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

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

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.

Ill Advised – Mic-Adelphia
Straight from the Quake City valuts boasting a Sadat X sample and Illadelph swag.

Jedi Son of Spock & Yeshua dapoED – Spitmode
Classic late 90’s indie flava from Yesh’s ill-named protégé. The two display some amazing back-and-forth chemistry, trading verses like water over dapoED’s organic production.

Killarmy – Allah Sees Everything

Kool DJ EQ – Three Emcees feat. Casual, DEL & Xzibit
An unusual combo that works wonders.

Kool Keith – Plastic World
“Payola scams switched DJ’s like a rubber band. Everybody clear with beats trying to be Premier…”

K-Otix – Do You Wanna Be An Emcee? feat. DJ Jazzy Jeff
Texas meets Philly and asks the most common rap question.

La The Darkman – Az The World Turnz feat. Raekwon

Last Emperor – Echo Leader
Last Emp gets down for the dorks. Pop culture references abound amidst the crunching instrumental on this ’98 banger.

Living Legends – Hip Hop
Lords of the Underground – Retaliate
L’Roneous da Versifier – L’chemy

Mac Dre – Rapper Gone Bad
Fools who think Ronald Dregan could only rap about ecstasy pills and going dumb are about to get wig-flipped. While Dre is no Rakim, he proves he can easily hold his own on the centerpiece from his 1999 album of the same name. Yadadi?

Mike Zoot – The Turn Pt. 2 feat. Royal Flush
Moodswingaz – Musslin

Mountain Brothers – Thoroughbred
Styles, Peril-L & CHOPS over funky basslines break down their throughness lifting a Posdnous line from “Stakes Is High.”

Mr. Live & Tony Bones – Splashin’ Over Monica
Goofy platter from one of rap’s most underrated duos. Funky enough…for a state dinner? Echo Leader thinks so.

Murs – All Day
When Nick Carter was just having fun, sampling De La Soul and would drop lines like “on Monday nights I watch RAW (WWF) and Ally McBeal.

Neek The Exotic – Exotic Is Raw
This is Neek’s first solo record from 98′. Still down’ with Large Pro, Extra P gives him one of his best head-nodding signature beat. Neek truly shows his rawness on the mic.

No I.D. – Original Man feat. Dug Infinite
Chicago producer teamed up with his Chicago fellow, Dug Infinite, to make this very slept on album. On this track their slogan is simple: They originate, you duplicate.

Non-Phixion – How To Kill A Cop
The most prominent conspiracy theorists in rap flip Redman’s original concept to a T, trading blunts and chickenheads for Glocks and dust. Some may call it heresy, but I call it hilarity.

Outsidaz – Money Money Money
Young Zee & New Jeruz’ most maligned rap crew tear up this atmospheric ode to the green. Who says that acid and rap don’t mix?

People Under The Stairs – The Turndown
One of the funniest and doppest PUTS tracks. Have you ever experienced that kind of the turndown like they did?

Pep Love – Trinity
Hiero’s most underrated talent flows effortlessly and revives the lost of art of rap storytelling at the same time, with a biblical twist that doesn’t come off to preachy.

Planet Asia – Kalidascope
Track off Fresno’s native debut release. I will quote one of his lines: “Adjust your lenses, and analyze the scenes that I wreck.”

Pyro – Status Quotient
Chicago native and then-Harvard graduate student delivers a thesis on race relations and the corporate co-optation of hip hop, in rhyme form. It turns out much better than you’d expect.

[Download Part III here]

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