Playlist #2: Public Enemy
May 5, 2010
Playlist #4: Pulled Back Covers
May 5, 2010

Playlist #3: 90’s Hip-Hop Jams

Before Hip-Hop went Hip-Pop, these were the artists making waves.

This weeks’ playlist, 90’s Hip-Hop Jams. Before Hip-Hop went Hip-Pop, these were the artists making waves. The MCs, DJs, and producers behind these classics are the reason that Chingy, E-40, and a host of less-talented contemporaries have an audience to play to. There has been some good rap since then, but the mid-90s were the hey-day for sure.


  1. Deep Cover. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg – Before “Doggy Style”, this classic introduced the world to Snoop Doggy Dogg’s lyrical sickness and firmly established Dr. Dre as not only rap’s most gifted producer but a talent scout to boot.
  2. Hand on the Pump. Cypress Hill – B Real’s nasal goodness first took flight on this old favorite. And “Duke of Earl” hasn’t sounded the same since.
  3. They Want EFX. Das EFX – Their candle burned out quickly, but before it did Das Efx, established themselves as two of the quickest and most experimental lyricists of their generation. And they reportedly lived in the sewers. I don’t know if they had that claim before TMNT, but either way it was a great angle. In a business that’s as much about street cred as talent, you can’t get much more street than underneath it.
  4. Crossover. EPMD – Sadly predicting the evolution that would ultimately befall hip-hop, EPMD’s ode to all things sell-out still sounds fresh as a daisy. If a daisy could make a sound.
  5. Alwayz Into Somethin’. N.W.A. – “Nineteen Ninety Muthafuckin’ One” starts this gangsta’ gem. Has it really been that long since N.W.A’s first post-Ice Cube smash hit the airwaves? And yet, Dr. Dre remains the producer-to-beat to this day.
  6. Jackin’ for Beats. Ice Cube – Using samples from some of the biggest Hip-Hop hits of the day (which were largely sample-based themselves), Ice Cube delivers a passionate rhyme about how he’ll take your beat and better it with his voice.
  7. Money Gone. Spice 1 – When the east bay gangster burst on the scene with “Welcome to the Ghetto”, no one could have predicted the jaw-dropping skills he displays on this b-side from his self-titled debut album.
  8. Ain’t to be Fucked With. MC Breed – Backed by one of my favorite beats of 1992, MC Breed is another northern california rapper who deserves a spot on your ipod.
  9. My Mind’s Playin’ Tricks On Me. Geto Boys – The scariest group in Gangsta Rap goes all out on this one. Backed by a fantastic soul loop, Bushwick Bill, Scarface, and Willy D, take you through a paranoid romp in the ghetto.
  10. It Ain’t Hard to Tell. Nas – The first big smash from an MC that is still going as strong as a triple-espresso. It doesn’t take an incredibly attuned ear to recognize Nas’s genius but the sampling of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” adds a little honey for the bees. Proof of the tracks old-schoolness comes in his referencing Sly Stone’s movie, Cobra.
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