Philaflava Greatest 80’s Song Group Three
The Match Up
We have more 45 King production in the form of Lakim Shabazz’s “All True & Living”, which is a good thing since Mark was quite possibly one of the top three producers during the 80’s. “All True & Living” is honestly a song I didn’t pay much attention to when listening to “Pure Righteousness”, the LP that this joint comes from. I was more into the title track and “Black is Back”, but when I sat down and listened to this, it’s pretty damn funky. I should know where the sample comes from, but my recent love of discovering sample sources makes me appreciate this song more than I have in the past.
With that being said, it has a tough match up. “Brand New Funk” from Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff is probably one of their more “legit” songs. Some of the younger cats might not give Jeff and Prince their rightful due, since they kind of turned into a mainstream cultural icon, or at least Will Smith did. The fact though was, they got props back then. Sure they were kind of light hearted, but it was okay back then. Will wasn’t a incredible lyricist by any stretch of the imagination, but this song was just a fun track to listen to. The track was released as a single, after “Parent’s Just Don’t Understand”, which probably doomed it and wasn’t the best choice, but “Yo!” played it on a regular basis.
This match up actually turned out to be closer than I thought it would be. When I first saw it, I thought it was pretty much a no contest, but after listening to “All True..”, it became closer. When it comes down to it though, “Brand New Funk” just has more history and memories attached to it, and I hate to vote against the technically “better” song, I have to go with the one I like more….”Brand New Funk”.
I’m not really sure how people are going to vote on this one. I can see them going with the more traditional hip hop song with Shabazz’s joint, or maybe the popularity of Jeff and The Prince will overcome that. I think the more traditional joint will win out here with “All True & Living”.
Special Ed – I Got It Made Vs Fearless Four – Rockin’ It
It’s going against one of the true classics in early 80’s hip-hop. How many times have you heard this song sampled or referred to in today’s music? And who said today’s artists don’t pay homage to the old school artists. It was one of my favorites as well, the jam just gets you up and make you want to break or shake your ass or something. It’s kind of one of the more “modern sounding” old school jams as well, at least in my honorable opinion.
Trav’s Vote: This is a tough match-up in my eyes. Not often am I going to go against a late 80’s classic since that’s where my favorite era lies, but “Rockin’ It” is just too hard to go against.
Predicition: Another match up that is hard to gauge the people’s opinion. I’m going to say Ed’s going to pull out though in a close one.
Fantastic 5 – Can I Get A Soul Clap Vs Eric B & Rakim – Microphone Fiend
I must say I’m shocked that “Eric B is President” didn’t claim the spot for Eric B & Rakim but I’m also kind of happy about since I was more into “Follow The Leader” than “Paid In Full” which might be viewed as hearsay in some circles. “Microphone Fiend” just has some great lines in it. This song is a classic reason why Rakim is viewed as one, if not the best MC of all-time. To me it was on the greatest songs to come out that year.
Trav’s Vote: Fairly easy one in my book, Rakim is going to be hard to beat in any 80’s competition such as this and the old school legends won’t be able to knock him out of the tourney.
Prediction: I thinking blowout on this one…
LL Cool J – I’m Bad Vs Ice T – High Rollers
The Match Up
“I’m Bad” is one of those songs that is very important in my beginning introductions into hip-hop. LL comes off as hungry as anyone had ever seen at that point in hip-hop and of course who can argue with “eating Cool J cookies”. As I mentioned on the “Rhymin’ & Stealin” match up, both the Beasties and LL were in my walkman almost non stop back then. I knew every word to “Bigger & Deffer” and “I’m Bad” was my favorite song from the album. It was produced by the LA Posse, who used a sort of bare bones approach, but with LL it was a good thing, the beat would just let the lyrics come through.
I had a little chuckle seeing LL taking on Ice T. Not sure if it was done on purpose, but LL and Ice didn’t exactly see eye to eye. Ice took a shot at LL on “I’m Your Pusher” then LL throwing some haymakers on “To The Break Of Dawn”. Regardless, Ice T does what he does best on this track, kicking some hustler type rhymes over a funk beat. And if you didn’t like the actual song, watch the video, that’ll get you going just as well with all the fine ladies…..
Trav’s Vote: I love “High Rollers” but damn, I can’t go against LL on this one. “I’m Bad” is just that, bad, but bad meaning good….you get the point.
Prediction: This might be a close one, maybe LL’s present image will turn off some people and make it interesting, but LL should take this.
T La Rock – It’s Yours Vs Above The Law – Untouchable
The Match Up
This is a real interesting match up here. I was really happy to see an Above The Law song make it as they were always viewed as underrated in my book. “Untouchable” is in the similar vein as “High Rollers”, a pimpalistic tune that’ll make you want to buy a ’64 Impalla just to play this joint in. The beat is a classic Dre beat, (although ATL might argue about that) that just rolls out of a system and the lyrical content is on some hustler shit. Great song.
T La Rock dropped the classic “It’s Yours” as the first release from a young Def Jam label. It’s consider one of the precursors to Bass music with its booming 808’s kicking all across the track. T La Rock kind of got shitted on by Def Jam, but his legacy will never be forgotten because of this song. T La Rock was LL before LL was LL. He had a cocky attitude and is was shown on this track.
Trav’s Vote: As much as I want to vote for “Untouchable”, I just can’t. “It’s Yours.”
Prediction: I would think “It’s Yours” would get the win rather easily, but stranger things have happened.
Public Enemy – Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos Vs EPMD – You Gots To Chill
The Match Up
“It’s so simple. A Zapp sample? That’s so basic. The MC’s sound half-asleep. Why the hell do I love this song so much then?” That’s what I was thinking the first time I heard “You Gots To Chill”. It really is a rather simple song, but damn this shit just bumps and Erick and Parrish just flowed over the bassline so effortlessly. I still remember seeing the video for the first time (which was also the first time I heard the song), E Double and P rhyming in an ice factory or some shit and Stezo, there dancer at the time, dancing around in the back ground. The song is one of my all-time favorites.
Trav’s Pick: I really hate this one. No way these two songs should be going against each other in the first round. This is by far the most difficult match up of the tourney thus far. I love both songs and am truly torn on which one gets my vote. As much as a “Takes A Nation…” fan and of production of the Bomb Squad, I have to go with EPMD on this one, maybe. Then again after listening to “Black Steel..” for the 4th time while writing this up, I’m not sure who I’ll vote for until I push the button.
Prediction: I think PE will pull this out because it’s PE, but this better be close.
The Match Up
I remember first hearing of JVC Force from reading the “shout outs” on liner notes from tapes back in the day. It seemed like t
hey were mentioned on almost all the tapes I liked back in the day, yet I didn’t see them on “Yo!”. That made them more intriguing to me. I had more neighborhood record store order me a copy of the tape. The stand out track from that tape was “Strong Island” although I never held them in the same class as some of the other classics out there during that time. It’s a strong jam though and deserved more credit than it got.
“Boyz N The Hood” is one of those jams that some of us remember where we were at the first time we heard it. Not only is this song a classic song, it’s one of extreme importance. It basically ushered in the “Gangsta” era. It covered what people in the west coast were doing. Eazy wasn’t a great MC, but he was perfect for this song. It’s fairly common knowledge that Ice Cube wrote this song, but E did the joint in a way that made you feel like your homeboy was doing it.
Trav’s Pick: Boyz N The Hood, easily
Prediction: Boyz N The Hood just holds too much importance not to go on to the next round.
The Match Up
One could argue that “The Message” maybe the single most important song ever made in hip-hop. Before “The Message”, hip hop was all about fun and partying. Once Flash and the boys dropped “The Message”, the game would forever be changed. I doubt many youngsters realize the importance of this joint.
“The Bridge” also holds an important place in hip-hop history. It marks the start of the “Queens/Bronx” wars and the battle between BDP and the Juice Crew. I’ve never been the biggest Shan supporter, but this is by far his best song he ever did.
Trav’s Pick: I might like “The Bridge”, but I can’t argue with “The Message”, which truly might be the most important song in the culture.
Prediction: I think everyone is smart enough to realize “The Message” needs to move on.