Ruth Brown didn’t play any baseball, but she sure had a lot of hits in the 1950’s. Songs like “So Long”, “(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean”, and this one, “Teardrops From My Eyes”. It was recorded in September of 1950, and was a smash, staying on top of Billboard’s R&B chart for 11 weeks.

She added acting to her repertoire in the 80’s, appearing in the film Hairspray and plays like Staggerlee and Black and Blue, for which she won a Tony in 1989. She won a Grammy that same year for her album “Blues on Broadway”. NPR listeners may remember her as the host of Harlem Hit Parade and Blues Stage. Brown died in 2006.

What’s her connection to one of hip-hop’s elite? Her nephew, Rakim, was part of the seminal rap outfit Eric B. and Rakim…read more here