90s Hip Hop Smooth Classics
I started listening to hip hop in the 1980s with the likes of Beastie Boys, Run DMC, and Public Enemy. However, 90s hip hop is the era that was most formative in my teen years.
90s hip hop was relevant in all areas of life. The diverse landscape of 90s rap included partying, politics, hustling, art, jazz, hip hop culture, humor and just about everything else. It was everything a teenage The Mean needed to set my life on its proper course.
Sitting here on a lazy Sunday, I thought I’d drop a shortlist of some of the smoothest 90s hip hop that still knocks today. Is this list comprehensive? Hell no, I just told you it’s a lazy Sunday.
But nevertheless, these tracks are indisputable as 90s hip hop classics.
They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y) – Pete Rock and CL Smooth
I’d pretty much lose the 2 ounces of street cred I’ve acquired over the past few years to not put this song first on the list. Even on a lazy Sunday I’m capable of remembering this one.
Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s classic They Reminisce Over You is timeless and the epitome of 90s hip hop. The smooth horn samples and reconstruction of the original record by Pete Rock is the reason it’s criminal to oppress expressive creation through sampling laws. More succinctly, FUCK sample clearance.
Mass Appeal – Gangstarr
Guru and DJ Premier were nothing but consistent as they dominated the 90s hip hop. The duo was essentially the blue print for others to follow in the genre.
In 1994 they released the single Mass Appeal of the Hard To Earn LP. Guru lays down his monotone style verses in between perfectly timed cuts by DJ Premier. The beauty of the beat is simplicity. A two-bar sample looped for the entirety of the record, with very little variation other than Primo’s cuts.
Sometimes I Rhyme Slow – Nice and Smooth
Greg Nice and Smooth B were breaking new ground in the 90s. Greg Nice was a true crowd mover and sometimes an overly-hyped hype man. Smooth B was, well a smooth flower.
In this classic, Nice and Smooth sampled folk-blues rock hit Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. The passionate lyrics about relationships and drug addiction really hit the heart on this one. 90s hip hop at its nicest and perhaps smoothest.
Slow Down – Brand Nubian
Another 90s hip hop track based around a recent folky type hit. This time it was What I Am by Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians that set the backdrop.
Sadat X, Lord Jamar, and Grand Puba were one of the best combos in the early 90s rap game. Soon to split up, but in 1990 Brand Nubian ruled hip hop with this timeless gem.
Hold up wait a minute- DJ Kool
Rapper DJ Kool (born John W. Bowman, Jr.) produced a variety of well-known rap singles in the late 1990s. Born in 1959 in Washington, DC, his influence from his years of working the go-go and rap circuits became apparent in his music. During the early- to mid-1980s, Kool worked as a warm-up DJ for Rare Essence, until he was picked up by CLR Records. This song is a classic with a high school vibe.
Hip Hop Songs with Piano
The piano plays a critical role in some of the most famous rap songs in history. Hip hop beats are beautiful, no doubt. But the most superb ones are done by going back to the basics by using an age-old instrument integral to the evolution of not just Hip Hop, but of all music in general: the piano. Though the piano started off being equated with classically-trained musicians, it soon found its way to jazz, which used the instrument in a more progressive manner, and subsequently, it found its way to hip hop. This list explores 10 songs that incorporate the piano as a canvas,
- Changes – Tupac Shakur.
- See You Again – Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth.
- Hotline Bling – Drake.
- Everything I Am – Kanye West.
- Mockingbird – Eminem.
- The Remedy for a Broken Heart – XXXTentation.
- This is America – Childish Gambino.
- Still Dre – Dr Dre et Snoop Dogg.
- Lose yourself – Eminem
- Sunflower – Swae Lee
Check the Rhime – A Tribe Called Quest
Yea, you thought I was going to right an article about smooth classics and leave off A Tribe Called Quest? How long have you been following us at Loud News Net?
What can I say about this one. Umm. It’s the Tribe y’all! (p.s. it’s a dope Minnie Riperton sample on the beat).