XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:

Jan. 12, 1993: After releasing three successful albums between 1987 and 1991, Heavy D & the Boyz released their fourth studio album, Blue Funk, on Jan. 12, 1993, via Uptown Records.

Blue Funk saw most of its production done by Tony Dofat, DJ Premier and Pete Rock, as well as Jesse West. The aforementioned producers delivered memorable production that offered a sound unlike their preceding work. The 13-song collection also included guest appearances from the late The Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, Gang Starr, Rob-O, Terri & Monica and 3rd Eye.

One of the most significant aspects on the project was how much grittier the music was compared to the previous three albums. The LP had much more of a street edge to it that had people wondering if it's really Heavy D spitting those abrasive rhymes on songs like "Who's the Man." Other highlights include "Blue Funk," "Truthful" and the celebrated posse track, "A Buncha Niggas" featuring 3rd Eye, the late Guru, Biggie, Rob-O and Bussa-Buss, which feels like an old-school cypher of rap's finest lyricists.

Blue Funk debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and at No. 48 on the Billboard 200 for the week ending Jan. 30, 1993. Two months later, on March 17, 1993, the LP was certified gold by the Recording Academy Association of America (RIAA) for 500,000 copies sold in the U.S.

The late Heavy D's return to the streets with his music still gave him and his Mount Vernon, N.Y. crew the ability to pick up new fans without alienating their old ones as a result of this very colorful album.

Watch Heavy D & The Boyz's "Blue Funk" Music Video Below

See Rappers You Didn't Realize Were Related

More From XXL