Episode #58 of the Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind podcast sees the team ponder the increasingly darker portrayals of our big screen super heroes.
From the recent depiction of Matt Reeves' grittier and violent representation of 'The Batman' to Sam Raimi's heavily horror-inspired extension of the MCU's Dr Strange narrative, the team looks back at a simpler time when comic book movies where such themes weren't so prevalent within superhero movies. We seem to have moved on from an era of comic book adaptations treated as exclusive content for child- and family-friendly audiences but is the increased level of violence and adult content symptoms of these movies now being geared towards broader audiences or are today's children exposed to so much more now that the boundaries of what constitutes youth content have just evolved?
C.E.N.K. is represented on this episode by Tee-J Sutherland, Dan Collacott, Imran Mirza and long-time friend and broadcasting companion, Denis-Jose Francois.
Episode #57 of the Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind podcast sees the team delve into the most recent on-screen adaptation of The Caped Crusader, 'The Batman'.
Directed by Matt Reeves and featuring an all-star cast including Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis and Colin Farrell, we look at all aspects of the film including the how our new Bruce Wayne holds up, the depiction of Gotham, the Rogues gallery and where this depiction fits within the team's personal favourite Batman interpretations.
C.E.N.K. is represented on this episode by Tee-J Sutherland, Dan Collacott and long-time friend and broadcasting companion, Denis-Jose Francois.
Episode #56 of the Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind podcast sees the team issue their final, somewhat overdue, entry into March's 4ever in Electric Dreams' 90s hip-hop month. For this episode, Dan Collacott, Tee-J Sutherland & Imran Mirza explore some of their favourite 90's hip-hop one-hit wonders and then Imran finds out that revenge truly is a dish best served cold... As quizmaster to episode 55's 90's hip-hop quiz pitting Dan vs TeeJ, the quiz-ees unexpectedly turn the tables with a surprise quiz on the quiz-er in a heinous act of vengeance. How does Imran fare without the answers in front of him?
Welcome to Episode #14 of the 90s State of Mind podcast - a collaborative project between 4ever in Electric Dreams and Blue-in-Green:RADIO. This podcast series sees Imran (London, UK) and Rhonda (California, USA) delve into some of their favourite releases from the 90s and for this episode, the pair celebrate the sophomore studio album from the late, great Notorious BIG, 'Life After Death'.
Released 25th March 1997 through Bad Boy Records, the album would see its release 16 days after Biggie's murder and would go on to be nominated for three Grammies and be certified Platinum in the US eleven times. Spearheaded by the singles 'Hypnotize', 'Mo Money Mo Problems' and 'Sky's The Limit', the album would also be cited in several leading publications from Rolling Stone, The Face, Q and The Source as one of the greatest albums of all time.
Imran & Rhonda delve deep into this definitive 90s hip-hop classic looking at the project, the singles, the collaborators, as well as the variations from 'Ready To Die' and the subsequent posthumous releases.
Blue-in-Green:RADIO is a London-based online internet radio station which celebrates 21st century soul, jazz, funk, Latin & hip-hop music.
As part of 4ever in Electric Dreams' 90s hip-hop month, members of the team will be revisiting some of their favourite albums of the era so reminisce with us as we continue our celebration...
I can concede straightaway that this may be an unusual album to showcase as a personal classic from the 1990s. Only unusual in the sense that, A Tribe Called Quest's first three albums are certified, undisputed, classic releases: 'People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm' (1990), 'The Low End Theory' (1991) and 'Midnight Marauders' (1993) cemented the trio's legacy and inspired subsequent generations of hip-hop in both fans and performers. Pharrell Williams once described his affection for Tribe's music as the realisation that "music was art".
Whilst 'Beats, Rhymes and Life' (1996) certainly boasted its successes - namely Grammy nominations for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for the single '1nce Again' featuring vocalist Tammy Lucas - the album marked a significant period of change for the group, and it was one met with conflicting reviews...
Around this time, Tribe members, Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and Ali Shaheed Muhammad found themselves, personally, being pulled in different directions. With Phife having moved to Atlanta and Tip and Ali having discovered Islam, Phife began to feel somewhat isolated from what was once a tight unit. On top of that, a fourther name was indicted into the group by way of Consequence (Q-Tip's cousin) who became a fully fleged Tribe member, adding more concerns for Phife that the group were laying the groundwork to have him replaced. Thematically, and lyrically, 'Beats, Rhymes and Life' is also cited as having lost an element of what made Tribe "fun" as they explored slightly more darker themes throughout including the infamous East-West Coast rivalry along with themes around gang violence and mental health.
The album also introduced a significantly different sound in the album's production namely through the inclusion of The Ummah. The Ummah was a production collective that comprised Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed and new member James Yancey (known at the time as Jay Dee but later more commonly known as J Dilla). Following an introduction by vocalist and producer, Amp Fiddler, Tip and Jay Dee bonded quickly with Yancey's unparalleled production forming a large part of the overall Ummah aesthetic with Jay Dee production giving birth to songs including '1nce Again', 'Stressed Out', 'Baby Phife's Return' along with two more of the album's tracks.
While much of 'Beats, Rhymes and Life' is surrounded in elements of friction and somewhat drastic changes for what fans had come to expect from A Tribe Called Quest, it doesn't change the fact that - certainly for this reviewer - that this is a front-to-back brilliant album! Much of the album signifies growth and maturity and with even the renowned jazz sampling, which was so apparent in Tribe's first three albums, subsequently making way to a smoother sound that would go on to have an even bigger impact on neo-soul artists and the genre going forward.
If you're reading this as a devoted fan of Tribe's first three Holy Trinity of album releases, with 'Beats, Rhymes and Life' serving as a project that didn't initially engage you, I would certainly encourage you to take this moment to attempt to connect with it once again as, aside from having one of the best album titles of any album ever, there are some fantastic high points throughout and I'd argue the case for this being an underappreciated classic.
Episode #55 of the Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind podcast sees the team once again put their geek credentials on the line in epic fashion with the second of our Quiz Night-themed episodes in support of 4ever in Electric Dreams' 90s hip-hop month. Dan Collacott and Tee-J Sutherland are put through their paces courtesy of ruthless Quiz Master, Imran Mirza, as we delve into head-first into hip-hop's revered golden era tackling a range of different questions like...
"What was the name of Missy Elliott's debut solo single?", "What single did Method Man win a Grammy for?" and "Can you name 3 Wu-Tang solo albums?"
If you know the answer to these then you should definitely be competing against Dan and Tee-J so press play immediately and if you don't know, then press play anyway for a ridiculously tense and fun episode.
With more Quiz Nights to come over the coming months, you can listen back to our first quiz night episode about the MCU (#48).
As part of 4ever in Electric Dreams' 90s hip-hop month, members of the team will be revisiting some of their favourite albums of the era so reminisce with us as we continue our celebration...
Hip-hop in the 1990s was littered with an extensive array of sub-genres and subsequent pockets that artists, groups and record labels found themselves clumped into. From the bling and commercial sounds to conscious hip-hop, rock rap, grimy underground heroes... there was certainly a lot to choose from which is part of what made hip-hop in that era such a cherished artform with the genre as a whole continually bursting with creative ideas.
The sub-genre that serves as the focal point for this review is the quintessential sounds of "jazz rap". A musical aesthetic spearheaded by revered names including A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets and The Roots, jazz rap sought to use iconic jazz recordings as the foundation of its sound which included music from Dizzy Gillespie, Ronnie Laws and Herbie Hancock. One of the foremost purveyors of this sound were the duo that comprised of rapper Guru and DJ Premier who can actually lay claim to one of the earliest jazz rap releases with Gang Starr's 'Words I Manifest' in 1989.
The launch of the Jazzmatazz series in 1993 didn't just act as Guru's first solo outing but also as a project that sought to evolve the relationship between jazz and hip-hop. By elevating formula beyond the sampling techniques that hip-hop had become accustomed to, Guru's inspired vision - perhaps years ahead of its time - involved inviting jazz musicians into the studio to play live over hip-hop production which is something that seems fairly commonplace in today's genre fluid musical landscape but something that was somewhat revolutionary at the time.
With an album cover that paid tribute to the classic Blue Note Records aesthetic, a jaw-dropping guest list was assembled that included vibraphonist Roy Ayers, guitarist Ronny Jordan, saxophonists Branford Marsalis and Courtney Pine and keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith who were paired with vocalists N'Dea Davenport, Dee C Lee and Carleen Anderson. Still very much a hip-hop album, Guru helped to shine a light on the incredible synergy between both jazz and hip-hop that exists to this day with countless collaborations that have helped to make jazz accessible to entirely new audiences and generations. Guru's back-&-forth with trumpeter Donald Byrd on 'Loungin', for example, still serves as one of the greatest jazz-meets-hip-hop unions of all time.
The Jazzmatazz series would go on to spawn four full-length albums in total (aside from the Jazzmatazz mixtape and 'best of' compilation) with the latter releases embracing slightly more mainstream and neo-soul-esque collaborations and production to varying degrees of success. 'Jazzmatazz vol.1' is perhaps a release that doesn't get the attention it deserves but remains a masterpiece to this day.
Following our presentation of the Top 100 cover versions of the 21st century, our next Top 100 rundown sees the 4ever in Electric Dreams team pick out their favourite hip-hop tracks of the 1990s.
Released in association with the Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind podcast Episode #54, Dan Collacott (DC), Tee-J Sutherland (TS) and Imran Mirza (IM) recount their experiences with their 90s hip-hop fandom, discussing those key moments, artists and releases for what was a thrilling period for the genre.
As relates to the list, each of the team have picked out their favourites (indicated by their initials beside each entry) and we've arranged the tracks alphabetically so if this is your era of fandom then reminisce and celebrate with us; but if these tracks are new to you then we'd like to think you're in for a treat if you take the time to get to know some of these. They do call it the Golden Era for a reason.
1. ‘1-800 Suicide’ by Gravediggaz
This slice of laid back pitch black lounge rap, came groovin into the world when former members of hip hop group Stetsasonic aided by the RZA from Wu-Tang and Too Poetic, formed supergroup Gravediggaz and released this as the final single from their debut record 6 Feet Deep just a year after RZA had premiered ‘Enter The Wu-Tang’. ‘1-800 Suicide’ is a perfect example of where funk and soul meet hip-hop sub genre ‘horrorcore’s’ blackened heart. DC
2. ‘93' Till Infinity’ by Souls of Mischief
The moment Imran suggested we come up with a list of 100 90s hip hop tunes this was the first track I thought of. This beautiful laid back ode to the early 90s sampling Billy Cobhams “Heather” is for me one of the smoothest hip hop tracks you’ll ever hear. Members A-Plus, Phesto, Opio and Tajai all flow over the beat in the classic west coast laid back style and take you on a chilled journey that makes you feel as though you’re cruising down a west coast highway at sunset. Can express just how much I love this tune, quite possibly my favourite music track of any genre. TS
3. ‘A Gangsta's Fairytale’ by Ice Cube
Not the best tune from Ice Cube’s debut solo album AmeriKKKas’s Most Wanted however it could well be the most unique and memorable. Cube’s usual aggressive and abrasive lyrics take a sharp left turn to tell the story of life in the hood via a fairytale. Don’t think it being a fairytale means it’s kid friendly as you’ll find Humpty Dumpty is smoking a joint, Cinderella is a ‘ho and Jack catches Gonorrhea from Jill. It’s silly, it’s fun and will make you look at your childhood fairytales in a slightly different light! TS
4. ‘I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need To Get By’ [Razor Sharp Mix] by Method Man featuring Mary J Blige
Take the unique, coarse yet powerful vocals of Mef and soften them with the mellow soul of singer Mary J Blige for this brilliant track that samples Marvin Gaye with Tammi Terrell’s original song ‘All I Need to Get By’. Creating a dark reimagining of an urban love story. The track was a remix of ‘All I Need’ from Mef’s solo 1994 debut, ‘Tical’. DC
5. ‘Break Ups 2 Make Ups’ by Method Man featuring D’Angelo
This album served as a brilliant reintroduction to the limelight for neo-soul superstar D’Angelo whose promotion for his own sophomore album release ‘Voodoo’ would shortly begin - an album that would see Method Man return the collaborative favour by appearing with Redman on the track ‘Left and Right’. For Method Man however, this track was the successful second single for his own ‘Tical 2000: Judgement Day’ album - a project that received mixed reviews upon release but stil boasting a hefty sprinkle of that Ticallion Stallion magic. IM
6. ‘Bring the Pain’ by Method Man
"I came to bring the pain hardcore from the brain; Let's go inside my astral plane" I can't think of many songs with such a commanding and memorable opener than Method Man's 'Bring the Pain' single - the first from his debut solo outing 'Tical' in 1994. The song also serves as a gleaming gem from the production discography of the RZA. IM
7. ‘California Love’ by Tupac featuring Dr Dre
Remembered fondly for it’s big budget Mad Max style video, this joint from ‘All Eyez on Me’ was released in 1996 (not long before Tupac’s untimely murder). It features a sample from the Joe Cocker song ‘Woman to Woman’ and is an absolute banger. DC
8. ‘Can I Kick It?’ by A Tribe Called Quest
This single from Tribe’s second album ‘People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm’ is arguably not their best song ever, but it is the song that launched them into the global mainstream. Strangely, it was a remix of the track that earnt them huge airplay, featuring the previously missing bohemian middle section and other samples thrown into the mix. DC
9. ‘Can't Knock the Hustle’ by Jay-Z featuring Mary J Blige
The first track from Jay-Z’s debut solo album and boy did he open strong. Enlisting the services of the legendary Mary J Blige to provide her unmistakable vocal prowess Jay-Z’s flow marries well to create a classic opener and kick start a career that spans three decades and is still going strong. TS
10. ‘Case of the PTA’ by Leaders of the New School
A lot of people forget that before Busta Rhymes blew the doors of the hip-hop world off the hinges in 1996 with his debut album, ‘The Coming’, he was kicking those doors in with his partners in crime Dinco D and Charlie Brown. This fun little joint telling tales of their days in school misbehaving and getting in trouble with teachers and parents showcases the group’s creativity and off-key sense of humor. Dinco D and Charlie Brown are very good rappers but clear who the star of the group is as Busta (literally) roars into his verse with a level of energy he seems to have maintained seemingly throughout his career. TS
11. ‘Catch a Bad One’ by Del the Funky Homosapien
With it’s genius bass and sampling from jazz legend Eric Dolphy, this single from sophomore album ‘No Need for Alarm’ helped cement Del as one of the greatest exponents of West Coast hip-hop. DC
12. ‘Chief Rocka’ by Lords of the Underground
A lot of my picks will have come from my early days of watching Yo! MTV Raps and this track was constantly on rotation. With one of the most memorable beats from that era of hip-hop funk, I defy anyone to not sing along to “What goes up… must come down!”. Mr Funke and DoItAll deliver an absolute classic. TS
13. ‘Cold World’ by GZA featuring Inspectah Deck & Life
‘Liquid Swords’ was arguably the best solo record from Wu-Tang’s founding members. ‘Cold World’ is dark, atmospheric and part of the ingeniously hard-hitting storytelling that peppers the album. DC
14. ‘Come Clean’ by Jeru the Damaja
Personally, I feel that Jeru The Damaja was an underrated talent at the time, mostly due to the fact there were soooo many good artists. Sampling a line from Onyx’s ‘Throw Ya Gunz’ which says “Uh oh, heads up cos we’re dropping some shit” Jeru’s debut single has a uniquely off-kilter beat that works so well with his highly intelligent lyrics, Kung Fu references and effortless flow. Also, anyone that tries to top Muhammed Ali’s classic “fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee” line with “fly like a jet, sting like a hornet” is a winner in my book! TS
15. ‘Concrete School Yard’ by Jurassic 5
1998 saw this mellow sounding beauty from the LA six piece hit the airwaves hard. Jurassic 5 were part of an alternative hip-hop movement, whilst still rapping on urban social themes, they dialed up the funk and lyrical genius, while dialing down the aggression and violence. DC
16. ‘Crooklyn’ by Crooklyn Dodgers
Title song on the soundtrack of the movie with the same name, Crooklyn brings together three of the most talented rappers of the 90s Buckshot (from the group Black Moon), Special Ed and Master Ace to be produced by none other than Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest. The self proclaimed “Crooklyn Dodgers” tell tales of growing up in Brooklyn in the 70s with such affection despite the obvious hardships they had to endure, they get you falling in love with the place too. TS
17. ‘Da Rockwilder’ by Method Man & Redman
I often think when listening to this song that at 2:16 it’s far too short a time to have Method Man and Redman rapping over such a tough, in your face track with one of the filthiest baselines but maybe that’s what makes it so damn good. It gets in, kicks your ass and leaves before you realize what hit you. TS
18. ‘Daaaam’ by The Alkaholiks
West Coast Party Rappers The Alkaholiks (The Liks) were masters of combining a hard edge with a fun loving rap flow and sublime use of samples. ‘Daaaam’ was a single from The Lik’s second album ‘Coast 2 Coast’ (1994), the group never quite found the commercial success they deserved but they remain one of the best hip-hop acts of the 90s. DC
19. ‘Daytona 500’ by Ghostface Killah featuring Raekwon & Cappadonna
I have to admit my knowledge of the multitude of members of Wu-Tang’s side projects is limited, however, Ghostface Killah’s debut album ‘Ironman’ is one worth diving into and ‘Daytona 500’ stands out for me as one of the best tracks in a pretty stacked album. TS
20. ‘Diary of a Madman’ by Gravediggaz
This haunting lead single from debut album ‘6ft Deep’ was another high concept horrorcore hip-hop track, this time set inside a courtroom as a gang justify their murders due to demonic possession, obviously! DC
21. ‘Electric Relaxation’ by A Tribe Called Quest
Arguably the most cherished song by A Tribe Called Quest, this one is found on their third album 'Midnight Marauders' released in 1994. Borrowing from Ronnie Foster's oft-sampled 'Mystic Brew', Q-Tip composed the instrumental in Phife's grandmother's basement, where much of Tribe's early releases were helmed. And famously for this track, Tip and Phife went on to write each other's verses which is a nice addition. IM
22. ‘Everythings Gonna Be Alright’ by Naughty By Nature
The 1991 second single from their self-titled second album saw the group once again excel in urban storytelling. The track was also known as ‘Ghetto Bastard’ on uncensored versions of the album and sampled Boney M’s hit ‘No Woman No Cry’. DC
23. ‘Fall-N-Love’ by Slum Village
There's a version of this list in a parallel dimension where 95% of the entries are populated with songs "produced by Jay Dee". And in that dimension, a vast majority of Slum Village's backpacker classic 'Fantastic Vol.2' is included and are exemplary of the immaculate production befitting Yancey's legacy. There's so much to pick from in regards to this awesome release but 'Fall-N-Love' may just very well pip everything to the post. It's certainly a tight finish though. IM
24. ‘Fantastic Voyage’ by Coolio
The third single on Coolio’s debut 1994 album It Takes a Thief, saw the star continue to ride high after the success of Gangster’s Paradise. Famous for its trippy and surreal ‘day in the life’ video, the track unsurprisingly heavily samples 'Fantastic Voyage’ by 80s funk band Lakeside. DC
25. ‘Fat Cats & Bigga Fish’ by The Coup
The Coup were the kings of intelligent social commentary blended with other typical aspects of boom bap 90s hip-hop. This single from their 1994 second album ‘Genocide and Juice’, was made famous for the darkly comic video that riffed on themes of local corruption and exploitation of the black working class. One of their few videos that got decent MTV air time. It featured an intro taken from the Jungle Book and an infectious sample from George and Gwen McCrae’s 70s soul joint ‘The Rub’. The same sample has since been used at different speeds by Brand Nubian (‘The Return’) and Method Man & Redman (‘Cereal Killer’). DC
26. ‘Find a Way’ by A Tribe Called Quest
Despite this track emanating from perhaps the least popular Tribe album ever (‘The Love Movement’), this remains one of the group’s all-time standout singles. Paired with a great video and produced by Jay Dee as part of Tribe’s Ummah production collective, the instrumental is a definitive composition within the Dilla arsenal and has seen its fair share of covers and samples from names as varied as Mary J Blige and Medline. IM
27. ‘Flava in Ya Ear’ [Remix] by Craig Mack featuring Notorious BIG, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes & Rampage
From one of the defining tracks from the Bad Boy catalogue, this all-star line-up for the remix of Craig Mack’s solo outing injected new life into an already-classic track. Biggie’s scene-stealing opening verse is packed with quotables that the bar is set ridiculously high at the outset. As lore would dictate, Easy Mo Bee - the song’s producer - originally had Apache in mind for the track but he was unable to record it due to being on tour. And thus history was made. IM
28. ‘Flying High in the Brooklyn Sky’ by Digable Planets
Digable Planets should always be referenced as a definitive hip-hop act - with two incredible full-length releases in 'Reachin (A New Refutation of Time and Space)' (1993) and 'Blowout Comb' (1994), the trio comprised of Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler, Mariana "Ladybug Mecca" Vieira, and Craig "Doodlebug" Irving have numerous tracks to populate this list. This entry however comes from a 1995 contribution they made to the project ‘Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool’ - a compilation release created to raise awareness and funds in support of the rising AIDS epidemic. IM
29. ‘Full Clip’ by Gang Starr
There’s something about ‘Full Clip’ that makes both the production and the verses, in many ways, the definitive Gang Starr song. Many would likely argue with that suggestion and cite several of their other classics and more viable contenders but it really is hard to dispute with such a flawless production. ‘Full Clip’ however finds its home on the classic two-disc Gang Starr compilation ‘A Decade of Hits’ which is a compulsory purchase for hip-hop fans. IM
30. ‘Funky Child’ by Lords of the Underground
New Jersey hip-hop trio LOTU dropped this catchy and upbeat slice of funk as the second single from their debut album ‘Here Comes The Lords’ in 1993. It was almost like an auto-biographical intro to the group’s members and featured a clever mix of samples from James Brown and The Thom Bell Orchestra. DC
31. ‘Get it Together’ by Beastie Boys featuring Q-Tip
The second single from the Beastie Boys' fourth album, 'Ill Communication' (1994) presented the dream pairing with the mighty Q-Tip in a brilliant track that sees the icons all trade verses with their trademark wit and humour. Perhaps an album more noted for its 'Sabotage' video, the triple platinum selling album marked a shift for the Boys towards more live instrumentation over their more familiar sampling techniques. IM
32. ‘Give it Up’ by Public Enemy
The summer of 94 saw the release of this first single from the group’s fifth album ‘Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age’. Heavily sampling the sublime late-60s song ‘Opus De Soul’ by Albert King, Steve Cropper and Pop Staples. The song saw Public Enemy arguably at the peak of their commercial success, although even today they still occasionally rip up the air waves with their brand of bombastic protest hip-hop. DC
33. ‘Halftime’ by Nas
Produced by the legendary hip-hop producer Large Professor and debuting on the soundtrack of 92 film Zebrahead, ‘Halftime’ set Nas on the path to greatness two years before ‘Illmatic’ dropped and even today firmly remains one of his and hip-hop’s best songs of all time. DC
34. ‘Head Banger’ by EPMD
This may well be one of my favourite party tunes of all time. It’s big, bold and brash and showcases Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith’s skills to rock a jam and get rowdy. TS
35. ‘Hey Lover’ by LL Cool J featuring Boyz II Men
LL Cool J built his reputation for his blazing ferocity. Tracks like ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ and ‘Rock The Bells’ live in infamy as not just defining LL tracks but also defining tracks of an era and the genre. BUT… when he finds himself in “Ladies Love” mode, particularly within the 90s, James Todd found a lane that he was near unbeatable in. And there are a lot to pick from including ‘I Need Love’, ‘Around the Way Girl’, ‘Doin It’ but ‘Hey Lover’ paints such a clear and succinct picture masterfully taking ownership of the MJ ‘Lady in My Life’ sample, that it had to warrant inclusion here. IM
36. ‘Hip Hop Hooray’ by Naughty By Nature
It’s easy to forget just how big Naughty By Nature actually were and as much of a hit that OPP was, ‘Hip Hop Hooray’ would surely be regarded as their most recognisable outing affording the group with a Platinum-selling single and a #1 spot in the US R&B Chart. Plus Spike Lee on video directing duties with an epic cameo line-up including Tupac, Queen Latifah and Run DMC. TS
37. ‘Hold Your Head Up’ by Heltah Skeltah featuring Anthony Hamilton
From Heltah Skeltah's second album 'Magnum Force' (1998), Jahmal "Rock" Bush and Sean "Ruck" Price earn their spot on this list with the help of an early collaboration with R&B/soul vocalist Anthony Hamilton. The heart of this track is found within its sincere and introspective perspective, not something commonly associated with the more gritty Heltah Skeltah duo or their super group affiliates from Boot Camp Clik. IM
38. ‘How I Could Just Kill a Man’ by Cypress Hill
Gangster Rap has always had one foot in grim reality, social commentary, black American sub and drug cultures and one foot in hyper film cartoon violence. Back in 91, Cypress Hill took that formula to another level with this highly charged debut single, masterfully sampling Jimi Hendrix and 60s blues guitarist Lowell Fulson. DC
39. ‘Hypnotize’ by Notorious BIG featuring Pam of Total
Biggie’s last single before he was killed in 1997, ‘Hypnotize’ is one of the most incredible hip-hop hits of all time, showing that no-one can top the great man’s incendiary lyrical flow and rap talent. It featured a sample from jazz musician Herb Alpert’s song ‘Rise’ and hasn’t aged a day since its release. DC
40. ‘I Get Around’ by 2Pac featuring Digital Underground
The infectious third single from 2Pac's 'Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z...' album in 1993 features Shock G and Money-B of Digital Underground. Shock G produces the track and by his own admission has since stated that 2Pac actually wrote his verse for the track as well. TS
41. ‘Ice Cream’ by Raekwon
The third single from Raekwon’s 1995 debut ‘Only Built 4 Cuban Linx’ and just like all the tracks on this classic album, ‘Ice Cream’ has been praised for its cinematic production and dark Mafia undertones. DC
42. ‘Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz’ by The Lost Boyz
Produced by Easy Mo Bee for The Lost Boyz’s debut album ‘Legal Drug Money’, the infectious and anthemic 1995 single peaked at Number 11 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles. TS
43. ‘Juice (Know the Ledge)’ by Eric B & Rakim
Housed on the soundtrack to the film 'Juice' and also on the Eric B & rakim album 'Don't Sweat The Technique' (1992). Rakim is credited for playing live drums on the track and this is also the song that 50 Cent cites as the one that made him want to pick up a microphone in the first place. TS
44. ‘Jump Around’ [Pete Rock Remix] by House of Pain
Incredibly, the original iteration of the track was initially offered to Ice Cube by DJ Muggs - who turned it down! - before it would go on to be adopted by House of Pain themselves. The single release housed the Pete Rock Remix along with another remix by DJ Bizznizz. TS
45. ‘Just to Get a Rep’ by Gang Starr
The first single from Gang Starr’s second album ‘Step in the Arena’, is probably most famous for the fact both the song and the music video told the true story of when Guru’s car was stolen then later recovered. It was Guru himself who gave chase after seeing the car again a few days after the mugging and with the help of the police chased the car down, ending with it hitting an ice cream truck after a wrong turn. Notable for its use of a sample from French synth pop artist Jean-Jacques Perrey track ‘E.V.A.’ (a track that has been sampled many many times since). DC
46. ‘(KOS) Determination’ by Black Star featuring Vinia Mojica
The beloved pairing of Mos Def and Talib Kweli under the name of Black Star spawned - to this date - one and only album release under the collective name. Hailed as a classic and a perfect launch pad for each before venturing into their massively successful solo careers, the Black Star album is still referenced as their benchmark and a project fans have pined for a follow-up to. Amongst much of the greatness here stands this exceptional number produced by their long-time collaborator Hi-Tek and their other long-time collaborator, vocalist Vinia Mojica. Mojica performs the near-impossible by nailing the Minnie Riperton cover of ‘Baby, This Love I Have’ for the song’s chorus punctual Kweli’s introspective and inspiring verses. IM
47. ‘Loungin’ by Guru featuring Donald Byrd
“Jazz Rap” - as a 90’s genre of hip-hop - was built around songs constructed from iconic jazz recordings. Songs by Ronnie Laws, Bobby Hutcherson, Roy Ayers and countless more became the building blocks by which names like A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets and Gang Starr developed their entire sound upon. Guru’s ‘Jazzmatazz’ series, which ran into four separate releases since its 90s inception, sought to evolve the template by introducing artists as featured performers on the tracks as opposed to just the sources of the samples. With ‘Jazzmatazz vol.1’ featuring an all-star list of musicians including Ronnie Jordan, N’Dea Davenport and DC Lee, no track represented the high points of the project than Guru’s pairing with iconic Blue Note trumpeter Donald Byrd for this awesome, awesome number! IM
48. ‘Mass Appeal’ by Gang Starr
Created as something of a dig towards the watered-down nature of hip-hop that radio seemed to be embracing within its playlists, Guru and DJ Premier were pleasantly surprised that their gentle teasing ironically became a big hit for the duo. Released in 1994 as the second single from Gang Starr’s ‘Hard to Earn’ album. TS
49. ‘Doomsday’ by MF Doom
The late, great MF Doom made his solo debut just before the turn of the century with Operation Doomsday, famed for its complex lyrics and lofi ‘bedroom’ production. Doomsday wasn’t a single but was part of a formidable comeback by Daniel Dumille after a dark period sleeping rough following his brother’s death and disbandment of his group KMD. Doomsday is unique because of its soulful flow, reflective lyrics about his brother’s death following a car accident and it’s main sample taken from ‘Kiss of Life’ by soul/pop songstress, Sade. Which was slightly unusual considering Doom’s trademark is his use of more comic and cartoon references and ever more obscure samples. DC
50. ‘Mister Dobalina’ by Del the Funky Homosapien
Thanks to its video featuring heavy rotation on MTV, ‘Mister Dobalina’ launched 18 year old West Coast rapper Del TFH into the limelight. The second single off his 1991 debut ‘I Wish My Brother George Was Here’ draws inspiration and includes a vocal sample from The Monkees' song ‘Zilch’ which features the original odd ‘Mister Dobalina’ sample. Del then brought the character to life as some kind of wannabee groupee fan, demonstrating his incredible imagination and a dry yet distinctive lyrical flow. The album was produced by Ice Cube (who he used to write for when Cube was in Da Lynch Mob) but Del ended that relationship, instead wanting to produce his own music his way. DC
51. ‘Murder was the Case’ by Snoop Doggy Dogg
In 1993, Snoop Doggy Dogg was accused (then cleared) of first degree murder of a rival gang member. A year later he starred in a fictional short film called ‘Murder Was the Case’ with this as the title track. Clearly inspired by the trial along with other dark themes of gang war, murder and making a deal with the devil. ‘Murder was the Case’ was a change of tone and pace for Snoop and stands up as one of his most original and memorable tracks. DC
52. ‘Mutiny’ by The Goats
Taken from their second album ‘No Goats No Glory’ in 94, ‘Mutiny’ is another fast moving, strong edged piece of 90s boom bap hip-hop from Philly trio The Goats. The criminally underappreciated group feature a full musical band making them an eight piece live act. Despite favourable comparisons to Eric B & Rakim for their clever use of scratching, samples and jazz (some even credit them for helping to give The Roots their big break), the group never got the commercial success they deserved. DC
53. ‘My World Premiere’ by Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf
Originally released in 96, and taken from the album ‘Big Shots’ (recorded in 91-94), the song actually received critical acclaim when Stones Throw Records properly released the album in 2003, ten years after Charizma’s untimely death. The duo were an absolute force to be reckoned with on the underground boom bap hip-hop scene and the success of ‘Big Shots’ should have been the start of a huge career and even today is a hip-hop treasure worth seeking out. DC
54. ‘N 2 Gether Now’ by Limp Bizkit featuring Method Man
One of the most notable points about 90’s hip-hop is how fragmented it was - everyone fell into a category from either “bling rap”, “jazz rap”, “underground rap”, “conscious rap” and… yes… it was bound to come up at some point… “rock rap”. Limp Bizkit may have now fallen into the category of 90’s releases that people may not remember too fondly but their hip-hop credentials at that time were exceptional having chalked up collaborations with Snoop Dogg, Redman, DMX, amongst others. Their pairing with Method Man and DJ Premier on production, frankly, is too good for anyone to even attempt to throw shade on. IM
55. ‘Nas is Like’ by Nas
DJ Premier - despite hailing from Texas - was always able to create a sound that was quintessentially New York, even playing a strong part in debut releases from NYC icons Notorious BIG, Nas and Jay-Z. The chemistry between Primo and Nas across their extensive collaborations is undeniable as fans continue to clamor for the full-length project between the two that may sadly never materialize. At least we have a lot between the pair to celebrate notwithstanding this colossal gem! IM
56. ‘Natural Born Killaz’ by Dr Dre & Ice Cube
The collaborative effort from the west coast icons found a home on the 'Murder Was the Case' soundtrack which was released in 1994 through Death Row Records and actually marked the first time Dr Dre and Ice Cube had worked together following the dissolution of NWA. DC
57. ‘Now That We Found Love’ by Heavy D & the Boyz featuring Aaron Hall
Released in 1991, Heavy D’s reimagining of The O’Jays track of the same name delivered him - and the Boyz - with their biggest hit. With 90s super producer Teddy Riley on production and his Guy cohort Aaron Hall on vocals, the second single from the ‘Peaceful Journey’ album peaked at number two in the UK and number 11 in the US. IM
58. ‘NY State of Mind’ by Nas
From the beloved, classic record that is the debut album from Nas, ‘Illmatic’. Released in 1994 and featuring production from Pete Rock, Q-Tip and DJ Premier (the latter of which serving as the song’s producer), ‘Illmatic’ set the standard not just for Nas going forward with his career but for New York rappers as well - this album became an insurmountable benchmark that inspired an entire generation of hip-hop. DC
59. ‘Old to the New’ by Nice & Smooth
The first single from Nice & Smooth's third studio album 'Jewel of the Nile' (1994), not only did the album feature notable collaborations from Jo-Jo of Jodeci, Everlast and Slick Rick, but 'Old to the New' can also boast production from Luis "Phat Kat" Vega, later known as Little Louis Vega of revered Masters At Work fame. TS
60. ‘One More Chance/Stay With Me’ [Remix] by Notorious BIG featuring Faith Evans
Everybody could tell an early Biggie verse from a later one. The more ‘shouty’ delivery of ‘Ready To Die’ compared to the notably softer tones in ‘Life After Death’ came from the advisement of Puff Daddy. And it works too with this song serving as the prime example. Boasting a quintessential Hype Williams video with an all-star cast, upon release, the song became the highest debuting single for a rap song on the Hot 100. IM
61. ‘Party & Bullshit’ by Notorious BIG
The debut single from Christopher “Notorious BIG” Wallace actually found its home on Uptown Records before Sean Combs would leave to start his own Bad Boy Records taking Wallace with him. Also included as part of the ‘Who’s The Man?’ soundtrack, the track has been remixed and sampled numerous times since its release. TS
62. ‘Passing Me By’ by The Pharcyde
Serving as the second single from the The Pharcyde's 1992 debut 'Bizarre Ride II', Bootie Brown, Slimkid3, Imani and Fatlip recount their failed schoolboy crushes over the masterful inclusion of Quincy Jones' much-sampled 'Summer in the City'. Make no mistake my friends, this song is an absolute masterpiece reaching #1 on the Hot Rap Singles, #52 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #28 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks charts. IM
63. ‘Perfect Match’ by Cella Dwellas
"On the highway, it's a Friday, can't wait to see her; I picked up two slices from the local pizzeria" - if there’s a more romantic line uttered in a 90’s hip-hop song then not only have I not heard it but I wouldn’t even want to hear it. From their 1996 release ‘Realms ‘N Reality’ on the revered Loud Records, the Brooklyn duo of Phantasm and UG delivered a great record early on their lengthy careers. IM
64. ‘Poppa Large’ by Ultramagnetic MCs
The second studio album from Kool Keith's Ultramagnetic MCs, 'Funk Your Head Up' (1992), featured a whopping 23 tracks and although may have seemed to disappoint die-hard fans at the time of release, the album did spawn this beloved gem as well as the accompanying Beatminerz remix. DC
65. ‘Problems’ by Rappin 4 Tay
While the soundtrack to Dangerous Minds (1995) will no doubt forever be remembered for housing the mega successful 'Gangsta's Paradise' by Coolio & LV, the high profile contributors also boasted selections from members of Jodeci, Missy Elliott and Wendy & Lisa. This under-appreciated gem however, which was one of two tracks by Rappin' 4-Tay on the soundtrack, proved a real treasure with its introspective and sincere message. IM
66. ‘Protect Ya Neck’ by Wu-Tang Clan
It was the success of the original iteration of this song that went on to secure Wu-Tang Clan's deal with Loud Records. Produced by RZA, the track would go on to become the debut single for the nine-piece collective and find its home on their revered album 'Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)'. TS
67. ‘Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down’ by Brand Nubian
This 1992 single from Brand Nubian would go on to find a home on their 1993 album 'In God We Trust' and charted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 77. Look out for the Diamond D remix of the track as well. TS
68. ‘Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See’ by Busta Rhymes
There was something about Busta Rhymes's single releases in the 90s that made them a genuine event. With video director Hype Williams, Rhymes was able to capture peoples' ears through groundbreaking releases like 'Woo Hah!!' and 'Turn It Up' while also captivating them with imaginative videos that so few others could compare to at that time. 'Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See' was one of the early singles that helped establish Rhymes as a burgeoning force of nature of main event calibre. TS
69. ‘Quiet Storm’ [Remix] by Mobb Deep featuring Lil Kim
If any song was going to help Mobb Deep escape the shadow of ‘Shook Ones pt2’, then it would have to be ‘Quiet Storm’. The original mix was a flawless record but securing Lil Kim for the Remix took the track to an even higher plateau. Genuinely one of the best productions bearing Havoc’s name, it was also a track that saw its fair share of samples and interpretations from R&B names like 112 and India.Arie. IM
70. ‘Rap Phenomenon’ by Notorious BIG featuring Redman & Method Man
Biggie and DJ Premier were fortunate to have created a series of great tracks together over the course of both ‘Ready to Die’ and ‘Life After Death’ but this awesome addition to their combined catalogue comes from the first posthumous Biggie album, ‘Born Again’. This Primo-produced gem features the dream-team pairing of Biggie alongside contributions from Redman and Method Man that fit so incredibly well. IM
71. ‘Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)’ by Digable Planets
The only high-charting single release from the revered trio of Digable Planets that also went on to secure the group with a Grammy win for the track as well. Taken from their debut album release, 'Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)', Digable Planets were card-carrying members of 90s jazz-rap with two incredible full-length album releases that frankly everyone should own. DC
72. ‘Right Back at You’ by Mobb Deep
The duo of Prodigy and Havoc were already considered pioneers of the East Coast hardcore rap, when their second album The Infamous dropped in 95. ‘Right Back at You’ also featured Wu-Tang stars Ghostface and Raekwon, but didn’t even feature as a single from the group’s finest. Despite that, it remains a laid back, dark, brooding and fiendishly infectious slice of mid-90s gangsta rap, turning a jazz sample from Les McCann’s track ‘Benjamin’, into something beautifully sinister. DC
73. ‘Royalty’ by Gang Starr featuring K-Ci & Jojo
'Moment of Truth' is generally considered the greatest Gang Starr album of all time and certainly one of hip-hop's finest as well - after all, this is the album that gave us 'You Know My Steez', 'The Militia' and 'Moment of Truth'. For the purposes of this list, we're turning our attention to one of the greatest DJ Premier productions of all time which features the awesome voices of K-Ci & Jojo from Jodeci paired alongside Guru's inimitable tones - 'Royalty' easily secures its place within our list. IM
74. ‘Running’ by The Pharcyde
Sometimes you have to stop and really give credit to the music Pharcyde put out - from the aforementioned masterpiece in ‘Passing Me By’ to the songs on the ‘Labcabincalifornia’ (1995) sophomore release which housed the ground-breaking ‘Drop’ (along with the awesome video) but this gem of a record in ‘Running’. Legend has it that Q-Tip was to serve as the project’s producer but finding himself too busy to contribute, put them in contact with a young up-and-coming producer who would go on to become the legendary Jay Dee. IM
75. ‘Sabotage’ by Beastie Boys
By 1994, the New York trio were already at legendary status and their fourth studio album ‘Ill Communication’ was the album that arguably cemented their legacy. The first single, ‘Sabotage’, became one of the greatest hip-hop songs of all time, in part due to its inspired Spike Jonze directed video, a brilliant all action parody of 1970s TV crime drama. Featuring iconic riffs delivered by the band itself, Sabotage seamlessly crosses over rock and hip-hop. Even today, the track has been covered by bands of all genres including metal bands like Cancer Bats, keeping the track firmly in today’s zeitgeist. DC
76. ‘Scenario’ by A Tribe Called Quest featuring Leaders of The New School
From A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘The Low End Theory’, this contribution to our list will forever be referenced for two things: potentially being the greatest posse cut of all time and, secondly, the track that introduced the world to a 19 year old, scene-stealing Busta Rhymes. TS
77. ‘She's A Bitch’ by Missy Elliott
The lead single from Missy Elliott's sophomore album release, 'Da Real World' (1998), may have hindered itself due to its somewhat abrasive title and theme with the album's later singles going on to achieve more success. Backed by a typically bold Hype Williams video, the album marked an awesome creative peak for both Elliott and long-time collaborator Timbaland. TS
78. ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya’ by Ol Dirty Bastard
1995 was one hell of a year for hip-hop and it was also the year that Wu-Tang powerhouse ODB got his solo stripes with the Grammy-nominated debut album, ‘Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version’. This was the album’s second single and featured his trademark unique vocal and lyrical style, the beat sample was taken from The Emotions 1969 soul track ‘I Like It,’ and it’s probably the only hip-hop song in existence whose second verse is the first verse backwards. DC
79. ‘Shook Ones, Pt II’ by Mobb Deep
You'd be very welcome to question the validity of any list proclaiming to feature 100 hip-hop songs of the 90s that didn't include this gem. Arguably the definitive song by Havoc and Prodigy under the guise of Mobb Deep with its brilliant and ominous production, this is the lead single from their 1995 album 'The Infamous…'. TS
80. ‘Silent Treatment’ by The Roots
Before going on to outgrow the "jazz rap" tagged that their early releases leant towards, 'Do You Want More?!!!??!' offered a typically brilliant take on the sub genre. While many of their contemporaries of the time were creating their music via the use of sampling, The Roots were one of the few names that were able to cultivate a strong name for themselves subsequently becoming a long-lasting live band able to perform a multitude of varying styles. 'Silent Treatment' - by the standards of this writer - may very well be the pinnacle of jazz rap. It's beautifully produced, boasts fantastic verses from Black Thought, an awesome sing-a-long chorus... and is arguably the greatest Roots song ever as well. IM
81. ‘Simon Says’ by Pharoahe Monch
The debut single from the mighty Pharoahe Monch and still his biggest and most recognisable single to date. Released via Rawkus Records for Monch's 'Internal Affairs' (1999) album, the track famously samples the theme from Godzilla vs. Mothra. DC
82. ‘Slam’ by Onyx
Upon hearing the initially completed version of Onyx's 'Bacdafucup' (1993), producer Jam Master Jay sent the team back to the studio as he felt they were missing the single the album would be remembered for. Seven days later, an iconic anthem was born. DC
83. ‘Slippin’ by DMX
It's easy to forget just how big DMX was in the 90s. With two albums released in 1998 and one in 1999, once DMX started that ball rolling he became an unstoppable force and while his output was more affilaited with singles like 'X Gon Give It To Ya', 'Party Up' and 'Ruff Ryders Anthem', this lush and introspective gem was a real standout as a single from his sophomore album 'Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood'. IM
84. ‘Soul Flower’ by The Brand New Heavies featuring The Pharcyde
While the Brand New Heavies are understandably cited as pioneers with the UK’s acid-jazz scene, most notably via their collaborations with vocalist N’Dea Davenport, the group actually had much more surprising beginnings that date back to 1992 and their album ‘Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol.1’. Partnering with a variety of 90’s rappers including Gang Starr, Grand Puba, Main Source, Masta Ace and Kool G Rap, the Heavies released a hugely underappreciated record with potentially the brightest moment arriving in the form of their Pharcyde collaboration. IM
85. ‘Spottieottiedopaliscious’ by OutKast featuring Sleepy Brown
From the incredible ‘Aquemini’ project - an album again that could have warranted several inclusions within this list - we’re gifted with this gem of a track with a horn line that you’ll be humming for days at a time! OutKast are practically the only group who can deliver a song this soulful while still being able to release something like ‘B.O.B.’ just two years later without anyone batting an eyelid. IM
86. ‘Stakes is High’ by De La Soul
As well as serving as a definitive track for De La Soul, the title track from the 'Stakes is High' (1996) album also served as one of the first mainstream productions by Jay Dee - whose ingenious productions feature so heavily throughout this list. But of course not to discredit the contributions from De La themselves who present an authoritative stance throughout the track with killer lines including "I'm sick of bitches shakin' asses; I'm sick of talkin' about blunts; Sick of Versace glasses; Sick of slang; Sick of half-ass awards shows; Sick of name brand clothes...". DC
87. ‘Summertime’ by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, amongst other accolades, will forever be hailed as the first rap act to win a Grammy; what's incredible about the duo is that the Grammy they won for 'Summertime' was actually their second golden gramophone win! Yes, the masterful sampling of Kool & The Gang's 'Summer Madness' has resulted in a masterpiece that will live on forever and has arguably become DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's defining track and a definitive and timeless ode to summertime. IM
88. ‘The Choice is Yours (Revisited)’ by Black Sheep
Comprised of Andres "Dres" Vargas Titus and William "Mista Lawnge" McLean, Black Sheep hit an incredible height on their debut album 'A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing'. With this, the second single from the duo's gold-selling full-length, the song charted at #1 on the US Hot Rap Singles chart. TS
89. ‘The Look of Love pt1’ by J-88
Before operating under the name of ‘Slum Village’, rappers Baatin, Jay Dee and T3 went by J-88 and started to make waves from their underground classic album ‘Best Kept Secret’. Despite hosting bonus remixes on the album from Madlib and IG Culture, it’s Jay Dee’s mesmerizing opening number that is the clear showstealer here. IM
90. ‘The Message’ by Nas
Sting’s ‘Shape of My Heart’ has had its fair share of covers and samples over the years but few as masterfully put together as Nas and Trackmasters with ‘The Message’. A great inclusion for ‘It Was Written’ and a great opening number to kick the album off. IM
91. ‘The Mission’ by Special Ed
Just managing to make it into this list having been released in July 1990, 'The Mission' was one of the single releases from Special Ed's sophomore album, 'Legal'. With the single, along with the bulk of the album, having been produced by Howie Tee, 'Legal' was made available through Profile Records. TS
92. ‘The Rhyme’ by Keith Murray
Finding a home as the lead single for Keith Murray's sophomore album 'Enigma' (1996), this Erick Sermon-produced gem showcases the Def Squad member at his best. With samples from Maze's 'Before I Let Go' and Run-DMC's 'Sucker MCs', 'The Rhyme' made it to three Billboard charts, peaking at 12 on the Hot Rap Singles. IM
93. ‘The Shiznit’ by Snoop Doggy Dogg
Performing under the name Snoop Doggy Dogg at the time of this release, 'Doggystyle' forever holds up as one of the highest points for west coast hip-hop. Having created a huge buzz for himself following his performance on Dre's 'Chronic', the magic carried over to Snoop's debut outing cementing his name as a forefather of the west's G-Funk inspired hip-hop. TS
94. ‘They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)’ by Pete Rock & CL Smooth
As far as masterpieces go, it's pretty hard to top the perfection of this track. Created as something of an ode to their friend Troy Dixon (who was actually a member of Heavy D & the Boyz) following his death - hence the use of the acronym "Troy" - the song has been a defining example of Pete Rock's brilliance and the defining track for his partnership with rapper CL Smooth. And if you ever wondered about that sax sample, it's taken from a track called 'Today' by Tom Scott. TS
95. ‘Throw Ya Gunz’ by Onyx
Marking our second visit to Onyx’s ‘Bacdafucup’ album, this single from the album initially found it difficult to get picked up by TV and radio due to the profanity and violence depicted in the song but Onyx would profess the song wasn’t about advocating gun violence but that its content was intended as something of a “salute” to hip-hop. Either way, the song went on to be a hit for the group and an anthem for its era. TS
96. ‘Time's Up’ by O.C.
This track went on to become the most recognisable track from rapper OC taken from his album ‘Word…Life’ (1994) and produced by the brilliant Buckwild from the DITC collective of which OC would go on to be inducted into. TS
97. ‘Victory’ by Puff Daddy featuring Notorious BIG & Busta Rhymes
1997 proved to be as colossal a year for Puff Daddy as any rapper could ever claim to have had following the release of his ‘No Way Out’ debut. With this epic number that sees Puff tag team verses with Biggie over Bill Conti’s ‘Going the Distance’ and a mega-bucks video that featured cameos from Dennis Hopper and Danny DeVito, ‘Victory’ saw Puffy fully transition into superstar status. IM
98. ‘What They Do’ by The Roots featuring Raphael Saadiq
From the beloved Roots release, ‘Illadelph Halflife’, there’s a number of tracks that would warrant mention for this release but we’ve had to opt for the neo-soul-y number featuring Raphael Saadiq. The lush instrumental conclusion of the song is such a joy plus the accompanying video warrants mention for its light-hearted send-up of 90s hip-hop video tropes. IM
99. ‘Whatever Man’ by Redman
From Redman's 'Muddy Waters' (1997) album release, Erick Sermon bestowed another gem for the Redman catalogue with the super smooth 'Whateva Man'. Riffing from The Blues Brothers for the video alongside Method Man, the track reached number 42 on the Billboard Hot 100. IM
100. ‘Who Got the Props’ by Black Moon
Another east coast gem from Black Moon which comprised of Buckshot, 5ft and Evil Dee. The track was housed on their 'Enta da Stage' (1992) debut album on Nervous Records. TS
Welcome to Episode #13 of the 90s State of Mind podcast - a collaborative project between 4ever in Electric Dreams and Blue-in-Green:RADIO. This podcast series sees Imran (London, UK) and Rhonda (California, USA) delve into some of their favourite releases from the 90s and for this episode, the pair revisit Bobby Brown's, 'Bobby'.
Released 25th August 1992 through MCA Records, the album served as the third solo outing for the R&B vocalist following his departure from R&B collective New Edition. Bobby peaked at number two on the US Billboard 200 Album Chart and spawned three major US Billboard Hot 100 singles; "Humpin' Around" (US #3), "Good Enough" (US #7), and "Get Away" (US #14). The album also reached number one on the Billboard R&B Albums chart, and reached the top 10 in Australia, New Zealand, and Sweden. Brown received his second Grammy Award nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 35th Grammy Awards for the single "Humpin' Around" and the album was certified double platinum by the RIAA.
Imran & Rhonda delve deep into this definitive 90s R&B album looking at the project, the singles, the collaborators, the remixes and look at the album in the context of the New Jack Swing's twilight years.
Episode #53 of the Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind podcast sees the team delve back into the realms of current Star Wars releases through Disney+ looking at the current slew of shows in the works along with discussing season 1 of 'The Book of Bobba Fett'.
While the Star Wars Cinematic Universe is still trying to find their footing following the heavily derided outings of 'The Last Jedi' (2017) and 'The Rise of Skywalker' (2019), the Disney+ shows - spearheaded by the amazing Mandalorian - are mostly being well-received. Does the extended Star Wars universe actually have any direction or are they simply developing *new* stories in and around established characters and events?
C.E.N.K. is represented on this episode by Tee-J Sutherland, Dan Collacott and long-time friend and broadcasting companion, Denis-Jose Francois.
The 4Ever team...
Welcome to 4ever in Electric Dreams which is the virtual HQ and home to our burgeoning podcast network spearheaded by our flagship series, Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind (C.E.N.K.).
Our podcasts are available on the following platforms: