First the video
Second, is it funny that white people give more credit to hip hop history than the “rappers” today on the radio? Lil Wayne and the likes are murdering the genre. Is that funny or sad? I think mostly sad. Give me Atmosphere over most of what is passed as “rap” on KS 107.5 anymore. Although I did dig the get-up that “swap meet hat” guy was wearing during the Grammys. That was straight late 80’s/early 90’s style.
Now, here are the songs I know and recognize and what I was doing in that time of my life or what it makes me think of.
- Kurtis Blow, These are the Breaks: this was even before my time. My first introduction was Kool Moe Dee, Salt’n’Pepa and Run DMC, but this song brings back solid memories as I found it later on compilation albums.
- Grandmaster Flash, The Message: Another before my time, but a classic none-the-less.
- N.W.A., Express Yourself: One of the first videos from a group that changed the genre, for better or worse, forever. At the time I loved the song, had all the albums and once Ice Cube split off I was an Ice Cube supporter and hated the rest of N.W.A. for a long time and still am not much of a Dr. Dre fan because of it. If you were into the music back then, you know what I’m talking about. You couldn’t like both sides.
- Public Enemy, Bring the Noise: Oh how I loved Public Enemy. A fairly privileged white kid loving Public Enemy, that could also be the beginning of the end of hip hop to many. Today, though, when I listen to PE I don’t like it as much. It hasn’t transcended time, in my ears, like Tribe has, for example.
- Robb Base and DJ E-Z Rock, It Takes Two: This came out right around the time I started getting into music and rap and I was probably only in the second or third grade – young. I didn’t take a liking to this music as much as other stuff back then. Today, still, it can be mixed together and sampled brilliantly.
- Salt’n’Pepa, Push It: My first cassette tape ever, along with Run DMC Tougher Than Leather. I used to listen to Push It and hope my parents didn’t hear because we were SURE they were talking about sex…whatever that was… …or, they were talking about working out. The minds of a young child hearing this stuff for the first time.
- Vanilla Ice, Ice Ice Baby: No one ever believes me, but I NEVER liked this song. Never bought the single, CD or cassette. This was the beginning of shitty boy bands, if you ask me.
Black Sheep, The Choice is Yours: Now we are talking. This was my freshman or sophomore year in high school. To this day I always have Black Sheep on rotation on my iPod and not just This or That. Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing is still one of the best records ever, from start to finish. Too bad their second release sucked so bad.
- Cypress Hill, Insane in the Membrane: Not my favorite Cypress Hill song. In fact, after their first album, self titled, I never bought another Cypress Hill product. That first album I used to listen, on my walkman, all day long in high school. That was definitely my freshman year.
- DJ Kool, Let Me Clear my Throat: Nothing more than a club hit. Barely classified as rap or hip hop if you ask me.
- DMX, Ya’ll Gonna make me Lose my Mind: Was never much of a DMX fan, either. I think, actually, at this time in my life I was favoring rock more than rap. Was getting sick of crap like Master P and it turned me off of the genre altogether.
- Nelly, It’s Getting Hot in Hear: More recent garbage. Nelly sucks.
- 50, In Da Club: I actually liked this song. I was living in my own apartment, about to meet my wife soon and played way too many video games. Yep, that is what this song reminds me of. Great, isn’t it?
- Outkast, Hey Ya: The decline of Outkast. Their first three or four albums are all classics. And I still say that Andre 3000 is one of the best lyricists in rap history. I sort of liked Hey Ya, but it was clearly the turning point when the group decided they wanted nothing more than radio hits.
- Don’t know this song – all I know is that I heard it at sporting events, a lot, over the past few years.
- Cali Swag District, Teach me How to Dougie: Recent stuff and I like this song. The age of MP3’s and no need to buy an album ever again. No idea if anything else this group has ever produced is any good, I haven’t heard it.
- Don’t know this song – sounds like it might be Goodie MOB, but don’t recognize it.
- Biz Markie, Just a Friend: I am partial to Vapors, but Just a Friend is a great song. This takes me back to the days when I recorded videos from Yo MTV Raps or one of BET’s rap shows and watched them later one. Remember recording songs off of the radio? I remember waiting for a good version of Kriss Kross Jump on the radio and trying to get it without the DJ butting in. Those were the days.
- Ends with These are the breaks. Onto the second half of the video. This is fun for me, how about you? Bring back memories?
- Run DMC, King of Rock: This is the quality Run DMC, the good stuff. I didn’t like it when they tried to comeback with Down with the Kings. EPMD kind of did this, too. Groups that were huge, pioneers of hip hop, that tried to re-energize their careers later by being more “underground” or “hard” or “gangster”. I didn’t like it. I don’t like rap for the killing and shooting, I like it because it is supposed to be fun.
LL Cool J, I’m Bad: Another old school rap artist I could listen to for days, but he didn’t try to comeback gangster, he morphed into a ladies man with slow rap and I didn’t like that much. I’m Bad takes me back to Fab Five Freddy on Yo MTV Raps, before Dre and Ed Lover.
- DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Parents Just Don’t Understand: This came out when I was in middle school, I think. I wasn’t a big fan of it, but now going back and listening to some of the music that the Fresh Prince – NOT WILL SMITH – put out that wasn’t played on the radio, some of it is pretty good like You Missed my Blinker Bitch, or whatever the title of that song is.
- De La Soul, Me, Myself and I: Another classic. This was definitely middle school. I actually like the newer De La stuff better than their older stuff. Baby Phat and Trying People are great tracks.
- JJ Fad, Supersonic: I loved this song and this must have been 1988 or so. Back with the booming systems and Fallon and Timberlake are hilarious when they try to rap the lyrics as fast as Tish and La La, or whatever their silly names were.
- Sir Mix-a-Lot, Baby Got Back: Was never a Sir Mix-a-Lot fan. Still am not. Like Vanilla Ice, no one ever believes that I never bought any Mix-a-Lot stuff and to this day you will not find any of it on my iTunes – Mix-a-Lot or Vanilla Ice.
- Young MC, Bust a Move: I remember the lyrics about a fat man and it always struck home with me because I was fat. I also remember that he rapped just to help himself pay for college and I believe he quit rapping after that album. I know he did try to comeback years later but it never took off. Amazing what four or five seconds of a song will bring back in terms of memories and emotions.
- House of Pain, Jump Around: Another great song from around my freshman and sophomore years. This was the golden age of hip hop if you ask me. House of Pain, Das EFX, A Tribe Called Quest, Black Sheep and other albums still get a ton of play from me. This was also the time of one hit wonders like Kriss Kross and Arrested Development came out. Outkast was just getting started…man…so much good music from the early 90’s.
- Ice Cube, Today was a Good Day: To this day this song is still played out to me. When it first came out I couldn’t get enough and now, what, 15 years later I still don’t like it as much. Like I said above, anything Ice Cube I bought. His first four albums or so post N.W.A. are all awesome.
- Coolio, Gangster’s Paradise: I wasn’t much of a Coolio fan but I did buy this album. I remember watching it, in my parent’s basement (which was where my bedroom was) and just marveling at the video for some reason. For a while this was a great song.
- Fugees, Killing Me Softly: When this came out my sisters and I actually found the original record in my parents record collection and listened to the original Roberta Flack version almost as much as the Lauryn Hill/Fugees version. To this day I think Lauryn Hill’s album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is one of the better albums ever, she has such an amazing voice. Too bad she supposedly hates my people – supposedly. I still love her.
Beastie Boys, Sabotage: One of the few Beastie Boys songs and albums I do not like. Never liked it. I like the stuff before Sabotage and the stuff after, but that album is no good.
- This one doesn’t ring a bell. It sounds very familiar but I cannot place it.
- Outkast, Mrs. Jackson: The last great album from Outkast. After this it was all downhill, finishing with the album where they each had their own disc. That was awful. Mrs. Jackson is great, though.
- Snoop Dogg and Pharrell, Drop it like it’s Hot: I will never refer to Snoop and Snoop Lion, that’s ridiculous, but this song started to suck me back into the rap of the 2000’s. It had been a while since I heard a rap song I liked until this came along. I like a lot of the stuff Pharrell does, it has an old school vibe to it. Fun. I also recall doing the “park it like it’s hot dance” with my wife, then girlfriend, in the car and making her laugh. She has a great laugh.
- Kanye West, Better, Faster, Stronger: I heard this first when it was mixed with Deadmau5 and then the original from Daft Punk before the Kanye song. Some Kanye stuff is really good (Good Life) and some not so much. Speaking of Daft Punk, check out this awesome YouTube video of Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.
- Nicki Minaj, Super Bass: I have to admit it, I like Nicki Minaj. She can be utterly grotesque but I like her unique delivery. But her version of Super Bass isn’t the best version, Karmin covered it better, with Questlove from the Roots. And speaking of the Roots, man, they are awesome and they should have had a song in this compilation! Where is You Got Me or The Seed or How I Got Over?! They are right there, Jimmy! They are you boys, hook’em up!
- Naughty by Nature, Hip Hop Hooray: Another product of the early 90’s and another amazing song. This song cannot be played enough and EVERYONE knows what they should do as soon as it starts playing. Great song. And what was with that machete???
I wish there was some Common, Tribe and Wu Tang in the compilation, some of my all time favorites.