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The Pre Game Warm Up: Best Tracks for 2001 & 2002

by Travis on December 27, 2008

It’s my favorite time of the year. No, not because of the holidays. Those are great and all, and I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a happy and safe New Years. But the reason this is my favorite time of the year is all the year end lists that pop up all over the net and the blogs. Anywhere from the first part of December (or if you’re Eric over at When They Reminisce, you start in October…haha)to the last part of January. I just like reading other people’s opinions, and maybe pick up on something I may have missed or breezed over the first time through. We here at WYDU are busily working on our year end lists. We should have the year end extravaganza up the week of January 5th. I’m hoping to have a wide variety of people on the WYDU panel this year. If you missed last years, you can peep it. This way, with a bunch of different people weighing in you won’t be dominated with just my opinions, which as we all know, can be kind of on the strange end and a bit narrow minded even if I have to say so myself.

However, I will start posting my own personal Top 100 songs of 2008 starting on Monday. It will be a four day event and there might even be some bonus songs thrown in there, mainly because there are a bunch that I loved, but didn’t make the top 1oo and I don’t want them to be left out. I’ve actually been making tapes/cds of my favorite songs since 1990. I don’t have all of them anymore, and I didn’t do any from 98-00 for a few different reasons. I recall ’93 being a particular great year for singles (duh) but I of course can’t find that one anymore.

To get you all warmed up, I’ve dug through my homemade disks and pulled out some of my past “Favorite Tracks of 200_” that I have sitting on CDs. These are the same as I picked them the day I made my list for that particular year. It’s always interesting to go back and see how my tastes have changed . Some the songs I wouldn’t have on the list anymore and others I think should have been higher, but that’s the way things go. I’m sure you’ll see an updated lists next year about this time for the Decade Lists (yeah, I’m already as giddy as a school girl for those), but for now, these tracks are unchanged and as is….

Trav’s Favorites of 2001

In 2001, the internet was already in full effect and a starting to be an influence on my listening habits. I already was living a life of crime and downloading off of Napster and Audio Galaxy (I can’t remember which was first) and my fascination with some of the underground and indie stuff was starting to become a major part of my listening habits. I have this broken up into 1-19 and 20-39. Unfortunately though, my girlfriend snagged my 1-19 and I haven’t seen it since (She claims its in her 4-Runner, but I have yet to see it). I seem to remember Erick Sermon’s “Music” being my favorite song of that year. There was Bubba Sparxxx “Ugly” that was a favorite during our all night Madden tournaments that we played a lot that year in that top five as well. The second half is also made up of some mainstream acts such as DMX, which I usually proclaim an extreme dislike for as well as some underground/indie stuff such as Ace Lover and Binary Star.
A couple songs from the from 1-19

Trav’s Fav Song from 2001 (at that time)

Erick Sermon feat Marvin GayeMusic

Others in the Top 20 (That I Can Recall)

Bubba Sparxxx – Ugly

This was my theme song when I was whoopin’ fools on the Madden that year. This was also during my Timbaland kick that I had right around this time, with the Missy Elliot shit, Petey Pablo and of course Bubba. Don’t play, you know you’ve danced to this song sometime in your life. Ahhh, redneck rap….This video is hilarious.

Is there any lineup on any posse cut that screams “indie” as much as the Jigmasta’s “Lyrical Fluctuation”? Back in 2001, all these cats were on some super “underground/Rawkus/indie” steez as much as anyone out there. Dudes like Talib, Mos and Pharahoe were the champions of the underground. That might not be so now, but Spinna killed this beat and everyone brought heat on their verse. It was something I think I found on Napster or Audio Galaxy, and I still dig this song to this day.

Tha Liks “Best U Can” shit was catchy as hell, although I was utterly disappointed with it when it originally dropped. Still nothing like getting a lap dance with this song playing…..

I love weird shit and Outkast’s “B.O.B” was weird as it gets. It was one of those songs that gets the ole adrenaline pumping and the blood flowing. The track should definitely be higher, or at least higher than “Ms. Jackson”. Outkast and “Ms. Jackson?” Really? I actually am still sick of that song to this day.

I’ve never been a big fan of DMX’s music, but I’ll have to admit he makes some catchy ass music from time to time. While I’ve never heard the Great Depression, I always though “We Right Here” was a catchy track that for some reason got a lot of play from me in 2001.

As I said, I was just getting into the underground stuff around this time. This is evident with a few of the songs that came out before the 2001 year, but since I didn’t know, they were lumped into this year. The Constant Deviants came out in 1998, but since there were no blogs, no discogs and very little info on groups such as Constant Deviants on the net at that time, I had no clue. You can also lump Louis Logic’s “Logistics 101″ into that category. I was really getting into artists such as J-Zone and Louis Logic around this time. Zone dropped probably his most universally liked album in Pimps Don’t Pay Taxes, and one of my favorite joints from it was “Zone for President” along with “Pimp Palace East” with the rest of the Old Maid Billionares. Zone at his best, dropping some great lines. Both tracks should be higher. Ace Lover was also in that bunch of me being late on, but hey, that dude during this time was one of my favorites, see Here.

It’s interesting to see Jay-Z’s “The Takeover” on the bottom half of this list. To this day, I consider it one of the greatest dis tracks.

If you haven’t heard Jean Grae’s “How To Break Up With Your Girlfriend”, check that track out. Produced by M-Boogie, it was the track that REALLY grabbed my attention and made me check out Jean on the regular. M-Boogie had some decent tracks that appeared on his Ill Boogie label and also had a couple decent producer type albums around this same time. Speaking of ill producer type albums, The Creators have two songs in the list. Phil Da Agony dropped “The Kronkite”, which had some haunting strings to go along with Phil’s rough ass voice. I was amped to hear more from Phil, which has since passed. Consequence also popped up on the scene again, with “In and Out”, which is a hyped track that got cats looking for the Con again.

Trav’s Top 20-39 for 2001

20. Jigmastas feat Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Pharohoe Monch, Mr. Complex, Shabaam Shadeeq - Lyrical Fluctuation (DJ Spinna Remix)

21. Ace Lover feat C Rayz Walz – Area Codes

22. Outkast – Mrs. Jackson

23. Tha Liks feat PharrellBest U Can

24. J-Zone – Zone For President

25. OutkastB.O.B

26. DMX - We Right Here

27. Binary StarGlen Close

28. Ace Lover feat Uncle Paulie - Weed Spots

29. J-Zone feat Al Shid & Huggy BearLive From Pimp Palace East

30. Jay-Z - The Takeover

31. Louis Logic – Logistics 101

32. BeatnutsNo Escapin’

33. Jean Grae - How To Break Up With Your Girlfriend

34. DJ Clue & RedmanRED

35. The Creators feat ConsequenceIn and Out

36. Constant DeviantsCan’t Stop

37. The Creators feat Phil Da AgonyKronkite

38. Obie Trice - Mr. Trice

39. Masta Ace feat Jean GraeHold U

Trav’s Top 40 For 2002

The year 2002 was somewhat sorry, I remember thinking “is this it?” Looking back it now, and it’s not all that bad. In some ways, I think at that time I was still upset with the direction that hip hop was taking. You had stuff like Nelly and whatever other crappy radio music that was going on during that time. I was very upset with the state of hip hop. It finally hit me that things weren’t going to return to the glory days of the so called “Golden Age”, which left me somewhat bitter. Looking at things now, I realize that those days are gone and to just accept it for what it is. There is still good music (I’ll still argue with one til I’m blue in the face that says the present is better than the past, but that’s another story), and 2002 had it’s share of good (not great) music.

For the top 10, it was pretty much my typical tastes, with the ever catchy “Worst Comes To Worst” by Dilated that won me over for that year. It still warrants as my favorite Dilated Peoples track to this day. De La had “Baby Phat”, which somewhat annoys me to this day, although it’s not a bad track, I probably just played it too much back then. If I was to redo this list with my tastes in mind now, The Clipse’s “Grindin” would probably be number one. I’m not huge on the whole trap rap crap, but “Grindin’” will forever be my shit. “Make You Feel That Way” by Blackalicious was another one of those joints on MTV2 back in the day with my free TV shit that I got. I’m not a big Blackalicious fan, but this song is some feel good music if I ever heard any.

The rest of the top 10 falls out with some good tracks that I still dig today, especially the Binary Star track, “Honest Expression”. I’d almost be likely to include this in a top 100 tracks off all-time for myself. The message portrayed on the cut is something I still feel strongly about, maybe more so today than ever. Classic track. Ras Kass’ jab at Alchemist on “Kiss U” has long been one of my favorite Rassy tracks. I’ve long considered Ras Kass one of my favorite west coast MC’s (and all around MCs) and some of the lines dropped in “Kiss U” are a prime example of why I hold him in such high regard.

The spots of 11-20 are a peferct example of how my tastes back then were much more varied than they probably are now. You start off with some fairly obscrure (at least to the average rap fan of the day) underground type stuff. Some people might call me crazy for putting the Knoc Turn’al track in there, but “The Knoc” was my shit that year. And hey, Missy isn’t too bad when you regulate her to hooks and the such. Another Aftermath potential that wasn’t to be. Meth and Red’s “How High 2″ is kind of annoying to me now, but I guess it’s an example of musical tastes changing. Of course you have more J-Zone who dropped one of my all-time favorite songs out of his catalog in “County Check Pimpin”. The Jay-Z dis song, “It’s Ova” by former friend turned foe, Jaz-O. The rest of the batch are from fairly well know artists and fairly popular cuts from NORE (and that blasted eastern music samples that went a little too far in 2002), Nas and his “Ether” track that came out on his Stillmatic. That highly annoying “Oh Boy” from Cam’Ron gets the “WTF was I thinking award”. Of course we have the Grammy winning “Lose Yourself” from Eminem, which I almost consider a classic track these days. Yeah, I said, it, sue me.

Again, on the second half of the collection of top songs shows more underground stuff, especially in the form of Louis Logic and three songs from two of his side projects that year. Both “Happy Hour” and “Ready for War” were from Lou and Charlie Bawles and the Porn Theatre Usher’s Mr. Jason on the boards. They were known as the Brews Brothers. Based on this single (Both sides A and B show up on the list), it’s too bad we didn’t hear more from the duo. J-Zone’s former partners also show up with their own shit. Both Huggy and Al-Shid have tracks in the second half of the list, with Zone producing both tracks. 13, who was in the 90′s west coast group Mannish, dropped the incredibly dope “Slow Burnin”, which was produced by either Evidence or Joey Chavez aka Sid Roams. Still a favorite of mine. One of my all-time favorite posse cuts is represented at number 35, with Copywrite, Mr. Eon, Cage, J-Zone, Tame One and others dropping the “Eastern Conference All-Stars”, with J-Zone dropping the best verse of his illustrious career:

You want a free verse, your label was a joke from the start
You want a free beat then put a stethoscope to your heart
You want free dick then baby go back to your ex
You want free advice chump, shave the back of your neck
I use threats over money so deejays won’t play my jams
Internet B-Boy’s want to know what race I am
Black, white, or Spanish, you figure it out
Learn how to rhyme off mine and take your dick out your mouth
It’s ’bout to get ill in here, so stop starin bitch
Old Man Billionaire in here, Christina Aguilera’s pimp
UPS is hiring so close the trap
Cuz my old gym techer ain’t supposed to rap

Finally, my introduction to Tonedeff and the QN5 label was in 2002, with Tone appearing on the enjoyable KRS track “Clear Em Out”. It was a jab thrown at Nelly in the utterly ridiculous Nelly/KRS beef of that year.

Trav’s Top 40 For 2002
01 Dilated PeoplesWorst Comes To Worst

02 De La SoulBaby Phat

03 The Clipse - Grindin’

04 BlackaliciousMake You Feel That Way

05 Binary StarHonest Expression

06 J-Live - Satisfied

07 Slum VillageTainted

08 Outkast feat Killer MikeWhole World

09 Ras KassKiss U (Original Version)

10 ScarfaceMy Block

11 Knoc Turn’al feat Missy ElliotThe Knoc

12 Methodman & Redman - How High Pt 2

13 Jaz-O - It’s Ova

14 J-Zone - County Check Pimpin

15 Eminem - Lose Yourself

16 AZ – Once Again

17 CamronOh Boy

18 Eminem - Without Me

19 Noreaga - Grimey

20 Nas - Ether

21 Royce Da 5’9 - Rock City

22 The RootsRock You

23 Al-Shid & HUGFight Club

24 Brews Brothers (Louis Logic & Charlie Bawles) - Ready For War

25 The Odd CouplePimp Shit

26 Obie TriceRap Name

27 Erick Sermon feat RedmanReact

28 Gep Dep - Special Delivery (remix)

29 Nas - Got Yourself A Gun

30 Mobb Deep feat Big NoydThe Learning (Burn)

31 N.O.R.E. - Nothin’

32 InI - Center of Attention

33 DJ Jazzy Jeff & Slum Village - Are You Ready

34 13 – Slow Burnin’

35 Brews Brothers (Louis Logic & Charlie Bawles) - Happy Hour

36 Eastern Conference All-Stars - EC All-Stars (Original Version)

37 HUG & Al ShidRadio

38 Krs-One feat Tonedeff - Clear ‘Em Out

39 G-Dep - Special Delivery

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