Fans walk as they wait outside The Marathon Clothing store for the funeral procession for slain rapper Nipsey Hussle.
Source: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Rap Rewind: A Compilation of Major Moments in Hip-Hop History That Happened in March

March has been a month of significance in hip-hop history, marked by influential releases and tragic losses. Here's a comprehensive timeline!


Mar. 4 2024, Published 8:26 p.m. ET

Some of the most pivotal moments in hip-hop history have taken place during the month of March.

From the death of an influential rapper to the release of one of the most acclaimed albums of all time, March has played host to events that have helped shape the genre.

Let's take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the most popular moments in hip-hop history that occurred in March.

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March 29, 1988: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince made GRAMMY history.

dj jazzy jeff and the fresh prince poses for photos at the le meridien hotel
Source: Getty Images

DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince poses for photos at the Le Meridien Hotel.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, better known as Will Smith, made history on March 29, 1998, with the release of their album, He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper. The record featured the hit track “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” which later won the inaugural award for Best Rap Performance at the GRAMMYs.

March 5, 2006: Three 6 Mafia wins an Academy Award

three  mafia winners best song for its hard out here for a pimp
Source: Getty Images

Three 6 Mafia, winners Best Song for It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp.

In a historic moment for hip-hop, Three 6 Mafia won an Oscar for Best Original Song at the 78th Annual Academy Awards on March 5, 2006.

The rap group – comprised of members DJ Paul, Juicy J, and Project Pat – won the trophy for their song, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," from the movie Hustle & Flow. Their win marked a significant milestone, as they became the first hip-hop artists to win an Oscar and perform at the annual ceremony.

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March 14, 1995: Tupac Shakur releases ‘Me Against the World.'

rapper tupac shakur poses for photos backstage after his performance at the regal theater
Source: Getty Images

Rapper Tupac Shakur poses for photos backstage after his performance at the Regal Theater.

In March 1995, Tupac Shakur released his critically acclaimed third studio album, Me Against the World. The record included classic tracks like "Dear Mama" and "So Many Tears," which showcased Tupac's lyrical prowess and vulnerability.

According to Best Selling Albums, the record has sold more than two million copies worldwide and was certified 2x platinum.

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March 9, 1997: The Notorious B.I.G. is murdered by an unknown shooter in New York City.

the notorious big christopher wallace performs at  the beat summer jam
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The Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) performs at 92.3 The Beat Summer Jam.

On March 9, 1997, the hip-hop world was rocked by the tragic murder of Christopher Wallace, better known as The Notorious B.I.G.

The New York rapper's untimely death sent shockwaves throughout the music industry as he was on the cusp of a flourishing career. Biggie’s legacy continues to live on through music and movies. B.I.G.'s death will forever be remembered as one of the most significant moments in hip-hop history.

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March 27, 2009: T.I. is infamously sentenced to jail for 366 days.

ti at the st annual grammy awards
Source: Getty Images

T.I. at the 51st Annual GRAMMY Awards.

T.I. faced a significant setback in his career on March 27, 2009, when he was sentenced to one year and a day in prison on weapons charges (per CNN.) The sentence stemmed from the rapper’s arrest in 2007, where he was found in possession of firearms as a convicted felon — a violation of federal law.

Despite the setback, T.I. never slowed down. Later that year, he released a mixtape called A Year and a Day, which included features from Young Dro and Mary J. Blige.

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March 15, 2015: Kendrick Lamar drops ‘To Pimp a Butterfly.'

kendrick lamar accepts the award for best rap album for to pimp a butterfly
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Kendrick Lamar accepts the award for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly.'

Some would argue that Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 album, To Pimp a Butterfly, is his greatest project to date – but that’s not what we’re here to do.

Nonetheless, the album is a musical masterpiece that explores issues of race, identity, and systemic oppression. The album received widespread acclaim and earned Kendrick multiple GRAMMY Awards.

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March 31, 2019: Nipsey Hussle is shot and killed in Los Angeles.

nipsey hussle attends the st annual grammy awards
Source: Getty Images

Nipsey Hussle attends the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.

On March 31, 2019, Nipsey Hussle was fatally shot outside his Marathon Clothing store in Los Angeles. His passing sparked an outpouring of tributes from fans and celebrities, who celebrated his legacy as a rapper and community leader.

In Feb. 2023, Eric Holder Jr. was convicted of killing the Grammy-nominated artist, and sentenced to 60 years in prison, per The Associated Press.

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