Popular Rap Music Of The 90s - The Beats That Live On and On and On

Remember the days before T-Pain and Nelly? Back when Sean Combs was still Puff Daddy? Back when two kings of the game ruled supreme? When rap still sounded like rap? If you haven't figured it out yet, this article is dedicated to '90s rap music. Rap in the '90s brought widespread popularity to the genre. In the late 80s, Public Enemy, Run-D.M.C. and N.W.A. built a foundation for the gangster rap genre. They paved the way for what would be arguably the best decade the genre has ever seen.

With the exit of Ice Cube in 1989, N.W.A. continued to feud and eventually disbanded in 1991. The stage was set for an epic battle of rap supremacy in the early 90s. An East-West Coast divide had formed with Bad Boy Records on the East Coast, and Death Row Records on the West Coast. Tupac threw gasoline on the fire when he accused Biggie and Combs of being involved with the shooting he fell victim to in a NYC recording studio in 1994. With each record after that, the drama escalated and I think we all know how this story ends.

I think it was summed up best by The Notorious B.I.G. when he said:

I was in shock of everything. I wasn't shocked about him getting shot. 'Pac is a strong dude, yo. He's real strong, so when he got shot I was just like, 'Again?' You know, he's always getting shot or shot at, he gonna pull through, make a few records and it's going to be over. But when he died it took me by surprise. Even though we were going through our drama I would never wish death on nobody. 'Cause there ain't no coming back from that.

Unfortunately for everyone, the feud turned to violence and two of the greatest rappers ever were both assassinated, within six months of each other. The rivalry that sparked some of the best rap music ever was officially over and the game was forever changed.

That is your history lesson for today.

'90s rap is not something that I am a expert on but I know my fair share. That is why I have complied my top five songs from each year of the 90s. The rules are the same as the two previous lists and in case you forgot them, I have explained them below.

How it works:
For each genre of music I will rank the top 5 singles from each year in the 90s. I will provide a link for each song (either imeem or youtube, depending on availability) for your listening pleasure.

Disclaimer: These rankings are based on my personal preferences, not on actual popularity. I think of these lists as recommendations. Hopefully these songs will bring back some good memories, and if you have never heard them before, maybe create some new ones.

Interested in '90s Pop and Rock as well? Be sure to check out these lists as well.
90s Pop Music
90s Rock Music

Starting with 1999:
1. "Still D.R.E." by Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg
2. "What's My Name" by DMX
3. "You Can Do It" by Ice Cube feat. Mack 10 & Ms. Toi
4. "My Name Is" by Eminem
5. "Deception" by Blackilicious

1. "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" by Jay-Z
2. "Ruff Ryders' Anthem" by DMX
3. "Changes" by Tupac Shakur
4. "You Got Me" by The Roots
5. "Doo Wop (That Thing)" by Lauren Hill

1. "Hail Mary" by Tupac Shakur
2. "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" by Puff Daddy feat. Mase
3. "Hypnotize" by The Notorious B.I.G.
4. "Feels So Good" by Mase
5. "Burbons and Lacs" by Master P featuring Silkk The Shocker & Gotti from The Gambino Family

1. "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted" by Tupac Shakur feat. Snoop Dogg
2. "Tha Crossroads" by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
3. "California Love" by Tupac Shakur feat. Dr. Dre & Roger Troutman
4. "Hit 'Em Up" by Tupac Shakur feat. Outlawz
5. "What They Do" by The Roots

1. "One More Chance" by The Notorious B.I.G. feat. Faith Evans and Mary J. Blige
2. "Keep Their Heads Ringin'" by Dr. Dre
3. "1st of tha Month" by Bone Thungs-n-Harmony
4. "I Got 5 On it" by Luniz
5. "Shook Ones Pt. II" by Mobb Deep

1. "Gin and Juice" Snoop Dogg feat. Daz Dillinger
2. "Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik" by Outkast
3. "C.R.E.A.M." by Wu-Tang Clan
4. "Juicy" by The Notorious B.I.G.
5. "Thuggish Ruggish Bone" by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony feat. Shatasha Williams

1. "Nuthin' but a "G" Thang" by Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg
2. "It Was A Good Day" by Ice Cube
3. "Who Am I (What's My Name)?" by Snoop Dogg (with Dr. Dre & Jewell)
4. "Down With The King" by Run-D.M.C.
5. "Hip Hop Hooray" by Naughty by Nature

1. "So What'Cha Want" by Beastie Boys
2. "Deep Cover" by Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg
3. "The Phuncky Feel One" by Cypress Hill
4. "Uptown Anthem" by Naughty By Nature
5. "Take It Personal" by Gang Starr

1. "Mama Said Knock You Out" by LL Cool J
2. "O.P.P." by Naughty by Nature
3. "Shut 'Em Down" by Public Enemy
4. "O.G. Original Gangsta" by Ice-T
5. "Check The Rhime" by A Tribe Called Quest

1. "100 Miles and Runnin'" by N.W.A.
2. "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted" Ice Cube
3. "Around the Way Girl" by LL Cool J
4. "Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em" by Eric B. & Rakim
5. "Streets of New York" by Kool G Rap & DJ Polo

Similar to my 90s pop and 90s rock lists, this is only a small sampling of the genre. I just tried to represent all of the most influential acts of the decade and remind you of some the classic jams of the '90s. While this blog tends to focus on alternative rock, it is nice to take a step back and reflect on another great genre.

Hope you enjoyed this collection of music.

Agree or disagree with my selections? Feel free to share your opinion by making a comment below.

"Bittersweet" by Big Head Todd and the Monsters - Song of the Week

This week's song is just over fifteen years old but it wasn't until about two years ago that I heard it for the first time. "Bittersweet" by Big Head Todd and the Monsters, released in 1993, was a song that I first heard live in concert during the summer of 2006. It wasn't a Big Head Todd concert per say but they were the opening act (Collective Soul and Live were the main acts) and I had the pleasure of hearing this song. Overall they did a pretty good job with their set but it was "Bittersweet" that really caught my attention. Sitting on the grass at DTE Energy Music Theatre enjoying "Bittersweet", I had no idea that it was in fact their second most popular song to date ("Broken Hearted Savior" being their most popular). Obviously I was not alone in my admiration for this great song and for good reason. It is very different then most of the songs that are being played on the radio today and if you would like a break from some of that music, I strongly you check out this song for a breath of fresh air.

Big Head Todd and the Monsters is a unique rock band from Boulder, Colorado that formed in the mid 80s. They have released a remarkable eight studio albums in the last twenty years and while they haven't charted a song in ten years, they are making the headlines in a new way. All The Love You Need, their latest album, is available for free digitally at Itunes Music Store, Amazon, and their website. They also have links to download the lyrics and cover art. They were even nice enough to mail out 25,000 free albums to the first people to request it on their website. They have realized that they have become mostly a touring band over the last few years and as a result just want to get their music out there for people to enjoy and recognize at their next concert. They are currently on tour and already have over 30 shows booked for 2009.

I leave you with a great acoustic version of "Bittersweet" by Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Enjoy.

Song #90: "Hanginaround" by Counting Crows

The countdown of the Top 100 Songs of the 90s continues and this time it's "Hanginaround" by Counting Crows. "Hanginaround" is another song that just snuck into contention for the countdown. It was released in 1999 off of their third studio album, This Desert Life. This single, along with their already existing fan base, propelled the album to platinum status in early 2000. This is just one of many popular singles they have released over the years, but personally one of my favorites. The lyrics are so universal and almost everyone can relate to them at some point in their life.

This is the first time the Counting Crows have been featured on the countdown but I have a feeling that it won't be their last appearance. They had quite a run during the '90s which continued well into turn of the century. They have sold over 10 million albums and have charted 8 singles on the US Modern Rock Charts. They are currently touring in Australia after releasing their fifth studio album, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings, last year. While their sales numbers have declined over the years, they have such a strong fan base, I doubt they will hang it up anytime soon.

As for the music video, its not quite as good as the song. As with most music videos, it shows the band performing the hit single. Lead singer, Adam Duritz, is seen sitting on a bench at a bus stop where he sees some rather strange things. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Interested in other songs from the countdown? Check out the other Top Songs of the 1990s here.

"(Splash) Turn, Twist" by Jimmy Eat World - Song Of The Week

This week's song is one that I recently discovered. I have always been a fan of Jimmy Eat World but somehow I never came across this song until very recently. I was able to get a hold of Bleed American (Deluxe Edition) and I was instantly drawn to this song. The Deluxe Edition of Bleed America, which was released last year, has some rare versions of the original songs on Bleed America as well as a few previously unreleased tracks. This song embodies everything I love about Jimmy Eat World and has quickly become one of my favorites from the boys from Mesa, Arizona.

Apparently the song was included on the Wedding Crashers: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack but I don't remember it being featured in the movie. Regardless, it was chosen for the soundtrack because its a good song, and probably should have been a single. You can be the judge of that though. You can listen to it below.

Jimmy Eat World is currently gearing up for a ten show tour, celebrating the 10th Anniversary of their second album, Clarity. They will playing the whole album in its entirety at each show. If there was one tour you wouldn't want to miss as a Jimmy Eat World fan, this would be it. Check out their new Clarity website for more details.

Well, that's it for this week. Check us out next Sunday for another Song of the Week.

Thanks for listening.

"Crazy Life" by Toad the Wet Sprocket - Song of the Week

Another week down, and it is time for another song of the week. This week is one of my favorites, "Crazy Life" by Toad the Wet Sprocket. This was their last single they released before the band disbanded in 1998. While Toad the Wet Sprocket is best known for their hit singles "All I Want" and "Walk on the Ocean", their library of songs is very impressive. Of their five studio albums, I am big fan of their last three, Dulcinea, Fear, and Coil.

"Crazy Life" was featured in the ever popular Empire Records Sountrack, which is filled with some great 90s music. While it may be "Come Down" that most people remember from Coil, I believe that "Crazy Life" is the stronger single.

This song hooks you from the very first guitar riff. It has such a good opening and from there it smooth sailing. Like a lot of the other Toad songs, you can just kick back and enjoy this one. The song's lyrics speak of the controversy surrounding Leonard Peltier, a Native American convicted of murdering two FBI agents in a shoot out at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

While the lyrics are kind of sad, I love the line:
"In the air I'm sensing a change in the weather,
In the end the path is clear."

Anyway, I thought I would bring up a song that you may not have heard before.

Love it, hate it? Let me know.

Here is a live performance of the song:

"Red Star", "Why Can't You Be", & "NonDairy Creamer" Posted on Third Eye Blind's Myspace Page!

As you may of heard, Third Eye Blind's new EP, entitled Red Star, is set to hit a digital music store near you November 18th, 2008. Much to my delight, all 3 of the songs on the EP are currently up on their myspace page. They even put of a teaser video for their new full length album, entitled Ursa Major. Watch it below.

Ursa Major teaser

I would have to say that the title track is my favorite. "Red Star" has that classic Third Eye Blind sound that you come to expect. It really blew me away the first time I heard it. It sucks you in from the beginning and doesn't let go. Everything fits together perfectly and musically it's the best of the three.

"Why Can't You Be" is actually a live version and is the version that will be put on the EP. It is a song that a lot of people can relate to: a song about being frustrated in relationships.

"NonDairy Creamer" is really growing on me. My initial reaction to the song was more of excitement that the contest had started and that there was new Third Eye Blind material out there, than anything. It has that catchy element that "Semi-Charmed Life" had back over 10 years ago. I don't know if it will have that kind of mass appeal, but its definitely catchy.

Enjoy the new Third Eye Blind while it's still there.

90s Post-Grunge Playlist

After last week's 90s Pop Music playlist, I decided to get back to my real roots and create a playlist with a collection of some of the best rock songs of the late 90s. This playlist has some of my favorite artists from the 90s, and these bands are the reason I first became interested in music in general.

I tried to go with more of these band's more popular and familiar songs but I plan on creating a few more of these playlists, where I dig a little deeper into the genre.

My favorite from this playlist has to be "Push" by Matchbox Twenty, one of the best songs of any genre from the 90s. The opening to "Push" never fails to bring chills down my spine.

Fortunately, this is not the only great song on this playlist. All of these artists have proved their worth over the years, and these songs only sample their excellence.


90s Post-Grunge Playlist:

1. "Heavy" by Collective Soul
2. "Push" by Matchbox Twenty
3. "Everything Zen" by Bush
4. "Old Apartment" by Barenaked Ladies
5. "How's It Going To Be" by Third Eye Blind
6. "I Alone" by Live
7. "Inside Out" by Eve 6
8. "Good" by Better Than Ezra
9. "Everlong" by Foo Fighters
10. "One Headlight" by The Wallflowers

Here's the link for the whole playlist: 90s Post-Grunge Playlist

Looking for more playlists? We've got plenty.

Fastball Is Back! New Tour Dates and New Album - "Little White Lies"

Fastball, famous for their hit single "The Way", is back on the music scene with a new album, Little White Lies. Set for release in the spring of 2009, Little White Lies is the group's first album in five years.

They have recently updated both their official website and myspace page in preparation for the new album's release. Currently all of the songs on the band's myspace page appear to be from the new album, including one of my favorites, "All I Was Looking For" and the title track, "Little White Lies".

While it has been over ten years since Fastball's All the Pain Money Can Buy, they are still kicking and hoping that the new album will revive the popularity that they once had.

That album was actually one of the first albums I purchased when I was younger. I have always been a fan of "The Way", although my favorite from All the Pain Money Can Buy is "Which Way To The Top?", a really laid back, relaxing song featuring the artist Poe.

My favorite line from "Which Way To The Top":
"Oh, just waiting for the perfect wave
And a place in the shade"

It is great to see that they are back at it.

Tour Dates

November 6th - Bend Studios - Dallas, Texas
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November 10th - Rialto Theater - Tucson Arizona
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November 11th - Belly Up - San Diego, California
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November 12th - Viper Room - Los Angeles, California
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November 13th - Fishlips - Bakersfield, California
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November 14th - The Canyon Club - Las Vegas, Nevada
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November 15th - Brixton - Redondo Beach, California
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November 16th - The Red Devil Lounge - San Francisco, California
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November 18th - Toad Tavern - Denver, Colorado
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November 21st - The Fine Line - Minneapolis, Minnesota
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November 22nd - Joe’s Sportspub - Chicago, Illinois
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November 23rd - Beachland Ballroom - Cleveland, Ohio
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November 24th - Ram’s Head - Annapolis, Maryland
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November 25th - Bowery Ballroom - New York, New York
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November 26th - Stephen Talkhouse - East Hampton, New York
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November 26th - Jammin Java - Vienna, Virginia
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November 29th - Maxwell’s - Hoboken, New Jersey
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December 1st - Smith’s Olde Bar - Atlanta, Georgia
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December 2nd - The Mercy Lounge - Nashville, Tennessee
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"Life Is A Highway" by Tom Cochrane - Song Of The Week

The song this week, "Life Is A Highway" by Tom Cochrane, is inspired by last week's episode of The Office, "Employee Transfer". It is predominately featured throughout the episode, to highlight the distance Michael, Holly, and Darrell have traveled. It is the prefect song placement as it is the kind of song that gets annoying really fast but it's nice to hear every once in a while.

"Life Is A Highway" was released in 1991, propelling Tom Cochrane's career into stardom. Unfortunately, this was his only single to break into Billboard's US Hot 100, topping out at #6. Although his popularity faded fast in the US, he did see success throughout the '90s in Canada: charting 13 other singles on Canada's RPM 100 chart.

The catchy tune was not surprisingly brought back to life in 2006, when the Rascal Flatts covered "Life Is A Highway" for Disney's animated movie, "Cars". This version also did well on the Hot 100: bolstered by digital music sales, it reached #10.

The music video is pretty classic early 90s: conjuring up images of scorpions, black leather boots, and tight jeans. It features a guy wearing a wife beater driving down, shockingly enough, a highway. The video doesn't have much substance but be sure to check out 2:37 into the video when the guy wipes out running in the mud.

90s Pop Music Playlist

The week's playlist focuses in on 90s Pop Music. After compiling the top 5 pop songs from every year of the decade, I realized I didn't have a playlist dedicated to the genre yet. This collection of songs is filled with songs that either people want to forget or have embraced over the years due to their nostalgic value. There is not too many people openly praising the quality of these songs. "Crazy For This Girl" is one of my favorites: an often forgotten 90s music gem. I have always been more of the alternative post-grunge fan of the late 90s but you can't help but like these songs.

If you get one thing out of this, just remember:
"When you take a sip you buzz like a hornet,
Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets"

Enough said.

90s Pop Music Playlist:
1. "Drive Me Crazy" by Britney Spears
2. "If You Had My Love" by Jennifer Lopez
3. "I Want It That Way" by Backstreet Boys
4. "Genie In A Bottle" by Christina Aguilera
5. "Try Again" by Aaliyah
6. "Crazy For This Girl" by Evan and Jaron
7. "Summer Girls" by LFO
8. "Show Me Love" by Robyn
9. "I Want You Back" by 'N Sync
10. "It Feels So Good" by Sonique

Here's the link for the whole playlist: 90s Pop Music

Looking for more playlists? We've got plenty.