Here it is, the final 75 from my personal fav’s list. Actually, there is one extra, mainly due to the fact that I can’t count. Actually I left an mp3 out of the folder while I was writing and didn’t catch it until I started uploading tracks. There are rumors about another 25, we’ll see what happens with that. Today’s batch features some fairly well known joints then of course some of my own peculiar tastes came into play. Play them loud is all I have to say……
Download 51-75 of Trav’s Backpack Bangers HERE
Found On: “Check The Flava” b/w “Night of Fear”
My man Eric already featured Ak’s other single, “One Life Ta Live”, but I couldn’t pass on the Lord Finesse produced “Check The Flavor”. Done during Finesse’s prime, the heavily DITC influenced horn stabs lace the beat nicely along with keys, a flurry of scratches and a melodic bass line. Ak was nice on the mic as well, it’s a mad shame that Ak never came with a full length effort, it would have been a nice addition to the mid 90′s landscape.
Found On: “Nowhere Near Simple” b/w “Don’t Cum Strapped” (Vmax Records, 1996)
No one can argue with Percee P’s lyrical skills. He’s easily a top 10 emcee based on straight up rhymes. On what is probably one of his lesser known singles, “Nowhere Near Simple”, came out on a little known label and was produced by a little known producer. Maybe that’s why I like it so much. Over a trunk rattling bass line, Percee just runs ragged over the beat. The chorus is standard fare of the day, with a simple call and response, but that is part of the beauty of it to me now.
Found On: “Cut That Weak Shit” b/w “Ain’t No Secret” (Guesswhyld, 1996)
Lace Da Booms is one of those cats I checked out simply on the strength of his name. I first heard this single when I was going through a friend’s crates back in ’97 when he was getting ready to do a show (also the first time I ran across Company Flow’s music). The horn sample will immediately be recognizable as one Prince Paul used on “A Prince Among Thieves” , but he actually got beaten to it by “Cut That Weak Shit”, which was produced by little known Guess Wild Productions (only listing in discogs). Lace isn’t amazing on the mic neither, but the song brings back those memories and he gets help by Queens resident, Royal Flush.
Found On: “Created A Monster” b/w “How They Want It” (Payday Records, 1995)
Big Red’s stay on Payday was short lived (like most artists on that label), but the promo of Red’s single, “Created A Monster” made some noise, probably more likely for the DITC’s Diamond D on the b-side. While “How They Want It” was dope, it was the A-side that I always wanted to blast the most. There are no production credits and I wouldn’t be comfortable saying it sounds like a Diamond D beat, but the menacing bass line and knockin’ drums work well with Big Red’s deep, gruff and forceful voice. The hook also adds to the single as well. Backpacks everywhere should be carrying a copy of this rather rare single.
Found On: “Show & Prove” 12 inch Single (Travio, 1998)
Another Lord Finesse produced banger, Pitch Black was that straight hood music, and maybe a little to hard for that average indie lovin’ backpacker, but the true hardrocks knew what time it was. “Show & Prove” contains one of my favorite all-time Finesse beats, with a sparse piano sample layered over hard hittin’ drums. The emcees used to catch flack from the so called critics on their album released in 2006, but there is nothing but straight up dope rhymes and beats found on “Show & Prove”.
Found On: “Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz, & Benz” b/w “Keep It Real” (Uptown, 1995)
I’m sure some cats will say this wasn’t backpacker music for the reason it wasn’t “underground” enough, but I would argue that fact. Sure, Lost Boyz and “Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz, & Benz” was on the Uptown, which wasn’t known for their backpacking soundtracks, but this was a jam that everyone could get behind. Lots of memories behind this song as it’s a summertime anthem and for that reason, it gets the backpack treatment as well.
Found On: “Loud Mouth” b/w “Secret Agent”
As I mentioned on my last 25, it was cats like Louis Logic that I viewed as the backpacker artists of the turn of the century. On “Loud Mouth”, you can hear some of the Eminem influence, as his underground influence was apparent. “Loud Mouth” was Lou just being Lou as he spits rhymes to shock and humor the listener, sometimes both at the same time. The beat, which was produced by Lou’s cohort, JJ Brown, is equally as dope. This is what independent music was about back then.
Found On: “Good Music” LP (Veritech, 1999)
While I’ve never been the biggest Living Legends head, I can appreciate their place in the hip hop scene. Murs is a west coast underground legend, a long the same lines as Hiero and definitely get played by the skate board kids, which would be the equivalent of the east coast backpacker. For whatever reason, I’ve always liked “24 Hours” found on Murs “Good Music” album. I think it was one of the first tracks I heard from Murs around 2000 or so. You also get Grover, yes that Grover from Sesame Street. It works. No, really, it does.
Found On: “I Be” 12″ Single (550 Music, 1995)
I still trying to remember how I first heard about these cats. I think more than likely I saw their name listed on some liner notes back in the day and the name just stuck in my head. I’ll probably never know. None the less, the Mystidious Misfitss, were exactly what you would expect from a group from the early/mid 90′s NYC hip hop group. They had a killer track behind them, laced by none other than Buckwild. They had their crew handling the chorus as they all shout it and while the lyrics were clearly nothing to write home about, it got the job done. Quality NYC hip hop from the golden age.
Found On: “Fortruss” b/w “Countdown Theory” (Atomik Recordings, 1998)
All my Star Wars nerds STAND UP! For those of you that haven’t had the pleasure of hearing “Fortress” before, it samples the “Imperial March” from all the Star Wars joints, which is kind of cool in its own nerdy sort of way. I think it’s talking about Star Wars in the song, hell I never really listened to the lyrics, I’m too busy imagining Darth Vader bumrushing some dudes off the stage with his Light Saber. The 12 inch dropped in ’98 on Atomik Recordings with “Countdown Theory” as the B-Side and there was also a CD maxi single that had instrumentals, remixes and the such for both songs. Both tracks were produced by Celph Titled in what I believe was his first production appearance.
Found On: “Well Known Asshole” b/w “Gimme My Dat Back” (No Airplay, 1999)
Want further proof that Detroit has been killin’ it for awhile? Obie Trice is probably best known as being part of Eminem’s Shady label, but Obie was another Detroit underground legend. “Well Known Asshole” was one of those tracks I found on the file sharing sites and the title alone caught my attention. The Moss (yes, of Eternia and Moss recent fame) produced beat incorporates a cool accordion (?) sample that works well as Obie just goes at it rude and crude, living up to the song’s title.
Found On: “Nuttin’ But Flava” b/w “Live At The Palladium, August 5, 1994″ (Wreck, 1995)
I’ve always loved “Nuttin’ By Flava”, this single got A LOT of play from me back in the day. Featuring ODB, Charlie Brown from Leaders of the New and The Biz, it’s had some of the greatest “character” emcees that was on the scene. Meaning, they weren’t the most lyrical, but they had charisma and energy and they brought it to the track. Also, the beat was niiiiiice, with it’s simple keys, but it screamed backpack music back in the day.
Found On: Da Dirty 30 (Def Jam/Violator, 1997)
I probably could have picked one of CRU’s singles and it would have fit better, but I’ve always loved “Bluntz & Bakakeemis”, which was basically the lead off song to the group’s LP, “Da Dirty 30″. Produced by future Hitman, Yogi, it’s raw energy was perfect for the return (one shot and done actually) Antoinette as well as Tracey Lee and the CRU members. This whole album gives me view of the backpack age before it shifted into the more indie roots. Raw straight up hip hop right and exact.
Found On: “Neva Go Back” b/w “Just A Killa” (Profile, 1995)
Special Ed’s “Neva Go Back” is in the same vein of the whole Boot Camp, Brooklyn, backpack music of the early/mid 90′s. The track is just straight up raw hip hop that the cat’s with the timbos would be bumping while tromping through the concrete jungle. While I was far away from the “concrete jungle”, I would often spit this song to myself while trying to pass time at my assembly line job back in the day. The memories…..
Found On: “What The….” b/w “Stanley Kubrick” (Not On Label, 1998?)
We’ve already featured several R.A. The Rugged Man joints, but I couldn’t pass this personal favorite up from RA and Akinyele. “What The…” is classic and exactly what you would expect from two of the most vulgar emcees that the world has seen. To top it all off, they have a kids choir singing the hook of “What the fuck, is going on?” If that doesn’t get you to chuckle just a little bit, you are probably Bill O’Reilly’s illegitimate love child.
Found On: “Hot Ya Hot (Original Version)” b/w “Hip Hop Is”
Alright, so I’m using a technicality to get this song in under the 2000 date. The original version of “Hot Ya Hot” was released as a single in 2000. This particular remix by M-Boogie (the original was also produced by M-Boogie) came out on the album, Big Bang Boogie dropped in 2001. I’m sure the main reason why I dig this track so much is because the Primo imitation done on the production tip (tell that doesn’t sound like Primo in his prime, too much so) and the Jeru steez on the mic. If you are going to imitate someone, might as well do your best at it, and both Akbar and M-Boogie do it very well. Actually, it would be unfair to say Akbar bit Jeru’s style, that’s not necessarily the case, but this voice very similar. This jam got a lot of play in 2000, the album isn’t shabby neither.
Found On: “Ice Grillz” b/w “Buzy Blahzay” (Fat Beats, 2000)
Not a lot of cats know about Blahzay’s “Ice Grillz” and it’s a shame, because PF Cuttin’ and Outloud hooked up and ill horn sample on this track. It’s a edgy, dark and raw beat and Outloud rides it quite well. The Busta Rhymes sample for the hook just puts the cherry on the top. I’m not sure why this track wasn’t given more attention, it’s always been a personal favorite of mine.
Found On: Birth of the Ghetto Child (Select, 1995)
Is it me, or does a dope posse cut always make for some good backpack music? Well, in this case it’s true as the Puerto Ricans of the time jump on the mic and bring the heat on one of the more slept on posse cuts of the mid 90′s. “El Grand Combo” was from the slept on Main One and featured Fat Joe, Kurious Jorge, and Joe Fatal. The song was even produced by Domingo, so the whole line up is flowin’ deep like a muthafuckin’ Puerto Rican, as the chorus shouts.
Found On: “I’m Kurious” b/w “Mansion & a Yacht” (Colombia, 1994)
The B-side “Mansion and a Yacht” was one of those joints that I bought the cassingle back in the day just so I could get the unreleased track. That’s what singles were all about in the day, picking it up for the unreleased b-side or remix. The Groove Merchantz production is straight up ill as Kurious, Jungle Brothers’ Mike G and Sadat X all bring their A-game to the mic and makes this a classic b-side only track.
Found On: “Under The Sun” b/w “Krunchtime” (Rush Associated Labels, P.R.O. Division, 1994)
One of the greatest mysteries in hip hop, at least to me: what happened to Joe Sinistr? Who the hell was this dude that was soooooo damn nasty on the mic? The cat had that ill funk style that sounded nasty. Some may say he sounds like Redman, but to me, Joe took his style to another level different from Red. They both of that funk-fantasict flow to them. “Under The Sun” was the only solo Sinistr track that I know of which came from Terminator X’s second album. The beat is just a nasty piece of funk sampled goodness, the kind of music that I love. You would swear it’s an Erick Parrish dity, but surprisingly enough, it comes from arguably the most famous DJ in hip hop history, Jam Master Jay.
Found On: “Listen Closely (Worldwide II)” b/w “Name of the Game”
Originally, I was torn between the A-side and B-side on this single. But in the end, the Large Pro produced b-side, “Name of the Game” won out over it’s jiggified a-side counterpart. As far as I know, it was a one and done for Lord Arkitec as far as releases go, but the b-side is rather dope, and of course it helps that Large Pro is doing the beat. Arkitec is decent as an emcee, but it’s songs like this that give me that dope backpack image.
Found On: Loud ’95 Nudder Budders (Loud, 94)
Any track such as Madkap’s (that’s how it’s spelled on the CD) that is produced by the Beatnuts’ JuJu and appears on some obscure Loud EP, then it’s got to be classified as a backpack banger. Mad Kap was dope on their “Look Ma Dukes, No Hands” LP from the previous year. It was on some west coast underground steez that was popular with the Heiro fans and the west coast skateboarders and backpackers. JuJu laced this up nicely, one of the better slept on songs ever.
Found On: “Do It For The Kids” b/w “Bloody Love Letter” (Fondle ‘Em, 1998)
I was trying to stay away from the Fondle ‘Em releases after the mass number I had on my first 25 a couple weeks ago, but I couldn’t past up this MF Grimm joint. “Do It For the Kids” is what one would expect from a MF Grimm/Fondle ‘Em release in the late 90′s. Rob Swift hooked up an ill sax sample for the hook and Grimm does what he does best, run wild over the mellow beat.
Found On: “Greenbacks” b/w “Go With The Flow”
Another Fondle ‘Em release (the MF Doom and MF Grimm singles were right next to each other), this time from MF Doom, or in this case, one of his aliases, King Ghidora (as it’s spelling is on the single). Ive never been big on the MF Doom stuff after KMD, one of the few hip hop heads I guess that feels that way, but I’ve always liked “Greenbacks”, well enough to include it in my backpack jams to end all backpack jams.
Found On: A Turn On The Wheel Is Worth More Than A Record Deal EP (Low Self Discipline, 1995)
The Dereliks “I Am a Record” is one of those random mp3′s I’ve had sitting on my computer for who knows how long. I’ve always loved it, but for whatever reason never did much investigating on who The Dereliks were. With the raw sound found on the track, bangin’ drums, a straight up bass sample, and that gritty sound, I would have sworn this was some straight up NYC indie hip hop. Much to my amazement, the crew of Hen Boogie and Izadoe are out of the Bay Area, San Jose to be exact. Part of the whole Bomb Hip Hop movement, this crew dropped and EP that is just as dope as the track. Hard to find on vinyl though.
Found On: “Fresh Mode” b/w “Einstein’s Open Mic” (Special Records, 1999)
I’m kind of surprised it took me to the last song of my 75 to bring in Ugly Duckling. I was a big fan of their Fresh Mode EP, which the title song is found on. Some argue their style was too old and throwback but that’s part of the appeal to me. This was some more westcoast backpack music, as cats such as myself would rock the group quite a bit the summer of ’99. I’ve stopped checkin’ for them as much on their past few releases (although it seems to me their last project was rather dope, might have to go back and check for that again), but nothin’ can erase the memories of that summer.