A Hip-Hop Playlist, Briefly


Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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25 Responses

  1. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I’m not well-versed in their full catalogue, but ever since I heard “Triumph”, it stood out to me as really remarkable work. Maybe it is the lack of a chorus, the beat, or the fact that so many voices weigh in, but it’s a dope song. I’m probably most partial to Ghostface Killah’s verse, but it’s hard to choose. Raekwon abrupt sign-off with a shoutout to Rod Strickland also tickled me as well. The video (which I haven’t seen in years… thanks for finding the real deal!) is also fun.

    Chris and I discussed Outkast and the “wall of sound” approach, something I’m a big fan of. I really love the Atlanta vibe and their incorporation of instrumentation. As I said there, any time you can make it seem like you’ve got a marching band involved, I’m going to enjoy it. For whatever reason, of all their work, I’m really partial to Big Boi’s solo album, which you’ll see come through on my playlist.

    And behind the scenes, Chris and I were discussing the tragedy that was Hill’s short-lived career. I don’t think performers owe their fans, so if leaving the spotlight was right for her, so be it. But hearing that she ended up in financial troubles and subsequent legal troubles over the financial troubles, it struck me that she couldn’t even put forth a half-hearted effort, have it go gold, and at least give us a taste of her talent.

    Good work here. Don’t be ashamed of ending with Puffy and Ma$e. I have Ludacris on my list!Report

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    A few things: Damn, I hadn’t heard that Field Mob song in a long time.

    Southern hip hop rules, as does southern most stuff.

    Interesting Snoop choice.

    I once saw Nas, Busta, the Fugees, and Tribe Called Quest (also Cypress Hill, Ziggy Marley, Franti and Spearhead, and Call O’ Da Wild) live at the same show. I consider it one of my greatest live music experiences of my life. It was a religious experience.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

      Oh, and I meant to add that I cannot stand Diddy. Can… not… stand… him. Why does he have to be on so many Biggie songs?!Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

      I was not familiar with Field Mob… I’m curious… that video presents themselves as caricatures of rappers, at least visually. Is that an effect they were going for? Or is that really how they rolled? I do like the song, but trying to view this through the eyes of someone who doesn’t know hip hop, I wonder how much a video like this might be off putting. This isn’t a criticism of its inclusion, as the song is a good one, but I’m curious how much the aesthetics factor in to people’s impressions of hip hop, especially when stereotypes are seemingly fulfilled. I guess I’m wondering if noobs can see past the grillz and the do-rags.Report

      • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Kazzy says:

        I’ve never been entirely clear on what Field Mob was going for. The album that “Sick Of Being Lonely” appears on contains at least one song which specifically addresses the reality of slavery, hardly the sort of track that usually appears on a party album.

        Then there’s the specific content here – a young man lamenting marital discord, and his partner offering the wife a place to crash. That’s not standard hip hop fare. My guess is that the outfits may have been saying more than just, “Look at these crazy outfits.”Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        That’s how I viewed it, but I don’t have the context you do. There seemed to be a bit of acting, storytelling going on visually and those were costumes and characters to help convey it.Report

  3. Avatar Glyph says:

    How can we mention Pharcyde and not go with “Ya Mama”?!


    Or “Officer”, with it’s PE tribute intro line?:


    Man, we played that album a LOT.

    Whatever happened to Busta Rhymes? I liked him, and he sort of vanished. Did he have a drug problem? He kind of struck me as hip-hop’s David Lee Roth (that is a compliment) – someone who is such an irrepressible showman that their whole life is probably just a live-action cartoon.

    Missy Elliot was super-cool too. She (and her work with Timbaland) was the one who made really clear to me that certain musical and lifestyle elements from the 90’s techno scene had started to filter into hip-hop as well.

    We’ll have some overlap – I have both Madvillain and DM/Jemini in mine too, but at least they are different songs.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

      I sometimes lump in Busta with DMX, though Busta seems to have faded away while DMX self-combusted. But they seemed to be larger-than-life characters with no clear line between where the character ended and the man began. I think this ultimately consumed DMX, though it wouldn’t shock me if he has/always had some real emotional/psychological issues.

      I was tempted to include X on my list, ultimately deciding not to because I had to cut it off somewhere and I haven’t listened to him in so long that I’m not sure if the music was actually good or I just remember 14-year-old Kazzy getting excited about Ruff Ryders and the fact that he lived in my town for a short while before someone set a limo outside his house on fire. Or something.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Glyph says:

      Busta developed an attitude problem. Nobody wants to work with his arrogant ass any more. He can’t even order a hamburger without causing trouble.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to BlaiseP says:

        He performed at my undergrad. I didn’t go but I heard it was a disaster. Apparently the campus police were filming the crowd in the event anything went wrong*. On stage, Busta noticed this and objected that they were pirating the concert. There ended up being a huge break in the show while the matter was sorted out.

        * BCPD claimed this was procedure as usual, but there was suspicion that they did this for rap artists or those who might bring in a more “urban” crowd. I can’t remember if they filmed the Counting Crows or Howie Day the year before.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to BlaiseP says:

        When I saw him at the aforementioned show, he was good, but this was a show with what I would consider 4 of the top 20 or 25 hip hop artists of all time: Nas, Wyclef, Hill, and Q-Tip. He wasn’t on that level (plus I really enjoyed Spearhead, and Cypress Hill, because they’re fun), so he wasn’t the artist I left the show thinking about.

        Apparently he put out an album 2 years ago, but I guess it didn’t do so well.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

      Instead of calling Missy “super-cool”, it would have been more historically accurate for me to describe her as “Supa Dupa Fly”.Report

  4. Avatar Chris says:

    OK, having gone through this, I really enjoyed every song but the Jay-Z song. I think his latest album may have ruined him for me, because I find it so off-putting. Awesome playlist, though (my Jay-Z hangups are nobody’s fault but my own).Report

    • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Chris says:

      If it’s any consolation, that song wouldn’t make the list if I’d done it today.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

      …does this really happen? I can’t imagine a bad album putting me off an artist’s earlier good albums. I might not buy any new stuff from them from that point forward, having lost trust in their judgement or abilities, but unless the artist did something Polanski-like IRL, I would still treasure their old work…Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

      You’re going to hate my Mount Rapmore post. Which, by the way, I’m going to pushback to Friday. I’d like to do my playlist first and then open up the conversation for everyone to fight about their own Mount Rapmore.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

        I have already been itching to do some kind of followup post for all the great songs that none of us are hitting in this go-round. I am actually kind of surprised that with 4 writers/posts, with multiple songs and lots of breadth, we’ve only started to scratch the surface. I mean we have HUGE gaps, not even obscure stuff, but foundational artists; and if I know this, anyone who’s a bigger ‘head than me will be appalled.

        If I had any artistic talent at all (spoiler: I don’t), a while back I wanted to produce a series of pictures based on Mt. Rushmore – the 4 greatest guitarists, the 4 greatest singers, that sort of thing. They’d make good T-shirts.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

        Glyph, it gave me an itch to do more as well. I had more fun than I probably should have, not just putting mine together, but talking about it with you guys (even the serious parts of the discussion).Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        Eh, I think it is okay if we have gaps. By all means, if you see them and want to write a post, I’m all for keeping this going. But as this was 4 dudes/fans, it is natural that not everything was going to be covered. Any illusions of this being comprehensive I think will ultimately serve as a disservice to the work that’s been done.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        We clearly need to get drinks in a place with an awesome jukebox and no one else using it.Report