The Uppity Bastard

Smug Life

TOP 10 Early 90s Hip Hop songs – continued

Here we go with part 2, numbers 5-1 of the best early 90s Hip Hop songs:

5. NAS – REPRESENT

NAS was huge as soon as Illmatic came out. Fresh out Queensbridge (also home to Mobb Deep), NAS would help transform hip-hop into Gangsta rap. If you were to map out the lineage of this music he’d be in the center, the bridge from Big Daddy Kane and Rakim to 50 cent and Jay-Z (although Jay-Z would disagree). Most people would have put “life’s a bitch” as the selected single, but I’ve always felt this track has something more.

4. A TRIBE CALLED QUEST – OH MY GOD w/ Busta Rhymes

Tribe is the epitome of that early 90s hip hop sound; uplifting lyrics and soft beats. And while the rest of New York would soon abandon it in favor of hardcore rap, Tribe would stay true to its origins, releasing 5 albums until their eventual break up in the late 90s. Their influence can be seen on many modern artists including Common, Blackstar, and Lupe Fiasco. There’s tons of singles I could have selected for this (scenario, bonita aplebaum, can i kick it, etc.) but I wanted to see a bit more of early Busta. Plus the videos a throw to spike lee’s Do the right thing (1989).

3. THE BEASTIE BOYS – SO WHAT’CHA WANT

Already established, the Beastie Boys were capable of doing of producing a variety of sounds. While Paul’s Boutique was a step away from the cheesy, early hip-hop of License to Ill, check your head was the return to the NY sound. Mostly, I find it amazing that three white, upper class, jewish kids stayed relevant for so long.

2. THE NOTORIOUS BIG – JUICY

You can’t talk about 90s hip hop, or any hip hop, without talking about BIG, his explosion onto the scene changed everything. Thanks largely in part to Puffy‘s melodic beats, Biggie’s rhymes about drugs, would become more acceptable and gangsta rap was born. Now there’s two types of rap, BB and AB, before biggie and after biggie (I know you Tupac fans would disagree but lets remember, he wasn’t always gangsta, I do recall a small stint with Digital Underground.)

1. THE WU TANG CLAN – C.R.E.A.M

And then there was Wu-Tang. While everyone was rapping about parties and black power and anything else, Wu Tang was telling tales of New York’s dirty underbelly. They were gangsta rap before there was gangsta rap and no one did it better. Anything off of 36 chambers could have worked for this post but I chose cream because Cash still Rules Everything Around Me.

There’s a lot of other artists and songs that could go on this list. Please post other songs you like, I’d love to see them. AND GO WATCH THE WACKNESS, IT’S GREAT.

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July 17, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Nice follow up. We were basically on the same page with Nas and Tribe, there were several interchangeable tracks there. And right after realizing I didnt put any Wu Tang on there, I also realized I had to get back to work. Juicy was a given. I’ma big fan of the Whatcha Want call — I didnt think of that one, but it belongs on there for sure. Nice list, do crap like this more often.

    Comment by jason | July 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. hey man you did a goood job on this top list of yours i really liked ittt.

    Comment by oh ya | September 10, 2008 | Reply


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