Tag Archives: Gang Starr

OH, GREAT

I don’t know why, but today I inflicted the Rolling Stone “50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time” list on myself, in its entirety.  I know that “Greatest of All Time” lists are inherently dumb, and complaining about them is even dumber, but this particular one seems so especially dumb that I think it might not be excruciatingly dumb to criticize it, as long as I can keep it short and un-ranty.  So I’ll put aside as many personal biases that I can and try to actually play by the guidelines of a list like this.  These kinds of lists measure things like historical significance and cultural impact, and they worship “firsts”.  “Great” in the sense it’s used here isn’t an extreme form of “good”, it’s an attempt at objectivity about something inherently subjective by looking at factors like a song’s sales, chart positions, and the population’s general familiarity with it.  Framed in this way, it’s easy to see why lists like this are dumb, because those things aren’t what’s actually interesting about music.  But this list doesn’t even follow through on that flimsy objective.  It is unsurprisingly biased towards old guard “Golden Age” sensibilities, and yet still finds ways to overlook many obvious old school contenders as well.  Hardly any of my personal favorite songs are on that list, which is to be expected, but there are so many truly relevant-to-our-culture artists, songs, and movements that aren’t even touched on that I think it would be worthwhile to create a new list in response:

DRIVE SLOW’s Top 15 Artists Somehow Completely Ignored by Rolling Stone’s “50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time” List

1.  Too $hort

2.  Lil’ Wayne (or anyone from Cash Money)

3.  TI

4.  Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

5.  Gang Starr

6.  Goodie Mob

7.  Slick Rick

8.  Ludacris

9.  Gucci Mane

10.  Three-6 Mafia

11.  DJ Quik

12.  E-40

13.  Nate Dogg

14.  Ice T

15.  2 Live Crew

But nobody really reads Rolling Stone anymore anyway right?

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GUEST POST: INFINITE SKILLS CREATE MIRACLES

this guest post written by Matt Hall (@mattisonherenow)

Those of you that know me probably know that I’m about to turn thirty. Thinking about that upcoming milestone has led me down more than a couple of retrospective paths, which more often than not end up focusing on the music that’s been important during different stages of my life. To be honest, I don’t remember the first time I drove a car, and no offense to the girl in question, but my first kiss is a total blur, but I can vividly remember the first punk rock show I saw, the first time I heard Illmatic, and the first time I landed a kickflip like it was yesterday.

Skateboarding hasn’t always been as super prevalent with both established and imminent young rappers as it has been in the past few years, but rap has certainly been integrated into skate culture for over 2 decades. I don’t know if you hung out with skateboard dudes at all when you were younger, but I was pretty into that whole scene, and it’s really the reason that I ever got into rap music. I got into punk rock pretty young, but it was really skate videos and magazines that made me more interested stuff like Gang Starr (who I wrote about in my previous post),

Gang Starr – Above the Clouds (feat. Inspectah Deck) [from Steve Olson in Fulfill the Dream]

early Wu-Tang solo cuts,

Method Man/Ghostface Freestyle [from Harold Hunter in Zoo York’s Mixtape no. 1]

and eventually even earlier videos with dudes like Fu-Schnickens.

Fu-Schnickens – La Schmoove [from Sean Sheffey in Plan B Questionable]

Anyway, my favorite skate video of all time is from a company called Girl. The video is Mouse. If you’re interested, you can watch it in its entirety here. I promise it’s worth it. [editor’s note: he’s right]

Mouse was directed by Spike Jonze back before anybody really knew who he was, and the soundtrack is amazing. As far as I know, it’s the only skate video ever that has a (mostly) soul/R&B soundtrack instead of punk rock and/or hip hop. I can remember going to the record store at the mall (that used to exist!) to order a Cymande CD when I was 14 because of this video.

Among skateboarders, it’s mostly remembered because it helped to usher in a new era of style-heavy technical skating, but I really like it because it made me interested in music that was totally unfamiliar to me at the time. Even if you don’t feel like watching the whole thing, at least check out the soundtrack, it’s a pretty solid collection top to bottom, and every track on it still makes me more than a little nostalgic.

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GUEST POST: THE EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS – GURU OR TRICK DADDY?

this guest post written by Matt Hall (@mattisonherenow)

I was happy to see that the other day Rick answered the question I posed with my first post. Yes, I’ve got some other ideas in the bag, but to be totally honest, the past few weeks have had me thinking a little less about music, and a little more about one of my other favorite things: the NBA.

It’s been one of the most entertaining postseasons in recent memory, and with the OKC Thunder locking up the Western Conference on Wednesday night, all the focus in on the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat.

I know this isn’t a sports blog, but when I was thinking about writing a quick post this morning, I thought it would be fun to look forward to Saturday’s big game seven through the (admittedly loose) guise of listening to some tracks from my favorite Boston and Miami MCs: Guru and Trick Daddy, respectively.

Guru – The Anthem

The late Guru is definitely best known as the MC counterpart to the legendary DJ Premier in Gang Starr, but his solo albums have some really standout tracks too, like this one, “The Anthem” from his 2001 LP Baldhead Slick & da Click, which samples one of my favorite Gang Starr tracks: “You Know My Steez” (which, if you’re interested, lifts its hook and title from GZA and Method Man’s “Shadowboxin’“).

Gang Starr – You Know My Steez

I know that because of his success with Gang Starr, Guru is often associated with New York City, but as any New England rap fan will tell you, he grew up in Boston. This year’s Celtics are one of the older, wiser, and more experienced NBA teams. They have some great players and have been one of the better teams from the East for a while now. The parallels to the latter part of Guru’s career just write themselves, but I’m not going any further down this sports nerd wormhole.

Just listen to my favorite track from Miami’s Trick Daddy, “In Da Wind”, open some windows if it’s as nice out where you are as it is here, and realize that it doesn’t matter that I just wrote and erased a whole ham-fisted paragraph comparing the Miami Heat’s big three of LeBron, D Wade, and Chris Bosh with the principle members of Trick Daddy’s group the Dunk Ryders.

Trick Daddy – In Da Wind

If you’re a basketball fan, enjoy the game. I’ll be back with some more serious posts. Or Maybe I’ll try to compare all the teams competing Euro 2012 with Wu-Tang Clan affiliates. Who knows.

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