1. The Mamas & The Papas | Once Was A Time I Thought
I first heard this song from a DJ, and what caught my attention the most was the way the cadence just took off! I mean, I couldn't believe that these corny-looking cats had so much style and flavor in 1966 like that! I wanna let chu know that this is just 0:58, so Time was not the issue. The wordplay and the tones are just magical, and for the longest I've been wanting to do something similar, but to no luck. You know I could just jack 'em, right? Isn't that one of the 48 Laws of Power? Take their shit and lick your tongue out at 'em after. I think so, I'ma check. But until then, this is definitely one of my favorite joints. Mama Cass and company did their thing on this one!
2. O.V. Wright | Medley: God Blessed Our Love - When A Man Loves A Woman - That's How Strong My Love Is
This song (if you wanna call it that) is 12:50 long, and being a young kid wanting to hang with my father and his friends, playing dominos, listening to grown folk talk (that's the correct way of saying it) and being that fly on the wall for what was to be my first lessons in talking shit, dancing slow, and what it takes to become a good bullshitter, LOL. This song was my ticket in. Not only did it give me enough time to make my father smile, it also gave me a nice little candy nest egg that came in handy once we got back home. Now I don't know who was more surprised — me, ’cause they were actually letting me sing this for them, or them, being that a 7-year-old kid knew who the hell O.V. Wright was and was singing his shit! This song is the perfect combination of Soul, Love and Heartache. To hear him put so much of himself into this was just... Church! The way he intertwined Storytelling and song within the same lines was just beautiful and can never be duplicated.
3. Big Daddy Kane | Raw
Ahhh, man! My intro to Kane wasn't even this song; it was a joint called Get Into It that was soooo dope, it sparked my interest right away, but the one that would follow made me a lifelong fan: RAW! When you have a song that starts off with Here I am... R.A.W... A terrorist, here to bring trouble to, I mean, whatever comes next is just icing on the cake. And who knew that that song would eventually lead me to doing a actual song with such a legend. Big Daddy Kane made it cool to have a darker shade and still have the ladies loving you. Kane was everything smooth and 100% B-Boy, and, with a joint like Raw to get the party started, nothing was better. Long live the Kane!
4. De la Soul | Buddy (Native Tongue Decision) (feat. The Jungle Brothers, Monie Love, Q-Tip, Queen Latifah)
I remember being in High School, trying my hardest to understand what Buddy actually meant, LOL. That was really a topic. De La changed the game when they stepped in. If you're not old enough to know, trust me, they were ahead AND right on time. The words they used ushered in a brand new way of Speech, Dress and B-Boyism, and Buddy was the anthem. The original on the record was dope, but when they reloaded with the remix with the rest of the Native Tongue... DONE! The year, to be exact: 1989!
5. Otis Redding | Gone Again
Now for me there's no one like Otis Redding. It's literally between him and Al Green when I think of favorites (for me). My father is the sole reason for me knowing Otis, Ray Charles, Al Green, James Brown and Stevie Wonder. To hear Otis sing this song is outta body. If you know ANYTHING about him, just remember he was only 26 when he died, so to leave a mark like that on The World is just clear proof Otis was The Truth. Gone Again makes it cool to pour your heart out, while not seeming like a sucka at the same time, which is hard to do. 'Cause I've poured my heart out a many day, had transfusions, repoured and still nothing! Now I'm sad. Otis, you da man!
6. Run-D.M.C. | Sucker M.C.'s (Krush Groove 1)
Once again, thanks to my pops, LOL. He brought me this record. Now how did he know that, just a few days before, I heard this very same record on the radio and couldn't for the life of me remember the name (I couldn't tell ya). So the story goes: My father was a street runner (meaning) like to club and whatnot. So he goes to his spot, where obviously it goes down, and he told me, there was this giveaway and he decided to buy a ticket. Now he didn't win the big prize, but instead he won a 12-inch... So the next morning when I wake up, I usually after his late-night missions go and check on him... And when I realized he was cool, I turn and look to see this profile record on the dresser. I look at it like, What's this bullshit? and lo and behold I see Run-D.M.C.! I immediately go to the record player, LOL (this was in the early 80's, y'all, we didn't call ’em turntables yet!), throw it on and hear, Two years ago, a friend of mines… I was like, No f#%* way!... This old ass (that's what I thought, I didn't say it out loud though)... I was like, How did this cat know to bring this record home? So when he woke up, I said, Pops, how did you know about this record? He was like, That name looked like something you dumb kids would like, so I brought it to yo dumb ass. I'm like, THANKS, POPS! Maaan, I love that dude.
7. The Jackson 5 | Dancing Machine
There wasn’t a black kid in da WORLD that didn't know or LOVE this song! I don't care how smart, dumb, ugly, cute, fat, or skinny you were. This song here! No, I'm saying, THIS SONG HERE was the dancer’s dream and a singer’s Simon Cowell moment, ’cause you wasn't sounding this damn good! People, when I tell y'all... In the early to mid-70's this was the Uptown Funk of all Uptown Funks. Nothing made you wanna get on the good foot quicker than this cut right here. I ALMOST got an ASS whuppin’ (when they were still legal) for dancing to this song. The story goes as such: The Jackson 5 had a variety show at one time (YouTube it), which I just couldn't miss, and my father (this dude) tells me that, if I keep jumping up and dancing in front of the TV, he was gonna give me a beat I couldn't refuse. So of course I sat down, but, the minute they decided to perform Dancing Machine, I totally forgot about what pops said and jumped up doing the DO! Then I caught myself and my mother just fell out laughing, pops looks at me and says, Hell, if the boy is willing to take an ass-whuppin’ for Dancing Machine, shit, let him dance. And THAT'S why Dancing Machine is the ONLY record I'm willing to get my ass kicked for! MIKE JACK, BABY!
8. Prince | Head
OK, now let me say this: I love Prince, no question. There's absolutely nothing I can or will say bad about Prince. He was my guru in the World of Freak! The year 1980 was the first time I'd ever heard the word head used like that! Now of course I heard it used as a term of endearment: Witcho big-headed ass, or Yo head is so big, things like that, you know, the nice way. But to hear it in a way that could not only get chu in trouble, but could also be the start of how you did or didn't get here, either way I wanted both! The actual record and the actual... Well, you know. Anyhow, the song itself was a total awakening for what was to come from him. This was pushing the bar even farther than Soft And Wet, another dirty guru favorite from the previous album. Once I was older, I no longer had to sneak to enjoy this song, AND the other part of the story is… I was able to experience that meaning as well. But I did have to sneak sometimes.
9. Public Enemy | Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos
Tell me that name doesn't say it all. Sounds like The Revolution is about to kick off and will not be televised fo sho. This song is the epitome of Revolution. Chuck D's writing is just outta this world! I saw the whole 6:23 live and in living color; there should be a law against writing something so vivid. I often wondered what made him come up with this: I got a letter from the government, the other day... I opened and read it... It said they were suckaz, LOL. I mean. Get the hell outta here! Whatever is said after that point is all added flavoring. Don't get me wrong, I heard every lyric, but to say they were suckaz, I'm done. For me, Public Enemy was the Muhammad Ali of the Rap game. Fast, deadly, pretty, and can't possibly be beat, they shook up The World and there's been no one since who made you move and think at the same damn time! That's an Art form, not just a bunch of niggaz yelling 'cause you think it's cool. PE will always go down as one of my favorite artists and this song is the reason why. Boyeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
10. Al Green | One Of These Good Old Days
For me, Al Green leads me straight to my grandmother's house and the turkey baster. Turkey baster? you might ask. Well, that was strictly called using our resources. The baster not only helped the food taste good, but it also had me sounding better when it came time to start singing for the party. That was my MIC! And those definitely were the good old days. Al Green would put my family in the type of mood where a song like One Of These Good Old Days only opened them up to take you down memory lane. Al had a way of singing like he was haunting the heart, like he was the last man on Earth, and, if you didn't know who to choose, you only really had one option, LOL. My grandmother has since passed on. She lived to be 89 years old, and if she was here, three things would have to take place: 1. Her beer, 2. Her betting on the horses, and 3. You guessed it… Me, her turkey baster, and the ever so flawless Al Green! Love you, grandma.