Tag Archives: onyx

Which Old School Did YOU Go To?

The New Old School

by Adam Bernard for Adam’s World

I was having a conversation with DJ Riz of Crooklyn Clan the other day and for a few minutes we got curmudgeonly about Hip-Hop. Like a lot of folks who are reaching, or are already in, their 30’s, we lamented the lack of knowledge younger Hip-Hop fans have of the old school. Riz, however, also brought up the interesting point that teenagers today have their own version of old school and it may surprise a lot of people to see which artists fall under their “oldo-school school” classification. If you’re around my age the list will also make you feel really really old.

I started listening to rap music when I was nine or ten years old. To make this equation easier let’s just say ten. I was ten in 1988, so anything before 1988 is my version of “old school.” It just so happens, because of when I was born, all of that music also falls into the traditional definition of “old school,” as well. With that timetable in mind, let’s take a look at the current incoming college freshman class, most of whom are 18 years old. They were all ten in 1998, so providing they didn’t have older siblings who could introduce them to Hip-Hop earlier in life their version of “old school” starts in the mid to late 90’s.

The idea of Wu-Tang, A Tribe Called Quest, The Fugees, Redman, DMX, Onyx, Naughty By Nature, and even NORE being “old school” is painful to a lot of Hip-Hop fans.


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HOT 5: Top 5 Fight Songs

Bad enough to make a nerd ditch the glasses and throw some bows, these songs are like a shot of Everclear to the gut. Duck down!

This was the first song that made me seriously consider swinging. Sure, “Slam” and “Throw Ya Gunz” were club rockers. But here at Grownheadz, we went past the obvious and chose this 48-second gem that led the album of the same name and set the tone for the group. If life were a movie, it would be the perfect soundtrack for you and your crew to walk into a jam-packed club and let everybody know what time it is. Aw, hell, while you’re reading this, you might as well get your “mad face” on for old times sake.

Bia, BiaLil Jon & the East Side Boys
Although MOP had been hollering over tracks for years (see below), it was Lil Jon that truly unleashed the savage crunk beast. When Bass Music died in Miami (and took Luke with it), for years there was nothing to take its place. The Ghetto Tech sound that was rocking Detroit never really got past the Midwest, and with a few important exceptions (“Da Butt” and “Sardines and Pork & Beans”), the energy of go-go stopped at the DC/Maryland border. There was never a Son of Bass, so to speak, until Lil Jon hit (or beat) us with this banger in 2001. It was the first shot of Lil Jon’s barrage that would soon fill the airways. He’s kinda slowed down in recent years, though he’s still producing, but if you’re looking to get the club (or just yourself) hype, its hard to miss wth “Bia, Bia.”

Neva ScaredBone Crusher
If “Bia, Bia” is the taunt track, “Neva Scared” is the answer record. It follows the dynamics of a fight in real life. Imagine, if you will, somebody being bumped in a club or on the street. Words are exchanged, and at some point, Person A throws down the gauntlet. “You scared, you scared. Come on B%4#, put’em up.”  Now what is Person B to do?  Back down? Walk away? Course not! It’s the new millennium and we’re all Super Niggas. So Person B retorts (rather loudly), “I ain’t NEVA scared, I aint NEVA scared!!”  See how it might go down?  Problem is, just like in the streets, Person B goes too far. He’s popping the trunk to get his gun. Now what’s up? Anyway, the message isn’t a good one, but the beat and the chorus make it fun to be bad. And even when you’re more than likely scared as hell, it’s good to yell anyway. You might actually start to believe it.

Ante UpM.O.P
“Ante Up” shuts down all the alpha male chest-bumping and dick-grabbing posturing with a higher objective: Check It In. They aren’t talking about you, they’re pulling an aural jack move. It’s bad enough to get your stuff taken, but when the bad guys are hollering at the top of their lungs while brandishing guns, you might be a candidate for a fresh pair of drawers. Smooth criminals they ain’t.  MOP had hits before this and a few after, but NOTHING as big as “Ante Up.”


“Tear Da Club Up”Three Six Mafia
Awww, the first Oscar winners on our list. Back in 97 when the Mafia was actually a crew (they’re just a duo now), they dropped this gem. Three Six started off as “horror core” rappers (ya get it, right? 666 Mafia). They moved from trying to be scary to just being plain ghetto (much less of a stretch; see Adventures in Hollywood, their 30-second reality show). Interesting side note: when hip-hop got kicked out of stadiums and traditional concert venues throughout the nineties, the only place to see an act live was at the club. Only, guess who could barely get a live performance even when they were at the top of the charts? Bingo! When your biggest hit gets patrons pumped to “Tear Da Club Up,” most club owners don’t even want to put it in the mix.  You do the math: Cover charge + a couple drinks + “Tear Da Club Up” = Bad News.

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