Welcome back to another Hot Rap Songs Review. Let’s get started.
Expression-Salt-N-Pepa: I don’t know if this is a hot take or not, but I like 90s Salt-N-Pepa way more than 80s Salt-N-Pepa (I also think Push It kinda sucks). I feel like they truly found their lane in the 90s and have perfected more mature, intelligent, female-positive music. Expression is clearly 80s Salt-N-Pepa and it’s one of their better 80s songs, even if it isn’t as great as their later material. Everything in the song is stuck in the 80s; the beat, the flow, everything. It’s okay in my book and it’s getting a C.
The Humpty Dance-Digital Underground: Ah, yes. The Humpty Dance courtesy of Oakland’s Digital Underground. This is another one of those silly, fun songs that’ll keep any party with a bouncing beat and Shock G’s alter-ego boasting about how cool he is getting money and women in spite of being ugly. And it’s a dance song that encourages people to have fun and gives instructions on how to do the dance (even if it comes later in the song). This song is a blast and it’s one of the best hits of 1990 for a reason. I give it an A.
Murder Rap-Above The Law: Another song that I know of because of GTA: San Andreas. And also Pineapple Express. Murder Rap comes from Above The Law. It’s a typical gangsta rap song with a beat that features a siren-sounding synth line that comes from a really old TV show from the 60s. This sound was also used in the Kill Bill movies.
I don’t have much else to say about the song besides it being perfect for going on a shooting rampage in Los Santos. I give it a C.
Fun House-Kid ‘N Play: You know what was a good movie? House Party. It was funny and had some great music, including songs from its main stars Kid ‘N Play. Fun House captures what I believe a house party in the 90s would be like. Both Kid and Play play off each other well as they’re having fun at a house party. It’s the perfect lighthearted fun for a lighthearted fun movie and I’m giving it a A.
911 Is A Joke-Public Enemy: With a lot of Public Enemy songs, the tone is a lot more serious. But with 911 Is A Joke, they opted for a lighter tone with Flavor Flav doing the rapping. This song is about the response of paramedics when they get calls from poor neighborhoods compared to when they get calls from more wealthy, suburban neighborhoods. Notably, they’re always late when it comes to emergencies in the hood. Flavor Flav is no Chuck D, but he doesn’t need to be for a song like this. I give it a B.
Amerikkka’s Most Wanted-Ice Cube: After leaving N.W.A. over financial issues, Ice Cube went to New York and worked with Public Enemy’s production team The Bomb Squad for his debut solo album Amerikkka’s Most Wanted. This was a record heavy on social commentary and light on fucks to give. The title track gives you a taste of what the rest of the album is like, even if it isn’t the best track from the album. The production done by The Bomb Squad gives Cube a soundtrack for him to shine a light on how the media portrays black men. It’s a sample of the unapologetic social-poltical content of the album. I give it a B.
The Power-Snap!: How many times have you heard this song? By now, it’s been in damn near everything. The Power is Snap’s first big hit internationally, hitting number one in the U.K., Switzerland, Spain, and the Netherlands and was number two on the US charts. Setting aside the ridiculous overplay that made me tired of the song, it’s not that bad. The hook is insanely catchy even though it’s only four words: I got the power. But once you hear them, they stay in your head all day. And the percussion-heavy beat has some power, too. This isn’t my favorite Snap song, I think Rhythm Is A Dancer is better, but it’s alright. I give it a C.
We’re All In The Same Gang-The West Coast Rap All-Stars: With the success of Self-Destruction, the big names in West Coast hip-hop got together and said, “let’s make our own version.” The song is produced by Dr. Dre and features King Tee, Body & Soul, Def Jef, Michel’le, Tone-Loc, Above The Law, Ice T, N.W.A., JJ Fad, Young MC, Digital Underground, Oaktown’s 3.5.7, and MC Hammer. Everything I said about Self Destruction applies to this song as well as it has a fine message, but it’s not something I want to listen to again. Also, it’s kinda ironic to see a couple of gangsta rappers who talk about killing people in their songs be on a song against violence. It’s funny to me. I give this a C.
Untouchable-Above The Law: Above The Law makes their second appearance with Untouchable. This is another song I would put in the okay category. An okay beat, okay rhymes, and content that isn’t half-bad. It’s not that memorable compared to Murder Rap, so I’m giving it a C.
Banned In The U.S.A.-2 Live Crew: After winning a court case that accused their music of being obscene, 2 Live Crew made Banned In The U.S.A. Get it? Born In The U.S.A., Banned In The U.S.A. Let me say this right now: this is 2 Live Crew’s best song and it’s their biggest hit to date. This song is them being more serious and stating that they’ll make the music they want to make and no one can stop them. Even if I don’t like their music or think the rapping is good, I have to respect them for this. Maybe it’s because this song doesn’t make me want to throw up, but I’m giving it a C.
Call Me D-Nice-D-Nice: Next up is D-Nice, who’s associated with Boogie Down Productions. Oh, and he’s the reason why Kid Rock exists. landing him a deal with Jive Records. Anyways, here’s Call Me D-Nice, which is a good enough song. I like the beat and D-Nice has some bars. It’s perfect for any old school hip-hop playlist. I give it a B.
Treat Them Like They Want To Be Treated-Father MC: You know the R&B group Jodeci? Well, here’s the song that put them on the map, Father MC’s Treat Them Like They Want To Be Treated. This is another hip-hop/R&B collaboration where Jodeci dominates the song while Father MC bring in some rhymes about the ladies. The song goes on a bit too long and the beat isn’t particularly that well-made. It’s getting a C from me.
The Boomin’ System-LL Cool J: You want to add something to the “bump in the whip” playlist? Here’s LL Cool J with The Boomin’ System, a song with a beat that’s guaranteed to have your system booming. LL is still bringing the bars for those who forgot that he can spit. This is one of those songs that you listen to while driving around. I give it an A.
Ice Ice Baby-Vanilla Ice: Ladies and gentlemen, the first hip-hop song to hit number one on the pop charts. This goes to show that not every hip-hop “classic” is good. I already talked about Ice Ice Baby 3 years ago. I named it the second worst hit of 1990, a decision I still stand by because of how much it sucks. Not even a decent Queen/David Bowie sample could save this song from Vanilla Ice’s weak ass flow, flubbing of rhymes, and total lack of credibility as a gangsta. I don’t have much else to say about this song. It’s getting an F from me.
Knockin’ Boots-Candyman: The radio station I listened to the most was 93.5 K-DAY, which played a lot of old-school hip-hop. One song that gets played on that station that I would always skip is Knockin’ Boots by Candyman. Yeah, I don’t like this song. It’s one of those really corny love songs tailor made for radio play, especially with a chorus that interpolates a Rose Royce song. It’s not like Candyman brings any impressive rhymes because he doesn’t. Also, this is a song whose title I keep confusing for the H-Town song Knockin’ Da Boots. Could you blame me? They both involve knocking boots. Anywho, while I don’t like this song, it’s not the worst I’ve ever heard. I give it a D.
Monie In The Middle-Monie Love: Straight out of London is Monie Love, who makes her mark with Monie In The Middle. The beat is very dancey and Monie has some skills as a rapper. In this song, Monie is stuck between two guys, one that she’s not interested in but won’t leave her alone and another guy that she’s interested in. This song was inspired by Big Daddy Kane trying to holla at her, but she wanted to holla at his dancer instead. Damn. Talk about a punch to the ego. I give this song a B.
I’ll Do 4 U-Father MC: Father MC didn’t just put Jodeci on. Another future R&B star that he worked with was Mary J Blige on the song I’ll Do 4 U. I think I like this song more than Treat Them Like They Want To Be Treated. It’s your usual love song with a beat that samples Cheryl Lynn’s Got To Be Real, a song that I really like. Not one of my favorite songs, but I’ll Do 4 U is cool. I give it a B.
The Humpty Dance
Ice Ice Baby
And those were the number one songs on the Hot Rap Songs chart of 1990. Next week, we look at the number one songs on the Hot Rap Songs chart of 1991.