The use of intros/outros and skits has been rampant since the 90’s when, as I recall, De La and Prince Paul loaded 3 Feet High and Rising with humorous skits. It seemed like 90% of all hip-hop albums that came out after 3FHAR featured at least an intro and usually had a skit or two. Most of the time intros are garbage, just some dude talking, or smoking weed and coughing, or some variation of both. But, sometimes, an intro can grab you and immediately pull you into the album and mind state of the artist(s).
There are different types of intros. Most don’t involve incorporating a song, but it seems like it’s becoming more commonplace to have a quick hitter, a song that will start off the album on a high note. Below are some notable intros in my opinion and why I like them (click to play).
This is the one that seemed to start it all. De La Soul’s Intro from 3FHAR sets up the game show skits that are found within the group’s seminal first LP.
Sometimes they aren’t simply called Intro, as in Nas’s The Genesis. The Genesis sets the stage for one of hip-hop’s great albums. It samples old movies and has Nas and his homies speaking on bringing the real. And, Nas did. Oh, and he talks about weed a bit too.
This might be my favorite non-song related intro. The Intro for Ready to Die is freakin’ genius. It starts with some Superfly as Big is born, then melds into Rapper’s Delight, then to Audio Two’s Top Billin’ as Big is older and some Snoop as Biggie is released from jail. It tells the story of his life through the songs of his youth, up until about the time he cut his debut.
Fashawn’s quick banger from Boy Meets World immediately got my amped for the album. Talk about setting a tone.
A funky little beat and some scratching, along with Everlast talking before screaming “It’s the House of Pain!” Bonus points for how perfectly it blends into Jump Around.
This is more of a song, but they call it an intro and it is probably my favorite beat on The Formula. It starts with a brief “intro” of some people talking about The Formula, before the beat kicks in and Buck starts to spit.
The intro for Ice Cube’s Death Certificate goes into a funeral. The preacher talks about the death of a young man (maybe Cube). He states, “He didn’t get into an excessive amount of trouble, but it’s one thing… it’s one thing…” Then goes from there, what a great start to a classic. (For some readon my rip of Death doesn’t include the intro, so I pulled this from YouTeezy):
Obviously, there are so many intros out there, but these are the ones that easily come to the top of the dome for me.