Welcome back to another Hot Rap Songs Review. Let’s get started.
Dangerous-Busta Rhymes: We start with Busta Rhymes and Dangerous. It’s another classic Busta record with insane bars and a sparse beat that matches Busta’s energy. He’s not really saying much, but goddamn, his flow is crazy dope. Fun fact: the chorus was inspired by a pill safety PSA from the 80s. Thought that was interesting. Like a lot of Busta Rhymes songs, it has one crazy ass music video, which was directed by Hype Williams. I give this song an A.
Father-LL Cool J: Father by LL Cool J is a song focused on LL’s father and how much of an abusive deadbeat he was. This is something that some people, especially in the inner city, could relate to. This is one of LL’s more somber songs thanks to its subject matter, the gospel-like chorus, and a beat that samples Father Figure by George Michael. Yeah, this is miles better than the original. I give this song a B.
Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)-Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz: This is one of those songs that I forgot existed and glanced over when going through the Year End list of 1998. Let’s change that. Deja Vu (Uptown Baby) by Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz. I really like this song. I dig how the beat flips Steely Dan’s Black Cow to this modernized (for the time) East Coast beat. The verses from Peter Gunz and Lord Tariq are both really dope as they represent the Bronx. I give this song an A.
Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It-Will Smith: I am a Will Smith fan both as a rapper and an actor. That is something I will freely admit. Tell you the truth, though? Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It is not one of my favorite songs from his. Don’t get me wrong, the beat is funky and the chorus is kinda catchy, but it doesn’t have much replay value and it hasn’t aged well. Also, it’s extremely corny. A lot of Will Smith’s songs have a certain level of corn that I can stomach, but this is too much. You know how there’s the term dad rock? Well, here’s its hip-hop equivalent, dad rap. I mean, come on. Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It? The word “jiggy” was outdated even in the 90s. Whatever. The song isn’t bad, but I won’t listen to it again, either. I give it a C.
Romeo And Juliet-Sylk-E Fine ft Chill: One of the most forgettable songs ever. Yeah, Romeo And Juliet didn’t leave much impact on me. It’s another hip-hop love (sex) song that obviously doesn’t realize that both Romeo and Juliet die at the end of the story. Seriously, why don’t some realize that being compared to two lovestruck brats who commit suicide for each other is not a good thing? As for the rest of the song, the beat’s really dull, Sylk-E’s flow is stilted, and Chill gives us a chorus that’s just there. I’m guaranteed to forget about this song after this. I give it a D.
Turn It Up (Remix)/Fire It Up-Busta Rhymes: Another day, another dope ass Busta song. Despite its title, Turn It Up (Remix)/Fire It Up is just one song. The beat is centered on a sample of the Knight Rider theme and it slaps like a motherfucker. Even more hype is Busta Rhymes, who injects a lot of energy to the track. Busta in the 90s was the shit, bro. I give this song an A.
Money, Power & Respect-The LOX ft DMX & Lil Kim: I’m not too familiar with The LOX. I do know of Jadakiss and Styles P from their appearances on other people’s songs but I never checked out their music individually and as The LOX. Anywho, Money, Power & Respect. It’s alright. It’s all centered on what the title says; money, power, and respect. You got an East Coast beat, servicable bars from all members of The LOX, Lil Kim on the hook, and a special appearance from DMX. Not one of my favorites, but I don’t mind it. I give it a C.
Raise The Roof-Luke ft No Good But So Good: Oh, look. A song that made my Worst of ’98 list. Raise The Roof is one of the last Miami bass songs to ever become a hit before the genre fizzled and good riddance. Luke does his typical schtick of yelling a lot while No Good But So Good give out subpar verses. The issue with this song is that it’s so derivative of other Miami bass songs that it doesn’t stand out among the crowd. I give it an F.
I Got The Hook Up-Master P ft Sons Of Funk: No Limit was so big at the time that they made a movie. And that was just one of 8 movies that they did. Seriously. One of those movies is called I Got The Hook Up (which I haven’t watched). And it has a soundtrack with the title track. Yeah, I’m not a Master P/No Limit fan. I respect their hustle, but most of the music they made was just horrible. I Got The Hook Up is no exception. And guess what? It’s a “thugs need love, too” song. That’s just terrific. A love song from a guy who sounds constipated while he’s rapping. Add in some generic singers in Sons Of Funk and a piss-poor beat and we get ourselves another awful Master P song. This is getting an F from me.
Come With Me-Puff Daddy ft Jimmy Page: Straight out of that awful 90s Godzilla movie is Come With Me by Diddy. The production is basically a ripoff of Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir. They didn’t even try to take the song to a different level, they just copy and pasted it note by note. Hell, Jimmy Page is involved with this song and you could tell he wasn’t trying. I can barely understand what Diddy is saying throughout most of it because he put a filter in his voice. Honestly, just go listen to Kashmir instead because this song blows. I give it an F.
Lookin’ At Me-Mase ft Puff Daddy: And here’s another song from my Worst of ’98 list. I already explained my feelings on Mase and this song, Lookin’ At Me, exemplifies it. The beat is the best part of the song, courtesy of The Neptunes. And that’s where my praises end because Mase once again sounds bored as he’s rapping about haters. You know? I never like songs dedicated to haters because to me, it reeks of insecurity. It’s one thing to have a line or two taking shots at them, but an entire song? C’mon, bruh. And we can’t have a Bad Boy record without Diddy involved. *sigh* i give this song an F.
Just The Two Of Us-Will Smith: LL Cool J isn’t the only rapper on this list to have a song about a father. There’s also Will Smith with Just The Two Of Us, which is much more lighter than Father. This song reworks the Grover Washington Jr. and Bill Withers song of the same name and focused it on his relationship with his oldest son. It’s a bit corny, but it has a lot of heart to it and it’s really hard to hate on it. It’s nice to see more positive songs about dads. I give it a B.
Superthug-Noreaga: I never gave much though to Noreaga or NORE. I know of him and a few of his songs, but I never sought out his music. But I do remember Superthug. This was the time that The Neptunes first became prominent producers and to be honest? This shit bangs. You can see why The Neptunes became go-to producers in the late 90s and 2000s. They manage to bring an exotic style that matches NORE’s style. Speaking of, don’t sleep on NORE. Dude’s got some bars. It’s another dumb club songs and it does its job really well. I give this song a B.
Pushin’ Weight-Ice Cube ft Mr. Short Khop: In terms of music, Ice Cube was at his peak in the early 90s. Don’t get me wrong, he can still drop dope records, but he didn’t have the same fire he used to have on AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted and Death Certificate. Let’s look at Pushin’ Weight, which is an okay song. Cube compares pushing out records to drug dealing, a concept that isn’t new to hip-hop and would continue to be used again and again. The rhymes are there and the beat does bump, but it’s not a song that I would go back and listen to when compared to Ice Cube’s other songs. I give it a high C.
Doo Wop (That Thing)-Lauryn Hill: I’ve talked about this song twice on both my Best Songs of the 90s list and when I did a Musical Appreciation on it. I’ll be brief: it warns both men and women about those of the opposite sex who seek to take advantage of them and wanting “that thing,” whether it be money or sex. The production blends hip-hop and old school R&B excellently while Lauryn makes a seamless transition between singing and rapping, making for a track that’ll appeal to everyone. Is it really a surprise that she became as successful as she was, no matter how short-lived it was? I give this song an A.
Ghetto Cowboy-Mo Thugs Family ft Bone Thugs-N-Harmony: We conclude with Mo Thugs Family, a rap collective from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Their big hit is called Ghetto Cowboy. It’s alright, but I’d rather listen to Bone Thugs’ other songs instead. The beat includes harmonica and horse noises to give it a Western flavor and the bars are fine, I guess. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t come back to this one. I give it a C.
Doo Wop (That Thing)
Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)
I Got The Hook Up
Come With Me
And those were the number one songs on the Hot Rap Songs chart of 1998. Next week, we look at the number one songs on the Hot Rap Songs chart of 1999.