When I was a young’un the only music I would listen to was Hip-Hop, everything else I didn’t want to know about or I didn’t care about. Ten years ago I was 14 and halfway through my high school education, now at my school the only artists people would pay any attention to were Big and Pac (and maybe Snoop) as this was the peak year of their beef and everyone was pulling their ‘W’s’ at each other shouting “Westside ‘til I Die”. *Sigh*
A few of us though were listening to other Hip-Hop (I’m not talking Dr. Octagon or DJ Shadow – I wasn’t that cool), I’m talking about Xzibit, Jay-Z, The Roots, shit like that. We used to always talk about what new joints were on ‘Yo! MTV Raps’ the night before in school (just so you know, Yo! was our only source for non chart hip-hop back in the day – 1 hour a week). I had a tape full of music video’s which I would watch constantly until it was stolen from our house whist inside the VCR. It wasn’t the best day of my life…
I still regard as 1996 to be my best year of music when growing up, so many memories and great tunes. Here are a few of my most memorable tracks of the year.
The Message – Nas
The track that truly introduced me to Nas. Before ‘If I Ruled the World’ blew up I hadn’t heard of Nas, and wasn’t really a massive fan of the track. It wasn’t until my sister picked up ‘It Was Written’ that I got to listen to more of him. I suppose it was the Sting sample that drew me to this track the most, but also back then we used to get picked up from school by my uncle who drove a brown Datsun! We thought he was the only one in the world to own one! Damn we used to ripped on hard for that…
Everything Remains Raw – Busta Rhymes
When the video for ‘Woo Hah! Got You All In Check’ came out we were treated to about 30 seconds of this gem before the track started. It’s the first thing we saw from solo-Busta on TV. What I liked about this was how he was telling us that he ain’t no pop star (heh, look how that turned out…) because ‘Woo Hah!’ was a commercial track, aimed at the masses. ‘Everything Remains Raw’, to date, is still one of Busta’s darkest tracks and that’s why I love it so much.
Kris Kross – Live & Die for Hip-Hop (feat. Da Brat, Mr. Black, J.D. & Aliyah)
Wack album, great track. I don’t really know what to say about this track except that it’s great. I don’t remember the video, it wasn’t a monumental track of any kind to me (or anyone else!), I could have spoken about something else more significant, but I haven’t. Enjoy.
…and then there was this:
Oh I could go on forever… Fu-Gee-La, Elevators, Paparazzi, Stakes Is High, Triumph, 1nce Again, Daytona 500, What They Do, Rappers’ Ball, Can’t Knock the Hustle… However I’ll leave you with three more and catch you next time. Enjoy!
Gina Thompson – The Things You Do Darkchild Remix (feat. Raekwon, Mr. Mike Nitty & Craig Mack)
Wait! Gina Thompson? Darkchild? I know I know… don’t worry, the MC’s make up for it.
LL Cool J – I Shot Ya (Remix)
One of the better tracks where James gets ‘raw’, with the help of Keith Murray, Prodigy, Fat Joe & Foxy Brown.
Finally, I present probably the best song in the history of the world to use a doorbell in it’s beat:
Wu Wear: The Garment Renaissance – RZA, Method Man & Cappadonna
Edit: Oh shit, one more!
Westside Connection – Hoo Bangin’ (WSGC Style)