SLOW SUICIDE STIMULUS
"ROLL UP" FEAT. GRANDMASTER CAZ
On what was, unfortunately a forgotten record, S.S.S. (the supergroup comprised of Tame One, Yak Ballz and crew The Dusted Dons) brought Grandmaster Caz out of nowhere in for this banger which features, among other things, quite possibly the sickest piano loop this side of Enter the 36 Chambers. Put this on at a party and count the bobbing heads.
"IMPERIAL" FEAT. BUSTA RHYMES
Like Busta's baby sister, Rah kills it on "Imperial," her debut single (and, in some ways, her final single). Under the close guidance of a fiery and ferocious Busta, Rah sounds golden on the hook and that signature bass-heavy, broken-beat Flipmode sound permiates throughout. Rah's never sounded sexier and Busta's hasn't sounded hungrier since.
If we can't get a proper Percee release, this will have to do. Poor dude has been shopping records for years and 2007 might finally see a Percee record. I've been listening to this song for the last four years and it only features 45 seconds of Percee and comes in under a total of a minute twenty, but it's the hardest ish you've ever heard. Rapid fire lyrics, folks. Percee's like the second come of Rakim and dude keeps it raw. Straight fire. I believe the beat was a Dilla production. Song featured on the Madlib/Dilla collab entitled "Champion Sound" under Jaylib.
This frantic and ultra funky Kool Akeem production is, perhaps, his finest and I Self Divine comes hard off the cuff with a verse of pure vocal velocity. The eleventh track on their debut Obelisk Movements, "Virtualistic" can take you by surprise as the true standout track. Featuring guest spots by Stahhr and Spekt, this is the musical equivalent of an eternal backspin.
Maylay comes like a young Nas on the reflective and introspective "5034." Prestine production contributed by the lesser-known DJ Noize, everything is in the right place on "5034" which is as close to hip hop perfection as you can get. There's few people that know of this album (entitled Graymatter), but it's ill as can be. Find it.
Sage Francis explicitly describes his views of fatherhood and screaming children with the aptly titled "Disasters." The sparse production from Joe Beats paired with your typical part-angry, part-playful Sage hilarity anchors this highlight from their Lexoleum release Hope. Fantastic stuff.
LEADERS OF THE NEW SCHOOL
"SHOW ME A HERO"
The oldest song so far on the list, Leaders of the New School flew the flag for the future of hip hop back in 1991 driven by the charisma of Busta Rhymes. "Show Me a Hero" was a solo showcase of Busta's blazin' delivery. This song was clear evidence that Busta would be the first to jump ship and go dolo. When I first got this on cassette, I took it on a band trip to El Paso. I must have listened to this track probably 50 times on that trip--wearing out the rewind button on my Walkman just staring blankly out of the bus window.
Relatively unknown Jersey emcee Briz is only a couple of 12"'s deep, but "Sickness" is a brilliantly pieced track that exhibits Briz's toughness as a lyricist over a slendid loop of "White Rabbit." I only have this track on a horribly transferred mp3 and would love to own it on 12", but can't find any info anywhere. If anyone knows how I can acquire it, let me know.
It would be the track that would launch Outkast into the popular realm and cement them as the innovators of this hip hop generation. It's the paramount of Outkast tracks that perfectly draws together Dre's southern drawl and Big Boi's crunk-affinities which would be the blueprint for their next two landmark albums in Stankonia and Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
MC PAUL BARMAN
"BLEEDING BRAIN GROW"
Barman might not win me the popularity award amongst hip hop purists, but this track is "freaking awesome." His mind-warping lyricism and inflection makes him an interesting emcee and "Bleeding Brain Grows" is a great snapshot of his abilities as, not only an emcee, but also as a humorist. Any dude that uses lines like, "It's abundantly clear there's profundity here" after 8 bars of a palindrome created by using emcees' names has something going for him. Production by the great Prince Paul.