Welcome back to another Hot Rap Songs Review. Let’s get started.
Cold Rock A Party-MC Lyte ft Missy Elliott: We all knew MC Lyte can flow, but with Cold Rock A Party, she can also make a legit party song. And it happens to be her biggest hit to date thanks to the Bad Boy remix, which still bangs 21 years later. Lyte hasn’t lost any of her MC skills as she rides the song effortlessly. Missy Elliott is featured on this song and she brings her own flavor to the song. And because it’s a Bad Boy remix, Diddy shows up. Ehh, it comes with the package. I give this song an A.
Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down-Puff Daddy ft Mase: If this list was any indication, 1997 was the year of Bad Boy Records. They were involved in nearly every song that topped the Hot Rap Songs chart. This brings us to Diddy. I respect Diddy as a businessman and he is a very important figure in hip-hop who pushed the culture forward, but I’m not a fan of his music. Take Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down for example. It’s another example of Diddy blatantly sampling a well-known song, in this case, The Message and also Break My Stride, and it’s kinda dull. The song is basically “look, I’m rich and no one can stop me.” Diddy has never been a good rapper and it shows here. Not too crazy about Mase either. This song is just wack to me and it’s staying at #9 on my Worst of ’97 list. I give it an F.
Hypnotize-The Notorious B.I.G.: In 1997, Biggie tragically lost his life in a drive-by shooting. He was set to release his second album Life After Death, which blew the fuck up upon release and scored him his first number one hit on the Hot 100, Hypnotize. This song shows Biggie at his best lyrically and it features one of the hardest beats that bumps in the whip. This shit is a banger and it has one epic music video to boot. I give it an A.
I’ll Be Missing You-Puff Daddy & Faith Evans ft 112: Let me say this: this is the best song Diddy has ever made. I’ll Be Missing You is the See You Again of 1997 as it’s a tribute to Biggie. We see Diddy at his most sentimental, mourning his old friend and thinking about all the times they had together. Along with him are Faith Evans and 112 who add a more gospel element to the song. Bringing the song together is the Every Breath You Take sample, which is honestly better than the original song to me. Hats off to Diddy for this. I give it an A.
Mo Money Mo Problems-The Notorious B.I.G. ft Puff Daddy & Mase: Here’s Biggie’s other number one hit, Mo Money Mo Problems. How I feel about the song is basically the same as how I feel about 2Pac’s How Do U Want It. It’s a good enough song, but not one of my favorites. The Diana Ross sample in the beat is dope and so was Biggie’s verse, but before we get to that, we have to go through Mase and Diddy, who are the least interesting parts of the song. It’s fine, I guess. I give it a low B.
Up Jumps Da Boogie-Timbaland & Magoo: Another song that was on my Worst of ’97 list is Up Jumps Da Boogie. Timbaland is normally a great producer, but he’s not a good rapper and it shows here. Plus, the beat he chose is one of his weaker works. Magoo sounds like a low-rate Q-Tip with his nasal rapping. The song also features Missy Elliott and Aaliyah, who don’t do anything to elevate the song to a good level. This isn’t a good song and it’s getting an F from me.
Feels So Good-Mase: I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a big Mase fan. His monotone flow doesn’t do anything for me. Yet for some reason, I don’t hate Feels So Good. The beat is an obvious sample of Hollywood Swinging, but it’s a good beat nonetheless. And that chorus is really catchy even when it came from another song. Mase himself is the weakest part of the song, but he was tolerable. I guess this song is okay. I give it a C.
Been Around The World-Puff Daddy & The Family ft The Notorious B.I.G. & Mase: And now we end with Diddy once again with Been Around The World, which samples David Bowie and Lisa Stansfield. I’ll admit this song does slap, but that’s about it. None of the verses from Diddy and Mase were that great and the intro was WAY too long. Plus, Biggie only did the hook to this song, no verse. That is a goddamn crime. Was Diddy afraid of Biggie showing him up on his own song or did they already have a verse from Biggie, but they lost it? Whatever, the song is mediocre and I’m giving it a D. This should have been a lot better.
Cold Rock A Party, I’ll Be Missing You
Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down, Up Jumps Da Boogie
And those were the number one songs on the Hot Rap Songs chart of 1997. Next week, we look at the number one songs on the Hot Rap Songs chart of 1998.