02. Still A G Thang $ Snoop Dogg
03. My Name Is (Explicit Version) $ Eminem
04. Can It All Be So Simple $ Wu-Tang Clan
05. 21 Questions $ 50 Cent
06. Accordion (Fourtet Mix) $ Madvillain
07. It Was A Good Day $ Ice Cube
08. That’s The Joint $ Funky 4 + 1
09. Straight Out Of The Jungle $ Jungle Brothers
10. Montego Slay $ People Under The Stairs
11. Life’s A B***** $ Nas
12. Coming Of Age $ Jay-Z
13. Hate It Or Love It $ The Game ft 50 Cent
14. Pop Shots $ Ol’ Dirty Bastard
15. Hypnotize $ Notorious BIG
16. Pop Goes The Weasel $ 3rd Bass
17. Fight The Power $ Public Enemy
18. Touch The Sky $ Kanye West
19. Baby Got Back $ Sir Mix-A-Lot
20. More Bounce To The Ounce $ Zapp
21. Small Talk At 125th & Lenox $ Gil Scott-Heron
Weak Become Heroes $ The Streets
This track is from the 2002 album ‘Original Pirate Material’ and is sung / rapped by a twenty-something white kid named Mike Skinner from Birmingham who sings / raps with a ‘mockney’ accent.
The album blends Electronica, UK Garage and Hip Hop with Skinner’s take on what-was-then modern day living and clubbing. Even the Rock and Indie peeps liked it.
Even though it really should not work, it does. Who says white men can’t rap?
Some things you may not have known about Snoop:
* Snoop was nicknamed Snoopy by his mother.
* He was born in Long Beach, CA.
* He was playing the piano at the age of five.
* He began rapping when he was in the sixth grade.
* He was a member of the Crips.
* His cousin is Nate Dogg and his best friend is Warren G.
* He was discovered by Dr Dre when he heard a mixtape with En Vogue’s ‘Hold On’ that was rapped over by Snoop.
* He was taught how to structure lyrics and separate his songs into verses, hooks and choruses by The DOC from NWA.
* ‘Snoop Speak’ was based on words in the song ‘Double Dutch Bus’ by Frankie Smith.
Izzle kizzle, fo’ schizzle. My nizzle, what you sizzle?
Fo’ schizzle bizzle, my nizzle…
My Name Is (Explicit Version) $ Eminem
Dr Dre produced this song and the album ‘The Slim Shady LP’ in 1999. He wanted to use the Labi Siffre song ‘I Got The…’ as the basis for the rhythm of ‘My Name Is’ but Siffre refused when he heard the lyrical content.
He felt that Eminem was taking the easy way out and attacking the usual scapegoats in his rhymes. Eminem took the criticism on board and rewrote the lyrics. Siffre cleared the sample.
A ‘clean’ version was released as a single and on subsequent compilations and this explicit version was the one contained on the album. It was Eminem’s first major success and helped him establish his unique style.
Can It All Be So Simple $ Wu Tang Clan
Witty Unpredictable Talent And Natural Game…
This is the third single lifted from ‘Enter The Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers)’ and is considered a classic by most fans of the group.
It features Raekwon and Ghostface discussing the hardships of growing up in New York in the 1980s and rapping over a sample of ‘The Way We Were’ by Gladys Knight & The Pips.
21 Questions $ 50 Cent
Even the toughest of rappers have a soft side. It seems.
Here is an apparent conversation that took place between Fiddy and Dre in the studio during the recording of ‘Get Rich Or Die Tryin’:
Dre: “How you gonna be gangsta this and that and then put this sappy love song on?”
Fiddy: “I’m two people. I’ve always had to be two people since I was a kid to get by. To me that’s not diversity, that’s necessity.”
I’m sure both Fiddys were delighted with this song. It was Number 1 in nearly every Singles chart in America and placed in Singles charts in sixteen other countries.
Accordion (Fourtet Mix) $ Madvillain
MF Doom and Madlib are Madvillain and they take a very unique approach to Hip Hop. They write short songs with obscure lyrics that contain few choruses and are generally ‘unfriendly’ to radio stations.
Foutret got their hands on this track and made it slightly more melodic. All the other awkwardness remains.
It Was A Good Day $ Ice Cube
Ice Cube was born O’Shea Jackson and began his career as a founding member of NWA, one of the groups that helped originate Gangsta Rap.
In 1992 he converted to Islam and slowly began to drift away from hardcore Rap and focused more on acting.
That same year he released ‘The Predator’, which contained this song. The album was recorded during the height of the LA riots and went straight to Number 1 in both the Pop and R&B Album charts. It was the first album to ever reach the top spot in both charts.
The track contains a sample of ‘Footsteps In The Dark’ by the Isley Brothers and was written as a reflection on the good times that he had during his rise to fame and wealth.
Despite being his biggest, most successful song, he lost a lot of credibility and his audience began to diminish after this song and album.
That’s The Joint $ Funky 4 + 1
They formed in 1979 and were the first Hip Hop / Rap group from The Bronx, New York.
They featured a female MC, Sha Rock.
After the success of ‘Rappin’ And Rockin’ The House’, when most of the group were only 17, they released this track on Sugarhill Records in 1980.
They were also the first Hip Hop group to appear on national television when they were guests on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 1981.
Unfortunately, differences with the record label led them to split and quickly disappear into obscurity.
Sugarhill Gang may have followed and been bigger and better. But these guys were first. And first is forever.
Straight Out Of The Jungle $ Jungle Brothers
The Jungle Brothers were first off the mark with a couple of things.
They pioneered the fusion of Jazz and Hip Hop that later went on to form the basis of Drum ‘n’ Bass.
They were also the first Hip Hop artists to use a House music producer (Todd Terry) on their debut album ‘Straight Out Of The Jungle’.Their first few albums received critical acclaim but didn’t sell very many copies and were largely ignored by Hip Hop audiences. However, without them and their music, one could argue there would be no De La Soul or A Tribe Called
Montego Slay $ People Under The Stairs
Thes One met Double K in Los Angeles, they formed People Under The Stairs (or PUTS) and quickly started recording their first album, ‘The Next Step’.
They recorded it themselves and had to sell it on the street from backpacks until it was eventually released in 1998.
The head of OM Records, Chris Smith, heard it, gave them a deal and two years later they released ‘Question In The Form Of An Answer’.
The second album received a warm welcome and they began touring more intensely. Two years later they released OST, which provided twenty little gems, including this track.
Thes One described it as, “An album made up of old records and personal experiences. No more, no less.” Check it.
Life’s A B***** $ Nas
This tune is lifted from his first album, ‘Illmatic’, which features Pete Rock, Q-Tip and DJ Premier (among others).
On this laid-back, jazzy track, AZ raps with Nas and his father, Olu Dara, plays the cornet. It samples ‘Yearning For Your Love’ by The Gap Band and ‘Black Frost’ by Grover Washington Jr.
Seven years after it’s release, the album was certified platinum and was still selling over three thousand copies a week.
Coming Of Age $ Jay-Z
‘Reasonable Doubt’ is Jay-Z’s (Sean Carter’s) debut album and is considered, by some, to be his crowning achievement.
It has been classified as ‘Mafioso Rap’ because of the strong references to crime throughout all of the songs.
Production was handled by DJ Premier, Clark Kent and Ski. Kent worked on this track that contains a sample of ‘Inside You’ by Eddie Henderson.
‘Coming Of Age’, like all the tracks on the album, feature what have been called Carter’s “effortless, unaffected cool, disarming honesty and acrobatic rhymes.”
Pop Shots $ Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Hypnotize $ Notorious BIG
‘Hypnotize’ was released in April of 1997, after Biggie Smalls had been killed. The song had been a huge hit on the radio and when the single was finally released, it went straight to Number 2 in the charts. A week later, it was Number 1.
Biggie became the fifth artist to have a Number 1 single in the charts posthumously. The track was also nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 1988 Grammy Awards.
Pop Goes The Weasel $ 3rd Bass
This track was released in 1991, brought on by the success of white artists bringing Rap into the mainstream.
Ironically, the success of the song was due to the criticism of such white artists, in particular Vanilla Ice. The track attacks the artists for being culture thieves and watering down the sound of rap in order to make it more accessible to the mainstream audience.
‘Pop Goes The Weasel’ features elements of a JB’s song and a Stevie Wonder song as well as sampling ‘Eminience Front’ by the Who and ‘Sledgehammer’ by Peter Gabriel.
Fight The Power $ Public Enemy
Chuck D. Flava Flav. PE.
This track is considered by most to be PE’s defining song. Their anthem. It is also one of the most popular and influential Hip Hop songs of all time. It’s from the album ‘Fear Of A Black Planet’ and features in Spike Lee’s joint ‘Do The Right Thing’.
The classic lines from the song are:
Elvis was a hero to most But he never meant sh*t to me
You see, straight-up racist that sucker was simple and plain
Mother**** him and John Wayne
Yo! Bum Rush The Show.
Touch The Sky $ Kanye West
When you cross the sharpest dressed man in Hip Hop with the flyest brother in Soul, how could you NOT have a massive hit and sell millions of records?
From West’s second album, ‘Late Registration’, that Rolling Stone called, “an undeniable triumph” and Spin magazine described as, “ornate and bloated just like West’s ego”, comes ‘Touch The Sky’.
The song samples ‘Superfly’ by Curtis Mayfield and features Lupe Fiasco. The video is a short movie about Evel Kanyevel and his attempt to fly a small rocket across the Snake River Canyon.
Not bad for someone who dropped out of Chicago State University.
Baby Got Back $ Sir Mix-A-Lot
The original Bumpasauraus who hails from Seattle, Washington and introduced the world of Hip Hop to deep bass.
This track was his biggest. It won him fame and a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance in 1993. However, following this success he struggled to try and repeat it. Eventually, he fell out with his record label and disappeared for several years.
During the break, he apparently collaborated with The Presidents Of The United States but nothing was ever released.
Recently, he has been featuring as a guest on tracks for several artists, including Nas in 2007 with ‘Where Are They Now’.
More Bounce To The Ounce $ Zapp
Zapp were five brothers who formed a Soul and Funk band in 1978. This track highlights their style, hand-clapping drum beats and the use of a talk box.
The band only had a couple of hits but have influenced numerous artists in West Coast Hip Hop and G-Funk (Gangsta Funk).
Small Talk At 125th & Lenox $ Gil Scott-Heron
The Black Arrow is back on djkub.com with another insightful, articulate, no-nonsense poem that spoke to the political consciousness of those in the know in the early 1970s.