by Isabele Riser
Music fades quickly, traveling often to the back of your mental library, a year in music is minuscule, the business is fast, and often consumers of music are on to the next one after a short lived month-long-obsession with an album, song, or artist. So while 2012 feels like yesterday to some, in music years…it’s really been more of a decade. For those who are looking for new music, but a different sound, these are some songs and artists whom I would recommend listening to, and for, if nothing else, throwback’s sake.
Basketball – Kurtis Blow 1994
In light of this winter’s basketball season, I decided to start of this older-schooled playlist with an absolute classic. If you’re into videos with parkour, 90’s cheerleaders, or karate, I highly recommend this incredibly awkward Kurtis Blow video.
What Cool Breezes Do – Digable Planets 1993
If you really want to vibe out to something smooth, the sounds of Doodlebug, Butterfly and Ladybug Mecca will mellow an otherwise chaotic day. Digable Planets is also a beautiful example of a rap group with a women.
You Got Me – The Roots ft. Erykah Badu and Eve 1999
With Erykah Badu’s silky chorus, Black Thought’s thick voice, and Questlove’s drumming that balances distortion and retention, this song is heavy and less than upbeat. Eve and Black Thought create a drama and Erykah weaves in her message, and it’s all brilliant.
Jayou – Jurassic 5 1998
The flute in this song is exemplary and it’s one of those classics that you can memorize and rap to with shameless vigor.
Doo Wop(That Thing) – Lauryn Hill 1998
Off of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, That Thing is arguably Lauryn Hill’s most popular song. Lauryn Hill uses her rich voice and thoughtful message to give a word of warning, discuss respect, and talk about, most importantly, ‘That Thing’. This illustrative piece ends in profound conversation about the topic, and is smooth throughout.
Definition – Black Star 1999
This catchy chorus and brilliant rapping is best listened to while in an attentive(?) mood. Mos Def and Talib Kweli are most accurately described as the ‘Rapper’s Rappers’. The foundation of Hip Hop. Some may know Talib Kweli was widely responsible for the development of a young Kanye as he made the transition from Kanye West: Jay Z’s beatmaker, to Yeezy: Egotistic musical genius. Mos Def, now referred to as Yasiin Bey is an activist, artist, actor and comedian. Quadruple threat.
The Food – Common and Kanye West 2005
The Food is a classic Common creation. A story about living in the Southside of Chicago, and making money for a family. Not necessarily relatable, but the story is easy to follow, and the content is crucial when understanding Common as an artist.
Rapper’s Delight – The Sugarhill Gang 1979
This is the oldest and longest, (7:07 min) song on this playlist. If that’s not a good enough reason to listen to it, I don’t know what is.
The Message – Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five 1982
If you’re one of those people who hears snippets of classic songs like these, but never gives them a full listen, I highly recommend you give this song a listen. For the same reason you’ve read Hamlet for the sake of being or not to being, listen to The Message and don’t push me, (cause I’m close to the edge).
Just The Two Of Us – Will Smith 1997
Just the 2 of Us is an upbeat remix of Bill Withers’ original version; dedicated to a young Jaden Smith. While you’re at it… check out other Will Smith classics like Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble and Parents Just Don’t Understand. These are real teen issues. Real. Issues.
If you have any interest in listening to these songs consecutively and more, find my Spotify playlist here.