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

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

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.

R.A.W. – Linguistic Ventriloquist
Straight out of Delaware, R.A.W. drops a relentless rhyme style over a crisp, jazzy beat. A rare but very worthwhile treat.

Rakim – Waiting For The World To End
The God MC describes life in the bleak world of Wyandanche, Strong Island over understated but fitting production.

Rasco – Heat Seeking
Rezidue – Droppin Rezidue

Saafir – I’m Saafir (The Saucy Nomad)
I image some west coast G-Funk producer left his studio door open by accident, then a drunken MC walked in and recorded some fucked up vocals over the beat as a joke. Yet it worked out even nicer than any gangsta rapper could have done it.

Sach – Poetical Me
One part of The Nonce group, Nouka Basetype, now known as Sach, has dropped a cassette only album, with really dope cuts on it. On this track you can check how poetical he can be.

Scaramanga – Holdin’ New Cards

Seagram – Sleepin In My Nikes feat. Scarface
This is such a creepy track as it starts with Scarface reminding us that Seagram Miller is no longer alive, so I automatically imagine Seagram in a coffin with his nikes on. I truly think this is the coldest track in hiphop history.

Self Scientific – Degrees
Oh man, this beat was truly next level and would probably be revered by
other ‘trippy’ types of genres, if they only knew. Chase Infinite truly drops
degrees here, well after it was the ‘cool’ thing to do.

Shamus – Tight Team
New York’s obscure artist has released his first and only album, EP style. A very dark and obscure release. Two tracks, including this one were produced by Buckwild.

Slick Rick – King Piece In The Chess Game
Unfairly overlooked and underrated gem from Ricky D’s “Art Of Storytelling” album. The fact that this joint was originally released on white-label under the name “Panties Stay Wet” should be enough reason for you to listen.

Souls Of Mischief – Shooting Stars
Opio catches wreck over a most unorthodox beat, getting great mileage out of his extended metaphor and devoting the last verse to clowning Chino XL

Spice 1 – Suckas Do What They Can Real Playas feat. Yukmouth, Too Short & Rouger Troutman

Storm The Unpredictable – MC’s Be Killin Me
Oxon Hill’s greatest rapper of all-time? Boom-Bap lyrically lyrical shit that you just don’t find today. Storm was that dude.

Street Smartz – Don’t Trust Anyone
Buckwild laced a smooth melodic beat backed up by F.T rugged flow. DJ KO scratches the line “Ain’t No One We Can Trust” from Onyx’s Evil Streets for the chorus.

T Love – I’m Coming
A Kid Called Miles lays down a murky, funky banger for the West Coast femcee, off of her extremely underrated debut EP

Tasc 4orce – Root Of All Evil
Thrust – Emcee
Tony Da Skitzo – Let’s Drift

Ugly Duckling – Einstein’s Takin’ Off
Einstein leaves his physics on the side and starts his theoretical work on SP 1200.

Voodu – Introduction
Western Hemisfear rapper and producer brings to you the darkest introductio from his dark regions.

Wee Bee Foolish – The Kid

Witchdoctor, Khujo, & T-Mo Goodie – Smooth Shit
A true gem from one of the Dungeon Family’s most prolific yet ignored talents. The title alone tells you what to expect, so just kick back and vibe to the Witchdoctor’s unique blend of spirituality, smoke, and sex.

Wu-Syndicate – Where Was Heaven
All That I Got Is You Pt.2″, Mylanski talks about his young life growing up in the VA projects.

Yah Supreme – Old & Wise
Not enough can be said of this emcee who disappeared as quick as he emerged. In a class of his own, style similar to none, this song is a perfect intro to his music and a gem you should never forget.

Young Lay – Got 2 Survive feat. Mac Mall, Ray Luv & 2Pac

Underrated producer Khayree and his label Young Black Brotha Records deliever another Bay Area collabo that leaves you missing this very sound is missed today.

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