Over the years there’s been Hip-Hop songs that will go down in the history books as classics forever . These songs are remembered forever, they’re your Protect ya Neck‘s and your Through the Wire’s but then there’s some songs that seem to be unfortunately forgotten after a few years. The songs that bang for the first few months or even years in some cases, but inevitably fade back into the abyss from which they came. This article is for them, so sit back and feel the nostalgia.
MIKE JONES – BACK THEN
Mike Jones. Who? Mike Jones. Who? First up is the guy that made a living off people asking who he is, and he was prone to making some bangers. This 2005 track found it’s way onto everybody’s playlist around the time and his deep voice mixed seemed to sound so good. The t-shirt’s in the video are still highly sought after all these years after. The former SwishaHouse star went platinum with this song but after leaving the label has done really nothing of note since.
MIKE JONES, SLIM THUG, PAUL WALL – STILL TIPPIN’
Speaking of SwishaHouse, this track featured undoubtedly it’s three best stars at the time, including Mike Jones. Now whilst this song has lived on through Skepta’s Back Then (surely made after his love for the Houston rapper) it is seemingly forgotten by a lot of people. A certified riding anthem, this track featured three of the most iconic verses at the time, people bumped this everywhere. It’s a shame that it hasn’t gone on to have a notorious legacy because it’s a song to shut down a party if it’s played.
PAUL WALL & BIG POKEY – SITTIN’ SIDEWAYS
Okay, last of SwishaHouse. Paul Wall was a big name in the 2000’s, and this song might make you remember him, and if you remember the track but not him on it you might be thinking of Lupe’s version of it. Regardless, Paul Wall dropped it first and that Houston style is shown perfectly here . The slow beats with hard hitting, quick lyrics is such a classic, legendary sound. This track has so many quotable lines but perhaps the best is: I’m on the block, posted up like a mailbox. Forever another riding anthem from SwishaHouse, this deserves more recognition.
JIM JONES – WE FLY HIGH
My introduction to this came from Def Jam: Icon, and since then it’s been something I have never stopped putting on playlists here and there. The chorus is extremely recognisable but the verses are the forgotten gems, Jim Jones flaunting his stuff throughout the track is just so enticing for some reason. A$AP Ferg gave this a reference in his Work remix, but it feels like the bar was wasted on a lot of people and if so – here is the original, be sure throw the hands when it’s time. You’ll know when.
MATTAFIX – BIG CITY LIFE
I was debating whether to put this on a hip-hop list, but I feel the verse given at the end proves it’s worth. A slow burning track about the stress and pressures of living in a big city are encapsulated in this track from the London duo, they haven’t gone on to do much after this and this song itself may not even be known by many people reading this. Whilst the first couple verses don’t seem like a hip hop track: the chorus, final verse and beat make up for it. Be sure to give this a listen if you don’t know it.
JIN – LEARN CHINESE
Now this is a forgotten track. How good was this? He threw out the stereotypes out of the window with this and showcased some genuinely good rapping skills. The song did wonders for him at the time and it was promoted various places as was Jin’s freestyling ability. Unfortunately as time has gone on this has been pushed away and people have forgotten about and Jin too.
KENDRICK LAMAR & FREDO SANTANA – JEALOUS
This song is the most recent one on the list and it is one not often heard. To me, Kendrick drops one of his top ten verses of all time and Fredo is at his best here. The eerie trap beat mixed with that hook add to this song so much. This song never really got that much attention, possibly because it wasn’t on a Kendrick album but when Compton’s King hit up Chicago for that trap sound this was made and I for one hope more of it is to come in future.
JOE BUDDEN & MARQUES HOUSTON – CLUBBIN’ REMIX
Back in a time when; B2K, Lil Bow Wow, Chingy, Bobby V and Lloyd were making RnB hits for fun, Marques Houston dropped one of the best RnB albums of all time. A seriously under appreciated name, he could have and should have gone on to be a big star but that just never came to fruition. The remix added that hip hop element to it, and Joe Budden shone on it, if you haven’t already you should check out Marques’ album MH. A RnB star for the ages he made a real gem here and Joe Budden only added more positives to it.
NINE – WHUTCHA WANT
This is a forgotten hip hop track because of how forgotten Nine is. A name in the 90s, this song had a feel of a bit of Method Man, Redman and Busta on it but unfortunately his album Nine Lives is really all to remember from him. It’s clear to see from this track how much this dark, gritty voice has influenced hip hop now though. The voice is reminiscent of Meechy Darko’s style and even some Joey Bada$$ stuff. This voice on that beat made for a perfect hip hop song.
JUELZ SANTANA – S.A.N.T.A.N.A
Another appearance on this list from a Dipset member, this song is one of my all time favourites. The high pitched voice on the hook and Juelz’s recognisable joking but aggressive tone on this track just make it so good. It’s so Dipset and just sums up this era of New York hip hop when Dipset were running it. This song however hasn’t lived up to the status of some Cam’ron songs unfortunately though, but this doesn’t mean this isn’t one of Dipset’s best songs. DIPSET FOREVER.
CRUSTIFIED DIBBS & BIGGIE SMALLS – CUNT RENAISSANCE
This is hidden due to how different it is to Biggie’s other music, this is nothing like Juicy. Crustified Dibbs (now R.A the Rugged Man) linked up with Biggie to make a vulgar track that has been hidden in hip hop notoriety ever since. It’s known that Biggie was surprised when Dibbs laid down his verse due to his lyrics but then put down something just as bad if not worse. Biggie did go on to compliment Dibbs when he said about hearing him “I thought I was the illest”.
COOLIO – FANTASTIC VOYAGE
The only reason I know this is because of The People vs. OJ Simpson (which also featured Above The Law’s Black Superman) and I’m so grateful for it. That itself proves how hidden this track is, due to Coolio’s fall from hip-hop grace people tend to really only remember him for Gangster’s Paradise. This track is a summer one though, and captures the West Coast sound of the 90’s.
LIL JON & THE EASTSIDE BOYZ FEAT. PASTOR TROY – THROW IT UP
After recently being in the car with friends playing the album Kings of Crunk I realised how underrated this song is and how forgotten and lost in the shuffle it actually is. It is in the shadow of the other tracks by this pairing but it’s so good. The sample of Requiem for a Dream helps this stand out from their other songs as does the Pastor’s voice. To say this song was released all the way back in 2002 but words like trill are used all throughout just show how ahead of their time these guys were. This is that hyped trap that people are clamouring to make now, this is forever one of those album songs that should have been a single.
CRS – US PLACERS
Pharrell, Kanye and Lupe all killed it on this track. The sample of Thom Yorke’s The Eraser for the chorus split the verses and everyone was on their A game. It never got mainstream attention and didn’t even chart which is crazy to think especially with how big Pharrell and Kanye are. This is really one of those online, late night surfing through YouTube songs that you find and you think is just a YouTube remix, but it’s not. The song that seems too good to be true is indeed true!
LUPE FIASCO – PUT YOU ON GAME
This is forgotten due to it being one of those album songs that never got it’s due as a single. The lyricism from Lupe is incredible here, honestly one of the best lyrical performances I’ve ever heard. The dark beat compliments that monotone, deep flow from Lupe as he hits so hard with it. I honestly can’t do it justice, go to the Genius page here and read the meanings of the lyrics, you won’t be disappointed.
LL COOL J FT. PRODIGY, FAT JOE, KEITH MURRAY AND FOXY BROWN – I SHOT YA REMIX
This is so good mainly due to the fact it is most definitely a Tupac diss. After he got shot by anonymous shooters in Manhattan this song came out, how could this not be a diss?! Perhaps a reason this is forgotten is because Tupac didn’t put out the diss track he replied with, but regardless this star studded line up made a New York classic. The verse of the track has to go to Prodigy though, and one of his lines is one of the most quoted and is definitely something you’ve heard on Illuminati conspiracy videos:
Illuminati want my mind, soul and my body
Secret society, trying to keep they eye on me
There’s some of the gems missing from some hip hop fans’ heads. If there’s any others you can think be sure to let us know below. Go like the Facebook page too whilst you’re at it!
words by Rohan Parmar