Late Breaking News

It's been on the internet for an entire month now, so it could already be played out by geek standards. Anyway, here's Weng-Weng (Song is by THE CHUDs)


This is where you can view the entire list (once it is done) and click on a specific song title to instantly ZOOM to the write up. You can also download the bulk song packages once they become available. Please read the Introduction if you haven't done so before. This will keep us from having to explain ourselves every 10 minutes.


#21: The Juice Crew - The Symphony (Part 1)
#22: A Tribe Called Quest - Scenario
#23: The Beastie Boys - Paul Revere
#24: Eric B & Rakim - Paid In Full
#25: LL Cool J - Rock The Bells
#26: Wu-Tang Clan - Da Mystery Of Chess-boxin'
#27: Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew - The Show
#28: Boogie Down Productions - The Bridge Is Over
#29: Run DMC - Sucker MCs
#30: Ultramagnetic MCs - Poppa Large (East Coast Remix)
#31: Gang Starr – DWYCK
#32: Nas - Ain't Hard To Tell
#33: UTFO - Roxanne Roxanne
#34: Craig Mack - Flava In Ya Ear
#35: Common – I Used To Love H.E.R.

#36: Brand Nubian - Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down
#37: Big Daddy Kane - Raw
#38: MC Shan - The Bridge
#39: Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth - The Creator
#40: Goodie Mob - Cell Therapy
#41: Mobb Deep - Shook Ones (Part Two)
#42: Masta Ace - Born To Roll
#43: Souls Of Mischief - '93 'til Infinity
#44: Black Star - Definition
#45: KRS-One - Step Into A World
#46: Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo - Ill Street Blues
#47: 2Pac - Keep Ya Head Up
#48: Leaders Of The New School - Case Of The P.T.A.
#49: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - Summertime
#50: N.W.A - Straight Outta Compton
#51: Black Moon – I Got Cha Open
#52: Public Enemy – Night Of The Living Baseheads
#53: Black Sheep – The Choice Is Yours
#54: Dr. Dre – Deep Cover
#55: MC Lyte – Lyte As A Rock
#56: Ice Cube – It Was A Good Day
#57: Biz Markie – Just A Friend
#58: De La Soul – Me, Myself, & I
#59: Redman – Time 4 Sum Aksion
#60: Diamond – Best Kept Secret
#61: Fatlip – What’s Up Fatlip?
#62: Three Six Mafia – Sippin’ On Some Syrup
#63: Outkast – Player’s Ball
#64: Camp Lo – Lucini
#65: Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock
#66: Scarface – Mr. Scarface
#67: Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo – Road To The Riches
#68: DJ DMD – 25 Lighters
#69: Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – White Lines

#70: Das EFX – They Want EFX
#71: Positive K - I Got A Man
#72: A Tribe Called Quest - Award Tour
#73: 3rd Bass - Gas Face
#74: Dr. Dre - Nuthin' But a "G" Thang
#75: Jeru The Damaja - Come Clean
#76: Ol' Dirty Bastard - Brooklyn Zoo
#77: Cypress Hill - How I Could Just Kill a Man
#78: Pharoah Monch - Simon Says
#79: LL Cool J - Boomin' System
#80: Kool Moe Dee - Wild Wild West
#81: Public Enemy – Fight The Power
#82: Whodini – Friends
#83: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – 1st Of Da Month
#84: Beatnuts – No Escapin’ This
#85: Ghostface Killah – All That I Got Is You
#86: Jurassic 5 – Concrete Schoolyard
#87: MF Doom – Doomsday
#88: Ice-T – 6 ‘n Tha Mornin’
#89: Biz Markie – Make The Music With Your Mouth, Biz
#90: Outkast – Elevators
#91: House Of Pain – Jump Around
#92: David Banner – Cadillac On 22s
#93: High & Mighty/Mos Def – B-Boy Document '99
#94: Chubb Rock – Treat ‘Em Right
#95: Juvenile – Ha
#96: Master P – Bout It Bout It II
#97: Blackalicious – Nowhere Fast
#98: Da Luniz – I Got Five On It
#99: Luke – I Wanna Rock
#100: U.G.K. – Front, Back, Side To Side

Bulk Downloads:

Songs 21-40
Songs 41-60
Songs 61-80
Songs 81-100

small update

Hi dorks.

Unofrtunately, the EWA100 list will be going on a short hiatus while we regroup and get ready to write the rest of it. The monthly 25 is way behind schedule so we have to work on that. I'll still be updating, just not that list. I might throw up some reviews or vinyl rips. I don't know yet. I'm a free spirit.

Next post will be all the bulk downloads re-upped. Plus I'm going to use it as a master list for the entire EWA100 list and put a link to it in the sidebar, so you can find any specific entry you're looking for a lot easier than wading through 38 years worth of nonsense. So yeah.

Thanks to the two people who provided me with content for my ipod video. www.ipodarchive.com has some cool shit, and I haven't gotten a chance to really go through www.ipodgarage.com yet but I plan to soon.


EWA100 - #41. Mobb Deep - Shook Ones pt. II

41. Mobb Deep - Shook Ones Pt. II (Loud. 1995. From the LP The Infamous)

Raven Mack: This is one of those smooth criminal songs, where it’s some serious trifling behavior being glorified, but it’s done in such a great way that it makes white people pretend they’re gangstas and talk in Tony Montana voices. Mobb Deep was great and all, but I never rode their jock intensely, mostly because both of those guys were too cutesy-looking to be that hardcore, which when they started doing pussyhound sell-out tracks, it made perfect sense to me. Still, this beat is the most non-Wu Wu-intense beat from that time period in rap, so it was kinda like hearing a sick RZA track with some non-Wu dudes rapping over it, and when one of them says something like “stab you in your face with your nosebone”, it gets your blood pumping. Used to be you’d get hyped over party shit, but laws have become so stifling in our lives, floating eyeballs running around making you take drug tests for your parole officers/guidance counselors, that the violent shit has taken over from the party shit. It’s more stimulating to hear somebody violently revolting against all this bullshit than to hear somebody just getting drunk, sniffing coke, and wrecking a new car around an oak tree.
Actually, it’s not; they’re both stimulating. I’m a bitch hippie in that self-destruction has always been my method, because if I was to stab some dude with his own nosebone, who’s to really say he deserved such a stabbing? Not me. I probably think this way because I read the Bhagavad Gita and Tao Te Ching and have learned to be open-minded enough that nothing makes absolute sense anymore. If I were brilliant and technologically-advanced, I’d genetically modify together some better aspects of Mobb Deep along with M.O.P., then take my time machine – which is sitting on platinum 28s that are purely cosmetic since a time machine doesn’t actually physically roll along the time line – back to whenever wack-ass year it was that Pulp Fiction came out and blew up and the stupid illegal Canadian I was painting with kept telling me like very seven minutes how he’d already seen that movie nine times and was going again when we got paid on Friday, and I’d release my Mobb Deep/M.O.P. monster on a violence-happy society and make millions, except of course, my creation would probably turn against me, but since it wasn’t a Hollywood sci-fi man’s creations gone awry flick, I’d just jump back in my time machine and scoot on home, after a stop-off in the late ‘20s to fuck me a couple of flappers.

Mike Dikk: When The Infamous was released, it contained all of the elements I didn’t like in my hip hop music. Uncharismatic monotonous flows coupled with minimalist and somewhat morose beats. It’s all very boring stuff on the outside, but Mobb Deep really sells it. They used that bare bones shit to bring their fantastical violent and nihilistic “reality” to life.
I hate to get all “White people be like, BUT Black people be like” on you, because I find it the hackiest form of comedy out there, but you’re more likely to get a product out of depressed and angry black teenagers that actually scare white folks for years to follow than you do from white kids. I know Punk Rock was built on being dangerous and scary, but that was when it was brand new. Now most adults only see it as a phase the kids are going through. Sure, there are things like Minor Threat’s “Out of Step” that still sounds raw and angry and completely legit to this day, but things like that are few and far between.
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but in all likelihood, a lot of the stuff found on The Infamous is highly fabricated. These kids, and yes, they were kids, not seasoned hitmen, met each other in an art school, not on a street corner. I’m sure there was some reality in there. I don’t know if it was specifically Havoc and Prodigy’s reality, but when you’re young and angry at the world, you’re filed with enough piss and vinegar to make figurative mountains out of molehills.
When you get older, you realize all teenagers are dumb and full of shit and too cocky for their own good. Some gifted young folks rise above all the typical teenage bullshit and make masterpieces within their preferred art form. When you’re young, you don’t have the same bindings that an older person might have. The world is yours and your conscious hasn’t fully matured, so you can be like “Fuck the world” and not worry about the consequences, because there aren’t any really. If Mobb Deep failed as a rap group, they would have had to go back to school. If you fail as an adult, you have a chance of becoming homeless with nothing to fall back on. The grown-up mindset could never craft a record like The Infamous and have it sound half as realistic as it does. The same way no one in their mid-twenties could ever re-create “Out of Step”, but people are still trying.
“Shook Ones - Part II” is the apex of all that pent-up teenage frustration, anger and depression. Instead of scrawling their thoughts in some lame ass journal, Havoc and Prodigy took out all their aggression on record. Weaving a serious paranoia-inducing song with enough raw energy (albeit, still kind of uncharismatic) to rival even the most caustic punk and hardcore. This song is teen angst at its absolute best, but in the typical critic’s eye, it’s always looked at as some realistic hardcore rap masterpiece, and not the teenage rebellion it really is.
This is really the only Mobb Deep song I could lose my shit over. The Infamous is a great record and it still stands the test of the time as a completely unique LP that has been often imitated (even by the group themselves) and never duplicated, and it’s not because there aren’t people out there doing dirt like the dirt that’s getting done on The Infamous. It’s more because there isn’t anyone out there that conveyed it as well Mobb Deep did. Some people might bring up Wu, but they were coming from a totally different angle in my opinion. As I was saying though, “Shook Ones - Part II” is the only Mobb Deep song that really moved me. There’s something about it that raises it above all the rest of their gun talk and project Rillness. They don’t give a fuck on the rest of the album, but they really, really don’t give a fuck on this one track. It’s an essential song as far as rap music goes, and I still find it hilarious that someone on the White Rapper Show thought this was a Digital Underground song. That’s like mistaking a penis for an enlarged clit.

Download: Mobb Deep - Shook Ones Pt. II

(Track is .m4a format. Sorry non-iTuners.)

Watch the video: (long version)


EWA100 - #42. Masta Ace - Born To Roll

42. Masta Ace Incorporated - Born To Roll (Delicious Vinyl. 1993. From the LP SlaughtaHouse)

Mike Dikk: I’ve always viewed Masta Ace as a rapper in a class by himself. Not necessarily because of his ridiculous rapping skills. That goes without question. See, Masta Ace has been around basically forever, but his fanbase is decidedly foreign and/or underground. Although, it’s not the same way Kool Keith has a decidedly foreign/underground fanbase. Ace doesn’t fall under that whole dorm room sci-fi nerd rap category. He’s more for people who have been down with rap music for a long time and remember him from back when he still had videos on television.
This is why it’s hard for me to write about him without feeling like someone will jump out of the bushes and out-Masta Ace me because I’m really not even close to an expert on all things Ace. I spent most of Masta Ace’s early career getting him mixed up with Mellow Man Ace, who, for the most part, sucked, because he rapped in spanglish, which was a style of speak that would later be turned into some movie starring Adam Sandler and the Golden Girls that I’ve never seen because I don’t have a vagina. The confusion caused me to avoid Masta Ace for a while, which I kind of regret now, but I’ve managed to catch up with his discography over the past few years. I would hear his songs here and there while growing up but I could never shake off that, in my mind, this was the dude who sang “Mentirosa”. I honestly didn’t find out about his flourishing 21st century album output until early last year, and just like everyone else who’s bothered to listen to them, I now find those records completely essential. Ace really needs to get mentioned on more mainstream type Top MCs lists, but he doesn’t seem to be bitter about it or anything. Hell, Kool Keith has made an entire career out of being bitter about being overlooked in the overall Old School legend canon, but Ace is humble enough to just let it go and put out top quality shit well past the average rapper’s expiration date.
I don’t really know how the people in the Internet Masta Ace Cult feel about “Born To Roll”. I don’t know if they would find it blasphemous that in our Expert Whiteboy opinion, we chose a remix to another song as the all-time best Masta Ace song ever, but come on man. The bassline and drums on this track are simply destructive. Buildings are crumbling in my head just from thinking about it. I can’t even imagine how Masta Ace and his I.N.C. crew reacted when they first heard this beat. I bet it was similar to how I react when I beat a fierce competitor in Madden, except multiplied by a hundred billion.
There’s a good amount of songs on this list that I find personally awesome, and I’d completely understand if someone else didn’t feel the same way about the song, but this is a legit 100% official top 100 hip hop jam of all-time. Fuck, this is the definition of JAM. To top it all off, Ace is rocking a motherfuckin’ Neal Anderson jersey in the video. How did he even FIND a Neal Anderson jersey?

Raven Mack: I can tell you exactly where I lived when I bought the "Jeep Ass Nigguh" single. It was a shitty apartment on Granby in Richmond, lead paint, one roommate was unemployable good friend and the other seriously would lay in bed all day long and eat nothing but potato wedges from the gas station on the block. No shit. I remember this time so well, because that was a four or five month period I lived there, and it was before the heroin junkie or the serial rapist moved in. But I bought the "Jeep Ass Nigguh" single, and still have it to this day, off the Slaughtahouse, Inc. record, because that single was on clear vinyl, which, when you consider hip hop is a DJ-oriented form where dudes have to be able to see the grooves of a record, is a very fucked-up and asshole thing to do. "Jeep Ass Nigguh" was one of my favorite songs off that album, which is a classic album.
I don't know when it was - maybe the video or a mix show or whatever - but when I heard this song again as "Born To Roll" over that insane bassline, it cracked my skull. I bought that single too, which came out officially as part of the Slaughtahouse, Inc. hype brigade, but was so damned awesome it became the main song off of Masta Ace's next album. Seriously, you can argue with people over shit like whether the Muggs or Pete Rock "Jump Around" was greater, or any number of remixes, but it's always a close argument. There is no close argument between these two versions, and not because one is so much better than the other, but because it's like two completely different songs. I can't think of any other song ever that's been done twice in two such completely different ways, yet both being worth your time.
And I still have both singles, "Jeep Ass Nigguh" on clear vinyl and "Born To Roll" on regular folks vinyl, though I think I probably play the "Born To Roll" about ten times to every time I play the other. If we had talked about shit on this list in depth and not just voted time and time again and me and Mike had talked up this song like we just did, it probably would've finished much higher.
Also, at the time, with his shit being so on-time and the greatest shit coming out, I seriously had to be convinced it was the same Masta Ace who was in the Juice Crew. I mean, you read a shitty Source column and you know it's the same dude, but it was hard to believe. Mike made the Kool Keith mention, and I can just tell you right now that Kool Keith doesn't make this list, so fuck off hipster fuckwads and go pick up a 12-pack of PBR to go watch World Cup soccer and shit. Masta Ace was two times better than Kool Keith back when it was the '80s and nobody had solo careers really and one was ultramagnetic and the other was juicy, and then in the '90s, Masta Ace was still four times better, just he didn't rap about schizophrenic bullshit all day long, which confuses hipsters into thinking somebody's clever.

Download: Masta Ace - Born To Roll

Watch the video:

A few things (Madlib, Three 6 & Ipods)

I'll post up the next song in the countdown a little later. For now:

1. Blogsite, Music N Media has posted up a new DJ Kool Kid/Three 6 Mafia mixtape. I normally don't advocate downloading such things, not because they're possibly illegal, but more because they are usually horrible, and honestly, this "mixtape" sounds like it was made with Audacity, and I guess I could have done it myself and saved time not listening to all the DJ overdubs and promo crap, but in case you haven't heard, Three 6's next record got pushed back to July 3rd, and this weekend is like the beginning of Summer and you can't have summer without Three 6 Mafia. This mixtape is 95% old shit (There's a beat jack of "hustlin" i've never heard before and another track that sounds like it was recorded straight off XXL's streaming audio section), so it should catch you up with Three 6 in case you've been slacking. Go get that.

2. Stones Throw threw up a new podcast which is all Madlib remixes he's done over the past 10 years, all mixed together by J Rocc. Some of them are official remixes, and some are bootleg ones he did for fun. This includes that dope bootleg Nas remix of a song I don't know the name of that sounds like it could have been in the Logan's Run movie. It was also on the last Mind Fusion CD. Either go to the Stones Throw site, or subscribe to the podcast through Itunes if you want it. It's all free and LEGAL.

3. Speaking of i-things. Does anyone out there in cyberspace fuck with video i-pods? I have one, and I'm normally too lazy to rip DVD's into mp4 format, and I'm not about to pay for that shit on itunes, so I was wondering if anyone out there had cool shit in mp4 format or knows of a place where I can get cool shit in mp4 format. Not torrent sites though. Those things piss me off. If you are too shady to share your vast mp4 info with the entire world, feel free to e-mail me or hit me up on AIM: Mikedikkwst. I'd really appreciate some new shit to put on my ipod because im going away for the weekend and it would come in handy. THANKS IN ADVANCE YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE.


EWA100 - #43. Souls Of Mischief - 93 'Til Infinity

43. Souls Of Mischief - 93 'til Infinity (Jive. 1993. From the LP 93 'til Infinity)

Raven Mack: It's weird how things change, because when Del came out with Heiro and this single dropped, both the lyrical flows and the beat cracked my skull. I was convinced till up about last September that this was one of the greatest beats ever in the existence of the hip hoptical music. And saying crazy shit like "dial the seven digits, call up Bridget, her man's a midget..." and so on and such... way different for the time. Strange series of events because nobody would have allowed Del to do his black Beserkeley hippie schtick on I Wish My Brother George Was Here if he hadn't have been Ice Cube's cousin. And if that hadn't have been such a success, mostly with the white folks (IRONY! as the best song is that "dark skin girls are better than light ones" song), Heiro wouldn't have been allowed to bum rush BET in the mid '90s.
It's also funny, because like any musical movement, you get more great shit (Casual's Fear Itself LP comes to mind, especially "I Didn't Mean To"), but then you move into the third wave of Pep Love solo joints and the like, and the movement loses it's luster. Sure, I know on the internet, Heiro has come back and been the True Shit for a while, and every time they fade away, some documentary about how weird Del is or him doing vocals with an artsy anime band or the Automator or something will pop up and Heiro will gain some a touch of semi-mainstream attention for a minute or two; but for the most part, Heiro has been kinda obsolete for a while outside of Del.
But when a movement rises up and then falls back away into obscurity, like the rising and ebbing tides of an ocean of material consumer culture, you get left with high water marks. "93 'til Infinity" is most definitely the Heiroglyphics high water mark, maybe even more so than any individual song by Del.

Mike Dikk: I remember buying this in cassingle format either because it got a good write-up in The Source or because of the promotional Heiro stickers that were included in that particular issue. It’s pretty amazing that I used to be moved so much by the offer of a free sticker to go buy the thing that sticker was promoting. Now I wipe my ass with free promotional stickers on a daily basis and don’t buy anything ever, even if it came with a free promotional blow job.
I didn’t really like this song the first time around. I think it might have been a bit too crunchy for me at the time and I could have been going through one of my super serious hardcore phases where I couldn’t listen to anything un-rugged. I do enjoy this song quite a bit now though, since I am a grown up and can listen to anything I damn well please without worrying about the shallow judgments of other high schoolers.
Another big reason I enjoy the song a lot more now is because it’s about one of my biggest hobbies - chillin’. There aren’t many songs made these days about chillin’, and that’s a real shame, because there are a lot of us out there who enjoy chillin’ more than hearing about some dude with a lot of money who spends it on dumb shit. It must be so embarrassing when those types get audited and the repo guy is taking away their zebra skin diamond encrusted super toilet while they wonder how they could have possibly been so fucking stupid with their money. That’s all bullshit anyways, because not many rappers can actually afford such things, especially after wasting all of their advance money on really sweet giant medallions shaped like their record label mascot.
Back to chillin’ though. This really is a great song about chillin’ and how dudes plan to chill ‘til infinity, which is something everyone can get behind. I would really like it if someone can supply me with a list of other songs about chillin’ so I can make a mixtape, then compare and contrast the songs to make an EWA 100 sub-list to figure out who has the chillin'est song about chillin’. If anyone wants to help me with this project, please get a hold of me. Actually, that’s a trick, because if you were really all about chillin’, you wouldn’t be wasting your time making my lazy ass a list of songs about chillin’. Seriously though, someone make me that list.

Download: Souls Of Mischief - 93 'Til Infinity

Watch the video:


EWA100 - #44. Black Star - Definition

44. Black Star - Definition (Rawkus. 1998. From the LP Black Star)

Mike Dikk: Black Star and their single “Definition” came out during a time where it felt like underground “backpacker” rap could finally destroy mainstream “jiggy” rap once and for all. Of course we all know that didn’t happen, but it’s crazy to think all the way back to seven years ago that so called underground rap like all that shit on Rawkus was selling just as much, or even more, than whatever bullshit passes for mainstream rap today.

I suppose most people could argue with me about the statement I’m about to make, but I feel this song was more about being released at the right time more than it being a really great, memorable song that stands the test of time. I’m not saying I don’t like the song, but its retooling of old school concepts was really a breath of fresh air for the time. I don’t think it would have had the same impact if it was released two or three years later, or even earlier for that matter. It came out at just the right time when people were really getting sick of Puff Daddy and Bad Boy Records, and white people were finally ready to embrace their afrocentric soulful sides. Suburbanites were throwing away their No Limit medallions left and right and grooving to the non-threatening sounds of Talib Kweli and Mos Def.
I don’t really remember the logistics behind it, but after Black Star’s lone LP was released, they decided to go solo. Mos Def did Black on Both Sides, which a lot of people liked almost as much as Black Star. I’m really not one of those people, and it’s safe to say neither Mos nor Talib really did anything that great afterward. Maybe a song here and there, but never anything as monumental as this single or the LP it’s from.
That brings me back to my whole point that this song was more timely than it was classic. If these guys were so fucking awesome, why didn’t they ever do anything to rival it? They are basically still relevant only because of this record, and that’s a long time to coast off of one pretty awesome release. I won’t lie though. I think Mos Def is a good actor, and he coined the term “Tall Israeli”, which is a fancy way of saying Jews Who Run The Media, and it’s hard to hate on anyone for coming up with something that clever.
I still have hope for Talib too, but overall, I think there were a lot more people, including people who helped make this list, that liked Black Star a lot more than I did. So their combined abysmal failures aren’t really heartbreaking to me. I was more concerned when Onyx decided to release like eight bad records in a row to the point where it caused this weird reverse psychology effect on my brain where I now also hate their one good record in spite of all their purposely shitty records. So it’s probably for the better that I never put Black Star on a pedestal as the saviors of Conscious Rap and only regarded them as a pretty decent rap group that didn’t suck as much as all the other groups that were sucking at the moment.

Raven Mack: The Black Star movement was probably right at the end of my buy-everything-by-Rawkus stage in material consumption. And I dug Black Star well enough, and still have this single on vinyl, but were I to have represented these guys on this list without the cluttered help of a panel (you'll have to forgive me as I'm about to get mad expert whiteboyish), there's no doubt in my mind this would not even be here and in it's place would be "Fortified Live", which was released as a Reflection Eternal single, which was Talib and Hi-Tek's group, with Mos Def and Mr. Man of the Bush Babees on it, because that song is a motherfuckin' classic and a half. So much so, that they made a shitty second-rate remake of it on the Black Star record (that "twice inna lifetime like a Haley's Comet" song, which is a pile of shit compared to the original).
And I have to admit, I bought Black on Both Sides excitedly after this, though never through them on any pedestals, because I'm mostly a fan of unconscious rap, where people aren't yet aware of their self's standing in the village of hip hop, and by the time I had played Black on Both Sides, I realized Mos Def was mostly a Sunday afternoon throwback show, retooling older shit.
In fact, that brings me to what influence "Definition" has on my life nowadays. My oldest kid is now 8-years-old, and being the offspring of retarded people, she has pretty retarded musical tastes. "Definition" was her favorite song when she was like 4. I do not know how it came to be this way, but she loved it. (I think maybe my wife copped my Black Star tape without me knowing, perhaps thinking it was a reggae tape of some sorts due to the cover.) Well, I busted out the single to play for my daughter, who danced in the Christmas lights gleam for fifteen minutes straight, to the radio verson, the original version, and the instrumental. This led to me making tapes of radio versions of singles for my kid to listen to, because I don't need my sweet little kids running around going "fuck" this and "fuck" that. But about a year ago, I was digging through some old tapes and I dug out By Any Means Necessary by BDP, which has "My Philosophy", which is where Mos Def phonetically sampled the hook for "Definition" from, and I played it for my daughter to see if she recognized it. She did, and I figured this would be some grand illumination for her, so I stood at the stove, probably cooking some roadkill deer meat or some shit in the frying pan for dinner, expecting some grand nugget of realization from her, and the song ended and she goes, "Play the real one now, daddy." And my kid's not even a retarded kid doing the chicken noodle soup dance or whatever and shit like a public school kid. (So you know, I'm a kook homeschooler, not a privileged private schooler. We're too broke for that shit, so we figure if the kids gotta learn crazy shit, according to the law, we'd rather it be our crazy shit.)
So I guess I can appreciate a respect for the old school, but somewhere along the way I lost respect for Mos Def since a ton of his shit was just old school songs redone with his murky voice. And Talib is like that guy that always should've been something but never really amounted to nothing. I can dig on Talib a ton when he's in the zone, but I'm not one of those weird whiteboy types that think Black Star is like seriously the greatest shit ever to have been rapped, who usually date white girls who think Lauryn Hill is the greatest thing to ever have been rapped.
But yeah, this is a great enough song, but if you have to seek shit out and you're not rap dork enough to already have the entire Rawkus catalog on your beatpod robot machine, you should seek out "Fortified Live" as well, because it better captures that freestyle happy-for-life hype mode that made underground rap when Rawkus was a torchbearer back then so goddamned awesome, before underground got too nerdy and scientific and anime-like and broke into three thousand different little camps of "must-hear" collectives that tended to give me headaches after too much listening.

Download: Black Star - Definition

Watch the video:


EWA100 - #45. KRS-One - Step Into A World (Rapture's Delight)

45. KRS-One - Step Into A World (Rapture's Delight) (Jive. 1997. From the LP I Got Next)

Raven Mack: I think by this point in personal history, I had adapted to a red-eye drinking longhaired horseshoe-playing lounger, so hyper-boom bap KRS style had become a little much for me. Don’t get it mixed… I still liked getting buckwild and loud, but KRS by this point had become sort of redundant, becoming the other end of his “old school artists don’t always burn” line from the previous decade. The Return of the Boom Bap is a great record, easily the greatest non-BDP thing KRS ever did, and this song, to me, sounds like it should’ve been on that album, because it has that hype feeling and nostalgic flow, whereas a lot of his other stuff off the later KRS albums bored the fuck out of me.
KRS is strange, getting caught up in some weird hip hop god complex, starting that church of hip hop or whatever he was all about at one point, and getting too hung up on politics. I think whenever you have someone from a sensory-based music form – rock-n-roll or hip hop or whatever – get all caught up in politics beyond the most basic of outlooks, to the point where they’re trying to convince you Clean-shaven Dirtbag #1 is WAAAAAY better than Clean-shaven Dirtbag #2, they have completely lost touch with whatever it was that made them successful music fuckers in the first place. Music should be an escape from bullshit like that. If I wanted to be aware, I’d go look at my bank balance and sit in the corner of the kitchen where the floor is sagging from probable termite damage and think about how I just got ripped off of $1300 for a job I did for some fat lady who wears too much make-up. I don’t want to be aware.
I could go into the whole “historical perspective” of using the Blondie rapture bit in this song and how that original Blondie dabbling in hip hop culture was the first exposure a lot of the world (meaning white people) had to the rappitty things what with the loud booms and people twisting around on their heads on top of cardboard with spraypaint cans rattling out a scary urban jungle jingle in the background. But that would be too smarky and smirky and dorktastic of me. I think if you haven’t heard most of the shit on this list, the best suggestion I can give you is you should seek it out (or get a dub from me when you come by the house), just to dig into this music. I’m sure there’s a ton of people in that whole Whole Foods organic food non-chemical dishwasher detergent Bush is the new Hitler set that would love love love upon some KRS One music from over the years, that may have never heard of him before. And if one overly-conscious hippie kid secretly starts bumping Criminal Minded when nobody is around to hear, then this stupid list will have been worth it.

Mike Dikk: I honestly had no recollection of this song before this list came up. Things like that happen every once in a while, but the situation of me not remembering this song is especially weird because I owned this CD. I remember where I bought it, I remember where I listened to it, and I remember other songs on it, but for some reason, this song really escaped me. It’s made even weirder by the fact that this was the big single off of that record and everyone around me had no problem remembering it. I feel like I’m on some Project Monarch shit and one day I’ll hear this song at just the right moment and assassinate some prominent figurehead. This song is my Catcher in the Rye or my Frankie Goes To Hollywood “Relax”.
I actually objected to this song being so high on the list because I really don’t remember it at all, but then I asked a few random people and they all told me it was a pretty big deal when it was new. I couldn’t tell you either way because someone or something doesn’t want me to remember this song.
Because of these circumstances, I really can’t comment about how I felt about the song when I first heard it, and how it fits in with the rest of the list. I know if I were to personally pick a KRS One solo song to be on here, it would have been “Mad Ism”, but that doesn’t work either, because that was really a Channel Live song. Not to spoil it for any Channel Live superfans, but that song didn’t make it, but up until last week, I thought it was on the list and I was anxiously waiting for it to show up, but it’s not here at all. That kind of pisses me off, because I would have pulled hard to get that song on this list and now I’m stuck here trying to put together 300 words (that’s my self-made minimum word count for these entries) about a song I don’t even remember. Lucky for me, I just went over my 300 word quota and I can stop writing any minute now. Oh before I go, I wanted to say Debbie Harry was pretty hot back in the day. Thanks for reading.

Download: KRS-One - Step Into A World (Rapture's Delight)

Watch the video:


EWA100 - #46. Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo - Ill Street Blues

46. Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo - Ill Street Blues (Cold Chillin'. 1992. From the LP Live And Let Die)

Mike Dikk: I wish I had a story about how I discovered Kool G. Rap, but much like Santa Claus, I don’t remember a time when he wasn’t in my life. Sometimes your mind bookmarks very specific memories, and other times you’re left with this kind of blur where as far as you know, you’ve always been down with something and it doesn’t matter when you found out about it.
Like I said in the write up for “Road to the Riches”, Live and Let Die was when I became an active fan of Kool G. Rap, and it was all because of this song. I don’t even know if the memory I’m about to recollect was physically possible, but it’s the only specific mental bookmark I have under “Kool G. Rap”, whether it’s a real memory or something my drug addled brain conjured up, I’ll never know.
There was this discount shopping place, much like a Big Lots, called Stratford Town Fair where I grew up. It’s still there, but I haven’t been there in decades. I remember it being a real grimy type of place that always smelled like glazed doughnuts and dirt. They had arcade games near the door that I’d play whenever I was there, which was usually with my friend Kenny’s family when they went shopping there and I tagged along because I had nothing better to do. For some strange reason, I remember hearing “Ill Street Blues” for the first time while I was playing video games at Stratford Town Fair. It’s not really the type of song you would expect to hear over a supermarket’s speaker system, and I’m not even sure if Stratford Town Fair had an Electronics section, but that’s what I remember and I’m sticking to it.
It was like I was Woody in White Men Can’t Jump and for the first time, I didn’t just listen to Kool G. Rap, I could HEAR Kool G. Rap. The song had so much going for it: the tricky ass rhyme scheme, the bluesy beat and a lot of violence. It’s no surprise I immediately fell in love with the song right there in the games section of Stratford Town Fair in my memory, which may or may not be real.
It may come as a surprise to you, whoever YOU are, but I don’t really talk much about music in real life. I do with my good friends, but I won’t just start blabbing about shit with people I don’t know that well. I don’t know why, but talking about music with someone you don’t know that well always turns into a big dick measuring contest where the people involved will try and one-up with you with some crusty old inconsequential music fact that you didn’t know because you went outside when you were little. I’m not saying I wouldn’t be guilty of this, because I probably would without even knowing it, but that’s the exact fucking reason I don’t participate in such nonsense. I don’t want to be THAT guy.
Furthermore, the internet (yes, I know I’ve mentioned “the internet” a lot) has allowed everyone to share their opinions and views with everyone else, myself included. This sometimes causes me to second guess my own opinion, and then I have to go back and rethink my own fucking opinion that I developed without the help of the internet to see if I really think my opinion is better than the consensus opinion. I hate this, because it makes me feel like a douche and a dork all at the same time.
I don’t want to have a meticulously planned argument on why Song A is better than Song B ready at all times. When I’m thrust in situations like this, I sometimes resort to an ignorant third grade frame of mind, and say something like “Song A is better than Song B because it just is, asshole.” My point being, whether or not my memory of hearing this song is correct, and whether or not you agree with me, “Ill Street Blues” is the best Kool G. Rap song because it just is asshole.

Raven Mack: I had heard some Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo stuff before this, but not with my wholeheart into listening to it, but when this came out, I was hip deep into weed-sales money, so I had fresh issues of The Source and Rap Pages and Rap Sheet, and a stack of vinyl singles and full-length cassettes every Tuesday to sink my stoned-out ears into. I bought this single first, and not only did the piano sample beat just fuck me straight up, to where all we did was sit around and want to freestyle to this beat, but Kool G. Rap's lyricism was like a cyborg from the future hanging out with a bunch of cavemen. We never really did freestyle over it much, and thinking back to that point, when other songs like "'93 'til Infinity" or "L.I. Groove" would get heavy spins on the turntables for freestyle sessions, this one never did, because you knew you couldn't just freestyle and not think about how much you sucked compared to Kool G. Rap. I ended up buying the full length tape strictly because of this single, and to this day, I would say this is one of my all-time favorite rap albums. It has a concept running through it, the beats all relate to each other and it's not a pack of hired guns - at least it doesn't sound that way, and the guest rappers complement the tape, as spice rather than just a steady stream of other dudes to help you forget it's just one rapper's album, like most modern CDs are, more of a mixtape than an actual album.
To this day, it amaze me how so few people realize how great Kool G. Rap is. I mean, the internet is on his dick for a few years now, but the internet doesn't really count in real life, because everyone knows that internet cool is real life fat fuck sucking on a Super Big Gulp, and real life cool uses his mom's Gateway computer to check his hotmail once a month. But the only person in real life I've ever had a conversation with about how great Kool G. Rap is was this dude I used to roll with Hlad Cess. We grew up together, and then went to college and shit, but he ended up living with this chick in Richmond and I went over to her house where he was chilling and we got mad high and were watching videos on BET before like an NFL wild card game, and "Ill Street Blues" came on and he was like, "That's the shit," and I was like, "I got that single with the instrumental," and he was rolling another fat joint and saying, "No shit man. You gotta hook me up with that shit." And I was like, "Yeah man, I will." And then we smoked the joint he rolled up and walked to the store to buy a couple of tallboys before the wild card game, and I don't think we got up too often after that.

EDIT: After thinking about this, my fake memory might have been of "Streets of New York" because the timeline just doesn't add up right. I don't know. it's not important. - mike d.

Download: Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo - Ill Street Blues

Watch A live version of Ill Street Blues from a TV show I don't recognize. There wasn't a real video for this song, was there?


EWA100 - #47. 2Pac - Keep Ya Head Up

47. 2Pac - Keep Ya Head Up (Interscope. 1993. From the LP Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.)

Raven Mack: Tupac is one of those guys who has reached legendary status within the rapping world, but more for his overall effect as opposed to individual tracks. I think this is one of the few singles he did you could consider being a monster jam, at least while he was for real alive, and not just fake Bigfoot Elvis alive. And I'm not much of a Tupac fan, as his style, though pretty melodic and always sounding as if it was double-tracked, becomes far too repetitive, which I guess is normal if you're doing like three songs a day or whatever ridiculous shit he was supposedly doing which has allowed there to be a Tupac-CD-of-the-Month Club ever since he died over a decade ago.
But for as much as Tupac underwhelmed me, I love this song. I don't care about any of that "he's a hypocrite for doing this song but sodomy raping some chick" argument, because this is a great great positive song, and the beat is ridiculously awesome - one of those beats I could play for hours while doing monotonous stupid work-a-day chores and get lost in my mind to forget how I waste the hours of my physical existence chasing dollars. I also don't understand the whole forcible sodomy thing always because the best line of defense for the victim seems to be, literally, right in front of your face.
But fuck all that seriousness. This song is about women and how a man is telling them to hold their head up and be strong, and it's empowering for women to hear this, but also serves the purpose of making the man seem like he's down with the most important aspects of feminism, like simple respect and washing the dishes once in a while and cunninglingus. These things are important to women. And when you show you are hip to these things, but not some poetry-writing, flute-playing, deflated-testosterone of a man, but an actual strong physical presence of a man with a twinkly-eyed smile who can kick an actual ass but still be down with the aforementioned simple respect and dishes and clitoris nibbling, then you are mad in. It is in our deeply buried DNA that dudes want to kick ass and have great sex and women want to take care of kids and keep things straight and in order, and that's how it is. But we've got brains that write books about studying brains, so we make up all these different justifications for how all sorts of unnecessary shit like gay marriage and women Presidents and satellite warheads and chunks of cement shaped in honor of dead soldiers are really necessary for us to be human in 2007. You know that shit, when someone acts all incredulous about something in the news, saying "I can't believe we're still dealing with this in 2007," as if the calendar turning another page means all of a sudden stupid-assed humans aren't stupid-assed humans.
So yeah, this song is the greatest thing Tupac ever did, and if there had been more of this Tupac instead of the gangsta pulling his shirt up to show off his THUG LIFE tattoo Tupac, maybe when I went to the flea market, instead of the framed pic of Biggie and Pac with a gun and fake $100 bills inside, there'd be the velvet paintings of a praying Tupac looking all Jesus-like that I've always wanted to own to be able to hang on my wall next to my Willie Nelson velvet painting and my crop art portrait of Socrates.

Mike Dikk: I don’t like writing about Tupac. I don’t even like talking about Tupac. He’s on my list of Things I’d Rather Not Discuss along with: Pantera, The Boston Red Sox, Meatloaf (the guy AND the food) and The Golden Girls. In fact, I got up and cleaned my apartment to put off writing this entry for a few hours.
Tupac is a guy that benefited from dying before everyone had the internet. I find it hard to believe in this fickle internet world, that Tupac’s legend status would have held up. The internet is all about deconstructing shit and making it lame, and Tupac has a LOT to deconstruct, mainly the fact that he changed personas almost as often as Madonna.
“Keep Your Head Up” was fortunately recorded during Tupac’s Conscious Rapper period - the only real period I can tolerate. I’m not necessarily bent out of shape because the guy was more a character than real person. I understand that music is nothing more than entertainment and you have to revamp your image in order to continue making money. What really bothers me is that he pulled that Gangsta shit and everyone just assumed Tupac had secretly been a Compton G his whole life despite living on the East Coast and going to ballet school or whatever fancy art shit he did when he was young. By the time Tupac was a gangsta, he was more Bishop from Juice channeled through Eazy-E’s AIDS-infected penis more than he was the real life Tupac Shakur. The most hilarious part of it is that he had no prior arrests until taking on this gimmick. That is fucking ridiculous, and I guess somewhat commendable that you would want to live your gimmick so much to the point of getting in trouble with the law to sell it.
I feel like I’m leading a one man hate parade right now, so I should say some positive things. I DO like this song, despite not liking Tupac as a person. I also think Tupac was the most poetic rapper that ever lived. I don’t particularly like poetry, and his real basic and redundant flow kind of took away from his more poetic lyrics, but honestly, if Tupac wasn’t a rapper he could have easily been some poet that nerds study in nerd poetry school. That’s what pisses me off about all these dudes who want to be Tupac. They steal the flow, but they don’t have the lyrics or talent to back it up. It’s probably why it was so easy for Tupac to record 18 songs a day and have 36,000 songs in the vault before his death. This dude was on some serious (insert famous poet name here... Robert Frost maybe) shit whether he knew it or not. Plus, I seriously doubt writing about shooting imaginary people and being an imaginary thug would be that hard for someone with that kind of gift. I’ve never listened to any Tupac A.D. material, but I assume there are more “California Thugg Ridaz” type songs as opposed to "Keep Ya Head Up"s. Writing that kind of content was probably as easy as taking a shit for him, and why bother challenging yourself from beyond the grave if you successfully dumbed down your music while you were still breathing?

Download: 2Pac - Keep Ya Head Up

Watch the video:

EWA100 - #48. Leaders of the New School - Case of the P.T.A.

48. Leaders Of The New School - Case Of The P.T.A. (Elektra. 1991. From the LP A Future Without A Past)

Mike Dikk: It’s absolutely scary to think about how much I’ve listened to this song in my lifetime. On average, I still listen to this song about once a week, and I have no real concrete explanation for it. I have a lot of little explanations of course, but there’s no Bigger Picture.
In my mind, there has never been an over-two MC group to capture this much hyperkinetic energy on one track. I should change that to read POSITIVE hyperkinetic energy before someone mentions the Wu Tang Clan, who definitely possessed just as much energy at one point, but their's was more relentless and unforgiving, while LONS was figuratively bursting at the seams and bouncing off the walls and any other two cent cliché you can think of.
The content of the song also guaranteed it would get a lot of airplay out of me, since I’m a sucker for most songs that portray lovable losers in a high school setting. It was something I could relate to at the time. I’m not really the overly nostalgic type that embraces his high school experience. I don’t look back at those years as the best time of my life or any dumb shit like that. In fact, I could probably put my entire four year high school career on a five minute highlight reel and be happy with that. I think I just like hearing OTHER people admit that they didn’t really fit in that well. “Teachers hate me, girls don’t date me, ‘cuz I’m C Brown (CLASS CLOWN)” will speak to me infinitely more than any Kurt Cobain teen angst bullshit misunderstood lost soul posturing.
Coincidentally, I don’t like when normal people tell me they didn’t fit in in high school. It’s more reassuring when it’s done in song form and there’s a coinciding music video for some reason. Oh, and it has to be done in a lighthearted joking manner. Another good example would be Eminem’s “Brain Damage”, which remains my favorite Eminem song, and one of the only tracks of his that I still like. I still wouldn’t put it in the same league as “P.T.A.” but I figured I should provide another example so you know where I’m coming from.
But yeah, Leaders of the New School really hit on something with this song. Unfortunately, like most groups, one star shined brighter than the others and The LONS only really struck absolute synergetic gold with this one single, which is why you can never invest too much interest in group hip hop, because it’s inevitable that it will end up ugly. It’s why the Hip Hop Group is basically dead, save for some indie rap acts that would no doubt go solo if the situation arose.
The bottom line is, if you were to only judge a rap group by their best song and nothing else, The LONS would make my top five list with no trouble. I imagine this is the kind of lighthearted happy pappy hip hop that Raven hates, so please read on as he pisses on the pretty picture I just verbally painted.

Raven Mack: I'm gonna be completely honest here (which is to suggest I've previously just lied my ass off in reminiscing fondly and waxing pathetically through this list)... I never listened to this song before we made this list. No shit. And Busta Rhymes, for my experiences in life, went straight from "ROWR! ROWR! Like a dungeon dragon," to "WHOO! HA! Got you all in check," both of which weren't singular bad actions, but beyond that, he's been so commercial that one time I was in a shitty meat market bar in Richmond and his video was on the cable TV screen with no sound since they were probably playing some stupid shit instead over loudspeakers, and his video was in closed captioning, which was hilarious to me, probably because at that point in life I drank a lot and borrowed a ton of xanax from the dude I rolled with (peace to my man Born King who I never see no more motherfucker), and shit like Busta Rhymes videos silent but with closed captioning were great fun. Then I'd invariably pick a fight with someone or break into an abandoned house to steal construction tools or try to help Born King duct tape a girl to the ceiling to see if duct tape was strong enough to do shit like that.
I could go back and listen to this song, because I let my internet welfare ass (rural dial-up) download it one night, and it's the type of old school song I can throw on my wife's beatpod machine and when we're riding around with the kids in the car, we can play it and the kids love the old school and it makes us feel hype as adults as well, and the littlest kid will want to hear "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" and the oldest will want to hear Andrew Bird if the youngest kid gets to pick a song, and we ride to the store with the beatpod playing to go get some wild salmon and basmati rice because we are white people. We are really white people.

Download: Leaders of the New School - Case of the P.T.A.

The video for "P.T.A." on Youtube does not allow embedding. If you would like to see it, click here. Instead, here's a "freestyle" session LONS did on Canadian station Much Music, back in the day. The Fu Schnickens also show up at the end. The "Freestyle" is really just verses from other songs. Mostly Scenario II.


Ice - Bad Blood

I was originally going to post this when El-P's "I'll Sleep When You're Dead" CD came out as part of a Post-Apocalyptic hip hop package, but I never got around to it because it was one of those ideas that I think about doing while I'm at work during the day and then I get home and don't feel like doing anything that resembles a good deed to the general public.

Then while I was uploading it, I noticed it wasn't actually out of print, which I was kind of amazed by. I still think it's pretty hard to come by if you're searching in normal stores, but you can still mail order it from a number of places, like Amazon, so if you enjoy it, support the scene or something and buy it for $4.

Annnnyway, Ice was a group featuring Justin Broderick, who is most known for being in Godflesh, but the younger folks and hipsters would also recognize him from his current group, Jesu. Kevin Martin was also in Ice, and he's known for a number of weirdo projects, but also went on to form Techno Animal with Justin Broderick, which is like a more refined version of Ice.

This was Ice's second CD. The first was a lot more industrial, but "Bad Blood" was heavily influenced by hip hop. Of course, Broaderick and Martin filtered that hip hop influence through their respective heavy-as-balls and all over the place weirdo musical backgrounds, and while this isn't something that 90% of the average hip hop fanbase would enjoy, as far as making something that sounds like actual hip hop if that Mad Max shit actually went down, they were spot on.

The songs are very long and most don't have actual rap song structures. I guess if you were a prick, you could call them "soundscapes". The reason I like the CD is because the drums are devestatingly heavy. If they ever took drums like this, and placed them under a more formal hip hop sound, it could have been brutal. Of course, this is kind of what they ended up doing with Techno Animal, but that's even too out there for most people.

I'd reccomend this for fans of Dalek, Techno Animal (both groups worked together on a 12" I'll probably post up one day once I dig it out), EL-P and anything in between. El-P even pops up on this, but he had a knack for finding weird shit to pop up on back then.

If you're open minded, you might want to give this a try, but you also might want to smoke a ton of weed or PCP before taking a listen.

Ice - Bad Blood (1998. Morpheus/Reprise Records)

1. X-1 (7:11) Vocals - Blixa Bargeld , Sebastian Laws

2. The Snakepit (5:56) Rap - Toastie Taylor Scratches - DJ Vadim Vocals - Blixa Bargeld

3. Trapped In Three Dimensions (7:38) Rap - A-Syde , El-P

4. Dusted (6:53) Rap - Sensational Vocals - Sebastian Laws

5. A New Breed Of Rat (11:54) Vocals - Blixa Bargeld

6. Devils (7:04)

7. When Two Worlds Collide (7:11)

Click here to listen.


EWA100 - #49. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - Summertime

49. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - Summertime (Jive. 1991. From the LP Homebase)

Raven Mack: Let me be honest here for the first time in my life about this song... I'm a teenager, and we live in the country and the American World had yet to reach that point where even refrigerator boxes underneath an interstate overpass had a satellite dish on them, so all I got to watch on the TV was whatever the metal antenna contraption on top of the house could harvest from the sky. No MTV, and I doubt I even knew BET existed back then, if it even did, but I got on Saturday nights whatever that rap video show was that was hosted by that Dee Barnes chick that Dr. Dre beat up. They played this video forever on that show, and even though I was far enough into adolescence to strive to be the coolest, meaning I liked cutting edge shit and wore my hair funny, because like any teenager ever on the earth, fuck my parents, you know? So outwardly, I would never admit to ever paying attention to this video or song, or much less even liking it, because yo, this is that stupid Fresh Prince dude always rapping that cornball shit about going clothes shopping for school or in that show that had Carlton and Lennox Lewis' dad as the butler, so fuck a "Summertime". But you know what? I love this song. This might actually be the only song by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince I would admit to liking, and that's after being learned the history of hip hop and thinking Jazzy Jeff may or may not have been the inventor of the transformer scratch.
It's kind of funny to compare and contrast the outlook on life between this song and "It Was A Good Day" by Ice Cube, both of which are warm weather, feel-good hits, but Cube's is all happy about not having to shoot people or getting your car stolen or having some sex with a girl you just got all high, and Jeff and Will's ditty is about cookouts and flirting with pretty girls. "Summertime" is more about feeling good to your heart, whereas Cube's anthem is more about not having things get in the way of you getting your's. Two entirely different concepts. "Summertime" is not manifest destiny, corporate greed on the grass roots level, Grand Theft Auto: New Jack City-onomics, but instead just actual carefree happiness, all tingly in the moment. And as much as I hate shit like that, "Summertime" can break through that even in a jaded blackheart like me, and make me yearn for a nice breeze, sitting a picnic table with nowhere to go any time soon, not even when the sun goes down or maybe comes back up either.

Mike Dikk: If you’re skipping around and you missed my previous “Straight Outta Compton” write up, you might want to go back and read that, since I lightly touched on the album this single came from, and elements from that write up may or may not continue on to this one.
I never had a problem with The Fresh Prince’s early goofy rapping nonsense. Even at age 9, I could see that all of his songs were essentially the same song over and over again. I was a big fan of the Nightmare on Elm Street films so I was arbitrarily a fan of “Nightmare on My Street”. I thought Mike Tyson was the coolest so I was arbitrarily a fan of “I Think I Could Beat Mike Tyson”. I knew parents didn’t understand, so I was arbitrarily a fan of “Parents Just Don’t Understand”.
See? It’s all the same shit. Take some topic that appeals to a nine-year-old, make a goofy colorful video and BAM! Instant hit. There was a place for a rapper like that back in the '80s. All of the Fresh Prince songs were harmless fun, and though, the critical asshole in me would say none of them are exactly essential, I still remember a good amount of lyrics from most of those songs.
There’s no one like that these days. Even bubble gum rappers who are meant to appeal to “tweeners” still sing about fucking. It’s all about fucking in the 21st century. There is no one rapping about Freddy Krueger, and if they were to rap about Freddy Krueger, it would most definitely be about fucking Freddy Krueger... in his ass.
I don’t know if all this was pre-meditated, and Will Smith knew these songs would lead to a surprise hit TV show or not, but that’s what it did. Soon after that, he lost all his street cred, which is a weird occurrence, since he really did just make songs for 9-year-olds, but either way, he wasn’t considered a “real” rapper anymore after his television success. No one thought The Fresh Prince could successfully return to rapping, because I guess that sitcom money would have gotten to his head and he couldn’t relate to the previous 9-year-olds he used to make songs for.
Then DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince released “Summertime”, which was basically their swan song big hit single before Will kicked Jeff to the curb like Uncle Phil did periodically on episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and to use a tired commercial phrase, it was quite the Monster Jam. Not only did The Fresh Prince Will Smith manage to successfully return to rapping, but he made a song that appealed to people above the age of 9. I would go as far as saying this song appealed to an age bracket as high as 15 to 16.
The Will Smith of today is a very rich man who gets paid a lot to make movies and I believe at one point he was even nominated for an Oscar, so talking about his past music career is kind of uncomfortable for most people who take music seriously. Because of that, this song will get shit on, but anyone who would shit on this song secretly likes it. It is virtually unhateable, and publicly berating this song is much akin to how closet gays will pick on an outed gay to make themselves seem less gay somehow. It’s okay to be gay these days, and it’s okay to admit you like “Summertime”.
On a personal level, this entire record kicks up some bad memories for me, and you’ll know why if you did as I instructed and read my “Straight Outta Compton” blurb, but if you didn’t, there’s a good chance I got this LP in place of the Straight Outta Compton LP one Christmas. I am not ashamed to publicly praise “Summertime”, but the full length record Homebase is still a festering pile of shit.

Download: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - Summertime

Watch the video: (BONUS: CLICK HERE to see the making of the Summertime video)


EWA100 - #50. N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton

50. N.W.A - Straight Outta Compton (Ruthless/Priority. 1988. From the LP Straight Outta Compton)

Mike Dikk: “Fuck Tha Police” had more of an impact on my young ears, but “Straight Outta Compton” was N.W.A’s calling card. I’ve already mentioned somewhere in this tome of nonsense that the members of N.W.A’s post-N.W.A output is actually better than anything they ever did in N.W.A (except for maybe Eazy-E), but EVERYONE remembers the first time they heard N.W.A.
I was playing outside one day, when the Portuguese fuckers across the street were blasting “Fuck Tha Police” on their boombox. It was a serious magical moment. Up until that point, I had never heard such a blatant disregard for authority. After that moment, I heard N.W.A’s anger being blasted out of anything that played music for weeks. They made some unknown town called Compton, California, sound like the scariest place on earth, and they made swearing a motherfuckin’ art form. Never in my life did I hear anyone swear that proficiently and frequently. It was like they had some kind of motherfucker quota to fill or else they’d get fired from the Motherfucker, Shit, Ass & Cocksucker factory.
I’m sure Raven will cover the subtle nuances of “Straight Outta Compton” and how it was one of the most realistic portraits ever painted of young angry, black men trapped in an environment they didn’t create, but I’d like to use this space to exorcise some of my Daddy issues.
My Mom and Dad had me when they were both fairly young. They married and divorced before I could even remember stuff. I didn’t meet my Dad until I was around 8-years-old. It was at someone’s funeral and he gave me a toy truck. After that, I’d see him on the weekend for about a year. He lived in a nice house with an ugly woman. At one point he even had a hot tub.
Then one day he stopped calling, and it was like "whatever" to me. I was young and my mom had other boyfriends that would humor me from time to time. Then when I was around 13, he wanted to start seeing me again. I think it was a ploy to get out of paying the child support that he wasn’t actually paying to begin with. He didn’t have a nice house anymore though. He lived in his mom’s basement and dated an even uglier woman.
I never thought of my Dad as a scumbag. Morally, yeah, I guess he was a scumbag, but he was pretty cool for a Dad. When I was 13, he was still in his early 30s and he was into video games and rap music and stuff. He would even let me borrow his CDs. He let me borrown that Monie Love CD with “Monie in the Middle” on it because I would have never actually bought that, and he had this weird YO! MTV Raps compilation that had a different version of “Children’s Story” on it where Slick Rick said “Dope Machinegun” instead of “Spankin’ Shotgun”. He had a Jeep with a Boomin’ System and everything, which I guess he could afford since he didn’t pay child support.
That second period of weekend visits lasted for around ten months. It was really awkward because I didn’t call him “Dad” or anything. He was just some dude who I had to hang out with on the weekends. Honestly, he just slept most of the time because he had a night job, and I’d play Super Nintendo on his giant TV that he got from Rent-A-Center.
Lucky for me, that ten month period of seeing my Dad was during Christmas and my birthday, so it was the only year I got presents from both my mom and my Dad. If I remember correctly, it was Christmas of 1991.
That was a big Christmas year for me because I just got a CD player, which was totally impractical, since I couldn’t afford $18 CDs. I made a list of the CDs I wanted that year and hung it up on the refrigerator for my mom. I even remember writing it in brown marker. Looking back at it, the list was pretty odd. I remember the following from that list: Digital Underground’s This is an EP Release (which I got), Del The Funkee Homosapian’s I Wish My Brother George Was Here (which I didn’t get), and Tung Twista’s Runnin’ Off At Da Mouth (so glad I didn’t get that).
Outside of that Digital Underground EP, my mom basically ignored the list. She went into a record store and asked someone what rap music is popular with the kids these days. The results were mixed. I ended up with Hammer’s 2 Legit 2 Quit. I would have ended up with N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton too if it wasn’t for my asshole dad.
Like I said, this was '91, going on '92. Straight Outta Compton was from 1988, so I already heard it around 7 million times at that point. It would have still been cool to have it on CD though, but my dad told my mom that the CD was too naughty for me, and he kept it for himself. I never understood why my Mom even listened to him, since my mom didn’t give a shit about what I listened to or what I watched on TV because she knew I was a smart kid who wouldn’t get into monkeyshines just because a movie or CD had too much swearing, and she also hated my Dad to begin with. I guess it was the promise of my Dad buying me another CD to replace the N.W.A CD that sold her on the idea of taking the fucking thing away from me.
Now I don’t know exactly which one of the CDs my dad bought me was the replacement for Straight Outta Compton, but it was between a bargain priced Third World CD (The “Bad Boys” guys for you dudes not down wit da sick riddims, mon), a bargain priced Rhythm Syndicate CD (WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!), or The Fresh Prince’s Homebase. All if which, I would have traded just to have the CD case and liner notes to Straight Outta Compton.
In the end, I’ve come to the conclusion that my dad just wanted that CD for himself and figured he could pawn off some gay ass Rhythm Syndicate shit to me in return for depriving me the right to own one of the most seminal rap albums of my goddamn motherfucking generation. There are literally hundreds of reasons I could hate my dad, and this little incident ranks pretty high. I’m talking like top 5 all time Douche Move territory.
I ended up breaking things off with my dad in August of '92 because he wouldn’t buy me school clothes and my mom couldn’t afford to, since she had two other smaller kids to worry about. That probably ranks number one on the all time Douche Move list. I ended up trying to get in touch with him when I was around 19 because I was in a bad way and needed money, and figured I could grab a couple hundred off of him since he never paid child support anyway, but anytime I called his job, they said he wasn’t there. He wrote me a letter a couple months after that saying he didn’t have any money if that’s what I was looking for. That was in fact, what I was looking for, so I never tried to get in touch with him again. As far as I’m concerned, I never knew my Dad, motherfuck the fag (that was another CD I got that same Christmas from my uncle who is completely awesome).

Raven Mack: 9th grade was a defining year for me. It was the year I lost my virginity, in the third base dugout of my stupid high school with a redneck chick named Cindy. I was young and ain't know much of nothing and wasn't even hard but sort of squished it in and slid back and forth for a minute and it really really sucked because, from my previous reference of Hustler magazines under my dad's bed, I thought the hole for sticking it in was way up more to the front of the female body than kinda tucked up just underneath like it is. My 9th grade health class was awesome, because it was when we learned about sex education, towards the end of the year after I had already had some sex, and also three girls in our class were already out with babies from the start, plus one other girl was pregnant. Health/phys ed was the one class where the school must've been testing No Child Left Behind policy because there was no concern for keeping nerds sequestered amongst themselves safe from the more ruffian influences, which meant I was finally in a class with dudes I got high with after school. This one dude - a smooth-ass non-drug non-drinking but not-too-smart black dude named John - sat in front of me, so we'd bullshit pretty regularly, usually on a multi-cultural pussyhound exchange... I'd let him know which big bootied white chicks could be convince a black penis was not complete disavowment of their family tree, and he'd hip me to which sisters were less apt to have cousins try to shoot me for talking longhaired whiteboy weak-ass game on the down low.
I remember when N.W.A came out and me and some other whiteboys had already been hipped to it, because what self-respecting whiteboy doesn't love tales of murderous dick-wielding negroes in shiny cars? I asked my man John about it one day before class, because I think we were already on the subject of the amazing greatness of Big Daddy Kane, and I wondered what John thought about it. He shook his head and had this sheepish smile and said, "Man, those dudes are raw," and looked uncomfortable as if it was too much for him to really want to listen to, being a man who enjoyed vagina and good times and nice faded haircut from the barber shop on Virginia Street. And it's hard to think back on a time when every black dude didn't have the stereotype of being a coke dealer thug, but also didn't carry himself as such in an oversized white t-shirt with big square fake diamond earrings. N.W.A was crazy, and awesome, and also fucked everything up for everybody. Made white people stupider, and glorified the thug for black folks.
Still, this song being #50 and Dre finishing at #74, it's some west coast bias shit going on. Sometimes expert whiteboy analysis is too white. I'm a firm believer in the yin and yang of shit, and it's fairly easy of me to say that It Takes a Nation of Millions... and Straight Outta Compton would be that yin and yang of that time. And for me personally, I'd choose two or three songs over this one as my favorite off that album, but this was the first official single, so it fits the 100 Jamz criteria better I guess.

Download: N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton

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