From Das’ “slept on” sophomore disc “Straight Up Sewaside”. “Check It Out” is a sentimental favorite of mine, my Junior year in High School this track was part of our “warm-up music” we played before basketball games. If you must know, that little compilation also included (in the following order) Queen Latifah’s “4 The DJ’s”, Redman’s “Time 4 Sum Aksion” & get this….LL’s “Pink Cookies In A Plastic Bag”. Oh, and there was a cut that was taken from a dope-ass Kenny Dope instrumental album/EP that I can’t find ANYWHERE! (it dropped around 93′ and had the Q-Tip vocal “Boomin in ya’ jeep” looped..anyone have any details?). Anyway, always loved this upbeat Solid Scheme banger in the headphones before a big game.
Taken from Black Moon’s second disc that dropped far too late “War Zone”, “The Onslaught” features an ill Funkadelic (yeah, like I know….thanks “The Breaks”!) vocal slice along with an all too common, dusty breakbeat. Pure uncut raw from Da Beatminerz that closely parallels their superior production on “Enta Da Stage”.
3. “Genetic For Terror”-Jamal
From Jamal’s 1995 release on Rowdy Records “Last Chance, No Breaks”. Erick Sermon brings the funk with this one, jerking the Jackson 5′s “Boogie Man” to craft an eerie, yet bottom heavy banger that one may confuse for an Easy Mo Bee production.
While many may recall the “Rugged-N-Raw” (f. Das Efx) remix as the obvious winner from Pee’s 1996 solo venture “Business Is Business” I’ve always felt that this DJ Scratch production was quite possibly the best cut on Pee’s best solo effort. Yet another track that sounds very similar to Mo Bee’s production style, “I’m A B-Boy” could pass for some of Scratch’s work he did for Busta on “Anarchy” (have u seen Busta lately, dude is JACKED!).
5. “Gusto” A+ f. Prodigy of Mobb Deep
Man, when I first heard A+ debut with “A+Z” (f. AZ) & “Gusto” on an old DJ S & S mixtape back in the summer of 96′ I thought this kid would be a mainstay in Hip Hop for years to come. I was very surprised when I peeped Discogs for the production “creds” for “Gusto” to find that is wasn’t produced by Havoc, it was indeed produced by Miladon (whom I’ve never heard of ). Nevertheless, this one’s a banger as A+ spits a verse that one would find hard to believe was penned by a youngsta’ who merely 13 years of age.
From H.O.P.’s long forgotten fourth album “Truth Crushed To The Earth Shall Rise Again”. While many folks wrote off Everlast, Lethal &…(shit, what was that other dude’s name?) (Oh, Danny Boy)..after their highly publicized debut, I seemed to stick it out with these three cats who loved their Irish heritage. With each passing release, Everlast’s rhymes become that much more simplistic, but the beats never seemed to falter as witnessed with DJ Lethal’s production on “No Doubt”.
7. “Selah”-Poor Righteous Teachers
After raving over their phenomenal third album “Black Business” in this week’s “Re-Ups” post, I’ve been bumping “Selah” non-stop ever since. The hook (which features a beautiful “chatted” hook by Rahzi Hightower) is the highlight of the track for me. Sad thing is, I don’t even know that in the hell “Selah” signifies!
8. “Up Against The Wall” (Getaway Car Mix)-Group Home
Yes, I know that everyone & their mamma should own a copy of Primo’s errr…Group Home’s “Livin’ Proof”. Yes, we’ve all given Premier his due props for his masterful production which is essentially the focal point of the album. Yes, we’re all very found of Melachi & Lil Dap’s lyrical shortcomings…but, after being put on to this remix (once again) by Dan Love of From Da Bricks (I’ve always considered “Da Realness” as my favorite beat on the album) I’ve grown to appreciate the sheer brilliance of this track….I hope by now, you’ve done the same.
Wow, talk about a bad timing for the release of a great album! No I.D.’s 1997 release on Relativity “Accept Your Own & Be Yourself”(The Black Album) made very little noise when it dropped, very similar to the timing shared with O.C.’s “Jewelz”. Damn shame too, had this album been released in say…..between 93′-95′ I have a feeling that it may be mentioned among the likes of other Golden Age classics. This Dug Infinite remix of “Sky’s The Limit” may be the highlight of the album for me…although, this is one of those albums (much like Redman’s “Muddy Waters”) where everything is soo dope that it’s hard to pick just one standout.
Originally appearing on the soundtrack to “Belly”, “Sometimes” was one of the very few positive moments to come out of Nore’s misstep “Melvn Flynt: Da Hustler”. EZ Elpee laces Nore with a somber track that almost makes the listener overlook Nore’s “sub-par” lyrics.
11. “Life Of A Bastard”-Rottin Razkals
Naughty By Nature “spin-offs”, the Rottin Razkals delivered a half-decent debut with “Rottin’ To Da Core” that featured a few decent cuts but not enough to permit the trio to emerge from Naughty’s shadows. “Life Of A Bastard” shares the same, powerful sample that was also featured on Rae & Ghost’s “Heaven Or Hell”, but with the dusty breakbeat the track carves an identity of it’s own. However, the track does share the same emotional feel as “Heaven Or Hell”. Hands down, the highpoint of this Illtown trio’s “one & done” debut.
Taken from the first edition in Guru’s somewhat successful “Jazzmatazz” series. Brandford Marsalis saxaphone is what fuels “Transit Ride”, whereas Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal does little more than offer the listener a descriptive, accurate tale of a subway ride. Selecting a track for this mixtape from “Jazzmataz Vol. I” was pretty much a toss up between this and “Trust Me”, the later has more of a R & B feel to it with the highlight of the track being N’dea Davenport’s (Brand New Heavies) sultry vocals. If I’m not mistaked “Trust Me” was also the only single released from the album.
13. “Sneak Tip”-K-Solo
Ahhh, now “Sneak Tip” is truly a diamond in the rough….hell, you may as well include K-Solo’s entire discography in that mix. From Solo’s second disc “Time’s Up”, this Sam Sneed (yes, that Sam Sneed) produced gem finds Solo going way beyond “sneaker fiend” status in this somewhat comical, vivid tale. Why in the hell haven’t online sneaker spots used “Sneak Tip” or Raekwon’s “Sneakers” in a commercial or even an intro for their site I’ll never know.
14. “Teachers, Don’t Teach Us Nonsense”-Leaders Of The New School
From Leaders’ innovative debut “A Future Without A Past”. “Teachers..” follows in the same vein as “Case Of The P.T.A.” but I’ve always loved the underlying drum break that can also be found on other numerous bangers (namely, Nice & Smooth’s “How To Flow”). Damn, remember those days when Busta was a highly energetic sideshow amongst the likes of the hyperactive Charlie Brown and more subdued Dinco D?
From Chubb’s faltered attempt at commercialism “I Gotta’ Get Mine Yo!”, which honestly….I liked! “3 Men..” finds Chubb, Tone & Puba expeditiously dropping a quick 16 on this all too short posse cut. So who spits the dopest verse? Man c’mon, this was Puba in his heyday!
16. “Not U Again”-Brothers Uv Da Blakmarket
Damn, Deja Vu! Brothers’ where yet another group that tried to creep in the door when Naughty busted it open. “Not U Again” features the familiar “Impeach The President” breakbeat, but what attracted me to “Not U Again” was Cee’s narrative of being “stalked” by the opposite sex. If you haven’t peeped Brohters debut it can be found in the “Select Records” series I ran a few months back.
From Quik’s second disc “Way 2 Fonky” (damn, did you see that perm on the cover?) that my homeboy got on “five finger discount” during one of our thousands of visits to Camelot Music. “Jus Lyke Compton” is more or less Quik name dropping every other city that has fallen victim to gang violence over an extremely dope produced track that features those damn, addictive sleigh-bells. Quik has always been one of my favorite West Coast artist, who may also be one of the most talented “double threats” in Hip Hop ever!
18. “What Can I Do?” (Remix)-Ice Cube
From the last half way decent release from Cube, “Bootlegs & B-Sides”. I can remember picking up this album up strictly on the strength of the video for this Lay Law remix. Sampling the the already “over sampled” P-Funk catalog, “What Can I Do?” is a throwback to Cube’s vivid imagery that can be on his first three albums. Damn, did this dude quickly go down hill musically or what? Shit, Cube was killin’ it for the better half of the early 90′s….I’d go to say that he was my favorite artist during that time-frame as well.