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Bloggerhouse presents 75 Backpack Bangers (1994-2000) (Dart Drops Another 25)

by Staff on July 31, 2010

Get the complete link for Dart’s List HERE

Let me first clarify something, this post was not intended as an affront to the good people @ Complex nor the fans of said mainstream music of that era. What it is instead, is a celebration of some of our favorite Hip Hop tracks of this wondrous age of Hip Hop where the world seemingly turned upside down during it. Think of all the the things that not only changed in Hip Hop between 1994-2000 but also in society as a whole.

We went from the old Bush Administration to the Clinton Administration  to right back to another Bush administration. The Telecommunications Act Of 1996 was big but so was the advent of the Information Age via the proliferation of the internet. Then came several advances in technology and the birth of peer to peer sites. Some cats were coppin’ CD-R’s because they just got CD burners while others of us were digging for vinyl while still buying CD’s and arguing about if DVD’s and MiniDiscs will become industry standards or not.

It was a crazy time. It was a great time. The print media was still alive and I had a variety of record and video stores to choose from. The economy was booming so much that dudes were rockin’ shiny suits with platinum jewelry & driving around in Bentleys with factory stickers still on them all over MTV and BET. Meanwhile my boys & I had boxcutters and butterfly knives on us just in case someone tried to jack our CD players or record bags from us @ 2 AM around Downtown Crossing. I also miss all the “fuck Guliani” song coming out of New York back then…

In any event, here I go again. Y’all may recognize far more of these selections than previous lists but trust that I will be doing a final 25 to make it an even 100 so if you haven’t seen the songs you expected to yet I’m sure that between myself, Eric & Travis they WILL turn up. Enjoy (or don’t):


Digable Planets

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(1994)

The Digable Planets’ debut album was beloved by fans & critics alike. They were media darlings, non threatening Jazz rap cats that called themselves insects. Folks in middle America felt extra comfortable with having their children listen to Digable Planets. In 1994, all of that changed. I saw a promo single tape for this track from EMI but I didn’t open it, later on that day I was watching “Rap City” on BET and this video came on. This wasn’t no “Where I’m From”. This wasn’t no fuckin’ “Swoon Units”. This wasn’t “Jimi Diggin’ Cats”, either. It was what it sounded like…revolution. If you didn’t own “Blowout Comb” you lost (no Nas).


Bahamadia

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(1994)

Guru of GangStarr signed a female emcee from Illadelph to his production company. He kept going on and on about how ill she was. Finally, we got a hold of the 12″ for “Total Wreck”. Goddamn. I say, goddamn! © Mia Wallace. The next year, Bahamadia dropped the classic LP “Kollage” which produced around 5 more classic jawns. What an era…


MOP

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(1994)

MOP’s “To The Death” album is an undisputed classic in my eyes. The “Rugged Neva Smoove” remix was ridiculous but the B side won again as “Downtown Swinga” came outta nowhere to take the crown. How ill was “Downtown Swinga”? So ill that there was a “Downtown Swinga ’96″ AND a “Downtown Swinga ’98″. It’s almost as if they made a new version to welcome all the latecomer MOP fans. I’ve been down since Fame was on “The Hill That’s Real”.


Royal Fam

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(1995)

Let’s discuss this single for  a hot minute. This 12″ was featured on mixtapes & played on college and underground radio from 1995 to 1997. It never got old. Eventually, Royal Fam ended up down with Wu Tang Killa Bees & dropped some jawns via Wu Tang Records/Priority and featured on the compilation “The Swarm”. I can’t believe that it’s 15 years old…


Smoothe Da Hustler

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(1995)

What? You thought you weren’t gonna see THIS jawn on this list at any point? Are you dumb? © Jammer. This song featured Smoothe Da Hustler and his physical brother Trigga Tha Gambler murdering a track with a style that everyone would be emulating from school lunchrooms to project hallways to local sub shops to check cashing spots to bodegas to even standing in line at the post office. The blog writer/the underground Hip Hop history reciter/the live wire/making other bloggers retire/ See what I mean?


World Renown

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(1995)

World Renown is well known for their two 12″s and videos that got mad burn on BET’s Video Vibrations and Rap City (and a few plays on Yo! MTV Raps before it was a wrap). This track was the SHIT! Of course, there would be no album forthcoming. In 2006, World Renown appeared on MySpace and after numerous requests for the album they put it up on their page for sale via Snocap. It leaked onto the internet shortly thereafter. Don’t even ask me for it because I don’t have it.


Black Moon

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(1995)

Boot Camp Click dominated this era no doubt. It doesn’t matter which version you choose of “Headz Ain’t Redee”, it still bangs. The original slower version. The version from the “New Jersey Drive” soundtrack. Doesn’t matter. The truth of the matter was that heads WERE ready. Fifteen years later Duck Down records is still standing. And winning.


Aceyalone

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(1995)

Aceyalone’s solo debut “All Balls Don’t Bounce” had a gang of classic moments on it. One being the lead single “Mic Check”. I honestly don’t think these West Coast emcees from the Good Life Cafe/Project Blowed era realize how much they influenced emcees and heads on the East Coast. I still believe that the most talented collection of emcees ever assembled was the Freestyle Fellowship. Aceyalone & Myka 9 are among two of the most underrated emcees ever.


Real Live (K-Def & Larry O)

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(1995)

This was an obvious choice as well. This track smashed. It was on every mixtape, college and underground radio mix show and invaded every walkman owned by an underground Hip Hop head or backpacker. In 1996, Real Live dropped the “Real Live Shit Remix” and it finally got a video. The tragedy is the video didn’t get much burn but this song was undeniable.


Artifacts

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(1996)

Artifacts. Tame One. El Da Sensei. Shawn J. Period. Art Of Facts. This jawn is gorgeous. Tame One murdered this beat. Eviscerated it. He then resurrected it, nurtured it back to health then butchered it again for pleasure and/or sport. If you were a Hip hop fan, emcee, DJ or producer then you had no choice but to love and appreciate this contribution to the rich tradition of Hip Hop classics.


CNN (Capone N Noreaga)

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(1996)

One of the greatest underground hip Hop 12′s ever in my biased opinion. Why? Because it was made at a momentous time in Hip Hop history and it was the precursor to a classic LP that seemingly came out of nowhere. There wasn’t a weak moment on this vinyl, son. “Illegal Life” and “Stick You” would get played from 1996 until (and throughout all of) 1997. Even after “The War Report” dropped this 12″ still got burn. Don’t forget that “LA, LA” was the first response to Snoop & the Dogg Pound kicking over the Towers in the “New York, New York” video during the East/West tensions. That’s the one thing I wish I could take back or erase entirely from that era. Word life.


Necro

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(1997)

Necro dropped this 12″ via Fat Beats before he started up Psycho + Logical Records. The A side was the humorous “Get On Your Knees” with the Dionne Warwick vocal sample but the B side wins again with “Underground”. I have this very piece of vinyl in an old US Mail crate right behind me as I type this out. This is also the lone 1997 selection on this particular list. I’ll make it up to you all at a later date, I promise.


Baby J f/Poetic

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(1998)

Some of you never heard this song as Baby J was a producer with heavy UK & NY ties signed to Bomb Hip Hop Records. The lead 12″ to his “Birth” LP featured “Walk With A Bop” by the A-Alikes (another banger) and “Savior” from Too Poetic AKA Grym Reaper of The Gravediggaz. Poetic had terminal cancer and he passed not too long after the release of this album. His vocal performance and the emotional content of it almost overpowers the sick beat. I’ve never once played the instrumental version even after 12 years. R.I.P. Poetic.


Big Kwam

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(1998)

Big Kwam did the original with UK production duo The Creators (no to be confused with Boston’s own production/emcee crew Kreators) and it was already dope but when Blindside Recordings dropped the vinyl for the DJ Spinna remix and “Capacity Blown”? Sheeeeit! © Clay Davis. In 1999, Blindside Recordings dropped the amazing compilation “Wide Angles” with this track on it & people began searching for this 12″ all over again. Many went out and bought the wrong damn 12″. *Gary Coleman shrug*


Neek The Exotic

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(1998)

I had two Neek The Exotic tracks ready to go for my final two lists. Travis took one off the “Backs n’ Necks EP” for his last list so I was left with the Large Professor produced banger “Exotic’s Raw” instead. Thanks Travis, because of that I was able to fit another song that got pushed back to another list in this one. I love Bloggerhouse cuz even when I “lose” I still end up winning.


Apani B. Fly Emcee

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(1998)

This posse track features a veritable who’s who of the NYC underground Hip Hop scene. What? What? AKA Jean Grae (Natural Resource), Apani B. Fly Emcee (Polyrhythm Addicts), Queen Herawin (Juggaknots), Helixx C. Armageddon & Pri The Honey Dark (Anomolies), Yejide The Night Queen (Survival Sounds), Ayana Soyini (Natural Elements) and Lyric (Q-Boro/Bronx Science/Raptivism/Landspeed). This track was the standout but “Woman In Me” & “Soul Control” were both dope, too.


Mathematik

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(1998)

“Better By The Letter” was on a couple of compilations and mixtapes but the B side won yet again in this case as my favorite Mathematik jawns were “Rhyme Training” and “Formation”. The funny thing is I never heard the B side of this 12″ until the videos for “Formation” and “Rhyme Training” got burn on MuchMusic’s Rap City. I had to find these two songs, come to find out they were on the B side of “Better By The Letter”. Why didn’t one of these jawns got top billing instead? The world may never know. Peace, Canada!


Group Home

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(1998)

I LOVE this piece of vinyl to this very day. Lil’ Dap & Melachi aren’t the most skilled lyricists but they somehow manged to make two albums that occupy a special place in my heart. The 12″ has “Breaker 1, 9″, “12 O’ Clock BKLYN” & “Dial A Thug” on it but “Dial A Thug” was the track that best embodied the feeling of living in the South end on the edge of Roxbury back in 1998 as well as East NY or Brooklyn. Why else do you think Guru felt so at home there?


Old World Disorder f/Eminem

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(1998)

This should’ve been on previous lists but I was sure it was gonna get picked by now, It didn’t so I’ve picked it. It was also on DJ Spinna’s Beyond Real Experience Vol. 1 compilation for the latecomers. There of course was a record frenzy caused over this 12″ in 1999 when folks other than backpackers & underground Hip Hop heads began to seek it out solely because Eminem was on it. Same thing happened with “Any Man” & “Watch Dees”. Rawkus caked off that dude, huh?


Obscure Disorder f/Ill Bill & Goretex

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(1999)

Blame Canada. Mount Real’s Obscure Disorder featured both Dave One & A-Trak (who both owned the label Audio Research) in addition to emcees Troy Dunnit, Eclipse & Logik. When they were paired with Non Phixion’s Ill Bill & Goretex the result was a track that sounded fresh even 5 years after it was initially created. Now Dave One’s in Chromeo and A-Trak is in love with wierdo Down South Synth Electro Baltimore Booty Baile Funk Techno. You can’t go home again, I guess…


El Da Sensei, Mike Zoot, Organized Konfuzion & F.T. (Street Smartz)

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(1999)

Shawn J. Period strikes again! This Guesswhyld banger featured a lineup iller than the 2004 Boston Red Sox and it dominated like the 2008 Boston Celtics (sense a pattern here?). This was yet another track that was featured on a popular compilation of the time which sparked another record frenzy (Groove Attack’s “Superrappin”). The 12″ cover art was done in comic book form by a writer named PORNO and it was distributed through Fat Beats. As soon as it hit a bin someone snatched it up. I don’t even have a copy! I tried Sandbox, Underground Hip Hop, Fat Beats & every local spot around. No luck.


J-88 (Slum Village)

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(1999)

Speaking of Groove Attack, this German Hip Hop label released an EP of Slum Village material as J-88 back in 1999. One of those jawns is the haunting and legendary “The Look Of Love”. I remember first hearing this with my brother back in ’99 and realizing that Slum Village was a special group in the vein of De la Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, The Beatnuts, N.W.A, The Roots, The Fugees, etc. Typing this out just makes me kinda sad knowing what’s happened with the group recently.


Brassmunk

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(2000)

Audio Research Records. Some Canadian group called Brassmunk makes a banger called “Live Ordeal” that had people buggin’ the fuck out when it came on. That beat? The bars? Cotdayum! © Pharrell Williams. Thank you 6’1″ 185 pound Black dreadlocked Jesus for giving us Cablevision customers in Metro Boston MuchMusic as without it we would’ve surely gone insane. Namugenyi Kiwanuka, you got me through many a tough time with MuchVibe. Plus you loved basketball? Hold up…What was I doing again?


Maspyke

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(2000)

From Springfield, MA came DJ Roddy Rod, Tableek & Hanif Jamiyl to fuck all of our heads up with “The Gong Show”, “Far East Politics” & “The Definition Of A Snake” on Bukarance Records. It was really about 2001 before heads REALLY caught on to what they were putting down but Winter of 2000? This 12″ was the jam. Straight up. Roddy Rod would later relocate to the DMV and join Low Budget Crew but that is another story.


Slum Village

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(2000)

What can I even say about this jawn that hasn’t been said already by such notable music heads as Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson or my boy Frank William Miller Jr. or my Bloggerhouse brethren Eric Coons and Travis Glave begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting or well known Hip Hop journalists throughout the decade plus since it’s dropped? All I can say is this song will never get old to me and that same feeling I got when I first heard it when my boy Vanguard placed the needle on it in Newbury Comics back in 2000 will never fade away and never die. RIP J Dilla. RIP Baatin. RIP Slum Village. Slum Village forever.

Next up: Eric & Travis drop another 25 then I go into overtime to make it 100….

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{ 7 comments }

james August 1, 2010 at 2:33 am

has phat kat’s dedication to the suckers been included somewhere? i hope so

Dart August 1, 2010 at 2:11 pm
chronwell August 1, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Props for including Mic Check. Loved that fukkkin tune since 12th grade.Acey spits battery acid on that track: I give ya body, lashes and whippins? I crashes the board like Um ,Pippen/I has ta be trippin!

jrrider August 1, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Damn going to 100??? Great news so many gems to mine here. Props for the posts

Doncee August 2, 2010 at 1:22 am

It’s never enuff of 90′s bangas for me! I grew up on this shit and I’ll live with this fo ever! Thanks and respect for these post to all Bloggerhouse crew. “Stick You” is definitely my winner in this post. Yo ,Dart,Eric, Trav will you add the dl .rar links for your posts? I want to have these classics in one place!

Dart August 2, 2010 at 7:34 pm

@Doncee: Links are forthcoming…

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addis adidas August 3, 2010 at 3:06 pm

a trip down memory lane, thanks to the whole bloggerhouse crew

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