I wish I could time travel and party in the 90s; when hip hop first started getting money. So fucking fly…
– Glenny Cruz
If you have been keeping up with my blog, you have more than likely taken note that I LOVE hip hop. Especially hip hop of the 90s. It was what I grew up on, and never fails to make me bust out a shimmy and feel good, no matter how explicit the lyrics. Ha! The quality that this era of hip hop posesses is one that will always spark conversation and the exchange of fond memories.
This post was sparked by a conversation I had with my homegirl Glenny, as quoted above. We were having a back and forth regarding the songs that were stuck in our heads this morning. Lil Kim was the connecting factor. Her song of choice was “I Know what Girls Like” by Jay Z featuring Lil Kim and Puff Daddy, and mine, “Crush On You” by Junior M.A.F.I.A. Both songs were released in 1997, so that made us both eleven years old, respectively. Should we have been listening to these songs? Given our age and the lyrical content? Probably not; but we turned out just fine!
1997, to me, represented the perfect juxtaposition of gritty and glossy. Lyrically, there were the elements of flossing and Cristal,
You got me, I rock the Versace and linen… – Lil Cease on “Crush on You”
but there was also the raw tales of life on the streets.
…never let them know your next move. Don’t you know Bad Boys move in silence or violence?
-Notorious BIG on “Ten Crack Commandments”
One, now legendary (certified diamond) album that I believe best exemplifies this is “Life After Death”, by the Notorious BIG. Brooklyn stand up!
His music videos were almost a fantasy, “Hypnotize” being one of the best examples of this. The girls, the speedboat, the Versace wardrobe, and fancy parties; it was like Brooklyn to Hollywood right before my eyes. Many videos during this time posessed this very self assure attitude, and in essence said, “I made it now. I didn’t forget where I came from, but best believe that I will have the most jewelry, champagne, and dope parties in a music video”. Another great example of this is “Been Around The World” by Puff Daddy and Mase. They were in the desert! How many hip hop videos can you count that were filmed in the desert? That was so wild to me. The private jet, lavish party at the palace, and J. Lo cameo didn’t hurt either. It was such a great time for hip hop in New York City.
I’ve compiled the YouTube videos of the songs aforementioned, all that are the official music video, with the exception of “I Know What Girls Like”, as it was never released as a single. Take a moment out to rewind back to 1997, listen, watch, and enjoy. 🙂