10 Rap Songs That Would Be As Big (Or Bigger) Today As When They Came Out
Master P (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
Last weekend, I found myself in an actual (and serious) conversation about the merits of No Limit Records. I’m a southerner so I have a vast appreciation for the house that Master P built in terms of what it did for budding entreprenuers on a national scale (and by national I mean east coasters, southern and west coasters have been on that independent hustle game for years) and what it did for shining a very bright spotlight on the South.
We can all disagree on what No Limit-era forward hip-hop has done to the rap game, but it doesn’t matter. The game is where it is. IT’S MARRIED NAHW! In terms of this discussion about No Limit Records, I found myself in a discussion about the good, the bad, and the ugly of most of the catalog of the label. I’ll also spare you that conversation. But what did come out of it was a comment about how great “Make “Em Say Uhh!” was as a song. Love or hate No Limit, that song is hype as hell and when Mystikal comes at the end if you don’t want to start running into things and yelling at them loudly and inarticulately, you’re not doing this life thing right. My boy said, “look, if that song comes out today…it’s still as big as it was in 1998(!!!!)!”
I couldn’t disagree.
So it’s leading the charge of 10 songs that would be as big (or bigger) today as whan they were released.
1. Master P featuring Silkk The Shocker, Fiend, Mia X, Mystikal – “Make ‘Em Say Uhh!” (from Ghetto D released in 1997)
Fight me. Hype beat. Dope verses (except for Silkk The Shocker, but he sucked on literally everything he’s ever rapped on, ever). And you can’t deny the horns.
2. Juvenile – “Back Dat Azz Up” (from 400 Degreez released in 1998)
Easy pick here because of how it gets the people going with its provocation no matter where you are, but this song is 16 years old. That’s amazing. The reason Lil Wayne is around right now is because this song exists. I truly believe that. We just don’t get family-fun ass anthems like this anymore. And remember, back in the day, they actually made entirely different clean versions. Today? Not so much.
3. C-Murder featuring Snoop Dogg and Magic – “Down 4 My Niggaz” (from Trapped In Crime, released in 2000)
Do you know I used to think this was Fiend’s song? I have no clue why. Either way. SNOOP DOGG AND BOSSALINE. It’s got a hook that nwords today would love to yell out in this time where songs like “We Dem Boyz” – a very…never mind – are popular. Wiz Khalifa is starting to look like a girl, by the way. If he and Young Thug make music together, I’m gonna start asking questions. Purple hair? No.
4. T.I. “What You Know” (from King, released in 2006)
Maybe a little cheating here becauset his song isn’t even 10 years old, but it is almost 10 years old and it was such a force to be reckoned with in 2006, I feel like it would kill the game today.
5. Jay-Z “U Don’t Know” (from The Blueprint, released in 2001)
Very few songs where Jay is just spittin’ make it into the clubs. That’s usually reserved for the Neptunes and Timbaland produced songs and latter “Niggas In Paris” style songs. But this song always manages to make it into club mixes and despite the inability to really dance to it, niggas ALWAYS go NY in December hardbody when its playing. I’m calling it. If released today, it would still knock.
6. Cam’ron “Oh Boy” (from Come Home With Me, released in 2001)
I still remember the first time I heard this song. It was so brash. So ignorant, so Harlem. It was Cam’ron. I was a Cam’ron fan, but this song took me over the top into Dipset standom. I feel like if it were released today it would still kill because it feels like something that the ASAP folks would drop if they had better beat selection.
7. Outkast “Elevators (Me & U)” (from ATLiens, released in 1996)
Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe a stretch? Yo no se. All I know is that the way this song impacted in 1996, it changed the trajectory of Outkast’s career. It was so dope and so different that I also remember exactly where I was (down to the parking space) when I first heard this on the radio in 1996.
8. Puff Daddy featuring Jadakiss, Sheek Louch, Lil Kim, and Biggie – “It’s All About The Benjamins (Remix)” (from No Way Out, 1997)
Some shit is just undeniable. This record? Undeniable. Dope beats, dope rhymes, what more do y’all want?
9. DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince – “Summertime” (from Homebase, released in 1991)
Perfect feel good song. No urban summer is truly official until the first time you hear this song. The thing is, and why I think it would be as big today, is that this song is perfect because it sounds like summer through and through. Will Smith ain’t exactly the best rapper ever, and “Brand New Funk” this ain’t, but it catches the mood perfectly. I think it would still work today. I could be wrong. Alas.
10. 2Pac – “Dear Mama” (from Me Against The World, released in 1995)
Greatest mama song in hip-hop history, bar none. The song against which all mama songs are measured and ultimately fail against. 2Pac had better songs, but none that mattered as much for the sake of history. And it was so heartfelt I feel like it would sound as good today as it did back then. How do I know this? Because I hear it every year and it still sounds as good. Also, 90 percent of Black males relate to this song. That’s the win. And thugs need a way to tell their mama that they love her. Perfecto.
Agree? Disagree? What would you have on the list?