same label. Aside from sharing the mic with his pops, Cazal also shows his production skills on Mellow Man Ace’s laid back 2012 track “Cali.” Mellow Man is eying an August 19 release date for his currently untitled new album, and Cazal also continues to hold it down for the family with two new albums releasing later this year.
Additional reporting by Henry Mansell & Lawrence Maybir.