Not that you shouldn’t just watch the whole thing, but to me this was the most memorable moment from Ice T’s “Something from Nothing – The Art of Rap“.
Nas – Response to: “Why Do You Think Rap Isn’t Respected?”
Here’s a much earlier example of some seriously stripped-down composition by what many consider to be “the first gangsta rapper“.
Schooly D – P.S.K. What Does It Mean?
PSK actually stands for “Park Side Killers”, the gang that Schooly D repped at the time of the creation of his first album. Ice T credits “PSK” as his inspiration for making this seminal hit that came out the following year.
Ice T – 6 in the Mornin’
The influence is pretty obvious, but not quite as obvious as this one, which came about a decade later.
The Notorious B.I.G. – B.I.G. Interlude
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
5. Gang Starr
6. Goodie Mob
7. Slick Rick
9. Gucci Mane
10. Three-6 Mafia
11. DJ Quik
13. Nate Dogg
14. Ice T
15. 2 Live Crew
But nobody really reads Rolling Stone anymore anyway right?
If you were at Soul Clap this last week you probably noticed some of this, but just in case you weren’t or wanted some more explanation, here ya go.
I got a hot tip early in the day that this dude Ben was gonna be celebrating his birthday at Soul Clap that night, and if I played 99 Problems for him he’d be real stoked. So I was like “tight” and when I was at home gettin ready for the set, I was thinking I’d throw in this track in the middle cuz I figured maybe not a lot of people know that Jay quotes the whole first few lines of this track in the third verse.
UGK – Touched
Then, as I was plannin all that out, I happened to stumble across this little tune from way back in 1993 (over 10 years before the Jay-Z version):
Ice T – 99 Problems
I mean I was pretty surprised when I found out about that UGK song, but it’s crazy knowing that Jay borrowed the WHOLE HOOK to an older song for his hook. No disrespect intended though, Jay does somethin totally different with it, and I feel like their songs don’t feel the same at all and there’s a lot of awesome original shit in Jay-Z’s version. Just wanna give credit where it’s due. Go ahead, Ice T.