Welcome back to another Hot Rap Songs Review. Let’s get started.
Tonite’s Tha Nite-Kris Kross: By this point, it’s clear that Kris Kross would never recreate the success they had with Jump and that didn’t change with Tonite’s Tha Nite. It’s a pretty average song with a beat that fuses hip-hop and R&B. The verses and chorus weren’t anything that special. This would be Kris Kross’ last hit and it’s probably for the best. I give it a C.
Get Money-Junior M.A.F.I.A.: While Biggie is one of the greatest rappers of all time, not everything he touched was gold. He had a group called Junior M.A.F.I.A., which includes Lil Kim and childhood friend Lil Cease. Their big breakthrough is Get Money, which isn’t a good track. The beat’s kinda dull, the chorus annoys me with those high-pitched voiced saying “fuck bitches, get money” (which makes up a good chunk of rap’s content), and less-than impressive verses from both Biggie and Lil Kim. None of the other Junior Mafia members have a verse and when the remix was released (which featured a different beat, new verses, and was better overall), only Lil Cease showed up. This is a disappointment overall and I give it an F.
Woo Haa!! Got You All In Check/Everything Remains Raw-Busta Rhymes: Now we’re getting into solo Busta Rhymes, which is the best. The dude has a ton of personality along with a ridiculously flexible flow that makes his songs fun to listen to. Plus, his music videos were A-1. You want an example of that? Look at Woo Haa!! Got You All In Check. This song has a ton of energy that’s just infectious. Every time I hear this song, I can’t stop moving around to the beat, which slaps like a motherfucker. How can you not say “WOO HAA!! WOO HA!!” whenever the chorus comes around? Even though he’s not really saying anything, Busta Rhymes just kills it. You know how to make a crazy song even crazier? Make a remix with Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Everything Remains Raw is more laidback thanks to the beat, but Busta retains that same crazy flow. I give Woo Haa!! an A and Everything Remains Raw a B.
5 O’Clock-Nonchalant: I’ll admit that I had no idea that this song existed. Here’s 5 O’Clock by Nonchalant, another rapper who came and went in the blink of an eye. This song was her only hit and while it isn’t the best song ever, it’s good enough. It’s a song where Nonchalant confronts a dude for being a hustler. There’s also two other rappers who play the role as the hustler and why they chose that lifestyle. Nonchalant counters their argument by saying that the instant gratification of that quick money isn’t worth it when you have no future and all you’re doing is killing your own brothers and sisters. This song seems to have been mostly forgotten, but I think it’s worth checking out. I give it a B.
Tha Crossroads-Bone Thugs-n-Harmony: Bone Thugs stood out among the crowd with their more melodic, fast-paced rapping style, which helped them succeed. Their biggest hit is Tha Crossroads, a song dedicated to all those who have passed away. For Bone Thugs, it was dedicated to their friend and also Eazy-E, who died of AIDS the year before. The beat fits the subject matter, being mournful and piano-driven. One of the best tribute songs ever made and it’s getting an A from me.
How Do U Want It/California Love-2Pac: By this time, 2Pac was out of jail and signed to Death Row Records where he released All Eyez On Me, the first double-disc album by a solo rap artist and one of the few rap albums to be certified diamond (that’s 10 million records sold). It included the smash hits How Do U Want It and California Love. How Do U Want It has never been one of my favorite 2Pac songs. It does have a banging beat, a catchy chorus from K-Ci & JoJo, and 2Pac doesn’t sound that bad, though the content is the same sex and money talk that would make up some of his songs along with shots thrown at people like C. Delores Tucker and Bob Dole, who were very critical of gangsta rap. California Love is a goddamn banger and the official California anthem (I don’t care what anyone says). featuring an infectious hook from the late Roger Troutman and a banging beat from Dr. Dre, sampling Joe Cocker and West Coast Poplock, and hard-hitting verses from Dre and Pac. Plus, the Mad Max-inspired music video is awesome. I give How Do U Want It a low B and California Love an A.
Elevators (Me & You)-OutKast: Andre 3000 and Big Boi continue their rise as OutKast with the release of their second album ATLiens, which features Elevators (Me And You). The beat has a laidback, spacey groove that sets a chill atmosphere. Andre and Big Boi work off each other’s verses like yin and yang, making their way through the rap game in order to give their families a better life. This would be one of many classics that OutKast would make in their career and it’s getting an A from me.
Loungin-LL Cool J: Next up is LL Cool J with Loungin. This song is best known by its remix, which I think is a lot better. I love how chill and summery the beat is. You can thank the Trackmasters for that. And it’s perfect for the chorus performed by Total. LL is getting his mack on some chicks whose boyfriends are stuck in the money. Yeah, this involves stealing another dude’s girlfriend, but you’re rooting for the thief in this situation. Another great LL Cool J song and I’m giving it an A.
Bow Down-Westside Connection: Ice Cube, WC (pronounced dub-c), and Mack-10 make up the rap trio Westside Connection and their big hit is Bow Down. All three assert their dominance in the rap game and tells the competition to “bow down to some niggas that’s greater than you.” Add in a bumping G-funk beat and you have a song worthy of kings. I give it an A.
Po Pimp-Do Or Die ft Twista & Johnny P: Here’s another song that I forgot existed, Po Pimp by Do Or Die. I don’t like it. The beat is kinda limp, all of the rapping is based around pimping, and I wasn’t too crazy about Do Or Die and Johnny P. The best performer in the song is Twista, but even that couldn’t rise this song above mediocrity. I give it a D.
Street Dreams-Nas: You don’t see a lot of Nas on the charts, mainly because he doesn’t try to chase the charts, for the most part. In the late 90s, his music went more mainstream to the disapproval of fans. Granted, I Am and Nastradamus sucked, but It Was Written has some dope joints like Street Dreams, which is all centered on drug dealing. Nas once again brings the detailed bars to this song. One of the big criticism of Nas songs are the beats, which is valid in some cases, but I think the beat to this song isn’t that bad. The song has a remix with R Kelly, which he performed on All That. Seriously.
I give Street Dreams an A.
No Time-Lil Kim ft Puff Daddy: I’m going to be honest, I’m not a big Lil Kim fan. I’m not saying she’s bad, but her music was just not for me. It’s cool to see a female rapper talk about explicit sex to bring a different perspective from her male peers, but I don’t want to listen to it. No Time was pretty much a taste of what’s to come from Lil Kim. I should’ve phrased that better, but you know what I mean. The beat is really weak, you have Diddy on the hook, and lyrics all revolve around materialism and sex. I’m not feeling this overall. I give it a D.
Elevators (Me And You), California Love
And those were the number one songs on the Hot Rap Songs chart of 1996. Next week, we look at the number one songs on the Hot Rap Songs chart of 1997.