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The 10 Most Infamous Hip-Hop Breakups

Published on April th, 2012

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Leaders of the New School
The story goes that Busta Rhymes had been booted from Leaders of the New School before the group ever signed their record deal. But, Elektra said no Busta, no deal, and the Dungeon Dragon was back in the fold. Bussa Bus managed to stick around for two albums before constant clashes with Charlie Brown, and that verse on “Scenario,” saw him off to solo stardom.

 The 10 Most Infamous Hip Hop Breakups

The Fugees
The Fugees sophomore album, The Score, sold six million units in the US alone. This meant Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras could go in a studio and basically fart over some instrumentals and they would get paid. But, the turmoil within the trio was so toxic (Clef allegedly cheated on his wife with Lauryn, Ms. Hill wanted to do her own thing, Pras wanted to keep rhyming, etc.) that despite a few glimmers of hope of a reunion, the group is pretty much “not meant to be.”

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The Firm & Cormega
Supergroups are now a dime a dozen, but the original line up of The Firm–Nas, Cormega, Foxy Brown & AZ–was a murderer’s row of Hip-Hop heat. But by the time the album dropped, with beats by Dr. Dre no less, Cormega had been replaced by Nature. Say what now?

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EPMD’s first break up in 1993 went down before the Internets was poppin’, so fans were left to figure things out via a handful of feature stories and word of mouth. When the dust was settled (the urban legend is Parrish Smith had Erick Sermon robbed), the Hit Squad (Das-Efx, Redman, et al) split with the two honchos going their separate ways. The L.I. duo reconciled in the late 90s and have been steadily touring ever since, with the Hit Squad recently reuniting for a performance in NYC

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A Tribe Called Quest
Internal bickering and label politricks, the former revealed in last year’s documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, led the seminal group from Queens (and Brooklyn, peace Ali Shaheed Muhammad) say it was wrap after the release of 1998’s The Love Movement album. Q-Tip just signed to G.O.O.D. Music and technically ATCQ does owe Jive another album, so…

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Gang Starr
Be clear, over the years Gang Starr had broken up on the low low several times, only to get back together because the connection between DJ Premier and the late Keith “Guru” Elam was that strong. Unfortunately, Guru passed away before he and Premier could officially make amends and cook up more of that Gang Starr music anyone with good taste could appreciate.

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Goodie Mob
Four members means the odds of some strife are better, and Cee Lo ended up being the odd man out. Goodie re-formed, minus Cee Lo, to drop an album called One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show. Guess who the “monkey” was supposed to be? Nowadays Cee Lo Green is known more his crooning than sharp rhymes, but the Goodie Mob is back together and working on an album.

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Junior Mafia & Lil Kim
The Notorious B.I.G. handpicked his local homies to be the Junior M.A.F.I.A. before they even knew it. Lil’ Kim was JM’s break out star and Lil Cease was supposed to be next up to bat for solo glory. After B.I.G.’s death the crew tried to hold it together. But Lil’ Kim ended up doing a one year bid thanks to that infamous shooting at Hot 97, which led to Cease being labelled a rat; and family wasn’t family no more.

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Little Brother
Hey, if the Native Tongue collective could have all types of internal issues, why not their younger sibling? Little Brother split in 2007 after issues festered between producer 9th Wonder and the group’s MC’s Phonte and Big Pooh. 9th and Phontigallo are back working together, but Pooh isn’t in the mix, just yet.

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Jerry Heller was making a killing off of N.W.A, but its members, besides Eazy-E, weren’t seeing a sizeable percentage of that revenue. Ice Cube was the first to call shenanigans and go solo. Soon enough Dr. Dre was outta there, too. The Doctor got Suge Knight help free him of his recording contract, and you should know how the rest of that story goes.


 The 10 Most Infamous Hip Hop Breakups
Maclean's Magazine
  • mlcmag

    Know your history, its fucked up how little things just splits such legendary groups