For the fellow SneakerHeads like myself out there, I just posted a listing of my kicks up for grabs at EBAY (CLICK to view)…any questions, feel free to gimme a shout!!
“Whew, that was alot harder than I ever imagined” is the common sentiment that was expressed by not only myself but also many of you who have contributed to this very successful “Beats” series. With that being said, I would like to express my appreciation to all who contributed, I enjoyed reading each of your “lists” just as much as anyone else. Plus, I know how time consuming and mind boggling this was as I damn near pulled out my hair trying to assemble my “Top 25″…so once again, Thank You!! I owe ya’ll one.
Now, one of the main reasons that I elected to reveal my list last is simply because it was just another great opportunity for me to indulge in so many classics that have served as a “soundtrack” of sorts to my life and piece together 25 that I feel have been the most important. I know I’ll take some major “heat” for this statement but…..it’s never been about the lyrics to me. Of course, I value and cherish Nas’ performance on “Illmatic”, Redman’s rapid, yet hilarious delivery on “Whut? Thee Album” and CL Smooth’s “Robin” to Pete Rock’s “Batman” but I’ve gotta’ be real here: if the beats are wack I ain’t tryin’ to hear it (although, I think my A.D.D. may have some effect on that)….Just listen to Nas on “Hip Hop Is Dead”, any Royce Da 5′9″ solo album (not mixtape) or anything recently from Ras Kass for a few prime examples of my discussion.
Far too often, many of us associate a beat with a memory that takes us back to a place and time that many of us consider our “golden years”…makes sense right? I mean, think about the first time you heard the horns from “T.R.O.Y.” or maybe it was Large Professor’s work with the “de,de,de, de, de” on “Lookin’ At The Front Door” or hell…let’s take it back even further Run DMC’s bells on “Peter Piper”. It takes me years to recite a song in it’s lyrical entirety, but you better bet your last dollar that I can remember where that snare was placed or the exact scratch routine Terminator X did on “It Takes A Nation Of Millions…”. That’s why this list(s) is especially important to me and I didn’t want to take it lightly whatsoever.
For me, the beats to the classics are symbolic of a timeline in my life. What was playin’ from the Alpine Deck on my first date?…you know it had to be the blatant “Impeach The President” or even better “Top Billin” jack on Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love”. Wanna’ know what was our warmup music for High School Basketball Games? Sure, here you go…in sequence, it was Queen Latifah’s “4 The DJ’s” (damn, I should have included that!) followed by Pete & CL’s “Can’t Front On Me”, followed by Das Efx’ “Check It Out” and rounding off the warmup had to be Redman’s “Time 4 Sum Aksion” (try pause tapin’ the cusses outta’ that one). For my wife & I’s marriage & honeymoon in Jamaica? Had to go with Nicolay’s soulful grooves on Foreign Exchange’s “Connected”. And during our return visit in October it was 14KT’s instrumental opus, “The Golden Hour”.
When our second daughter was born? My wife had to go with K-No’s (Cunninlynguists) instrumental for “Beautiful Girl”. So you obviously see where I’m going with this! I know alot of us sit in the past and preach “The Golden Era, The Golden Era” but no shit…there’s some dope music out there right now that if many of us our even still listening to Hip Hop in another say….10 to 15 years are gonna’ look back and say to ourselves “you know, 2008 has given us some pretty good hip hop”. I mean, the proof is in the puddin’…Now On, Buff1, KT, the new Evidence EP, Illogic and of course, 14KT! So here ya’ go, it was a bitch but still the most accurate depiction of the beats that have served as the soundtrack to my life…..ENJOY!!
View Trav’s (Wake Your Daughter Up) Top 25 HERE
View Jaz’ (Cold Rock Da Spot) Top 25 HERE
View Dart’s (Poisonous Paragraphs) Top 25 HERE
View “Reader’s Edition” Top 25 HERE
View Mike Dikk’s (Dumpin.Net) Top 25 HERE
View Dan Love’s (From Da Bricks) & Ill Poetic’s Top 25 HERE
1. “T.R.O.Y.” prod. by Pete Rock-Pete Rock & CL Smooth (click track title to DL)
“The title of this blog, the first post ever made here at W.T.R. “Jesus, was there ever any doubt? When somebody utters the words Hip Hop….”T.R.O.Y” is the first song that comes to my mind. I remember when I first bought this tape (Mecca & The Soul Brother) back in the summer of 1992, me and a couple of my buddies ventured into Harrisburg (PA) to play a few pick up games of B-Ball on a Friday night and on the way home we stopped at a local record spot/hole in the wall “Record City”. Well, by the time my buddy dropped me off at my parents’ home around 9 pm that evening I realized that I’d left the tape in his Camaro. Oh well, the good thing was that I’d planned to sneak out that night (yeah, I grew up in a strict Catholic household with a 10pm curfew!) to be with my girlfriend…who actually had her licence and own vehicle due to the fact that she was a year older than me. It came down to a choice, sneak out with my girl or linger around the house till’ my friend would swing by later that nite to bring me my tape of “Mecca & The Soul Brother”. Girlfriend or taking in the wonderful sounds of Pete Rock & “T.R.O.Y”? Which event do you think I chose?”
2. “Public Service Announcement (P.S.A.)” prod. by Just Blaze-Jay-Z
“No doubt, Just Blaze killed me with this one!! I actually picked up “The Black Album” while I was home on my two week “block leave” from Iraq. I’d heard the familiar sample used before on O.C.’s debut as well as Non Phixion’s “The Future Is Now”, but “P.S.A.” just had a little more “umph” to it. I was the first one to bring “The Black Album” back to Iraq upon my return from vacation and let’s just say that “P.S.A” was mandatory playing before leaving the gates every night to set out on patrol of Baghdad. That beat still gets me juiced everytime I hear it right after Hov spits “Allow me to reintroduce myself” and the beat drops…..WHAAAAT????”
3. “Money Talks” prod. by Lord Finesse-Double XX Posse
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…if I ever make a movie this song will be the opener. The folks who did the score for “The Boiler Room” where sleepin’ when they skipped over this Lord Finesse banger. BTW, I did say that this is the high point of Finesse’s production career, right (P.S. I loved his remix of SWV’s “Right Here” as well)? As soon as the horn kicks in it’s a wrap!! I’d slept on this beat until late 2000, but since then it’s mandatory listening to get my day started on the right foot.”
“As soon as I heard the echoing horns from Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew” I was immediately pulled into the speaker upon my first listen of “Enta Da’ Stage”. This track bleeds images of Carhartt hoodies, suede Timbs and basements filled with “skunk”. Although, in the mid-90′s I preferred the remixes to “I Gotcha’ Opin” & “Buck Em’ Down” the one track that I constantly come back to from “Enta Da Stage” is “Niguz Talk Shit”……Fu*k Onyx, this shit is Grimey!”
5. “The Actual” prod. by DJ Premier-All City
“It blows by mind that Primo’s masterpiece “The Actual” didn’t appear on anyone’s list thus far. This track is without question my favorite track that Primo has ever laced with his genius. It’s nearly impossible to avoid head nods that almost develop into convulsions after indulging in “The Actual”. When I close my eyes and listen to this track, I can almost see little monkeys pounding away furiously on a handmade set of congos while doing the robot in tune with the sounds of “dun,dun…..(congos)….dun,dun…..dun….dun,dun, DUN!! I know….. weird shit, huh?
“Damn, this one was a close call!!! Pete’s remix of “Shut Em’ Down”, A.D.O.R.’s “Let It All Hang Out” or the “Jump Around” remix?? Well, after countless hours of lost sleep (ehh..not really) “Jump Around” emerged as the winner. Damn, remember the surprise and delight you felt when this remix popped up as the last “goodie” on House Of Pain’s debut. Pete’s remix of “Jump Around” should stand as the blueprint for remixing an already dope song.
“I remember stopping in Germany on my flight home from Iraq and seeing “The Tipping Point” in one of the stores in the airport…I hadn’t even heard of them dropping this album up until that point. The opening track “Star/Pointro” blew my freakin’ mind, let’s just say I was overjoyed with the thoughts of finally sliding back into normalcy accompanied with this beautiful ?uestlove production. You can nearly see the Roots playing in front of a packed lounge with a capacity of nearly 100, filled with cigarette smoke & Cognac while ?uestlove is planted on his thrown behind the drums…..afro pick intact with his eyes closed nodding away to his own masterpiece. And that vocal rip??? Damn!!!!” “Everybody Is A Staaaaar!”
8. “Ride Thru It” prod. by artist-Ill Poetic
“Straight up & down, it was difficult to pick just one of Ill’s productions from “The World Is Ours”. Funny thing is, this was one of my least favorite tracks on the album, but after sitting in traffic for about 2 hours on a Friday evening a few months ago….pissed off from a bad day at work….”Ride Thru It” nearly lifted my soul out of my driver’s seat and found safe haven away from all the madness on that 100 degree day while everyone’s work was through, attempting to get home to their family as quickly as possible. So as corny as this sounds, I had to “Ride Thru It”. The horns, heavy bass kicks, catchy vocal slices and a bassless, goosebump inducing close to the track….this one’s got it all people!! Remember, aspiring producers out there….as witnessed with “Ride Thru It” clarity is a key ingredient in piecing together a classic song.”
9. “It’s All About U/Krazy World” prod. by MetalFingerz/MF Doom-King Geedorah f. Gigan
“I’ve never been the biggest Doom fan, and I realize that the song structure of “Krazy World” consists of a repeated loop with no bassline…..but, Jesus this shit is Ill!!!! Hearing beauty is when the drums cut out for a brief few seconds at about the 3:16 mark allowing the sample to caress your eardrums. Soon thereafter, the drums re-emerge and the neck snapping continues. From what I’ve heard from Doom this is his gem production-wise thus far.”
“The best Dre-produced beat that Dre never did. I remember reading the production credits for “The Documentary” and being like…..WTF? “Runnin” is jus’ plain EERIE! Thanks to crisp bass knocks, a haunting organ sample that was jerked right out of a horror flick…..this beat almost makes you forget Tony Yayo’s verse.” However as a “hook-man” Dion does a helluva’ job on nearly any track I’ve heard him on.
11. “Brothers Gonna’ Work It Out” prod. by The Bomb Squad
“Uggh, the rhythm, the rebel”, was there any production team better at crafting “beautiful noise” than the Bomb Squad? What an introduction to P.E.’s second disc “Fear Of A Black Planet”, this track pretty much set the tone for the outset of the album. Who would have thought to lace “Brothers….” with a viscious Prince guitar riff? I don’t even know what to call the “waah, waah…waah..waah, waaah” sound you hear in the background of this joint, but it sure as hell sounded dope!”
12. “Can’t Hear Nuthin’ But The Music” prod. by artist-EPMD
“Yet another dope cut from my favorite from EPMD’s discography “Business Never Personal”. Injected with four prevelant sample sources (Average White Band, Curtis Mayfield, Barbara Mason & Kool & The Gang) “Can’t Hear Nuthin’” is some of the nastiest funk that Erick & Parish blessed listeners with. Throw an “Ohh Baby” vocal sample in the break and it’s hard to remain still when this cut blasts out your speakers.”
13. “Music Man” prod. by Marley Marl-Masta Ace
“Maaaaaan!” My introduction to the present day legend known as Masta Ace.
…Snatching Grand Funk Railroad’s “Nothing Is The Same”, Marley Marl laid the groundwork with a fonkay bassline and unforgettable guitar lick on the break that will never be forgotten and always serve as my finest memory of the A.C.E.
14. “You Can’t See What I Can See” prod. by Chad Elliot & Puff Daddy-Heavy D & The Boyz
“Yes, this served as the B-Side to “Peaceful Journey” and yes I’m aware that Puffy had a hand the beatwork….but dayum!!! I’ll never forget the first time I saw Heav’ perform this on “In Living Color”. This track always possessed the same vibe and overall feel of Black Sheep’s “The Choice Is Yours” (Revisited). Laced with the addictive horn riff we first heard on P.E.’s “It Takes A Nation Of Millions….” and a perfect Flava Flav sample (“Ya’ blind baby, ya’ blind from da facts”) this track makes me want to dust the mothballs off my Cross Colours and put on my locs. Damn, this track brings back maaaad memories!!
15. “Case Closed” prod. by Rockwilder-Redman
“For real, when I first heard “Case Closed” I thought to myself “Man, this is some futuristic shit right here!”. Before 96′ I’d never heard anything like it before. Although, my feelings for “Case Closed” have subdued over the last few years, it is still very deserving of it’s spot on this list. The bassline on this track will nearly crack your rear window or blow ya’ headphones. This Rockwilder production is head and shoulders above anything he’s done in the last 5 years….Moulin Rouge anyone??
16. “This Is For My Homiez” prod. by The LG Experience-Ill Al Skratch
“Now, keep in mind this is strictly a list for “Beats”….lyrical content is excluded. One of the 7 cuts that referenced “Homiez” on their debut “Creep Wit’ Me”, LG laced Ill Al Skratch with a banger that was easily mistaken for their debut single “Where My Homiez”. The synths and keys on this track are essential for crafting an emotional soundscape that also served as an anthem for “friends appearing on a milkbox”….ha, ha???
17. “Lower Da’ Boom” prod. by T-Ray-Artifacts
“Boom Squad In Da’ House”. Yet another production from an underrated beatsmith (T-Ray) who’s name has surfaced on more than one “Top 25″ list that’s been posted thus far. For me, “Lower Da’ Boom” has always been the highlight of “Between A Rock And A Hard Place” even though the album is loaded with classic material. Utilizing the same Jean Jacques Perrey sample that Primo jerked for “Just To Get A Rep” (and I’ve also seen it used in a frequently aired commercial in the last two years) as “icing on the cake” the bass heavy drum knocks lay the groundwork for a track that succeeds in doing just what it’s title indicates. Lower Da’ Boom!!!!
18. “I Don’t Know Why” prod. by 9th Wonder-Buckshot & 9th Wonder
“Okay, we all know that 9th’s snare can become quite repetative and lately he’s been slackin’…..or at least in my opinion….but it was actuallly difficult to pick just one beat from the North Carolina native turned college professor. This track is just freakin…..moving!! I mean, the syrupy chorus and the soulful sample and the “no, no, no, no” that echoes in the background…..damn 9th! Why he can’t drop shit like this every release??? The highlight of the track occurs at various points on “I Don’t Know Why”….9th actually sounds as if he’s powering down the turntables throughout the track, but the simplicity of Fruity Loops prohibited me from placing this track even higher on my list….although, I had second thoughts of doing so.
19. “4 Better Or 4 Worse” prod. by J Swift-The Pharcyde
“Yes, I know the utterance of “I…I….went up your pussy with my fist” doesn’t really do any favors for this track…but J Swift intertwined one of my favorite samples (well, “Blind Alley” is my favorite) with a dragging bassline that is Kicker worthy to surpass the track that The Pharcyde is most noted for “Passing Me By”. It never fails, everytime I reach for “Bizzare Ride…” this cut is the most satisfying everytime with every listen.
20. “Still Standin’ Strong” prod. by Steele-Cocoa Brovaz aka Smif N Wessun
“Damn, I guess the saying is right….”You learn something everyday”, as is the case with the production for “Still Standin’ Strong”. Hell, up until today I’d always thought that this joint was produced by The Beatminerz (it’s okay, I know you did too) but I was sorely mistaken. Steele, 1/2 of Smif N Wessun is responsible for this banger that barely made it past “BuckTown” and “Standin’ Strong” from their debut. The guitar lick courtesy of Otis Redding’s “Don’t Mess With Cupid” won me over the first day I picked this album (The Rude Awakening) up along with GangStarr’s “Moment Of Truth”
21. “Tears” prod. by Majesty-Da King & I
“Bare bones production before all the technology”. Majesty killed it with this one, I wonder if he crafted the beat around the lyrics or vice versa…because the track fits the lyrics like a glove. The song is inteded to evoke emotions and it wins in doing so. A perfect example of reaping the benefits of an already dope sample (the Ohio Players’ “Our Love Has Died”). Quick story, before our move to Arkansas my wife made me trash about….hell, it had to be at least 15oo tapes because we didn’t have any more room in the vehicle and the moving company forgot to pack em’ up. Needless, to say there was one tape left in the deck of that ol’ ass Ford Explorer….”Contemporary Jeep Music”. No Shit, my wife was in her vehicle in front of me during the 7 hour drive from Oklahoma to Arkansas so it was me and my dog Casey (R.I.P…..fuckin’ speeding drivers!) following in my car. I must have listened to “Tears” for three hours straight. Of course, you know what “Repeat” for a tape is like…play and rewind…play and rewind….play and rewind….Nevertheless, it was worth every minute!”
22. “Let Off A Couple” prod. by artist The Beatnuts
“Yes, this may not qualify as a beat per se…and it is just a blatant rip off of Monty Alexander’s “Love & Happiness” but I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve noded off to this smooth 1 minute 43 second break that was sandwiched between two songs (“Straight Jacket” & “Rik’s Joint”) that nearly missed the list from the Beatnuts debut full length “Street Level” (or self-titled debut, depending who you ask). If I was a producer, this would be the first loop I’d “jack”, add an underlying bass line to it and sell it onli
ne for a mere .99 plus tax!”
23. “Less Than Zero” prod. by Joe Masfield-Ed O.G. & Da Bulldogs
“Fueled by the horn loop from John Klemmer’s “Free Soul” this CLASSIC from Ed O.G.’s follow up disc “Roxbury…” damn near wore out the $100.00 Alpine deck in my Honda CRX hatchback during the winter months of 1994. It’s funny that alot of the beats on here are namely listed because of their “memories” and “Less Than Zero” accompanied me through those long bus rides to Basketball games and served as essential headphone music before lacing em’ up.
24. “Rock On” prod. by DJ Muggs-FunkDoobiest
“Even though Buckwild tried to “one up” Muggs with the remix to “Rock On” the original held it’s ground and emerged as the “go to” track from Funkdoobiest’s second album (which was a huge improvement on their debut) “Brothas Doobie”. How difficult would it be to craft a track with feeling and emotion for Funkdoobiest? I mean, c’mon..didn’t Son Doobie further his “entertainment” career in the porn industry? Nevertheless, DJ Muggs suceeded in providing Funkdoobiest with some substance, even if it was for only one monumental song “Rock On”….”If your soul loves the sun, money rock on”. Oh, and how bout the chourus where it sounds as if Muggs is letting tiny peebles (mini rocks, not the cereal silly) slip from his grasp. This track was sooo fresh!!
25. “It’s On You” prod. by Pete Rock-Pete Rock & CL Smooth
“Damn, it was really a task trying to pick between this cut and “The Main Ingredient”, but over the last few years I’ve swayed towards the subtlty and smoothness that the Soul Brother #1 laced this track with. On a side note, Pete sure did sample the hell outta’ some Biz Markie on “The Main Ingredient” but the Erick Sermon sample is pieced together beautifully over the “studder stepped” bass groove for “It’s On You”. Please Pete & CL give us one last hoorah!!!
“Starch” prod. by artist-Blueprint
“Albany” prod. by artist-Kev Brown
“Sights In The City” prod. by Guru for Jazzmatazz Vol. I
“Nuthin’ To Do” prod. by No I.D.-Common Sense
“Just Another Case” prod. by Yogi-CRU
“14 KT Big Tune Beat Battle Feature”
Maaan….W.T.R. can’t say enough about this cat (and Buff…and Now On, for that matter!) in the video above. Good insight on the man behind the music. As far as I’m concerned there isn’t another producer on the boards that’s even lighting a match to the fire that KT has been unleashing. Let me take that back…..Small Pro has been killin’ the boards as well. Still, the sky’s the limit for both KT and Small Pro.