First has to be Kanye West’s “Never Let Me Down” from the College Drop Out album. I think I was a sophomore in high school when this album dropped. This was the true beginning for my love of hip hop music. Of course I was raised on the Biggie and Puff era but this was the first time I ever heard a rapper talk about the struggles and evils of the world. The mix of Ye’s angst, sample of an oldie swirling around the gospel choir and John Legends vocals, plus the living legend Jay-Z all make the track perfect. But what it GODLY was J. Ivy’s poem which goes by the same name of the song….”Whenever I open my heart my soul or my mouth, a touch God reigns out”.
This one was a tough one for me choosing between DMX’s “Slippin” or “How it’s Going Down”. I decided to go with “How it’s Going Down” because what can I say I am a sucker for love, no matter how gangsta it is. This is a song from my childhood that will always bring a smile across my face. I remember the video with the fire hydrant spraying water out onto the neighborhood children, all I could think of was “WHY DON’T WE HAVE THAT IN WOODBRIDGE?!”. The story behind this song is more than messing around with someone just for the booty cheeks, it’s about loyalty and turning something simple into a strong bond that neither one of the people expected. I love the chorus of this song, I can’t tell if that’s Faith Evans singing the chorus but it gives me chills every time.
I call this Biggie Smalls song Introduction to Hustledom. I’m talking about “Gimme The Loot” from Biggie’s first album Ready to Die. The conversational type of take on the song makes it a true classic. The variation in voices and descriptive depiction of Small’s robbery escapades gives us Biggie’s creativity at peak. The Easy Mo Bee produced song could have gotten messy with all the samples used, James Brown “Cold-Blooded”, Ice Cube “What They Hittin Foe?”, as well as many others were used to give this song an old school vibe. My favorite line has to be “I’m takin the doorknockers and if she resistant BACKA-BACKA-BACKA (in Jamaican accent)”
Let me first state that I am a Nas girl. Yeah I said it. Can I continue my discussion now? Thank you. Now, I need artists to speak the truths of this world, that is a requirement for to be considered one of my favorite artists. So of course my Nasir Jones song is “Queens Get The Money” from his “Untitled or Nigger” album. My mortal words cannot begin to describe the use of the English language Nasir dumps into my ear drums. That’s all. The “Oh Shit” line? “The same hands that punched down the devils that brought down the towers”. Being truthful in the music industry will never sell you records. But if you are able to bring knowledge onto one person that listens to your music, then that’s all that matters. If you do not have this album, get it. Now. I’ll be here waiting.
Oh Mos Def, I cannot use words to describe what this song has done for my life. I saw Mos Def perform this past summer at Afro-Punk and that was the first time in my concert life that I cried. An overwhelming feeling came over me and I highly doubt another artist will ever be able to do that to me. My song from Mos Def is “Fear Not of Men” from the “Black on Both Sides” album. All I can say is “Mind over Matter and Soul before Flesh”.
LOVE THE LIFE YOU LIVE