Another year complete! 1994 was a great year in hip-hop and I hope I served it justice with my reviews. Here are my best and worst of the year. I have a few house cleaning things to do and then we’ll jump into 1995. Let me know if you agree or disagree with my picks in the comments. Enjoy!
Worst Moniker: The Caucasian – If you recall, he spit a few bars on SFC’s “Ladies and Gents” from the Illumination album. Come on, bro…you couldn’t come up with something better than that? That would be like me calling myself “The Black”. Honorable Mentions: Jingle Bel (Yaggfu Front), DJ Cut No Slack Cartoon (SFC – Illumination).
Worst Song Title: “Steam From The Knot” – This was DoItAll’s solo joint from Lords of the Underground’s sophomore album, Keepers Of The Funk. The song was trash but the song title was completely senseless. Honorable Mentions: “Boof Baf” (Fugees), “C-Mode Fizzunk”(SFC),”Red Riding Good”(Raw Fusion).
Worst Album Title: Hoochiefied Funk – No extra commentary required. Honorable Mention: Theme + Echo =Krill – An awful equation and way too wordy.
Worst Album Artwork: Ahmad – The profile pic of Ahmad was cool, but the oddly shaped red nonagon (is that supposed to be an “A”?) with a red Kangol hanging off of one of the corners with a pic of Ahmad posing in his hood stance placed inside of it, looks extremely cheesy. Go ahead, take a look and get a good laugh in. Honorable Mentions: Illumination, Hoochiefied Funk, A Constipated Monkey.
Worst Song: “Red Riding Good” (Raw Fusion) – Money B takes an innocent fairy tale and turns it into a raunchy misogynistic debacle. Honorable Mentions: “Cheri” (Nice & Smooth) – Very bad rap and r&b. “Steam From My Knot”(Lords of the Underground), “Giggles” (Fugees), and just about every song on Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Chief Boot Knocka.
Worst Album: Chief Boot Knocka – Mix-A-Lot gives pimpin’ a bad name and a terrible album. Honorable Mention: Hoochiefied Funk.
Best Moniker: Carlton Fisk (Tical) – It takes balls to make your alias the name of a Hall of Fame baseball player…or is that really his government? Honorable Mentions: Dobbs The Wino (It Takes A Thief) – No shame in his game, and the shit sounds funny as hell.
Best Song Title: “My Mind Spray” (Jeru Da Damaja) – It just sounds ill. Honorable Mentions: “Ache’n For Acres” (Arrested Development), “Some Speak Ill Thoughts” (UMC’s), “Machine Gun Funk” (Notorious B.I.G.), “Honeydips In Gotham” (Boogie Monsters), “Black Ego” (Digable Planets).
Best Album Artwork: Illmatic – The ill pic of a young ice-grilled-peasy-headed Nasir Jones hovering over his Queensbridge projects will forever be one of the most creative, reverenced and mimicked artwork covers in hip-hop history.
Best Album Title: Illmatic – I mean, this blog is pretty much named after it. Honorable Mentions: Fear Itself, Breakin’ Combs, Hard To Earn, Ill Communication.
Best Song: “I Used To Love H.E.R.” (Common) – There is something amazingly wonderful about an emcee being able to use a metaphor and turn it into a brilliantly mapped out story and song. Common does just that with this song, as he flawlessly compares hip-hop to a woman, chronicling his relationship with her throughout his life. No ID adds the perfect melodic and somber backdrop to perfect this masterpiece, that in my opinion is worthy of a spot in the top ten hip-hop songs of all-time. Honorable Mentions: “Code Of The Streets”, “The Planet”, “Mass Appeal” (Gang Starr), “Come Clean” (Jeru Da Damaja), “The World Is Yours”, “One Love” (Nas), “Regulate” (Warren G), “Back In The Day Remix” (Ahmad), “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik”(Outkast), “Nappy Heads Remix” (Fugees), “Flava In Ya Ear” (Craig Mack), “Warning”, “Big Poppa” (Notorious B.I.G.), “Time’s Up” (O.C.), “I Seen A Man Die” (Scarface).
Sleeper Album: Breakin’ Combs – A great debut from Dred Scott that has gone unsung and unnoticed through the years. Honorable Mentions: The Sun Rises In The East (The only reason this didn’t beat out Breakin’ Combs is because I don’t know if it truly qualifies as a sleeper, considering it was completely produced by Premo and had one of the sickest hip-hop songs of the year, in “Come Clean”), Super Tight, Riders Of The Storm: The Underwater Album.
Best Album: Illmatic – In my opinion Illmatic is the greatest hip-hop album ever created. Nothing more to say. But if you insist, read my thoughts on the album here. Honorable Mentions: Word…Life, Resurrection, Ready To Die, Hard To Earn – Unfortunately they all dropped in the same year as Illmatic.