How they Was Rappin’ in 1998

98rapcollage

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

Back again with our first Autumn 🍂  entry into our 90s playlist series. Hopefully, you’ve been enjoying these tracks as much as we’ve had compiling them – they’ve certainly provided a much needed trip down memory lane (sittin’ in da park)!

Now that we’re spotlighting the 1998 calendar, it’s a little sad knowing we’re approaching the conclusion of this particular series. However, as I run through these tracks, I’m again reminded that there’s no question which decade has provided us with the most quality and diversity in hip-hop.

By this time, rap music had strengthened its grip upon mainstream culture and was establishing itself as a dominating force. The genre had become more lucrative than ever, and due to this, the number of rap acts had exploded. With regional acts across the United States putting their cities on the map with the movements they were creating, this playlist is our longest and most comprehensive yet at 50 tracks and 3 hours and 40 minutes in length (!) – and STILL, we’re missing a few!

Nevertheless, please get ready to kick back, relax, turn the bass up, and enjoy… can you believe that in a couple months time, we’ll be celebrating the 20th anniversary of these bangers!? 🤯

dmx98

The best rapper of 1998 (according to Complex) : DMX

As always, Spotify (@Spotify) comes through with the dreaded license restrictions, though in actuality, we had to purposefully omit a few joints that came to mind just to ensure we didn’t get too far away from our hard cap of 50 tracks!

Ideally, we would have included these cuts among the others:

Brand Nubian – Foundation

Company Flow – End to End Burners

DJ Honda – hII

Funkdoobiest – the Troubleshooters

Lyricist Lounge, Volume One

Ras Kass – Rasassination

RZA – RZA as Bobby Digital in Stereo

  • Brand Nubian: The last great Nubian album (in my opinion), and quite possibly, my personal favourite. Some of the best beats they’ve ever spit over, too, with the likes of Buckwild (@BUCKWILD_DITC), Lord Finesse (@LordFinesseDITC), DJ Premier (@REALDJPREMIER), and Diamond D (@diamondditc) lacing the Five Percenters appropriately.
  • Company Flow: End to End Burners goes down as one of the last tracks Co-Flow would release as a full group which would eventually pave the way for the birth of Definitive Jux.
  • DJ Honda: Honda‘s (@djhonda) debut was phenomenal and his sophomore record has everything the first one did…except it does all those same things even better! The track with Mos is an all-time hip-hop classic.
  • Funkdoobiest: The first Doobie record without DJ Muggs (@dj_muggs) and Tomahawk Funk is a lot better than most remember it to be – I fux heavy with the Squirrel Nut Zippers (@snzippers) sample in Papa Chulo, ha!
  • Lyricist Lounge: Most heads understand that Lyricist Lounge was an institution in rap, one that served as a launchpad for several legendary careers in hip-hop. In particular, the Indelibles were something of a rap supergroup, the styles of whom would heavily inform the independent “backpack” scene that would go on to dominate the underground for the majority of the 2000s.
  • Ras Kass: I’ll be damned if Ras (@RasKass) isn’t one of the most overlooked rappers of all-time. At the very least, he’s definitely a cat on the West Coast who doesn’t come anywhere near to getting his just due. Though he’s still making music, it’s a real shame that his first two classic albums aren’t available on Spotify.
  • RZA: The first non-Rakeem RZA (@RZA) solo record may have divided opinion upon its release but it has actually aged quite gracefully. Listening to it in 2017, it’s humorous thinking back to a time when this album wasn’t considered “Wu-Tang” enough – if only they knew where the group was heading…

1998 was a TOUGH year and at 50 tracks, we can only hope we included tracks from the most integral artists. How did we do? Did we miss anything?

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!

When we return, we’ll be highlighting the best tracks from the last year in our previous millennium – oooo-weeee! ✈️ 1⃣️ 9⃣️ 9⃣️ 9⃣️

NEXT UP: How they Was Rappin’ in 1999! 🎤

Click here to follow me on Spotify!

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How they Was Rappin’ in 1996

96rapcollage

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

Oof.

I had almost forgotten how crazy a year 1996 actually was for hip-hop. So many tracks kept coming to mind when creating this that, for the second time (the first being ’93), the playlist swelled past the usual 2½ hours / 35 songs – this time, we crossed the three-hour mark with our first 45-song playlist.

Personally, this playlist might be my favourite thus far. A ton of head nodders and a whole bunch of incredible came out this year. 1996 also holds the distinction as being the last year prior to the rise of the “shiny-suit” era of rap.

Surprisingly, Spotify (@Spotify) managed to come through with a bunch of stuff I wouldn’t have expected them to have the rights to so I’m pretty happy with how this one turned out – should be a good summer listen to reminisce over for the hip-hop heads anyway!

Happy #FlashbackFriday and to all my Guelphites, have an amazing Hillside (@HillsideFest) weekend – hopefully some of you will be able to take this playlist with you to the campground.. or maybe even inside of the fabled Volly Village!

2pac96

The best rapper of 1996 (according to Complex) : 2PAC

For those who aren’t aware and/or have been living under rocks, Jay-Z (@S_C_) pulled his entire catalogue from Spotify due to his interests in the competing streaming service, TIDAL (@TIDALHiFi) – the absence of Reasonable Doubt should come as no surprise to most. However, as is usually the case, there are always a few others that manage to elude the reach of Spotify and 1996 has been no different in that regard.

The ideal ’96 rap playlist would have also included cuts from each one of these gems:

da Bush Babees – Gravity

De La Soul – Stakes is High

DJ Honda – DJ Honda

East Flatbush Project – Tried by 12 (single)

Frankie Cutlass – Politics & Bullshit

Jaÿ-Z – Reasonable Doubt

Jeru the Damaja – Wrath of the Math

Juggaknots – Clear Blue Skies

Siah & Yeshua DapoED – the Visualz

Trigger tha Gambler – Life’s a 50/50 Gamble (unreleased)

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

See you “next year”! ✈️ 1⃣️ 9⃣️ 9⃣️ 7⃣️

NEXT UP: How they Was Rappin’ in 1997! 🎤

Click here to follow me on Spotify!

How they Was Rappin’ in 1994

94rapcollage

ICYMI: Check out our previous entries/playlists centred upon 1991, 1992, and 1993 respectively!

I hope two weeks was enough time for all of our Spotify (@Spotify) streamers to fully digest our journey into ’93. Now that we’re just about set to take a look back to 1994, our trek comes with both good and bad news:

A bit of a disappointment as I had planned on integrating some lesser known faves of mine among the hits from the year. Nevertheless, I’m quite pleased with this playlist and still managed to incorporate a few overlooked and forgotten cuts. What a great year this was!

We’re also back onto our #WaybackWednesday shit for this week – happy hump day! 🐫

nas1994

The best rapper of 1994 (according to Complex) : NAS

If not for Spotify‘s unfortunate limitations and related licensing standoffs, these classic cuts would have also been included:

da Bush Babees – Ambushed

Erule – Listen Up

Extra Prolific – Like it Should Be

Hard 2 Obtain – Ism & Blues

Kurious – A Constipated Monkey

Native Nuttz – the Nativez Are Restless

Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth – the Main Ingredient

Scientifik – Criminal

In your opinion, did I miss any other significant tracks from ’94?

What do you think of these rap chronicles thus far – are you digging the playlists? Have a favourite playlist so far between 1991 and 1994? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for listening!

NEXT UP: How they Was Rappin’ in 1995! 🎤

Click here to follow me on Spotify!

#GuelphMusicClub: Top 5 Songs of 2014, Pts. II & III

Back again with a double edition in order to catch up to the rest of the #GuelphMusicClub.

Please click the hashtag above to see all of the entries to date.

It feels like there are more participants this time around since the previous iteration of THE CLUB and that is so great to see.

Selections have been quite diverse thus far and I’ve already been exposed to a number of great tracks that I wasn’t previously familiar with.

If you happen to be a fan of THE CLUB and would like to contribute, write a post, get a Twitter account, and tweet it out using the #GuelphMusicClub hashtag and you’re all set!

Even if you don’t have a blog of your own, one of us will gladly host your content.

For example, @soundinmymemory (soundinmymemory.com) has been very gracious in that respect.

So get on it!

All of us are hoping to see a lot of fresh faces (usernames?) in the near future!

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YODnasWere you up on the Your Old Droog (@YourOldDroog) conspiracy over the summer?

It was quite a fun ride while it lasted.

For the uninitiated: back in June, an unknown Droog dropped a free EP out of nowhere that sent the internet into a frenzy.

Upon first listen, it immediately becomes apparent why – the dude sounds a helluva lot like Nas (@Nas).

Due to his lack of visual presence, the hype culminated in a fever pitch where people were convinced it actually was Nas rapping under a pseudonym.

Fans felt they were finally getting the Nas they had been fiending for ever since his classic debut, Illmatic, dropped some 20 years prior.

And at the time, the speculation was not only plausible, but pretty damn convincing.

Except that it wasn’t him.

Confirmation of that fact came with his live performance debut at Webster Hall.

YODwebster

Some were disappointed to learn that Droog is, in fact, a white Russian kid from Brooklyn.

Some went on to call him a biter.

But many of us continued bumping his shit as if the entire side show had never happened.

Although the two MCs are very alike in terms of their cadence, I am not of the opinion that this fact should discredit his work.

Action Bronson (@ActionBronson) faced very similar criticisms early on in his career with the Ghostface (@GhostfaceKillah) comparisons and it did nothing to prevent me from naming Dr. Lecter as my favourite record of 2011 because above all, he made great music.

And look at Bronson now.

The dude is thoroughly and indisputably his own entity as we head into 2015 and arguably one of the most original characters in rap.

So let’s see what Droog can do.

Subsequent to releasing the EP, he went on to drop a handful of spare tracks, including collaborations with the likes of Prodigy (@PRODIGYMOBBDEEP), Mac Miller (@MacMiller), Marco Polo (@marcopolobeats), and the Alchemist (@Alchemist).

The EP would have a few of these “loosies” tacked onto it, as well as a couple of remixes, and eventually be repackaged as Your Old Droog‘s official debut LP.

Of those loosies, the one that ends up as my no. 4 song of 2014 is entitled, “On the News (Tamron Hall)“, an ode to the NBC News correspondent who is two decades his senior.

Has a bit of a creepy “Every Breath You Take” vibe over one of the smoothest soul samples you’re likely to hear this year.

#4Your Old Droog – “On the News (Tamron Hall)”
from the album, YOUR OLD DROOG LP  (2014)

Four months clean and the urge to stay sober got me goin’ so berzerk.
– Your Old Droog, “On the News (Tamron Hall)”

And remember the aforementioned Webster Hall show?

Yeah, about that..

😀 😀 😀

Droog recently dropped his first video for “Nutty Bars” which can be seen below.

Your Old Droog – “Nutty Bars”
from the album, YOUR OLD DROOG LP  (2014)

A good guest and an ill host, these other cats milquetoast, fake Steve Wilkos. Shoulda stuck to doing security, your honor. That’s a cush gig like selling medical marijuana.
Your Old Droog, “Nutty Bars”

 

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For my no. 3 song of 2014, I look towards the guys who released my favourite rock album of the year.

Although they had been building a steady buzz, Nothing (@BandofNOTHING) underwent a few lineup changes and seemingly came out of nowhere when they released their full-length debut, Guilty of Everything, in the first quarter.

March 4, 2014

March 4, 2014

It certainly blew its predecessor, Downward Years to Come, out of the water.

Equal parts space rock, shoegaze, and grunge, it also becomes apparent that the members have a background in heavy music, with a pummeling rhythm section that is quite often thunderous in its ferocity.

Although GOE is without a doubt their most complete work to date, I think their best songs may have been written for their recently released split with best buds, Whirr (@WhirrBand).

Whirr guitarist, Nick Bassett, actually joined up to play bass with Nothing early this year and now pulls double duty in both bands.

While both acts are great, Nothing seems to have the greater potential of the two, as they have managed to add a degree of accessibility to a genre like shoegaze, one that is often too noisy and niche for the average music consumer.

Prior to forming the band, leader Dominic Palermo had served two years in prison for aggravated assault and attempted murder.

And you can hear the despair, isolation, and pleas for redemption throughout their catalogue.

It’s apparent that Nothing is a very cathartic project for Palermo and that likely adds another layer of intrigue onto their compositions.

They’re my favourite new band that I’ve come across in a good few years and I hope you dig them too.

My no. 3 song of 2014 is Nothing‘s “Chloroform“.

#3Nothing – “Chloroform”
from the split release, WHIRR/NOTHING  (2014)

Locked in chains under the floor. Cover my lips. Chloroform. Duct taped eyes, fear no more. It’s over now.
Nothing, “Chloroform”

 

As a bonus, I have to add the video for “Bent Nail” off of Guilty of Everything, simply because its one of the best videos I’ve ever seen and it features a shit-hot Kurt Vile (@therealkurtvile) cameo.

Nothing – “Bent Nail”
from the album, GUILTY OF EVERYTHING  (2014)

If you feel like letting go.
Nothing, “Bent Nail”

Obviously, the song just kicks ass as well.
As does all of their shit.

Peep.

#GuelphMusicClub, Pt. V: Sports Song

I have to apologize for how late this post is.

Between visiting with relatives who arrived from overseas and the traffic jams / power outages experienced yesterday as a result of the Toronto floods, this blog entry toiled in the draft section longer than it should have.

Nevertheless, we’re here now.

hi.

For this assignment of the #GuelphMusicClub, we were tasked with choosing our top sports song (theme suggested by your favourite neighbourhood record store, the Beat Goes On / @beatgoeson).

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While many of the crew discussed their favourite anthems you would hear at a live sporting event, my train of thought veered a little left and I began to think of songs that are literally about sports.

I know where your mind is headed right now and I am sorry to inform you that you are, in fact, WRONG: this post will NOT be about “Marlins Will Soar“.

To be honest, the choice was obvious to me from the jump.

Main Source – “Just a Friendly Game of Baseball”
from the album, BREAKING ATOMS  (1991)

The lyrics can be viewed here c/o RapGenius  (@RapGenius)
[complete with authentic #beigelife annotations!]

For the uninitiated, Breaking Atoms  is universally heralded as one of the greatest hip-hop records of all-time.

Large Professor (@PLargePro), a.k.a. Extra P, a.k.a. “the greatest producer on the mic” (Lord Finesse [@LordFinesseDITC] notwithstanding) was the driving force behind Main Source (ed’s note: i’m a rapper).

Acting as MC and handling the bulk of the production duties, he fell out with the group soon after the release of their debut album and went on to forge a very successful solo career, especially on the production tip.

Main Source also featured a bit of CanCon as two-thirds of the group were comprised of Toronto DJ/production team, K-Cut (@kcutsevenone) and Sir Scratch.

Anyway, back to the song.

“Just a Friendly Game of Baseball” is peppered with all kinds of baseball references and allegories that any aficionado of the game would have no trouble deciphering.

Yet, the entire song is a metaphor for the extreme brutality and institutional racism that blacks and other minorities were (and continue to be) subjected to on a routine basis.

Groundbreaking track in terms of lyrical dexterity and content. And one that still holds up to this day, in my opinion.

mainsourcextrap

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BONUS EDIT: As an aside for those who aren’t rap heavy, Breaking Atoms  launched the careers of both Nas (@Nas) and Akinyele respectively – the former of whom was only 17 years old at the time and showing he was wise beyond his years / the latter of which being a criminally underrated MC who holds the distinction of being the only rapper to have an album produced entirely by Large Professor!

Both were featured on the classic posse cut, “Live at the Barbeque”, which can be heard below: