Welcome to a new series I like to call the Hot Rap Songs Review. For this series, I’m going to review the songs that hit number one on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart. Why? Because lately, I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic for a lot of older hip-hop and I took a glance at the archives of the Hot Rap Songs chart. How will this work? This series will be formatted like my Hot 100 Top 40 Reviews where I talk about each song, give a rating, and at the end, name the Best and Worst of the year. These will be posted up every Tuesday and I’ll be exploring songs from 1989 to 2012. Now that we got that out the way, let’s get started with 1989.
Self Destruction-The Stop The Violence Movement: In 1988, KRS-One gathered some of the biggest names in hip-hop at the time (Stetsasonic, Kool Moe Dee, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Just-Ice, Heavy D, Public Enemy) to record a song called Self Destruction, combating the violence that plagues the inner city. Honestly, the song is just… okay. Look, the message behind the song is something everyone can get behind and there’s nothing but good intent being put into it, but this song kinda feels like an after-school special and there’s not much replay value to it. But, hey. It at least handled its subject matter better than other songs tackling social issues.
Overall, I give Self-Destruction a C.
Me Myself And I-De La Soul: The music of De La Soul was less conventional from what hip-hop was at the time and they were considered hippies. This is a label that they address in their best-known song Me Myself And I. On top of a beat that samples Knee Deep by Funkadelic and other songs, Dove and Posdnuos go against the norm of materialism and posturing despite critics making fun of them while utilizing their sense of humor. They don’t want to fit in with the crowd, they want to be themselves and make the music they want to make. It’s the ultimate anthem of embracing your own identity and it’s one of many De La Soul classics. I give it an A.
I’m That Type Of Guy-LL Cool J: Ladies and gentlemen, the most savage “I can steal your girlfriend” song ever, LL Cool J’s I’m That Type Of Guy. I normally can’t stand these type of songs, but something about this one just works. Maybe it’s because throughout the whole song, LL is basically saying, “I’m a better boyfriend than you and here’s why.” Every line is just a brutal punch at the other dude.
You try to buy her love with diamonds and pearls
I’m the type of guy that shows up on the scene
And gets the seven digits, you know the routine
While you’re steady frontin in your homeboy’s ride
I’m the type of guy that comes when you leave
You’re the type of guy to give her money to shop
She gave me a sweater, thank you, sweetheart
I’m the type of guy that picks her up from work early
Takes her to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and breakfast
You’re the type of guy eatin a tv dinner
Talkin about… “Goddamn it, I’ma kill her”
I’m that type of guy to give you a pound and wink my eye
Like a bandit, caught me redhanded, took her for granted
But when I screwed her, you couldn’t understand it
Cause you’re the type of guy that don’t know the time
Swearin up and down, “That girl’s all mine”
I’m the type of guy to let you keep believin it
Go ‘head to work, while I defrost it, and season it
I feel sorry for the poor soul who’s at the receiving end of these lines because they could end a life. I’m That Type Of Guy is almost the perfect villain song where LL just embraces being evil while disrespecting this other guy and I buy into it 100%. Hell, he does a evil laugh at the end of the song. Making the song more effective is the beat that samples March Of The Winkies from Wizard Of Oz. I imagine this is the face he had when recording this song.
I give this song a B.
Fight The Power-Public Enemy: What can I really say about Fight The Power that hasn’t been said? You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. VH1 called it the greatest hip-hop song of all time back in 2008. It’s the protest song to beat all protest songs as Public Enemy calls to fight the institutional and systemic powers that beat down on the disenfranchised, black people in this case. Chuck D delivers every word like a sermon with Flavor Flav as the hype-man. This song was also in the Spike Lee movie Do The Right Thing. If there is one issue I have with this song, it’s this:
Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant shit to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Mother fuck him and John Wayne
Yeah, Elvis has profited off of black music, but he’s the farthest thing from a racist, as far as from what I’ve heard. John Wayne, on the other hand, I have no love for. Screw him. As for Fight The Power? It’s just one of the greatest hip-hop songs crafted that stood the test of time. I’m giving it an A.
It’s Funky Enough-The D.O.C.: Here’s a song I remember from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a game that helped mold my music tastes overall. It’s Funky Enough comes from The D.O.C., a Dallas rapper associated with N.W.A. who signed to Ruthless Records. His breakout single is called It’s Funky Enough. Despite the title, the song has very little funk to it, but this beat still bumps in the whip. You can thank Dr. Dre for that. And The D.O.C. brings it as well with his rapping, even with a fake Jamaican accent. You know that 2 Unlimited song Get Ready For This? You know, the song that’s played at every sports event?
Yeah, it sampled the first line of It’s Funky Enough. And it’s not the only time this song was sampled. The D.O.C. showed a lot of potential as a star. Sadly, he got into a near-fatal accident that crushed his larynx, messing up his voice. Anyways, It’s Funky Enough gets a B from me.
Smooth Operator-Big Daddy Kane: Here is Smooth Operator, not to be confused with the Sade song. This is one of the big hits from Big Daddy Kane, taking a break from being the lyrical master and focusing on showing off his ladies’ man side. With the help of a Mary Jane Girls sample, the beat is much smoother. Kane shows a lot of confidence in himself, which makes him being a ladies’ man work. Still, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have bars. He and LL Cool J were accused of being sellouts because of their love songs, yet these people forget that they’re beasts on the mic. I give Smooth Operator an A.
Me So Horny-2 Live Crew: Oh, boy. Before I talk about this song, let me talk about 2 Live Crew. They’re based out of Miami and their contribution to the world of music is loud, raunchy music that challenged decency standards and created the Miami bass sound. Their music was VERY sexually explicit, more so than any other rappers at the time, and it caused a ton of controversy. This leads us to Me So Horny. Working off samples of Firecracker by Mass Production, Full Metal Jacket, and a Richard Pryor movie that I originally thought came from a porno (can you blame me, though?), Fresh Kid Ice (R.I.P.) and Brother Marquis rap about their sexual escapades and that’s about it. I don’t want to hear about this. The verses are basic at best and are drowning in sex talk. But there’s one line that made me pause that I talked about in one of my Random WTF Lyrics posts.
Put your lips on my dick, and suck my asshole too
……. ‘kay? Yeah, this song is wack and I hope to never listen to it again. I give it an F.
Cha Cha Cha-MC Lyte: Representing for the ladies is MC Lyte with Cha Cha Cha. Don’t let the title fool you, this song has bars. Let me tell you: MC Lyte isn’t just dope for a female rapper, she’s dope as a rapper period. The way she’s rhyming along to the beat is like a fucking river. And she was 18 when she recorded this song. This girl was ahead of her time. This song is just dopeness on another level and I’m giving it an A.
New Jack Swing-Wreckx-N-Effect: Remember Wreckx-N-Effect? They were the guys behind Rump Shaker (we’ll get to that song eventually). Well, they topped the Hot Rap Songs chart with New Jack Swing. The song has a slamming beat and that’s about it. Yeah, I don’t really care about the rap verses, especially the one from producer Teddy Riley. All they’re talking about is new jack swing and nothing else. This is another song I’ve heard on GTA: San Andreas, but I don’t really listen to it that much. Honestly, there’s much better new jack swings out there that I would listen to than this. I give it a D.
Somebody For Me-Heavy D & The Boyz: The Overweight Lover’s In The House. The late Heavy D shows up along with The Boyz for Somebody For Me. This is a song is an example of the marriage between hip-hop and R&B, combining a new jack swing beat with an R&B chorus and Heavy D searching for the woman of his life with little to no success. Heavy D & The Boyz would see a lot of success with this formula as the 90s arrive. As for Somebody For Me, it’s a good song overall. I give it an A.
The D.O.C. & The Doctor-The D.O.C.: After the success of It’s Funky Enough, The D.O.C. released The D.O.C. & The Doctor as his next single. This is obviously a hype single made to move the crowd. It’s kind of a step down compared to It’s Funk Enough, but it’s alright. I don’t really have much to say about everything in the song besides “it’s okay.” I give it a C.
Fight The Power
Me So Horny
And those were the number one songs on the Hot Rap Songs chart of 1989. Next week, we look at the number one songs on the Hot Rap Songs chart of 1990.