Yeah, yeah its about that time of year and people are putting together their halloween mixtapes. So we here at GHz figured we put in our 2 cents on how to get your hip hop spooky mood on. By the way these are in no particular order.
Kid Cudi – No One Believes Me
The newest song on the list comes from the Fright Night soundtrack. No not THAT Fright Night from 1985 we talkin about the remake with Colin Farrell that came out last year. Missed the movie huh? Well the song was nice and we looooved the video (alright just DJ A-See loooooved the video).
Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Nightmare on My Street
Back when he was still gettin payed for just rappin Big Will & Jazz dropped this 3rd single from their huge crossover album He’s the Dj, I’m the Rapper.
Ice Cube and Dr. Dre – Natural Born Killers
This song sparked hopes and dreams that there might be some kinda reunion of NWA or at least a collaboration between the two BEST members of NWA or something, something. Little did we know that this was a harbinger of things too come. Us, we, you , I and everybody else getting disappointed by what Dr. Dre was going to do.
Gravediggaz – Diary of A Madman
Only for the true heads in the building. Most grownheadz SHOULD remember this group from 1994. It featured RZA, Prince Paul, Frukwan (from Stetsasonic) and Too Poetic. It was for alot of folks their 1st exposure to “horrorcore”. Geto Boys dabbled a little but the Gravediggaz went all in with the imagery, the rhymes, the theme the whole nine. With RZA and Prince Paul on the beats the album was hot. Sadly rapper Too Poetic died of colon cance in 2001.
Geto Boys – Mind Playing Tricks
No Halloween mixtape would be complete without this bonafide hip-hop classic. THIS song truly put the Geto Boys on nationally. They were already hot in the southern underground. After this release north, south, east and west knew about the 5th ward.
Unless you just TOTALLY don’t keep up at all you know by now that Adam Yauch, MCA, of the Beastie Boys passed on Friday. You know your grownhead if you were sincerely surpised and aghast at the news. Here at GHz we were most definately surprised an aghast at the news. So here are our top Beastie Boy songs. Notice we say songs and not videos cause sometimes the dopest songs didn’t always have a video and sometimes the video (Sabotage) is a better video than actual Hip Hop song. Just so ya know we didn’t just go for the hits but ones where they were truly representin hip hop
The New Style
Before Fight For Yor Right blew them all up on MTV this was the first release of Liscence to Ill. It was hot in the streets with no MTV pub. BTW this video is courtey of Neal Brennan, he helped produce and write a little program called the Chappelle Show. Apparently this was going to be a music segment on the never finished 3rd season.
Shake Your Rump
Off Paul’s Boutique the second album and the first after they left Def Jam. The Beasties sampled the “Woo Ha got ya all in check” thing years before Busta made it into a hit record.
Pass The Mic
From Check Your Head yeah yeah everybody loves So What Cha Want. But this gem had the three rockin hard. Plus it waaay easier to understand tha So What Cha Want it dosn’t have all the distortion on the voices.
Get it Together featuring Q-Tip
Off Ill Communication their fourth album. I actually wanted to put Root Down on here too but gave the nod to this one cause they had Q-Tip on it.
3 MC’s and 1 DJ
The Beasties took it way old school with this one from Hello Nasty. It literally is just 3 MC’s and 1 DJ doin somrthing that seems almost forgotten now a song given love to their DJ MIxMaster Mike.
We all know the routine. You’re in a conversation, with somebody about some topic and they might say something like “Come on what REALLY happened” and all of sudden you break into you’re worst Jack Nichloson impersanation and say “YOU can’t handle the truth!”. Oh I’m the only one? And who amongst us has not found some way to break into a Scarface imppression and exclaim “Say hello to my little friend. But you get the deal. Well ANYway we present to you the the movie lines that every black person knows.
You know you done f**** up right?
“You been bamboozled…”
“Till you do right by me…” (6:20 mark)
“Do you understand the words coming out of my mouth”
Recently here at Grownheadz HQ, we have been taking a look back at one of the greatest TV shows ever made. Which one, you say? Wait for it…wait for it…The Wire.
While we’re hardcore, boxset owning fans of the crime drama that ran on HBO from 2002 to 2008 and chronicled much more than crime in Baltimore, we wanted to see how it has held up over time. And while our love for the Barksdales, Bunk and Bunny Colvin is unabated, upon review we have found some chinks in The Wire’s armor. The writers got a whole lot right, but here are a couple of holes that sure could have used filling.
Weak Female Characters
The Wire had some women we loved, like Det. Kima Griggs (Sonja Sohn), Avon’s sister Brianna, and a character we totally forgot about until we watched Season 5 again, Council President Nerese Campbell. There were also some women we loved to hate, like Webay’s wifey and momma to Namond, De’Londa.
These were strong characters, but they weren’t given much nuance or backstory. We got all sorts details about the male characters’ off-duty lives and their private motivations or demons, but the very few female characters got short shrift. We did see some of Kima’s home life at the start of the series, but from Season 3 onward, she was strictly in the background. Watching the last three seasons, you could almost forget that, at least initially, she had been a major player and Daniel’s No. 2.
McNulty: Good Cop, Bad Attitude
We all know a Jimmy McNulty—or maybe not. This self-destructive drunk and womanizer’s only redeeming quality was the fact that he was “reeeal po-lice.” Smart yet stupid, he put the case (every case) above his personal and professional life in an admirable show of determination. Right? Wellll, a closer review reveals less than admirable qualities.
Throughout the series, characters regularly compromised, picked their battles, made deals with the devil or whatever you want to call it in order to achieve their greater goals, but McNulty was Above All That. If you weren’t willing to go all in and piss off your superiors and sacrifice your career for the case, you were a sellout. You weren’t trying hard enough. McNulty was a wrecking ball to his own life and everyone’s lives around him, and a few solved cases and smart one-liners can’t fix that.
Black Bosses and Respect.
Apparently, the show’s white writers never had an African American supervisor. We were tripping on how McNulty would come storming into Lt. Daniel’s office (his boss), talking loud and telling him off about the case.
Heeeeeeelll to the naw. We as a people just don’t operate like that. You can be upset, you can be unhappy, you can have legit grievances on the job, but you better DAMN sure watch your tone of voice. Daniels had spent years on the force, and probably put up with more than a few holdover racist cops while he was coming up. At this point in his career he wouldn’t go for any ol’ white boy talking crazy to him, ESPECIALLY one he outranked. A REAL black boss would squash all that ish real quick.
Wack-Ass Hip Hop
With so much drama in the hood, The Wire had immediate hip hop credibility. Iconic characters like Omar and Snoop seeped into our consciousness, and the show got shout-outs on a few albums. There should’ve been more: Wire-themed mixtapes, soundtracks with all-star casts… There was that much love. So why did the show’s hip hop suck so badly?
Seriously, we haven’t heard such sub-par hip hop since mid-80s cop action movies. Given the different incarnations of the theme song, it’s obvious that the writers and producers had a handle on the Alt-Blues-Rock connection, but they definitely could have benefited from a rap consultant.
Too Few Happy Endings
We really appreciate all the realism on the show and the “life ain’t fair” ethos that it portrayed. But come on guys, it’s still a TV show. Can we get some Hollywood endings, pleeeease? In five seasons, viewers only get two: Namond getting into Bunny Colvin’s place, and Bubs getting off heroin. Lester getting the young ex-stripper as his girl wasn’t bad either.
But when you weigh that against all the people who died (Bodie, Omar, Wallace, Stringer, numerous others), had sad endings (Dukie on drugs, Randy in a group home, Gus getting demoted to the copy desk), or didn’t get what they deserved (The Greeks, Marlo, Clay Davis’s rotten azz, Rawls), it just didn’t equal out. The Wire was entertaining, but they sure knew how to bring a guy or girl down.
You know that summer job parking cars downtown that on your resume magically became an internship at the Mayor’s office? Or that “fine dining management” experience you got at Taco Bell? It’s not technically lying on your resume, it’s just stretching the truth like Laffy Taffy. Well, at some point these people below all went into the studio, blessed the mic, and came out with Top 20 hits. Despite that, most heads don’t even consider them when listing even the most rudimentary emcees. We present to you the Top 5 entertainers who can put “rapper” on their resumes, but that might be, you know, stretching the truth just a bit.
5. Sean “Puffy” (he’s come full-circle, ya know) Combs Major mogul, yes. CEO, right-O. Tastemaker, check. Rapper. Rapper? Um, about thaaat… Now, there are several bonafide hits—even classics—out there that Puffy raps on, like All About The Benjamins or Dolly My Baby. He has recorded three rap albums. But Puffy always seemed like he got into rappin because it was something to do. Honestly, I always thought Puff started rapping and dancing in videos to get more girls, because even when the artist is getting pimped, the executive producer just doesn’t get the same level of groupie love. Imagine, women were pushing past him to get to Craig Mack! You know a brother had to rectify that situation. Besides, Puffy said it best himself: “Don’t ask if I write rhymes. I write checks.”
4. That Guy from Snap I Got the Power was hitting hard in 1990. Black stations, white stations, BET and MTV—everybody was rocking that song, except me. As a young Hampton University (HU ’92 Go Pirates!!!) hip-hop snob in 1990, I refused to play it at parties, opting instead for the OTHER I Got The Power, by Chill Rob G.* He wrote the original song that Snap bit, stole, swiped and made into a hit, but I digress. Does anybody really remember Turbo B. from Snap? Did any of y’all know all the words to his rap? Do you miss him? Rumor has it Turbo was the cousin of the producer, but he left and they got somebody else, then HE LEFT and they found somebody else. Sad thing is nobody noticed or cared.
*Editor’s note: Gawd, you’re still whipping Chill Rob G’s dead horse? He’s made peace with that. You should too. No more blood on the dance-floor of life! –Resident Alien
3. Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
Mr. Mark Wahlburg has to his credit The Happening, The Departed and, a favorite around here at GH Headquarters, The Italian Job. But mysteriously missing from that list is “Can’t Stop the Funky Bunch.” Everybody has mercifully forgotten that Wahlburg got his showbiz start as a rapper. He was nice on paper: he could stay on beat, was one of a very small handful of white rappers in ’91, and even had some street cred, coming from Boston (that last bastion of ‘hood whiteboys), but only MTV took him seriously. Even Mr. Wahlburg is trying to forget. A few years ago he and Eminem appeared on TRL together, and Marky Mark looked ready to choke out Marshall when Em jokingly referred to his former group. Now, it could have been a case of Funky Bunch love, like Don’t put my crew’s name in your mouth, dude. Or it could be now that he’s an ahc-tor, he no longer feels the “Good Vibrations.” (But his remake was the first time I heard that Lou Reed song.)
2. Freedom Williams / C+C Music Factory Don’t act like you don’t know. No, not Blackbox, the group that did that OTHER “Everybody” song, C&C Music Factory, fool. Back in ’93 when they hit with Everybody Dance Now and Gonna Make You Sweat, they were all over the radio and in the club. For countless interviews, Freedom (the perpetually shirtless light-skinned brother) was represented as the rapper in the group. Yeah, he rapped, but we all know he damn sure wasn’t a rapper. I always thought of him as just a mainstream-friendly pretty boy the studio picked out, so I was shocked to learn that Freedom really considered himself a serious rapper. Around 1993 a colleague of mine, VA-radio legend Chester Benton, put on a showcase in Portsmouth (home of Missy Elliot and Timbaland). One of the acts to audition was a then-unknown Freedom Williams. He didn’t make the cut, but it hints that the cat actually put in work, paid his dues and spent years practicing. HE STILL SUCKED. What’s funny is supposedly one of the reasons he left C&C Music Factory was because he felt he wasn’t getting the credit he deserved for the group’s success (kind of an Eddie Kane Jr. reaction). To prove his skills to the world, Freedom dropped his solo project. And it dropped, and it dropped, and it kept on dropping. It may have been the worst-selling solo debut of all time. Guess he showed them.
1. Ya Kid K / Technotronic Pump up the Jam! Pump it up, while your feet are stomping! And the jam is pumping! You know the line, don’t front. Technotronic’s esteemed “lyricist” was an androgynous, decently monikered rapper named Ya Kid K. I remember heated discussions on whether he was a she or she was a he. Ya Kid K had one of those weird, low-pitched female or high-pitched male voices. Anyway, these British invaders (you knew they were from England) had some other minor hit and K even flopped a solo joint. K had to marvel at her countrywoman Moni Love, who remained a following even without a hit solo. On the other hand, hip-hoppers largely ignored K after Pump Up the Jam. Why did hip-hop reject her contribution? Was it believed that she purposely kept her gender under raps in order to reach traditional male rappers’ sales numbers? Or did heads simply recognize that, in the Book of Hip-Hop, her name need not be recorded?
We noticed a trend on this list (maybe you took note also): it seems like most of the offending “rappers” appeared on dance or club hits, instead of actual hip-hop songs. While this seems a little unfair (like exactly what do we expect from a club/dance song), they did take the job. If I become the quarterback for a mini-minor league football team called the EastSide Po’Boys and I suck, I can’t use the excuse, “Well its only a mini-minor little league football team.” Like Coach always said, You take the job, you do it right.
Yeah we still on him, and why not it’s the holiday season and a giggle never hurt anybody.
Michael Steele’s Morning Routine
5. Self Loathing Cry in the Shower
4. Choose Tie to Pump up Confidence
3. Glimpse of Blackness in Mirror Prompts Paralyzing Insecurity
2. Self Loathing Cry on Drive to Work
1. Denial: RNC Janitor Still Doesn’t Believe He’s the Boss
5 Things You Don’t Hear on Hip Hop Albums Any More
As grownheads, we always seem to be whining about the good ole days: How everything was just golden in the Golden Era of hip hop. According to our own Hip Hop Purist, NOTHING is better in these modern times. Well, We won’t go that far, but a few things have changed. These are just some things you never hear on rap records anymore. Hot or not, they get us a little sentimental…
5. Rock Songs
In ’83, Run-DMC hit with ‘Rock Box’ and got some MTV play, back when NO black artist could get ANY light on MTV. Then the Beastie Boys blew up all over the place with ‘Fight For Your Right To Party.’ After that, every rapper (or their A&R) made it their business to drop a rock song on the album. LL had ‘You’ll Rock’ and ‘Cut Creator Go’ (a remake of ‘Johnny B. Goode’ by Chuck Berry). Boogie Down Productions had ‘Ya Slippin.’ And Public Enemy always had rock songs on their albums, even going so far to remake ‘Bring the Noise’ with Anthrax. We could go on and on; there are just too many to name. What’s tripped out is that lots of these songs were such straight-up rock records that if they lost the verse, they’d have been right at home on any metalhead’s playlist.
4. House Songs
First there was Jack, and Jack had a groove… Once upon a time, house music was played outside of just Detroit, Chicago, New York and Miami. At one time, house was loved by the masses, and not just those who lived near big cities or were gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that—we’re not homophobic in the least, in fact we love what the gays have done with design and brunch). Heads were no different. We got our house on, and when the Jungle Brothers put out ‘Girl I’ll House You,’ it was like somebody got chocolate in the peanut butter. Everybody followed suit. Chicago even developed a sub-genre called Hip-House with stars like Fast Eddie and Mr. Lee (and I used to rock THE HELL out of them at parties), and hip hop artists made “one for the club” on the regular. Queen Latifah had ‘Come Into My House’ and Craig G did ‘Turn This House Into a Home,’ but my personal favorite was 2 Live Crew’s “Get the F*#CK out of My House.”
3. Love Songs
Nowadays, love in hip hop is relegated to songs about your momma or dead homie, but back in the day before we got so ‘hard,’ the narrative used to go a little something like this: Rapper meets girl. Rapper lays down his rap. Girl can’t resist. They fall in love. Rapper then makes a song about said loving feelings. LL dropped ‘I Can Give You More’ and the classic ‘I Need Love,’ Heavy D did ‘Somebody For Me,’ Whodini had ‘One Love’ and Pete Rock and CL Smooth gave us ‘Lots of Lovin.’ There are lots more, but you get it. Most of these songs had an element of sensuality but managed to keep the focus on the emotional connection—something even R&B seems to have lost touch with.
2. Give the DJ Some
As the Lyricist gradually took the lead among hip-hop’s Four Pillars, b-boys and graf artists—always on the second tier—lost some prominence. But the DJ, as keeper of the wax, used to have a more equal standing. In earlier times, every rap album had a song shouting out the man behind the wheels of steel. Starting with Grandmaster Flash, some of rap’s hottest hits were about the DJ, and Jam Master Jay, Eric B, Jazzy Jeff and DJ Premier were some of the biggest stars. With the advent of multi-producer albums, many modern performers don’t even have a regular DJ to big up.
1. No Collabos
Remember when the only person on an album was the guy or gal whose picture was on the front? It was such a quaint idea: expecting a rapper to show and prove, solely on their own skill. Now NOBODY does a record alone. With all the cross-promotion and trying to put the crew on, there’s barely any room for the actual artist on his or her own record. I mean, it was a big deal when the Sugar Hill Gang and the Furious 5 appeared on the same record, but today it would barely make a bleep. The first time this phenomenon really annoyed me was on ‘Doggy Style.’ It just irked the hell out of me that I had to listen to the substandard Dogg Pound take up Snoop’s valuable mic time.
Back in the 80s and 90s, did you ever take a chance on an unknown group, just by virtue of the name and album art, then get home to find it wasn’t even the genre of music you were expecting? The happens less now, because of the Internet and the fact that most Grownheads just don’t have time for all that browsing anymore. But you get the idea. These are the Top 5 Rock Groups that could be Mistaken for Rappers. Enjoy.
Sounds like: they could be some jazz-hop duo a la PM Dawn, or Us3.
Really: Well come on, you know who they are. But just in case , 4 rocks gods from Dublin who do really nice things and act all pompous about it.
Sounds like: M.O.P., B.D.P., NWA–any rap group from back in the day with a clever name that needed abbreviation.
Really: Alt rock legends. Most Grownheadz know them for their mega-hits “Losing My Religion,” “Shiny Happy People” (1992) or, if they go a little deeper, “The One I Love” and “Stand” (1987).
Sounds like: The Beastie Boys’ lesser known and even wilder younger brothers.
Really: Influenced by Green Day but sounding more like Blink 182, the four-peice rock group from Stillwater, OK broke into the big time with “Swing, Swing” in 2002 and kept it up with 2005’s “Dirty Little Secret,” whose video featured images from popular, anonymous confessional site Post Secret. (from allmusic.com)
Sounds like: they could be some booty bass, dance-based rappers, kinda like 95South back in the day, D4L (“Stanky Leg”) or Soulja Boy.
Really: Bloc Party is an English indie rock band. They trace their musical lineage from The Cure, Joy Division, Sonic Youth, and in their more recent work, Radiohead. (from Wikipedia)
Sounds like: Some skinny jean-wearing crew that favors autotune and neon colors.
Really: Sonic Youth were inspired directly by the hardcore punk and no wave movements, but were more noise-rock and distortion effects. Ironically they’re the only group on the list with solid Hip Hop Credentials: In 1990, Sonic Youth released the single “Kool Thing,” which featured a guest appearance by Chuck D and as such became the first time many Grownheads may have heard the band. “Kool Thing” was later featured in Guitar Hero III and is available to download for the Rock Band video game.
(from allmusic.com and Wikipedia.)
5 Rappers Who Don’t Need a Greatest Hits (but have one anyway)
It happens to every head at some point. You’re casually browsing through the CD racks at the record store, just wasting time and suddenly you can’t believe your eyes. It can’t be! MC One-Hit and the Whatstheirnames have a greatest hits album?! The right move is to shake your head and pop it right back on the shelf, but sometimes curiosity (and masochism) get the best of you. We’ve all fallen victim in moments of weakness, to buying schlock like this:
Mack 10 Foe Life: The Best of Mack 10 (2007)
1. Foe Life
10. Hoo Bangin’
2. Hate In Yo Eyes
11. The Testimony
3. Nothin’ But The Cavi Hit
12. Hustle Game
4. Like This
13. The Letter
5. From Tha Streetz
14. My Chucks
6. Only In California
15. Tha Weekend
7. Money’s Just A Touch Away
16. W/S Foe Life
8. On Them Thangs
17. Get Yo Ride On
9. Do The Damn Thing
Come on now—18 tracks? Really?! Even PE, Run-DMC and LL would have to push into filler territory for 18 hits! Foe Life and, to a (much) lesser extent, W/S Foe Life (with West side Connection) and Nuthin but the Cavi Hit made some noise, but the rest of these songs are known only by the hardcore fan and Mack 10’s mom.
Tag Team: The Best of Tag Team (2000)
1. Whoomp! (There It Is) [Remix 2000]
11. Do Your Dance/Old School Flava on Your Dial
2. Bring It On
12. Funkey Situation/Back From Another Mission
3. Wreck da Set
13. What U Waitin’ 4
4. Just Call Me DC
14. Let the Music Play/Drop the Funk Bomb
15. Booty Low/Tag Team Underground
6. Drop ‘Em
7. It’s Somethin’
17. Side 2 Side/Somehouse Kickin’ It
8. U Go Girl [Remix]
18. Here It Is, Bam!!
9. Free Style
19. Whoomp! (There It Is) [House Mix]
10. Throw Your Hands
20. Whoomp, Si Lo Es
STOP LAUGHING! No, really, stop. Some forward-thinking, enterprising soul said “You know what would really put Tag Team over the top? A poorly translated Spanish version of Whoomp There It Is.” And Whoomp, Si Lo Es was born. Now, I bet you feel really stupid.
Schoolly D: The Best of Schooly D (2003)
1. P.S.K. ‘What Does It Mean’
7. Parkside 5-2
2. Gucci Time
8. B-Boy Rhyme and Riddle
3. Put Your Filas On
9. Smoke Some Kill
4. Saturday Night
10. Mr. Big D**k
5. Dedication To All B-Boys
11. Coqui 900
6. Fat Gold Chain
12. Livin’ In The Jungle
Okay, this one I actually do own. As a DJ, I’m a completist when it comes to an artist. But really, all Schoolly D needs is one of those “Five Best” CDs that Rhino puts out for 5.99. Yes, Schoolly will go down in history as the first rapper to cap somebody on wax, and PSK is a legitimate hip-hop classic—the beat has been sampled often, from Biggie to Case. The brother even produces tunes for Aqua Teen Hunger Force. But 12 tracks is overkill when your biggest song was last hitting in 1987.
Bizzy Bone: The Best of Bizzy Bone (2007)
1. Nobody Can Stop Me
7. On The Freeway
2. What Do We Say?
8. Thugs Need Love Too
3. Thugz Cry
9. When I See
4. Around The World
10. Maybe You Can Hold Me
5. Fried Day
11. Don’t Ask Me Why
6. One Time
12. The Top
Hell. Naw. I repeat: HELL to the NAW. Were the masses really clamoring for this? On a side note, why is it when I go to Best Buy or, until a few months ago, Circuit City (WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? excuse me for a minute…) is there always an ass-load of Bone Thugs n Harmony product? I mean damn near every album, new stuff, old stuff, what’s up on that? Is the Bone Thug Nation that strong in the M-I-Yayo? Or is Bizzy on a secret tour, driving around the nation making sure his CDs are on prominent display? You make the call.
Luniz: Luniz – Greatest Hits (2005)
9. Killers on the Payroll
2. So Much Drama
10. Big Face Escalade
3. Just Me and You
11. Pimps, Players Hustlers
4. Oakland Raiders
12. Baby Momma
5. Playa Hata
13. Closer Than Close
6. In My Nature
14. Broke Hoes Is a No No
7. Fuck You
8. I Got 5 on It
16. Break Me Off
Luniz is another group that have a few songs, and they get props for introducing the term “Playa Hata” (eventually shortened to just “hater”) to the world, but please check the track list. It’s not like they were running out of room. They could’ve included the Posse cut remix of I got 5 On It, featuring E-40, Digital Underground, Dru Down, and Richie Rich. I mean really, is Fuck You such a heartwarming hit that there would’ve been an uprising to cut it? I’m just saying, if you’re gonna do a greatest hits, do it right.
Honorable Mention Biggie Smalls
Now the Notorious One is no laughing matter. But it aint too hard to round out the hits. Just buy his first two–excuse me, his ONLY two albums recorded before he died. Granted, there are some cameos and collabos floating around out there, plus the remixes that don’t stop. But take it from a GrownHead: Ready to Die and Life After Death are really all you need.