As a person who came of age in what I consider to be the golden age of rap—1993 to 1999—I’m personally offended that “music” created by something called a “Chief Keef” or a “Kreashawn” could even be listed under the same genre that produced “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.” and “Things Fall Apart.” The music created by these people is nothing but an example of the gradual devolution of hip-hop culture, a stark example of our regression from “wanting to do right” to “intentional ratchetness.”
I’m also full of sh*t.
I was reminded of this fact while at my parents’s house a couple days ago. I was in their basement, looking for an old book, when I came across a few dusty cassettes I listened to in high school. There was the High School High soundtrack, a DJ Clue mixtape, Redman’s “Muddy Waters” (still a great listen, btw), and…Crucial Conflict. Yes, that Crucial Conflict. The “Heeeeeey, in the middle of the barn” Crucial Conflict.
Amazingly, my self-righteous nostalgia for 90’s hip-hop—real music listened to by real people—somehow allowed me to forget that among the Wu-Tangs and the Tupacs were groups such as Crucial Conflict that I also would listen to every now and then.
With this in mind, here are a few more songs we also tend to conveniently “forget” that we used to love
1. “Thong Song” — Sisqo
Laugh now at the name Sisqo, the image that the name Sisqo brings to your mind, the “Thong Song,” and the fact that I know people (“people” = “me”) who thought “Dru Hill” was one person until seeing one of their videos for the first time, there was a two to four month span when “Thong Song” wasn’t just the hottest song in the country, it was one of the biggest club songs ever. You’d be hard-pressed to find another track that made people sprint to the dance floor the way “Thong Song” did when it was hot.
Then, it was like Black America suddenly and collectively decided “Wait, this song is wack, and Sisqo, um, needs more people” and it was never, ever, ever, ever heard again.
2. “Oh Boy” — Cam’Ron feat. Juelz Santana
Although Cam’Ron had already made waves on the mixtape/NYC radio circuit—and had already released a surprisingly underrated album—“Oh Boy” was his first track that made people think “Hmmm. This guy may actually sell some records some day.” Unfortunately, Killa Cam’s most popular song also happened to be his worst, as this is the track where him and Juelz first debuted their annoying (but admittedly lucrative) habit of rhyming the exact same word for an entire verse.
I know including MC Hammer on this list is low-hanging fruit hanging off of another piece of low-hanging fruit. MC Hammer was extremely popular, and saw his popularity plummet almost as quickly as it rose. I even feel (kinda) bad including him on this list. But, when remembering how happy I was to receive the Addams Family soundtrack as a birthday gift just because it had “Addams Groove” on it (I know you remember this song. “They do want they want to do, say what they want to say…” You remember it now, right? Right?), leaving it off just wouldn’t be fair to anyone, including MC Hammer.
4. “Getto Jam” — Domino
It’s been almost 20 years since this song was first released, and I’m still not sure if Domino was rapping or singing. I am sure, though, that the single went gold, made everyone in Pittsburgh want to move to LA, and was soon followed by the equally perplexing “Sweet Potato Pie.”
5. “Chi-Chi Man” — T.O.K.
This song was undoubtedly the biggest dancehall reggae track in 2001 and 2002. Actually, forget the disclaimer. it was one of the hottest songs,period. People—myself included—would walk around campus humming the lyrics, reciting “my crew, my dogs” while at the cafeteria or waiting for the campus shuttle. You’d hear it on the radio, in cars, and blaring from dormitory speakers Friday and Saturday nights. It held the de facto “stop everything and rush to the dancefloor” title for at least three months in 2001, edging out “Superwoman (Pt.II).”
“Chi-Chi Man” is also maybe the most hateful, vile, and dangerous popular song…ever. (No, seriously. I dare you to find a song that made the radio with lyrics as evil as “Chi-Chi Man’s” were.) The song contains an unambiguous message that gay men should be burned alive. I wasn’t made aware of this until years later, and I doubt most others in love with the infectious hook and upbeat verses actually knew what the hell they were talking about.
I guess we had a good reason to “forget” about this one.