Welcome back to another Hot Rap Songs Review. Apologies for this being super late. Life and school got in the way. Also, as you’ll see, there’s a butt-load of songs on this Hot Rap Songs chart. Let’s get started.
Wicked-Ice Cube: We start off with Ice Cube and Wicked. The beat gives off a creepy, dark vibe which makes sense since the song is called Wicked. Ice Cube comes in with some hard verses that add to the atmosphere of the song. I wouldn’t call it one of my favorite Ice Cube songs, but it’s still a good song. I give it a B.
I Got A Man-Positive K: This is a song that was on my Worst of ’93 list and it’s there for a good reason. In I Got A Man, Positive K is trying to convince a woman into going out with him. But she already has a man, which doesn’t deter Positive K as he tries to get her to dump her man for him. Every argument he makes for why he’s better, she counters it with what her man can do better. In the end, he finally gives up and moved on, which he should’ve done after the first time she said she was taken. Aside from the clingy, douchey content, the beat isn’t that good and the rapping doesn’t do this song any favors. The woman’s voice you hear in the song? That’s not an actual woman, that’s Positive K himself with a higher pitch thanks to the producers. What, he couldn’t get any female rappers on this track? This makes him look even more like a sad loser. To wrap it all up, this song is getting an F.
Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat)-Digable Planets: If there’s any rap song in the 90s that epitomizes cool, it’s The Rebirth Of Slick by Digable Planets. Everything in the song is just cool. You have the laidback, lounge club-like jazzy beat, you have the dope ass rhymes between Butterfly, Doodlebug, and Ladybug Mecca, and the insane wordplay. I’m kicking myself right now for not mentioning this song on my Best of ’93 list. I give it an A.
Informer-Snow: Again, this is another song that I’ve talked about in my Worst of ’93 list. Informer is the song that surprises me not because of the quality of the song, but because of the reception of it. A lot more people like this song than I expected. Nothing wrong with that, but me personally, I think it’s annoying. The beat’s alright, but I can’t stand Snow’s faux-Jamaican patois (yeah, I know Canada has a significant Caribbean culture that migrated there, but still) combined with him rapping so fast that it makes everything he says sound like complete gibberish. And this is about the time Snow went to jail for attempted murder, which is something that did really happen. I don’t like this song and what pisses me off is that it cockblocked the next song I’m going to talk about from being number one on the Hot 100. I give Informer an F.
Nuthin’ But A G Thang-Dr. Dre ft Snoop Dogg: The song that made gangsta rap bigger than it was previously. To say that Dr. Dre changed rap with The Chronic would be an understatement and this song is part of the reason why. This made Snoop Dogg a big name in rap as he stole the show immediately with a memorable verse. You’re rapping the first verse right now, are you? Dre wasn’t so bad, either, but he doesn’t need to outshine Snoop lyrically because he blessed us with one of the best beats in rap. The beat is classic West Coast. Once you hear that synth riff, you know shit’s about to get real. A culturally significant song and a classic for years to come. I give it an A.
Throw Ya Gunz-Onyx: Dude, Onyx was the shit. Their songs are the life of the party. Just look at their debut single Throw Ya Gunz. The beat is grimey East Coast. Fredo Starr, Suave, and Sticky Fingaz bring a lot of energy to the track. As good as Throw Ya Gunz is, it’s not Onyx’s most hype song, though. We’ll get to that eventually. I give this song a B.
Time 4 Sum Aksion-Redman: Now for another classic from Redman. Time 4 Sum Aksion. I love how this beat flips that Cypress Hill sample and make it slap even harder. Hell, I actually like this song more than the Cypress Hill song. And Redman matches the hype sound of the beat with his rapping. It amounts to one of Redman’s hardest bangers. I give this song an A.
It Was A Good Day-Ice Cube: Hard to believe that the biggest hit from Ice Cube, the former member of N.W.A., the world’s most dangerous group, was about a good day in the hood. Yeah, that’s exactly It Was A Good Day in a nutshell. With a chill beat that utilizes a dope ass Isley Brothers sample, Ice Cube raps about the one good day he had. No drama, no bullshit, just getting paid and laid and having a good time. We’ve all experienced good days, even those of us from the hood. It Was A Good Day is an all-time hip-hop classic and I give it an A.
Down With The King-Run-DMC ft Pete Rock & CL Smooth: In the 80s, Run-DMC were the biggest rap group in the world. They were part of the reason rap became as big as it was. In the early 90s, they were starting to fade as the sound of the genre changes. They teamed up with Pete Rock & CL Smooth for their second-biggest hit to date in Down With The King. The song is fine. It has a good beat and the rapping ain’t that bad. But it’s just weird to see Run-DMC try to fit in with the 90s. I always associate them with the 80s. That’s just me. The song isn’t bad, but it’s not their best, either. I give it a C.
How I’m Coming-LL Cool J: It’s pretty obvious that LL Cool J ruled the 90s, seeing more success during this decade than in the 80s. But of all of his hits, How I’m Comin’ isn’t one I would call one of my favorites. Not because it’s bad. It’s a fine enough song with a banging beat and LL does go hard with the bars against the competition. But the song doesn’t have much replay value for me when compared to his other songs. I give it a high C.
Typical Reasons (Swing My Way)-Prince Markie Dee and Soul Convention: Anyone remember The Fat Boys? They were a group from the 80s who had mostly silly, lighthearted songs (some of them about eating because fat) and one of their members, The Human Beat Box (R.I.P.), does, well, beatboxing. For some strange reason, Jay Z and Nas are nostalgic about them. Anywho, when the Fat Boys broke up, Prince Markie Dee went solo and this brings us to Typical Reasons (Swing My Way). This is a song where Prince Markie Dee is chatting with a woman who’s clearly in an abusive relationship and suggesting that she leave him. This could’ve gone down Treat You Better territory if it wasn’t for the details in the lyrics, which are reasonable. Add in a smooth new jack swing beat and this song is actually really good. I give it a high B.
Deeper-Boss: Detroit’s own Boss is one of those “blink and you’ll miss it” rappers. She scored two hits and then disappeared. The first one was Deeper, which samples Barry White and is about Boss looking for a way to deal with stressful issues. I’m kinda digging Boss’ aggressive flow and style. It adds a lot of grit to the music. We need more female rappers like her and her career should’ve lasted longer. Oh, well. I give this song a B.
We Getz Buzy-Illegal: Here, we have another rap duo of kids, Illegal. Kind of a funny name. They set themselves as the hardcore alternative to groups like Kris Kross, Da Youngstas, Another Bad Creation, etc. Those groups are dissed in Illegal’s We Getz Buzy, which winds up being average with an okay beat and okay rapping. Also, Erick Sermon contributes a verse and he feels out of place even though he produced the track. This song gets a C from me.
Lots Of Lovin’-Pete Rock & CL Smooth: Next up is Pete Rock & CL Smooth with Lots Of Lovin’. This is a really well-produced track. From the keys to the flutes, Pete Rock did one hell of a job with this production. CL Smooth brings in the bars as he serenades that special someone in his life. Add this to the list of great rap love songs that’s tasteful and actually romantic. I give it an A.
Passin’ Me By-The Pharcyde: The West Coast wasn’t all gangsta rap. There’s also The Pharcyde, who I like to consider the West Coast’s answer to A Tribe Called Quest. They went their own alternative route and crafted a loyal following. This is their hit Passin’ Me By. I like how chill the beat is flipping this sample.
All four verses talk about that feeling when you have a crush on a girl who’s way above your level. It’s something a lot of people (myself included) can relate to. If you’re tired of the gangsta rap, then check out The Pharcyde. They’re really dope. I give this song an A.
Slam-Onyx: There are certain songs that were crafted to bring out the beast in people and Onyx did that with Slam. This is a certified banger. Every time I hear this song, I have the urge to go crazy and break shit. The beat is hype, all the verses are energetic and raw, and it has one of the catchiest choruses out there, which makes it even more memorable. Nothing else needs to be said. Slam is awesome and I give it an A.
Bonnie & Clyde/IBWin’ Wit My Crewin-Yo-Yo: We get one of two double tracks starting with Yo-Yo. Bonnie & Clyde is another collaboration with Ice Cube and they talk about being a ride-or-die couple like Bonnie & Clyde. It’s a perfectly fine track, but not one of my favorites. IBWin’ Wit My Crewin is a better song, but even then, I still consider it okay. Both songs have okay rapping and beats, but they’re not exactly anything I would listen to again. They’re both getting a C from me.
Insane In The Brain-Cypress Hill: And now we’ve reached Cypress Hill’s best known song Insane In The Brain. This is perfect stoner music thanks to the psychedelic beat. The rapping mostly revolves around going crazy and getting high. Apparently, the song was a diss to Chubb Rock according to B-Real and Sen Dog’s verse was aimed at Kid Frost, another Hispanic rapper. Kinda ruining the buzz there, fellas. Anyways, I give this song a B.
Ruffneck-MC Lyte: MC Lyte returns with something a bit more hardcore with Ruffneck. In this song, Lyte talks about wanting a guy who’s tough and doesn’t give a fuck. It has some of her rawest, hard-hitting bars to date. This beat kinda goes hard. Funny enough, it’s produced by Wreckx-n-Effect. Seriously. From Rump Shaker to this, they’ve improved their production game. I give this song an A.
Check Yo Self-Ice Cube: Another song that I know of because of GTA: San Andreas. That game was responsible for a good chunk of my music taste. I first heard Check Yo Self by Ice Cube before The Message, which this song samples. Actually, that was the remix, which I’ve heard for the longest. The original song has a different beat which is honestly kinda weak. Yeah, I like the remix more. It just bumps. The rhymes are the hardcore gangsta shit you expect from Ice Cube. Oh, and Das EFX show up for the chorus. I have a nostalgic connection to this song, so I’m going to give it a B.
Alright-Kris Kross ft Super Cat: Let me get this out the way first: Kendrick Lamar did Alright better. Anyways, back to Kris Kross. They’re here with Alright. This is a fine enough song with a good chorus from reggae artist Super Cat. The rapping from both Daddy Mac and Mac Daddy are good as they’re rapping about being positive, though it has a diss aimed at Da Youngstas that’s really unnecessary. I give this song a high C.
Grand Groove/At Large-Intelligent Hoodlum: Now for the final two-for-one offer on this post from Intelligent Hoodlum, later known as Tragedy Khadafi. Grand Groove and At Large are both okay songs. They both have good rapping and fine enough beats, but they’re not particularly memorable or anything I want to listen to again. These are songs that are a product of the early 90s and deserves to stay there. I give both songs a C.
Chief Rocka-Lords Of The Underground: Now here’s a song that I know of because of NBA Street: Vol. 2, Lords Of The Underground’s Chief Rocka. The beat is gritty, scratchy, and jazzy, which fits perfectly for East Coast rap. The verses show off some really dope lyrical roller coasters from both Mr. Funkee and DoItAll as they flex their skills and brag about being the best and loving hip-hop. Songs like this reaffirm my love of hip-hop because it shows what the genre can be at its best. I give it an A.
Flow Joe-Fat Joe: Oh, Fat Joe. What a waste of potential. Look, he’s not a bad rapper. No, he IS a good rapper. My issue with him is that he doesn’t have a distinct style for himself. Whenever I listen to most Fat Joe songs, I get the feeling that he’s just following trends instead of making them. Flow Joe is a perfect example of this. It sounds like a lot of East Coast songs of the time. The beat does bump and Fat Joe does show some good rapping, but there’s not much distinct personality to this song that makes me want to listen more. I give it a C.
Recipe Of A Hoe-Boss: Now for the second Boss hit, Recipe Of A Hoe. Honestly, I like Deeper more. This song isn’t bad: the beat is chill and laidback and Boss brought the rougher rhymes again. But I can’t say that this is as good as Deeper. Still, it’s a good enough song and I give it a B.
Valley Of The Skinz-Trends Of Culture: Out of all of the songs here, this is the one where I found the most difficulty finding information on. Neither Trends Of Culture or this song Valley Of The Skinz have a Wikipedia article and my Google searches resulted in a dead end. Hell, I can’t even find the lyrics to this song. That’s not a good sign. So how’s the song? Well, it’s not that good. The beat’s really weak and none of the rapping is that impressive. Because I can’t find the lyrics anywhere, I’m left guessing what the song is about. I could be wrong, but I think sex is involved. It doesn’t really matter in the end because I’m bound to forget about it after this. I give it a D.
What’s Next-Leaders Of The New School: And now for What’s Next, the final hit from Leaders Of The New School before they broke up and Busta Rhymes went solo. Once again, Busta Rhymes is the star of the show, which makes the other three rappers look insignificant by comparison. The other verses were good, BTW. Honestly, this is another song that I would put in the okay category since it doesn’t stand out that much compared to other songs. I give it a C.
Stay Real-Erick Sermon: While producing for Redman and other artists, Erick Sermon of EPMD fame was working on a solo career and got his first hit with Stay Real. This features one of the hardest beats that Sermon has ever made and he doesn’t slouch on the bars, either. Dude was a legit double threat and this song shows it. I give this song an A.
Shoop-Salt-N-Pepa: Now for my favorite Salt-N-Pepa song, Shoop. Most contemporary audiences know this song because of Deadpool and that can only be a good thing because this song is great. Banging beat, dope ass bars from both Pepa and Salt (there’s also Big Twan, who was good enough), and it’s really tasteful for a song about sex. Seriously. This is one of the few rap songs about sex that doesn’t make me want to throw up and it’s from the ladies. Great job. I give it an A.
What’s My Name-Snoop Dogg: After stealing the show on the entirety of The Chronic, Snoop Dogg released his debut album Doggystyle, which became a smash hit. The first single from that album was What’s My Name. It’s one of the funkiest gangsta rap songs out there thanks to its beat, which is very heavy on its Parliament influences and samples. Snoop Dogg brings in his smooth and cool flow with the typical topics of gangsta rap: getting high, killing dudes, sex, etc. This song made it clear that Snoop was here to stay. I give it an A.
Nuthin’ But A G Thang
It Was A Good Day, Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like That)
I Got A Man
Informer, Valley Of The Skinz
And those were the number one songs on the Hot Rap Songs chart of 1993. Next week, we look at the number one songs on the Hot Rap Songs chart of 1994.