100 Tracks You Need To Hear (97-99) Part II

The T.R.O.Y. Blog Presents
100 Tracks You Need To Hear Part II

1997-1999. You swear it wasn’t that long ago, but you know it might as well have been eons ago. Depending on your outlook, this is either the tail end of a gilded age or the beginning of the apocalypse. During this time, the hip hop artists born circa 1970 who catapulted the genre forward as teenagers and young adults in the ’87-’94 heyday are beginning to mellow out or gloss it up. Sampling laws are enforced more than ever but the indie labels are resolute in refusing to go the glittery route. Radio is dominated by obvious samples and tales of upward mobility and debauchery, while the underground mixshows stay saturated with eccentric rhyming clinics and surreal poetics. The divide is not entirely clean, however. In this era you can find surreal poets waxing profound on diamonds and champagne, gritty crime narratives on major label releases, and a whole host of songs that defy categorization (and a few that even defy simple explanation). This series is for those of you who know that the late ‘90s is deeper than just Organized Konfusion, Ras Kass, Mase, Nas, and Company Flow (no disrespect intended of course). This is for those of you that know that great hip hop comes from all corners of the USA and around the world, that the b-sides of overlooked 12”s and the album cuts of long forgotten tapes contain true gems. Songs that speak to our hunger for dope beats and lyrics and manage to stand out from the crowd. We made a special effort to seek out songs that you probably haven’t heard or don’t really remember too clearly, while making sure that each selection hearkens backs to the last era in which musical diversity and quality could be taken for granted. You need to hear this. Enjoy our 100 picks, coming at you at the rate of twenty five per day just in time for the holidays.

D. Auguste – Sunset
The Bostonian emcee celebrates dusk as the time to “relax and chill” and also to “step out and build” over music that sets the mood precisely.

Da Great Deity Dah – Ready To Kill

Da Ruckus & Eminem – We Shine
Life’s a b up in the D.

Danja Mowf – Make It Hot feat. Lonnie B
Supafriendz go line-4-line over this ’97 IRC favorite that you could have found in either #Dalnet, #Undernet or where Danja and Friendz would dwell, #Efnet.

Defari – Say It Twice
Evidence on another sound mission with Defair Heru deliever the goods.

Demastas – Feel No Guilt feat. Nine
Virgin Island’s hip-hop crew Demastas & Nine kicks rhymes on one of the illest piano sampled beat with a classic Audio Two sample produced by Rob Lewis who also produced many of Nine’s classics songs. This was their second 12″ but unfortunately nothing ever followed.

Devin The Dude & K-Dee – One Day At A Time
The Dude connects with MIA Ice Cube-affiliate K-Dee to kick a message everyone can relate to. Just remember to hit ’em with the dub when you see ’em out mobbin’.

Diamond D – Flowin
If you aren’t feeling this song you just weren’t meant for this life.

Digital Underground – The Odd Couple (Humpty Hump and Biz Markie)
This classic mashup of the two oddest MC’s in the hiphop game will forever be the closest that hiphop will come to making Rap-Stand-Up-Comedy.

Divine Styler – Before Mecca
The god released this banger, ripping it reminiscent to his earlier days,
and was able to pull it off with divine results. Sadly the album was way
under the radar and none of the beats quite lived up to this one.

DJ Shadow – Organ Donor (Extended Overhaul)
When “Endroducing” dropped in 1996, I always wished that “Organ Donor” was longer. Turns out there was an extended version on the “High Noon” single. Just took me a few years to find it.

Dres – Hi & Lo
It’s strange to hear such a clever MC who always has a joke on deck get deep about the low’s that he’s hit as a musician. One of Dres’ dopest tracks.

Equilibrium – Windows ’98
Ill Bill Gates rides for Equilibrium.

Finsta Bundy – Don’t Stress Tomorrow
An anthem for us who have always struggled to keep food in fridge,
it still holds weight today more than ever. But hey, don’t stress tomorrow.

Fly Guy Kool Kim – Ya Gotta Know (Dolo Fly Guy Version)
Solo track from UMC member, produced by Haas G. Equally as good was the b side “Skilz R Amazing.

Foul Play – Break It Down (Maylay Sparks)
Before Rahsheed aka Maylay Sparks got down with Ill Advised he was making noise with his original crew, Foul Play.

Frankenstein – Rain Is Gone
Frank is one of Canada’s most underrated producer/MCs and this song, his ode to the backstabbers, will show you why. Lace up your boots and zip up your goose, it’s about to get chilly.

Govna Mattic – Family Day feat. Redman, Tame One, Young Zee, Pace Won, Runt Dog & Roz Noble

Grouch – Once Upon A Rhyme
He’s far from Rakim on the mic and he’s hardly Pete Rock behind the boards. Yet somehow Grouch makes it all work, really well.

Guerilla Maab – Keep Watching Me
Z-Ro shows why heads who know still check for him in this slightly head-spinning double-time SUC exhibition.

Haiku De’Tat – Non Compos Mentis
Eschewing the abrasiveness that often characterized Freestyle Fellowship songs, Aceyalone, Ab Rude, and Mikah-9 drop mellifluous rhymes over smooth live instrumentation and the result is something transcendent yet palatable.

Handsome Boy Modeling School – The Truth feat. J-Live & Roisin Murphy
Herbaliser – 8 Pt. Agenda feat. Latryx
I-Power – Under Da Sun

Ice-T – NY NY
This track starts off with a drop by Onyx representin’ NY. You already know that Ice-T represents LA all the way to NY. Marc Live gave Ice-T the perfect beat for this type of song.

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