Summer, Summer, Summertime

06/27/2011


There’s a gang of songs from 1991 that haven’t gotten any airplay since ’91. There’s a few that will occasionally get a spin for nostalgia’s sake. But if there’s one that without fail gets play every year as soon as June breaks in, it’s “Summertime”. While Will Smith was getting started on bigger and better things in his career, he was still primarily known as a rap star, along with the homie Jazzy Jeff as his DJ and producer.

The first time I heard “Summertime”, I’d imagine, was the same time a lot of people heard it. Fresh Prince of Bel Air was closing up its first season, and as part of the season finale, they aired the video at the end.From then on out, it was officially the song of that summer. It hit the radio instantly and was all over the place. Even as Prince & Jeff were mostly considered to be for the “Pop Tart Charts” by then, this one hit across the board, even with the harder-edged hip-hop audience. Even if their other songs from the Homebase album pretty much fell on deaf ears, “Summertime” was the clear undeniable hit that they probably expected it to be.


Still, I’m not even sure they knew just how long this song’s shelf life was. By the mid-’90s, “Summertime” became similar to those Christmas songs that you can never seem to get away from soon as Black Friday hits. Every June, and no later than July 4th, radio and TV would break it out and sporadically start spinning it through August. The video became a classic just as the song did, and basically set the tone for every “cookout in the park” video that’s ever been made since.

Will continued dippin’ and dabbin’ into his rap career through the ’90s, but it’s mostly played the back to his other endeavors after his acting career turned out to be extra-large. Even though he had major hits prior to “Summertime” and had even bigger ones in the years afterwards, it’s this one that’s become his longest-enduring track. 20 years later, “Summertime” is still getting its obligatory summer spins, and it’s still a winner.

With a laid-back flow (that sounds a lil’ Rakim-ish if you think about it) and a sample of Kool & The Gang‘s  “Summer Madness”, Will & Jeff made a hit that might not be for all seasons, but is apparently one for any year.

Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince “Summertime” (1991) 

-D! 


She Ain’t SWV

06/11/2011


Yup… SWV‘s on the comeback trail. While the jury’s still out on how things will turn out, they’re officially steppin’ out there on this new remix of Chris Brown‘s “She Ain’t You”.  On some real shit, “She Ain’t You” has been one of my faves of this year so far, probably a no-brainer since it’s essentially a combo of MJ‘s “Human Nature” and SWV’s “Right Here” remix. Here, the Sisters With Voices come through with their side of the story, sounding like they haven’t lost a step since their early-mid ’90s heyday. Ain’t mad at it!

Chris Brown feat. SWV “She Ain’t You” (Remix) 

-D!

 


Wack-Ass Wednesday: Yo! NBA Raps

06/08/2011


As sure as it’s hot as a bitch outside, DLT90s is still here, and this is another installment of Wack-Ass Wednesday. With the retirement of Shaquille O’Neal last week, and with the NBA Playoffs in effect, no time like this week to cover what became a disturbing trend throughout the last half of the ’90s. Yeah, you guessed it: the trend in which every basketball player who could freestyle a few bars in the locker room decided it was a great idea to make music.

It all started with Shaq. One night, he’s on Arsenio talkin’ about his love for his favorite rap group of the time, the Fu-Schnickens. Next thing you know, he’s on stage rappin’ with ’em. Then, he appears on a Fu-Schnickens single called “What’s Up Doc? (Can We Rock)”, which for some odd reason was a hit. Long story short, this chain of events led to his big non-rappin’ ass dropping like five albums.

And this was no situation where some athlete just came out with a bunch of amateurish beats and lame raps. Shaq (and/or the label) knew that his shit was gonna need a LOTTA help… and that he got. As a true hip-hop fan at heart, Shaq worked with a laundry list of respected MCs and producers on his albums. This included Biggie, Erick Sermon, Redman, Method Man, RZA, Rakim, DJ Quik, Jay-Z, Trackmasters, Mobb Deep, Warren G, Easy Mo Bee, and more. Not the dumbest move in the world, although it was usually the only reason to listen to a Shaq record (unless, of course, you just wanted to have a good laugh).


Anyway, after the success of Shaq-Fu the rapper, shit went crazy for the remainder of the decade. I guess everyone figured “shit, if he could do it, why not me?”  The most flagrant violation was in ’94- a compilation album called B-Ball’s Best Kept Secret. It was like the Superbowl Shuffle, but with basketball players. Better yet, it was like my favorite wack-ass movie Rappin’, when EVERY-body in the fukkin’ movie rapped in the final scene. It was heavily promoted, and even had some OK production, but nobody (except for those who really wanted to know if Gary Payton could spit) went out and bought it. After the Best Kept Secret project flopped, the trend died down for a while, but came back strong by the late-’90s with equally awful music by the likes of Chris Webber, Kobe Bryant, and Allen Iverson. Jeesh.

You know how some people talk about back in the days, and how (insert lame new rap nigga here) woulda never been signed back then, because “you had to have skills to get on”? Yeah, well that’s bullshit, because if (insert lame new rap nigga here) was in the NBA, he coulda at least got to drop a single. But don’t let me force-feed you this line of thinking- listen for yourself. Below, I give you five incredible moments of lyrical exercise by some of the best MCs the NBA had to offer.


Shaquille O’Neal “I Know I Got Skillz” (1993): Oh, word? Yeap, this was the official beginning of Shaq’s illustrious solo career. Along with Def Jef, Shaq attempts to crush the critics by showing his “skillz” on the mic. The key points of this song include: A) he’ll punch a chick in the stomach and he don’t give a heck, and B) knick knack Shaq Attaq, give a dog a bone. Whether or not he had skillz still hasn’t been answered, but the real question now is: with his retirement, does this mean we get another Shaq-Fu album?

Cedric Ceballos “Flow On” (1994)
: And this was the piece-de-resistance of that Best Kept Secret album, video and all. I guess it should be a plus that Warren G only produced it and didn’t rap on it… but Ced is hopelessly corny all up and through this song. Imagine Warren’s lyrical wizardry (haaaa!) mixed with some Melle Mel-esque vocal inflections and some tiggity-tounge twistin’ shit thrown in. I dare you to get past the part where he says his rhymes are finger-lickin’.

Jason Kidd “What The Kidd Did” (1994): In an unbelievably wooden performance, Jason Kidd connects with Digital Underground‘s Money B. The message in this song is that Jason is paid and nice as all hell on the court. In a completely unenthusiastic tone, he even reminds us midway through that ain’t no party like a J. Kidd party, cause a J. Kidd party don’t stop. As true as that may be, nothing can save this from being possibly the most sleep-inducing party joint ever.

Chris Webber “2 Much Drama” (1998): Aight, he tried to create some kinda emotion here… but Tupac he was not. Here, C. Webb talks about his tough life as a highly-paid athlete- even the misery that is sitting at home lonely although lots of chicks wanna bone him. The pressure is mounting, and he can’t seem to find answers anywhere- not in church, not from his friends, and not even from sitting outside in the rain. Tear.

Kobe Bryant feat. Tyra Banks “K.O.B.E.” (1999): Two things are for sure: Tyra Banks is not a singer, and Kobe Bryant is not a rapper. But why should that stop ’em? KB was actually signed to Columbia Records and being produced by the Trackmasters, even appearing on a Brian McKnight single in ’99… but once this masterpiece here debuted, the unanimously poor reception killed any chance of him dropping an album. In a incredible display of quality control by a major label, Kobe was dropped from Columbia because his music sucked. By the way, what does K.O.B.E. stand for… Kobe On a Bitch Eatin’?

I doubt these dudes really cared, because rap wasn’t their first profession anyway, and they were likely just doin’ it for kicks. Still, damn near ALL these projects were evidence that there was a reason why them NBA niggas got paid to hoop… because music sure as shit wasn’t their calling.

-D!


DLT90s 2 Year Anniversary Special: ANOTHER FIDDY

06/01/2011


And now… DanjLovesThe90shas arrived at the two-year mark. Wow.Truthfully, I’m a lil’ surprised it’s gotten to this point. When I started this thing up on June 1, 2009, I had about a page and a half of ideas for entries and no real long-term expectation for the blog. For the first couple months, I’d be happy that the site even got a handful of views or a couple of comments a day. Not to say it’s since blown up to epic proportions since then, but it’s come a lot further along than I thought it would. From being acknowledged by other bloggers whose sites I’d previously visited, to finding out that one of my middle school teachers checked it out not even knowing it was mine- not bad for some idea that randomly popped in my head on a boring Friday afternoon.

But enough of that mambajahambo… as a show of appreciation to all of you who’ve been checkin’ this blog out (even during my self-imposed exile during the spring- HA!), I give you the second installment of THE FIDDY– 50 random joints from the ’90s for your own enjoyment. Do with ’em whatever you like, and most importantly, enjoy.



Boogie Down Productions “Love’s Gonna Getcha (Material Love)” (1990) 

Family Stand “Ghetto Heaven” (1990)

Main Source “Looking At The Front Door” (1990)

Oaktown’s 3.5.7. “Juicy Gotcha Krazy” (1990)

Guy “I Wanna Get With U” (1990)


Black Sheep “Flavor of the Month” (1991)

Rude Boys “Written All Over Your Face” (1991)

Shabba Ranks “Trailer Load A Girls” (1991)

Leaders of the New School “Sobb Story” (1991)

Pr!nc3 & The NewPowerGeneration “Diamonds & Pearls” (1991)


Das EFX “Mic Checka” (Remix) (1992)

Ralph Tresvant “Money Can’t Buy You Love” (1992)

Spice 1 “Welcome To The Ghetto” (1992)

Fu-Schnickens feat. Phife “La Schmoove” (1992)

Babyface & Toni Braxton “Give U My Heart” (1992)


Mary J. Blige “You Don’t Have To Worry” (1993)

Too Short “I’m A Player” (1993)

Shai “Comforter” (1993)

Black Moon “How Many MC’s” (1993)

Doug E. Fresh feat. Lil’ Vicious “Freaks” (1993)


Heavy D & The Boyz “Nuttin’ But Love” (1994)

Zhane “Groove Thang” (1994)

Jeru The Damaja “My Mind Spray” (1994)

K-Ci “If You Think You’re Lonely Now” (1994)

Nine Inch Nails “Closer” (1994)


DJ Quik “Safe & Sound” (1995)

Raphael Saadiq “Ask of You” (1995)

Eightball & MJG “Space Age Pimpin'” (1995)

Groove Theory “Keep Tryin'” (1995)

Naughty By Nature “Craziest” (1995)


Keith Sweat feat. Kut Klose “Twisted” (1996)

The Roots “Clones” (1996)

Donnell Jones “Knocks Me Off My Feet” (1996)

Mack 10 “Hoo-Bangin'” (1996)

Isley Brothers feat. Angela Winbush & Lil’ Kim “Floatin’ On Your Love” (Bad Boy Remix) (1996)


Jon B. feat. 2Pac “Are U Still Down” (1997)

Nas “Escobar ’97” (1997)

Brian McKnight feat. Ma$e “You Should Be Mine” (1997)

Lost Boyz feat. Redman, Canibus, & A+ “Beasts From The East” (1997)

Missy Elliott feat. Da Brat “Sock It 2 Me” (1997)

Juvenile “Ha” (1998)

Total “Rain” (1998)

Christion feat. Jay-Z “Bring Back Your Love” (1998)


Jody Watley feat. Rakim “Off The Hook” (Remix) (1998)

Cam’ron feat. Noreaga “Glory” (1998)

Silkk The Shocker feat. Mystikal “It Ain’t My Fault II” (1999)

Jordan Knight “Give It 2 U” (1999)

The Beatnuts “Watch Out Now” (1999)

112 feat. Lil’ Zane “Anywhere” (1999)

Ruff Ryders “Ryde Or Die” (1999)

-D!