Thursday, August 12, 2010

50 Songs From the Golden Era of Rap -- A Playlist (With Updates)

A few weeks ago, we went over what the Golden Era of Rap was and what albums comprised it. It was such a smashing success that I've spent the last two days every day since then compiling a playlist from those selections.*

* And by the way, I got all these songs for free using this little trick you may or may not know and which I'm sure there are a million other ways to do but I used this one so that's why I chose to describe it:

Find the song you want on YouTube. Copy the URL and paste it into Dirpy. That will convert the YouTube clip to a downloadable mp3, which you should then, well, download. Save it to a folder on your desktop, then open up iTunes. Pull down the File menu and select "Add file to library." Then select all your mp3s and voila! Free shit. You're welcome.

Also, with Dirpy, you can edit out the beginning or end of any video, so if you wanted Naughty by Nature's "Ghetto Bastard" but don't want that kinda-silly hospital scene/skit thing at the beginning, you can just chop it off. Very helpful.

This trick (if you want to call it that) is especially great for live recordings, which YouTube is packed with. Like this version of Arcade Fire's "Headlights Look Like Diamonds," which is way better than the album version, IMO.
You can also use it to make ringtones, like I just did with Will Ferrell-as-Robert Goulet. "Dinkle donkle dinkle donkle someone's calling you Goulet" indeed.

So, here are 50* tracks from 1991-1994 that you should add to your iTunes pronto.

* I picked 50 because as a human being I have a rather pointless habit of attributing greater importance to numbers that are multiples of 10, perhaps due to the number of digits on my hands and feet, though that's just one stupid theory to explain why some people still think some guy with 99 RBIs is somehow clearly inferior at hitting to the guy with 100. And that doesn't even address the fact that RBIs are stupid and -- much like the aforementioned boner people get for multiples of 10 -- vastly overrated as a way to evaluate a hitter since (aside from home runs) a hitter only has an opportunity to get an RBI if some other guy did the work of getting on base in front of him. On top of that, it's easier to drive a guy in from third rather than first -- another thing the hitter has no control over. Basically, RBIs are a completely circumstantial statistic and tell you absolutely nothing about a hitter's ability that you couldn't get using a million other, better ways.

Also, shouldn't they really be called RsBI? Paging William Safire.

I called this "The Golden Era of Rap Playlist" because I'm creative. The list is in no particular order other than alphabetical by artist. Enjoy!
  1. "Tennessee," Arrested Development
  2. "C'mon Wit da Git Down," Artifacts (Incidentally, typing "C'mon Wit da Git Down" made me feel really, really white.)
  3. "Wrong Side of da Tracks," Artifacts (Again, white.)
  4. "I Gotcha Open," Black Moon (Yup, still white over here.)
  5. "The Choice Is Yours," Black Sheep
  6. "Flavor of the Month," Black Sheep
  7. "Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down," Brand Nubian
  8. "Flava in Ya Ear (Remix)," Craig Mack, feat. Notorious BIG, LL Cool J, Rampage and Bustarhymes
  9. "Hand on the Pump," Cypress Hill
  10. "How I Could Just Kill a Man," Cypress Hill
  11. "Insane in the Brain," Cypress Hill
  12. "If Only," Das EFX
  13. "They Want EFX," Das EFX
  14. "Bitties in the BK Lounge," De La Soul
  15. "My Brother's a Basehead," De La Soul
  16. "Mistadobalina," Del the Funky Homosapien
  17. "Rebirth of Slick," Digable Planets
  18. "Where I'm From," Digable Planets
  19. "Nuthin' But a G Thang," Dr. Dre, feat. Snoop Dogg
  20. "Dre Day," Dr. Dre, feat. Snoop Dogg
  21. "Deep Cover," Dr. Dre, feat. Snoop Dogg
  22. "Mass Appeal," Gang Starr
  23. "Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta," Geto Boys
  24. "Mind Playing Tricks on Me," Geto Boys
  25. "360 (What Goes Around)," Grand Puba
  26. "Loungin," Guru
  27. "Check Yo' Self," Ice Cube
  28. "It Was a Good Day," Ice Cube
  29. "Halftime," Nas
  30. "It Ain't Hard to Tell," Nas
  31. "Represent," Nas
  32. "Everything's Gonna Be Alright (Ghetto Bastard)," Naughty by Nature
  33. "Hip Hop Junkies," Nice and Smooth
  34. "Sometimes I Rhyme Slow," Nice and Smooth
  35. "Big Poppa," Notorious BIG
  36. "Juicy," Notorious BIG
  37. "The What," Notorious BIG, feat. Method Man
  38. "Slam," Onyx
  39. "They Reminisce Over You," Pete Rock and CL Smooth
  40. "Passin Me By," The Pharcyde
  41. "Time 4 Sum Aksion," Redman (More like "Whiteman" for me, amirite?)
  42. "Ain't No Fun," Snoop Dogg
  43. "Gin and Juice," Snoop Dogg
  44. "Award Tour," A Tribe Called Quest
  45. "Check the Rhime," A Tribe Called Quest
  46. "Scenario," A Tribe Called Quest
  47. "Regulate," Warren G, feat. Nate Dogg
  48. "M.E.T.H.O.D. Man," Wu-Tang Clan
  49. "Protect Ya Neck," Wu-Tang Clan
  50. "I Get Around," 2Pac

Damn, that is a solid list of 50 songs. Maybe the best ever put together. Probably. Better than any other playlist on this blog, anyway.


Here are a few suggested by readers:

"DWYCK," Gang Starr, feat. Nice & Smooth (from Yankel)
"Life's a Bitch," Nas (Yankel)
"I Used to Love H.E.R.," Common (Yankel)
"Don't Sweat the Technique," Eric B & Rakim (Yankel)
"Juice (Know the Ledge)," Eric B & Rakim (Yankel)
"Crooklyn," Crooklyn Dodgers (I just remembered that one)


Yankel said...

2 Artifacts and 1 Brand Nubian? Switch C'Mon Wit Da Git Down to Slow Down.

No Dwyck?

I'm sure I'll think of some others.

Open Bar said...

Slow Down was 1990, otherwise it'd be there.

DWYCK can be #51. (Capping it at 50 was just to get started. I'm all for adding more, as long as they're good.)

The Notorious LJT said...

i dont know if das efx really deserves two songs on a top fifty list.

if only isnt a bad song but they want efx is their best song.

i'd trade 'if only' for 'dwyck'.

Yankel said...

According to ye olde wikipedia: "The singles "Slow Down," "All for One," and "Wake Up" all became hits on Billboard’s Hot Rap Tracks chart in 1991."

Also, as good as Illmatic was, I might trade Halftime and Represent for Life's a Bitch and a song to be named later.

Oh - Common, I Used to Lover HER (1994)

Yankel said...

Also for consideration, Eric B and Rakim - Don't Sweat the Technique, or Know the Ledge.

Open Bar said...

Yes, but the album "One for All" came out on Dec. 4, 1990, which is what I was going by. Otherwise I'd also have included a few LL songs like "Mama Said Knock You Out" and LJT-favorite "Around the Way Girl."

But it does seem silly to keep them out based on a technicality. The list is supposed to be fun, first of all. Maybe they can get added, just with an asterisk or something.

As for Nas, you could really take just about any song from "Illmatic," it's that good (maybe the best rap album ever, certainly one of them), but "Halftime" was the first Nas song I ever heard, so it gets in.

I'll keep adding songs as long as they're good enough.