The Uppity Bastard

Smug Life

In honor of THE WACKNESS – top 10 early 90s hip hop tracks

In honor of greatness that was THE WACKNESS, I’m going to do a quick list of the top 10 early 90s must know hip hop tracks. Some of these songs are in the soundtrack, others are too great to not acknoledge. enjoy. WRITER NOTE: there’s definitely an east coast bias in my selections, I bet you west coasters would have a very different top ten. My choices were also influenced by artist’ overall work so don’t expect a 1 hit wonder. All song are PRE-1995. ENJOY:

HONORABLE MENTION: AMHAD – BACK IN THE DAY

This track didn’t make the final cut because AMHAD fell to the wayside but its a great song. I don’t remember the video but here it is:

10 . BIZ MARKIE – JUST A FRIEND

You can’t make a list of 90s music without this song ending up somewhere on it. Even though it technically came out in 1989 its a staple in early hip hop and to this day, you can’t play it at a party without people singing along. Although Biz never had another solo hit, he went on to tour and produce with the beastie boys for years.

9. FRESH PRINCE and D JAZZY JEFF – SUMMERTIME

Before he was the $20 million man he is today, Will Smith was the Fresh Prince and yes he could rap. Then he had a hit TV show and a blossoming movie career and then he came back to produce such classic albums as BIG WILLIE STYLE and THE WILD WEST SOUNDTRACK (insert enthusiastic sarcasm). But before he was horrible, he left us with this classic that even won him a grammy in ’91.

8. CRAIG MACK – FLAVA IN YOUR EAR REMIX w/Biggie, Busta

Most people don’t know this but Craig Mack was the first artist who signed with bad boy. Although he never went on to become huge, this remix was greatly successful for two other artists; Busta Rhymes who solo career was just getting going after leaving leaders of the new school (In ’96 he went huge when he released WOO HA) and the NOTORIOUS B.I.G. who’s album was just released and would go on to lead the NY sound, but more about him later.

7. MOBB DEEP – SHOOK ONES pt. 2

Released in ’95 shook ones is a blend of the early 90s melodic hip hop with the rising gangsta fascination that would soon take over the radio sound. Following in the steps of Biggie, Mobb deep went on to some success but fizzled out after the east coast/west coast war ended… and they got shitted on by Tupac.

6. PHARCYDE – PASSIN’ ME BY

Pharcyde’s first album BIZZARRE RIDE II THE PHARCYDE was hilarious, full of stories about trannies, smoking weed, and mamma jokes, but it was a love song that made them big. I remember listening to this song OVER AND OVER again so I memorize the entire thing and sing along (my dear, my dear, you do not know me but I know you very well…) and you got to love the opening Hendrix sample.

NUMBERS 5 -1 TOMORROW

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July 16, 2008 - Posted by | Music, news | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. I hear ya on the longevity tip, but shook Ones over Back in the Day is kinda crazy. No love lost for tha infamous, but ahmad’s track is a seminal early 90’s jam. Sorry if this is a spoiler, but T.R.O.Y better make an appearance on the top 5 tomorrow sonnnn! In fact, here are my best guesses:

    My honorable mention, Sweet Potato Pie by Domino. Killer baseline and loop, this one kinda got lost in the shuffle through the years. Total classic though.

    T.R.O.Y, possibly the best horn sample ever, plus a killer Eric B. beat and Rakim owns.

    Can’t decide which Tribe track, I’d probably go Electric Relaxation, but I think Can I Kick It or Award Tour are probably both better for this list. I’ll go with Award Tour.

    I feel like I need a Fugees track on here, bc the Score was an early 90’s gem. I’d say Ready or Not, but more likely No Woman No Cry – despite being a cover of an already huge hit, this one changed the game a bit, kinda the way mash-ups do nowadays.

    Another really hard one, what to pick off illmatic? Could fairly easily be one of several songs on this album to make this list, but I’ma go with The World Is Yours, bc it’s been my personal jam/mantra since that track was banging the airwaves on my way to a youth basketball tournament. Changed my life.

    Lastly, being an nyc product, Big has to top this list. And I’m not sure if there is a more perfect example of a sick-ass early 90’s track than Juicy, which is STILL tight, in spite of a decade-and-a-half of being overplayed. That’s staying power.

    Holy Shit, I just realized I left Wu off here. Crap, if I left them off, there must be somme other large holes in this list. I give up, blog writing is time consuming…

    PS – I may have an East Coast bias too.

    Comment by jason | July 16, 2008 | Reply

  2. PPS – I’m retarded. It’s pete rock and cl smooth, not eric b and rakim. My list is null and moot for that error.

    /shows self out.

    Comment by jason | July 16, 2008 | Reply


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