Hip-Hop Stars of the 80s and 90s Through the Lens of Raymond Boyd

During the last four decades, Raymond Boyd has taken some of the most significant images of the Chicago music scene. Boyd began photographing musicians and concerts after his mother gave him a Kodak pocket camera when he was in high school.

A local newspaper editor hired Boyd to cover concerts and entertainment in the city after becoming friends with him. Whitney Houston, Prince, Michael Jackson, LL Cool J, Geto Boys, Biggie, Eazy-E, and many others have been photographed. His images are an essential part of the American pop culture canon since he documented hip-hop and R&B between 1983 and 1997.

Photographs taken by him are unfiltered, raw, sometimes sweaty – and beautiful. Besides capturing history, they also convey the power, energy, and talent of the artists. In the following images, we see Chicago music in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as venues and locations that no longer exist, such as George’s Music Room, a legendary record store on the city’s West Side.

Boyd still lives and works in Chicago, but he no longer does concerts due to changing access and restrictions at venues. He photographed these artists two or three times a year, so a friendship developed.

#2 Khiry, Tajh, and Bilal of the Boys pose for photos after arriving at Beasley Elementary School in Chicago in May 1989.

#3 Whitney Houston performs at the Assembly Hall at the University of Illinois in 1987.

#4 Michael Jackson performs during the Bad tour in Rosemont, Illinois, on April 19, 1988.

#5 Ice Cube, Eazy-E, and MC Ren (front row) and Laylaw, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, and the D.O.C. (rear).

#6 Rapper Too Short poses for photos at Hotel 21 in Chicago in February 1989.

#7 Prince performs at the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois, in September 1988.

#8 James Brown performs at the Bismarck Theatre in Chicago in January 1985.

#9 Salt, DJ Spinderella, and Pepa from Salt-N-Pepa pose for photos backstage at the Holiday Star Theatre in Merrillville, Indiana, in June 1987.

#10 Ice-T poses for a photo after his performance at the Regal Theater in Chicago in 1988.

#11 Rappers Queen Latifah and Monie Love pose backstage at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary, Indiana, in February 1990.

#12 CeeLo, Khujo, T-Mo, and Big Gipp (front) from Goodie Mob poses for photos at George’s Music Room in Chicago in October 1995.

#13 Rapper and producer Marley Marl (Marlon Williams) poses for photos at George’s Music Room in Chicago in October 1991.

#14 DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince pose for photos with dancer Ready Rock C backstage at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago in July 1988.

#15 Singer Janet Jackson performs during her Rhythm Nation tour at the Cincinnati Coliseum in 1990.

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Written by Jacob Aberto

Sincere, friendly, curious, ambitious, enthusiast. I'm a content crafter and social media expert. I love Classic Movies because their dialogue, scenery and stories are awesome.

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