Hot Rap Songs Review: 1995

Hot Rap Songs Review

Welcome to another Hot Rap Songs Review. Let’s get started.


Big Poppa/Warning-The Notorious B.I.G.: We start off with a two-for-one special (the first of three on this list) from Biggie Smalls himself. Big Poppa is a great party song with a smooth G-funk-esque beat sampling Between The Sheets and Biggie getting his mack on with some ladies at a club. Warning, on the other hand, is basically a phone call where Biggie himself is being warned about someone plotting to kill him. Setting aside events that happened in the real world, Biggie shows off some impressive rapping over a cold beat amounting to another Biggie classic. I give Big Poppa an A and Warning an B.

Dear Mama/Old School-2Pac: Well, it took this long, but we finally run into 2Pac. Hell, most of 1995 was dominated by both Pac and Biggie. Just goes to show how big they were at the time. Anyways, Dear Mama. To me, this one of the best hip-hop songs ever made and one of the best songs to come out of the 90s. It’s a song dedicated to 2Pac’s mother and all she went through to raise him and give him a better life than she had. It has a lot of heart and I can’t help but love it. Old School is another dedication song, but towards old school hip-hop and all the memories he have with it. I don’t love it as much as Dear Mama, but it’s a good enough song paying homage to some of the pioneers of the genre that Pac dominated. I give Dear Mama an A and Old School a high B.

Keep Their Heads Ringin’-Dr. Dre: In 1995, Friday was released in theaters and it’s one of my favorite comedies of all time. And it had a soundtrack, which Dr. Dre’s Keep Their Heads Ringin’ was a part of. First off, the beat slaps. It’s more of that funky G-funk that Dre is known for. I don’t go to Dre for amazing rapping, but his (ghost-written) bars aren’t that bad. For a song like this, it’s not about the bars, but it’s about the vibe and this song has one hell of a vibe. I give it a B.

I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need To Get By-Method Man ft Mary J. Blige: One of the greatest love songs in hip-hop. Method Man and Mary J Blige took a Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell classic and made another classic with I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need To Get By. It’s the ultimate dedication to the woman who’ll stand by you, no matter the situation and Method Man delivers the sentiment very well with Mary J Blige on the chorus. I give this song an A.

One More Chance/Stay With Me-The Notorious B.I.G.: I consider One More Chance/Stay With Me to be Big Poppa part II. There’s many different versions of the song, but the one people are most familiar with is the remix. The beat to the remix samples Stay With Me by DeBarge (a song that I really like despite my criticisms of the group) and features Faith Evans, who was married to Biggie at the time. Once again, Biggie is showing off his romantic side, along with some sex talk. I give it a B.

Boombastic/In The Summertime-Shaggy: It’s kinda weird seeing non-rap songs on the hip-hop charts, but that’s a discussion for another day. Anywho, Shaggy and Boombastic. I never was really crazy about this song. It’s just okay. I think the beat is kinda weak, especially on the original version. The remix has a better beat sampling Let’s Get It On. And it’s a sex song. In The Summertime is a cover to the Mungo Jerry song of the same name. And I think I prefer the simple skiffle original because this reggae cover is also just okay. None of these songs are bad, but they’re not the best that Shaggy could do. I give them both a C.

Gangsta’s Paradise-Coolio ft L.V.: Coolio deserves a lot more credit than he’s getting. Maybe it’s the hair or the fact that he did the theme song to Kenan & Kel (love that show, BTW). Even with that, the dude’s got bangers and one of his best is also his biggest hit Gangsta’s Paradise. Like most songs on this list, I already talked about it on my 100 Best Songs of the 90s list, so I’ll be brief. Over a chilling Stevie Wonder sample and L.V. hook, Coolio capture how living in the ghetto feels, like you’re living in a nightmare that you can’t escape from as it changes you into something else. There’s a reason this song was the biggest hit of 1995. I give it an A.

Cell Therapy-Goodie Mob: Goodie Mob is based out of Atlanta and is affiliated with the Dungeon Family. Their big hit is Cell Therapy, a song about the New World Order conspiracy involving the oppression of black people. At times, there is some legitimacy in the rhymes while other times, it seems like they went full B.o.B. Never go full B.o.B. Setting that aside, the beat matches the dark tone of the rhymes and all 4 members of Goodie Mob weren’t that bad. I give this song a low B.

Hey Lover-LL Cool J: And now to wrap things up with LL Cool J working with Boyz II Men on the smooth and chill Hey Lover. In this song, LL has his eyes on a woman who happens to be in a relationship with another man. He’s having fantasies about her, but he knows that they’ll stay fantasies because this lady is in a good relationship. You could question how he knows about her and why he’s still fantasizing about her even though they won’t get together, but LL knows that even though he is one of the most famous rappers of the 90s, some things aren’t meant to be. I give this song a A.


Dear Mama


Gangsta’s Paradise, Big Poppa


In The Summertime

And those were the number one songs on the Hot Rap Songs chart of 1995. Next week, we look at the number one songs on the Hot Rap Songs chart of 1996.


6 thoughts on “Hot Rap Songs Review: 1995

  1. in terms of the hip hop charts, this was probably the best year. I’m gonna get some flack for this, but I never really thought 2 Pac was the best rapper ever. Personally, I thought there were more better MC’s than him in terms of skill, and I think he’s one of those artists that get as much attention as he does because he died very young (which is very sad, without a doubt one of the most traumatic stories in hip hop, don’t think I’m undermining that) and at the height of his popularity. That doesn’t diminish the fact that he was still a very good rapper and storyteller and Dear Mama is probably the best song he ever made. He really went into details about how he grew up with his mom and how she didn’t want him to go down the wrong path and supplied for him, and I could feel the emotion of the song and the love and appreciation he has for his mom. I really wish more hip hop songs would get into those topics instead of the tired bullshit we get on the radio these days. I haven’t heard Old School, but I’ll check it out at some point. No doubt I’ll end up liking it. Biggie on the other hand, I thought was a better rapper than Pac (and I would definitely rank him among the best rappers in terms of rapping ability), but aside from Juicy and some album cuts, he raps about the stuff rappers normally talk about on mainstream rap songs. The only difference is he’s VERY good at it almost every time. He’s one of the only rappers that can get away with an “I can steal your girl” song because you kind of want to root for the big guy, not to mention he can rap about it very well you have no choice but to side with him. Big Poppa is one of those songs. Plus, it’s all time classic. It bumps, and is still one of his best songs. Also, the sample is awesome. One More Chance is another sex rap song done right. Between the sampling, the chorus and Biggie’s rapping, he brings so much charisma to the song that I have no choice but to like it. To me these songs prove that any type of topic can be done in hip hop as long as they’re well delivered, it doesn’t always has to be about what’s going on in society or all that stuff. Honestly, those two songs alongside Juicy are my favorite Biggie songs of all-time, those songs are untouchable. I’m a fan of a lot black movies (Boyz ‘N The Hood, a lot of Spike Lee movies, and even the first two House Party movies among others rank among some of my favorite movies ever), but I’ve never seen any of the Friday movies. The only thing I know about it was that it was the movie that made Chris Tucker a star before he did those Rush Hour movies with Jackie Chan. As far as Keep Their Heads Ringing, not my favorite Dre song, but it’s still very catchy and the beat’s awesome. That Method Man and Mary J. Blige song is still an all-time classic and among the best rap love songs ever. I have the same opinion than you on Boombastic, it’s not bad, but it’s something I wouldn’t really go back to, even if I wanted to go on a 90’s nostalgia trip. The original version was pretty boring, the remixed sample was a lot better, but still I have no use for this song. Personally, I prefer Shaggy’s two #1 hits from 2001 over this. Coolio doesn’t get enough respect for being a pretty dope rapper. I’m guessing it’s because of the name, the hair and the fact that he sang some song on some kids’ movies and tv shows (by the way, Kenan and Kel is a classic and one of the best Nick shows ever, I don’t care what anyone says). Personally, I enjoyed all of his hits, but Gangsta’s Paradise was by far the best song he ever did and proved that Coolio’s more than the family friendly party rapper he’s known for. And in my opinion, it’s another one of the best rap songs ever made. I’m glad it was the biggest song of that year. The only thing I know about Goodie Mob is that they’re from Atlanta and it was the group that Cee-Lo was a part of and where he originally got famous. I’ve heard a couple of song from theirs, and they were okay, but not something I’d go back to. Not sure if I’ll check this song out. Hey Lover is another one of my favorite songs from LL, and I think this is a great contrast to all of those “I can steal your girl” songs we get nowadays. He loves another man’s girl, but actually respects the fact that she’s in another relationship and won’t interfere. I think rappers nowadays should get the hint and make more songs like this. Overall, nearly all of these songs rank among the all-time classics and brought back great memories. Can’t wait for the next review. Loving this series.

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  2. WOW with all the solid songs and nothin’ worse than a C, 1995 has to be the best in rap.
    If you wanted to do movie reviews maybe a suggestion would be reviewing vintage movies such as Friday and sharing with us your favorite movies. zthen you did a little bit with the Road to Disney series.


    1. The fact that the worst one here is a passable cover and it’s in brackets means 1995 kicked butt in a great way. Its grade almost feels like the opposite of that Billboard Top 40 review in 2017 where the best song pick was awarded to Wild Thoughts and it was in brackets too by mr maestro too.

      Say Bhop, is Coolio doing well these days? I remember there was that whole controversy Coolio had with Weird Al back then over his Amish parody of his gangster song but I still can’t figure out if it was from the label not telling Coolio that the spoof was happening or if he had a hard time taking a joke.


      1. As far as what I remember, Coolio is doing alright these days. The whole Amish Paradise thing was a big misunderstanding. Coolio and Weird Al are cool with each other.


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