The rap genre has a lot of legends, including the likes of Jay-Z, Eminem, Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G., etc. The list really goes on for a while, but if you hear a certain name, you know about their legendary status. However, the genre isn’t comprised entirely of legends. There have been plenty of names that have come and gone, some of which were one-hit wonders that some saw as novelty acts.
Today, we remember some of those rappers whose careers were a flash in the pan. We’ll remember their hits that had people talking for a brief period, and what happened to them after their 15 minutes of fame. Here are five rappers that you might have forgotten about.
St. Louis rap started to gain attention in the early 2000s thanks to Nelly, and one of the people who benefitted the most was J-Kwon. Born as Jerrell C. Jones, J-Kwon started rap battling in St. Louis as a child and had several run-ins with the law while struggling to survive in general. That would change in 2004 when he landed a record deal and released his debut album “Hood Hop”.
The album contained the massive hit “Tipsy”, which reached the number two spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Then, J-Kwon had a modest hit with “You & Me” and wasn’t heard from for years. He waited five years to release another album and it hardly sold any copies. J-Kwon said his career was sidetracked due to being jailed for unpaid child support, claiming that the child wasn’t his. It turns out he was right and he created a foundation for people in similar situations.
Atlanta has created some of the best rappers of all time, and some of those legendary performers were able to bring exposure to some of the lesser-known from the ATL. Among those that found brief success thanks to the early 2000s rise in Atlanta’s hip-hop popularity was Bone Crusher. Born Wayne Hardnett Jr., Bone Crusher was a staple for video game soundtracks of the era.
His debut album “AttenCHUN!” was a huge hit, reaching number one on the R&B Chart thanks to songs like “Never Scared”. Afterward, he would release just two albums (in 2006 and 2007) before finishing his recording career. At the time, he said he was just waiting until his kids grew up a bit, but enjoyed fatherhood so much that he walked away from rapping altogether, so this story definitely has a happy ending.
It seems like these days that almost every rapper has “Lil” or “Da” in front of their name, but in the early 2000s, there were a lot of rappers that had one-word names or even acronyms. One of those rappers that fall into both categories is MIMS, which stands for Music is My Savior, but is also his real last name. Shawn Mims was born in New York City in 1981 and found success in his mid-20s with the release of his debut album.
The album contained a long list of tracks, but the one that everyone remembers is “This is Why I’m Hot”. The song reached number one on the charts, and “Like This” would be a top 40, but that was it for MIMS. He released just one more album in 2009 titled “Guilt” which didn’t crack the top 50 of the Billboard 200 before getting dropped from his label. Thankfully, he found success in the tech world, creating an app called RecordGram.
Another Atlanta-based act, the Shop Boyz was a collective that comprised of Meany (Demetrius Hardin), Fat (Richard Stephens), and Sheed (Rasheed Hightower). The group started up in 2004 and fused both rock and rap, catching lightning in a bottle three years later when the two genres mashing up became popular in the mainstream.
Their debut album “Rockstar Mentality” was released in 2007, reaching #11 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the rap charts. Of course, the song that caught on the most was “Party Like a Rockstar”, a number-two hit. Their follow-up scraped the top 100 and they released just one more single before being released from their label.
Jibbs released just one studio album and had one top-10 hit, but what a hit it was. Born as Jovan Campbell, Jibbs is another St. Louis-based rapper who came onto the scene in the mid-2000s, releasing the hit track “Chain Hang Low”. The song reached number seven on the charts and was certified platinum from his album “Jibbs Featuring Jibbs”.
He had one more single titled “King Kong” that had modest success, but no other entries into the Billboard Hot 100. JIbbs is still performing these days, but his focus has been on being a father.