How they Was Rappin’ in 1997

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ICYMI: Check out our previous entries/playlists from the 1990s:

After a brief absence, we’re back again with the latest entry into our 90s Rap Playlist series, and this time, it’s crazy to think we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of these landmark tracks and albums – a perfect fit for a #ThrowbackThursday like today!

When I think of 1997, a ton of rap classics come to mind but when I really look back, it reminds me that it was something of a transitional year for the genre.

Complex “rappity raps” began making way for shiny suits as looped beats were getting jacked from a score of the big radio hits of yesteryear in order to create chart-topping productions. On the flip side, the underground backpacker movement was gaining steam thanks to the rise of the likes of Scribble Jam, Lyricist Lounge, and Rawkus Records.

It was also the year in which the greatest rapper of all-time died on March 9th.

As always, Spotify‘s (@Spotify) unfortunate licensing restrictions again threw a wrench into our efforts to make this as comprehensive a playlist as possible.. but such is life. At 45 cuts deep, however, we don’t think you’ll be too disappointed. Let us know your thoughts on this one in the comments below!

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The best rapper of 1997 (according to Complex) : THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.

A few tracks we would have added if not for catalogue restrictions:

Company Flow – Funcrusher Plus

Gravediggaz – The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel

Jay-Z – In My Lifetime, Vol. 1

No I.D. – Accept Your Own & Be Yourself (The Black Album)

Soul Assassins – DJ Muggs Presents…the Soul Assassins, Chapter I

Various Artists – In tha Beginning …there Was Rap

  • Company Flow: It’s wild that El-P (@therealelp) is now a mainstream rap icon after spending the better part of the previous two decades as a star of the underground. He’s managed to maintain his dirty and dusty production style but back in the Co-Flow days, he was FAR more lyrical. Shouts to Bigg Jus and Mr. Len (@therealmrlen)! The impact of this crew cannot be overstated.
  • Gravediggaz: This album comes nowhere near the quality of its predecessor, 6 Feet Deep, and that’s almost certainly due to the lack of Prince Paul‘s (@DJPrincePaul) involvement. The beats are just not on par with the menacing feel of the debut. Still some jams here, though.
  • In tha Beginning …there Was Rap: Contemporary rappers covering old school hip hop joints. Just a great concept and one possibly worth revisiting? I’ve always loved the Bone Thugs rendition of “Fuck tha Police”.
  • Jay-Z: Timeless album. I really wish Jay still made tracks with Ski (@Skibeatz).
  • No I.D.: Now known as the former head of G.O.O.D. Music, mentor to Vince Staples (@vincestaples), and most recently, the sole producer enlisted on Jay-Z‘s 4:44, No I.D. once put out a solo album of his own – and it’s really great! The original Black Album still holds up in spite of its relative obscurity. Check this one if you’re unfamiliar.
  • Soul Assassins: An amazing guest list rapping over a bunch of tough beats. Muggs (@DJ_Muggs) was still on his Temples of Boom tip so this one is dark, mean, and grimy. In making this post, I just discovered that Muggs has me blocked on Twitter for some reason. I wonder what I did, hahha.

Notably, 1997 also marked the releases of the Rhyme & Reason soundtrack and the first volume of Soundbombing.

Don’t forget, you can FOLLOW ALL OF THE INDIVIDUAL PLAYLISTS ON SPOTIFY – grab ’em in the links at the top of this post if you’re just catching up!

Two decades since these gems dropped! Enjoy ’em!

Back again “next year”! ✈️ 1⃣️ 9⃣️ 9⃣️ 8⃣️

NEXT UP: How they Was Rappin’ in 1998! 🎤

Click here to follow me on Spotify!

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How they Was Rappin’ in 1992

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In continuation of my blog about How they Was Rappin’ in 1991, I’m back again with a new playlist to cover some of the best hip-hop tracks out of ’92!

Similar to its predecessor, this playlist sits at 35 tracks and clocks in at exactly 2½ hours in duration. Click below to enjoy this aural time capsule on another fabulous #WaybackWednesday!

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The best rapper of 1992 (according to Complex) : REDMAN

Sadly, due to Spotify (@Spotify) and the limitations presented by its catalogue, there are some especially significant absences here, most notably:

Dr. Dre – the Chronic

Diamond D & the Psychotic Neurotics – Stunts, Blunts & Hip-Hop

Da Lench Mob – Guerillas in tha Mist

Hard Knocks – School of Hard Knocks

In spite of these omissions, I still feel this playlist provides a comprehensive look (and listen) into the landscape of hip-hop, back as it existed in 1992. Please let me know your thoughts on these in the comments below – hope everyone is digging the series so far!

NEXT UP: How they Was Rappin’ in 1993! 🎤

Click here to follow me on Spotify!

Crate Diggers: DJ Scratch

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Yesterday marked 11 years to the day since the passing of Jam Master Jay.

It’s wild that it’s been that long.

R.I.P.

How fitting, then, that Crate Diggers was able to catch up with DJ Scratch (@DJScratch), he who was introduced to the world via the legendary JMJ.

In fact, fuse (@fusetv) released a teaser video with an exclusive outtake that highlights the friendship and respect between the two DJs.

RIPJMJ

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I was privileged to see Scratch perform with a freshly reunited EPMD in NYC at the 2007 Rock the Bells festival.

Peep my shitty video which predates the superior smartphone camera technology of today:

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Each episode of Crate Diggers is special in its own right but every once in a while, they manage to link with an artist who is sitting on an extremely impressive collection.

When you see the amount of red and blue vinyl he has from the 70s and 80s, it really is mindblowing.

I didn’t even realize they were pressing coloured records like that back then!

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Dude has LL Cool J (@llcoolj) test presses, possibly the most ridiculous Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) I’ve ever seen, as well as acetate discs (or dubplates or lacquers or whatever else you nerds wanna refer to them by) so rare that there can’t be any more than a handful of people in the world lucky enough to be holding these pieces within their collection.

Of course, he also has 45s for days and gives viewers a friendly reminder to step their 12″ single game up!

I don’t wanna spoil too many of the surprises as this episode was a real treat and Scratch comes across as a very informed and humble dude.

And extended props to Crate Diggers itself – programs like these will be vital in maintaining and extending the lives of the vinyl and digging cultures.

Pearls of wisdom at the end of the episode as we become privy to a choice conversation with Grandmaster Flash (@DJFlash4eva).

Learn somethin’.

Take a look at episode no. 34 below:

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To check out the entirety of the Crate Diggers playlist, go here.
And follow series creator, Jason Newman on Twitter – @Jasonrnewman