It is a very overwhelming task to evaluate so much great material and there were records that I was pleasantly surprised to see be included on the list (i.e. Ma$e’s “24 Hrs. to Live” just to name one of many).
However, 1990s hip-hop music is a case of too much of a good thing and there are songs that I am shocked to see did not make the cut. With that being said, I proudly present to you Nine More for the Nineties.
- “By the Time I Get to Arizona” (1991) by Public Enemy When Evan Mecham gets rid of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Arizona, a protest march takes place, Ste- vie Wonder announces a boycott of the state, and Public Enemy crafts the most controversial song and video clip of their career.
- “Ill Street Blues” (1992) by Kool G Rap and DJ Polo G Rap is a pioneer of multi-syllabic rhyming. And what this duo lacks in sales is more than made up for by their influence. “Ill Street Blues” is one of the reasons G Rap is your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper.
- “Outta Here” (1993) by KRS-One Atop a memorable bass line, courtesy of the legendary DJ Premier, KRS-One tells his story and the for- mer BDP member proves himself a tour de force as a solo artist.
- “The World is Yours” (1994) by Nas As one of the more optimistic songs on Illmatic, it establishes that Nas is wise beyond his years and has greater aspirations that the sights outside of his project windows.
- “Gangsta’s Paradise” (1995) by Coolio Serving as part of the soundtrack to the film Dangerous Minds, Coolio’s hit single was number one on The Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and its worldwide success helped American hip-hop gain recognition around the globe.
- “Life Goes On” (1996) by 2Pac Track nine of his Death Row debut finds Afeni Shakur’s only son mourning deceased friends, and, in the final verse, discussing his own funeral and accepting his own mortality. Rap songs do not usually draw tears, but this one does.
- “I Got A Story To Tell” (1997) by The Notorious B.I.G. This is a very dark, albeit clever narrative. And the way he raps it, then tells it again at the end of the song without rapping it is very innovative.
- “Phat Rabbit” (1998) by Ludacris Ludacris’ abilities which are showcased here are an excellent preview of the qualities that will make him one of the biggest hip-hop stars at the beginning of the next millennium.
- “What’s My Name?” (1999) by DMX The first single from DMX’s third number one album in two years is one of the most intense songs he has ever recorded. The grand piano chords and aggressive energy of his stop-stop-stop and flow delivery made for a great counterpart to the teen pop market at the time.