The 90s were the golden era for for most things including television, music, and overall simplicity of life. You want to talk to me for hours about any time period of music, choose the 1990s. From the West coast to the East coast, to the dirty South I'll break it down for you. My favorite groups include, Wu-Tang Clan, NWA, Geto Boys, A Tribe Called Quest, Outkast, Eric B & Rakim, and EPMD. Favorite solo artists include LL Cool J, Big L, Tupac, Biggie, Too $hort, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and Jay Z.
Favorite rap albums from the 90s
It Was A Good Day - Ice Cube
'It was a good day' by Ice Cube is one of those songs that will never get old and if you do not know at least 1 line of this song, you need to reassess how you are living. First off, the beat, adding drum tracks to an Isely Brother's song will never not be a good idea, and when it is 'Footsteps in the Dark' you are bound to have a hit. Originally released in 1993, most of the album was filled with powerful and aggressive speech following the LA Riots of 1992. Cube said "Okay, there's been the riots, people know I will deal with that. That's a given. But I rap all this gangsta stuff – what about all the good days I had?". So he wrote his number 1 hit with that thought in mind. Fun fact, the song is 4 minutes and 20 seconds long, most likely done purposely due to the amount of times Cube references the reefer in his songs.
The first time I ever heard this song and listened to it on a loop was probably Freshman year of high school, so probably 5 years ago. It just has such a relaxing nature to it, while providing a powerful message, I think that is what kept me listening. There was also a cool b-side version of this song that was released in 1994, with a much more chilled out vibe, check it out if you can, and if you can't... you better check yo self.
The World is Yours - Nas
The World is Yours by Nas, is there a more captivating beat with lyrics as honest and empowering as this? Short answer, no. Illmatic, the 10 track album that put Nas in the sky with the gods, there is not a single skip on this album. This song sticks out for me in particular because of the way that nas starts off with absolute bars and kills it throughout the entire song. "I sip the Dom P, watching "Gandhi" 'til I'm charged /
Then writing in my book of rhymes, all the words past the margin / To hold the mic I'm throbbin', mechanical movement / Understandable smooth shit that murderers move with." If Nas would have just dropped the mic after that and walked off, it will still be a top 20 hip hop song of all time.
One fact that I found interesting is that Nas got the name for this track after watching Scarface and seeing the blimp go by with the message "The World Is Yours" on it. The blimp was advertising Pan American airlines, but Montana, in a solipsistic state, saw it as a sign.
This song is empowering for me not because I grew up in queens in the 80s but honestly its an empowering song. Sit back and relax after a long day, with your feet up and your head to the sky, play this song and digress into a state of contentment.
Can I kick it? - A Tribe Called Quest
Can I kick it? Yes ya can! Early I talked about The Velvet Underground led by Lou Reed. With out a doubt, Loud Reed's most iconic song was "Walk on the Wild Side." A song that would later be sampled for this mellowed out ATCQ song. Since the sound for "Can I kick it" was so similar to "Walk on the Wild Side", ATCQ never received royalties from the song.
The first verse starts with Q Tip The Abstract setting the stage with his smooth raps and clever wordplay, something the tribe is well known for. Then Phife Dawg comes on the mic at the humble age of 19 and kills it just like Q tip. This song is perfect for really any occasion.
My favorite lines come at the end of Q tips verse where he says, "Will Nipper the doggy give a big shove? / This rhythm really fits like a snug glove / Like a box of positives it's a plus, love / As the Tribe flies high like a dove. Pure genius.
Believe it or not this was one of the first hip hop songs I had ever listened to. Back in 6th grade at my desk, when everyone else was listening to Drake or Lil Wayne I was being entranced by the sounds of the Tribe, it was something that compelled me.
Mind playing tricks on me - Geto Boys
In 1991 the Houston based rap trio of Willie D, Scarface, and Bushwick Bill dropped this classic on their album "We can't be stopped". They sampled Isaac Hayes 1974 hit, "Hung up on my baby". You might recognize this beat from whatever Kodak Black dropped a few years ago, not worth my time looking up that garbage. Anyways, one of the most famous album covers of all time, Willie D and Scarface are wheeling Bushwick Bill out of the hospital after he got in a fight with his 17 year old girlfriend and he ended up getting shot in the eye. Willie D said that the shoot was completely spontaneous and they came up with it when they went to visit Bill in the hospital. This song shows the paranoia and fear that comes with being a gangster and living in the 5th ward. Each rapper absolutely sends chilling lyrics that tell a story and paint a picture like no other.