This is not a collection of hip hop instrumentals. It isn’t a collection of beats with played instruments like De La Soul’s “I Be Blowin”, nor will you hear sample-rich beats with layered pieces meshing harmoniously like the Cunnylinguists perfectly executed Remember Me [Abstract Reality]. None of these work alone. They are part of the song, “musical bridges” that usually join two halves of songs.
I’ll start this off chronologically(and then proceed to completely lose respect for father time).
1. RUN DMC – RAGTIME
Run DMC were pretty much breaking ground with each song they made on their first three albums, sometimes to amazing success. On the other hand they tried a few experiments that didn’t even dent hiphop’s history. Mixing hiphop with a Big Band sound was one of those. After hearing “Ragtime” though, I personally would not mind hearing more of these experiments 😉
2. DIGITAL UNDERGROUND – NUTTIN NIS FUNKY
Although “Same Song” would fit MUCH better in this compilation of instruments wildin’ out over hiphop tracks, I fuckin’ hate the organ sound they used on that track. Instead, “Nuttin Nis Funky” provides a great slow galloping beat for a very hiphop-ish instrument to freestyle with tranquility: The turntable. DJ Fuze is by far my favorite DJ, so I place this track on a pedestal with a plaque under it that says “DJ’s: You Will NEVER Make Nuttin Nis Funky”.
3. BRAND NUBIAN – CLAIMIN’ I’M A CRIMINAL
One thing I would never have expected was Brand Nubian + acoustic guitar solos…
4. DJ QUIK – ONLY FOR THE MONEY
Dj Quik showed you how classy and musical he could be on his second album “Way II Fonky”. In between his gangbangs, his late nite pimpin’ and his soulglo-spraying, he managed to find time to really add to his tracks with instruments.
5. MC EIHT – STREIHT UP MENACE
And now for his one time biggest enemy, MC Eiht. Yup no G, just like Quik said “you aint got no G in you”. When I heard “Streiht Up Menace”, I figured that this would be the sound of his first solo album. I was wrong.
6. TOO SHORT – ONLY THE STRONGEST SURVIVE
Also on the Menace II Society album, we have a Too Short track, produced by the Dangerous Crew who have more than earned their bragging rights with their talented musicians to add mad depth to their tracks. Did that just read bork bork? Sorry let’s let the music speak for itself!
7. D-NICE – STRAIGHT FROM THE BRONX
With his sophomore album “To The Rescue”, he pulled a Kool G Rap on us with this track. They are the same in the respect that they both utilize fake instruments played by keyboards, in this both cases being a cheesy casio-sounding saxophone.
8. KOOL G RAP – STREETS OF NY
And now for the original 5-cent sound of that jazz musician trying to impress you for some change. With those minor piano chords, I’m impressed, here’s 10 dollars, buy yerself a flask of moonshine.
9. EAZY-E – EAZY STREET
All Eazy E fans know that he’s probably funnier than he is a cold hearted killer and this freestyle “skat” leaves NO doubt behind.
10. FREESTYLE FELLOWSHIP – INNERCITY BOUNDARIES
South Central, LA, home to another gang-riddled area, gave birth to another hiphop act influenced by jazz-skatting: Freestyle Fellowship. This Daddy-O produced track (crazy huh?) lifted the whole album by 100 cool points when he made the four MC’s flow over this all-instrument played track.
11. GOLD MONEY – NOTHING
I was just mentioning this album in the Pee Wee post I did. It’s the longest in this list at 3:41, and it’s also the most unique. I say this because it’s obviously jazz, but its got this funky backbone that makes your head bop hard. The drums are tremendously Digital Underground, and make you realize that, yes, they had their clappin-snappin sound 15 years before it got overused ad-nauseam in so many 2000ish hit songs.
I have more to come, but if anyone can help me identify more of these, I would love to actually blend these together in the future.