Sorry about the absence of a column last week; there was a family get-together over the weekend. Since I was leaving on Thursday, I’d intended to write something on Wednesday night and have ready for Friday. Sadly, it slipped my mind until way too late.
Anyway, at said family gathering I spent a ton of time with one of my cousins. Being the guy that I am, I asked beforehand if she wanted me to bring any music, to which she replied vaguely that up-tempo stuff would work really well for the kitchen. I responded that “up-tempo” was way too broad for a guy with a collection of my size. She didn’t narrow it down, but I managed to make a couple of mixes for the occasion.
On Friday afternoon we went out to get some pizza and the topic of music came up. We talked about how much hip-hop had changed and how wack it was now. (Ok, I’m adding my own two cents there, she actually just said that it was “hard to get into now.”) And then she blew my mind; she told me how much she enjoyed a mixtape I’d made for her.
Then, after we left the pizza place, she went in her trunk and pulled out a case of tapes, found the tape in question and popped it in. It was a trip.
Now, it blew my mind for a couple reasons. Firstly, I didn’t remember making her a tape. Secondly I was slayed because she referenced one of my favorite songs, which “sounds like it’s from a video game.” And lastly she really swelled the ego when she told me how she’d worn the tape out, old-school fashion.
As far as I can piece together, I made the tape specifically because I was going up to Lafayette for my Spring Break ’98 (it was great having cousins in PA when I was in MD). I’m pretty sure I made it for the long bus ride. Anyway, it’s a dope little snapshot into me from 11 years ago.
Here’s the Hip-Hop side
DJ Honda featuring De La Soul – “Trouble on the Water”
Wow. I’m really surprised that this is the song that I chose to start things off with. I honestly can’t say I remember anything about this song.
Cappadonna – “Slang Editorial”
I don’t even have this album anymore. It took me a serious minute to figure out who this was. Thank goodness for emcees always referencing themselves.
Tash, Q-Tip and Mos Def – “Body Rock”
I can remember buying this single. I still like this song. I mean, I’m really a fan of all three of these guys.
The Lox – “All for the Love”
This was the song that was reminiscent of a video game. This is still one of my all-time favorites. Jadakiss kills it and it’s one of Swizz’s best beats.
Puff Daddy and Ma$e – “Been Around the World” (Remix)
I’m pretty sure that I’ve said it before, but you’ve got to give Puff credit to have the balls to remix a song and leave the original artist off.
Az featuring Nas – “How Ya Livin”
Hearing this song made me want to completely revisit Az’s catalogue.
Gang Starr – “Work”
Another classic. My cousin told me how this got her listening to Gang Starr.
Canibus – “2nd Round Knock Out”
I’d say that is arguably the song that dates this mixtape the most. Canibus was relevant for such brief period of time. Still, it’s sort of dope
DMX – “Get at Me Dog”
Man, remember when DMX was returning the grime to hip-hop? This song made me sad about his current state of affairs.
Ma$e featuring The Lox, Black Rob and DMX – “24 Hours to Live”
Seriously, Bad Boy was killing 1998. If Kanye was smart he’d get Common, Black Thought and Mos Def to remake this song.
Busta Rhymes featuring Rampage, Ma$e and Puff Daddy – “The Body Rock”
Can you tell that I was riding with Bad Boy in 1998? For me, the worst thing about this song is that it’s got basically the same chorus as the previous “Body Rock”. It’s such an egregious oversight in the creation of a mixtape that it’s mortifying.
C’mon, cut me some slack. It was 11 years ago. If we dredged up a tape you made from 11 years ago, I’m sure it would be equally embarrassing. And I stand by this tape. It’s what exposed my cousin to Gang Starr and The Lox; It broadened her horizon a pinch, which in my book makes it a success.
Maybe one day I’ll be strong enough to brave the truly frightening other side of this tape—the alternative side. Better yet, I’ll save it for Halloween.
Tags: Busta Rhymes, Common, De La Soul, Diddy, Jadakiss, Kanye West, Mos Def, Nas, Q-Tip