Eminem's New Track Goes "Old School," We Give You The Best Old School Jams To Celebrate
The real Slim Shady is finally standing up, it seems.
So Eminem, who's pretty fuckin' rad all around, just announced that he was dropping his new album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, and followed that up with, well, dropping a new single, "Berzerk." So yay!
"Berzerk," for its part, is this kind of crazy, messy, and surprisingly unoffensive song. It's lacking Em's normal "fuck you" vibe, but don't let that fool you. He's progressed, it seems, and he's doing so by taking it really old school in his vibe. It's still an "I don't give a shit" kind of song, but not in the lyrical sense. He's taking chances, sampling artists, and it's really, well, cool to see how his music has evolved.
So given that Slim Shady has taken it way back on this track, we thought we'd celebrate his progression from bodies in the trunk to funkadelic with a list of the best old school rap jams we've heard. We've got a feeling his might be on a list like this one day, too.
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10. Wu-Tang Clan, "M.E.T.H.O.D. Man" Wu-Tang's sound is built on chaos and the individuality of each member -- I mean, hell, O.D.B. had enough crazy genius in his little pinky to set off the whole group -- but somehow they always managed to pull that out of control style into one streamlined package, and they wound up creating some of the greatest hip-hop around. There are probably much better Wu songs, but you gotta admit, "M.E.T.H.O.D. Man" is up there with the best of 'em. Not only that, but it's so friggin' definitive of what Wu was during that time period -- all parts chaos and raw, unbridled energy, with the sum greater than any of the parts.
9. LL Cool J, "Goin' Back To Cali" LL's 1988 hit only hit #31 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but there's not really a better LL Cool J song out there, is there? It chronicles the East Coast/West Coast struggle that producer Rick Rubin was facing during his stay in California -- a state the NY-bred producer had previously loathed -- and it throws in some elements that weren't common to hip-hop tracks during the time. The brash, scraping guitars were in gross contrast to the horn it plays with, and there really wasn't anything out there that sounded close to the track at the time.
8. 2 Pac, "I Get Around" Not only is this song, which is considered by many media outlets as one of the best hip-hop songs of all time, legitimately just about 2 Pac bragging about who he's bagged, it has a video that features Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, which is ironic and awesome. Really, only 2 Pac could land a spot on list after list while saying things like, "The underground don't stop for ho's." We dig it.
7. De La Soul, "Me Myself and I" Hip-hop and funk and social awareness, oh my! As De La Soul's only number one hit, "Me Myself and I" really became an indicator of who De La Soul was; they were off-beat, funky, and fucking awesome. Oh, and there's a Q-Tip cameo in the video, which is, indeed, the business.
6. Dr Dre, "Let Me Ride" Dre's third single off of his debut album, The Chronic, did massive things to that little ol' Billboard chart after Dre won a Grammy for "Let Me Ride," but it's the chances that Dre took with the samples in the song -- he sampled dudes like Parliament and James Brown, and even an old spiritual song -- that made the song so original. Yes, there's irony in the idea of sampling songs leading to a unique track, but still. And now, rappers like Nate Dogg, Fabolous, and The Game refer to Dre's song in their own, cause it's kinda badass.
5. Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg, "Nuthin' But A G Thang" Another track off Dre's album, The Chronic, and it's somehow better than "Let Me Ride," so that should say something right there about its validity as a rad old school jam. Dre shares the vocals with Snoop, who manages to upstage him on his own song, but they both do a ridiculous job at making this one of the main staples of old school rap.
4. N.W.A., "Straight Outta Compton" Eazy E, Dr Dre and Ice Cube all had a hand in this song -- whether producing it or rapping on it -- and Gwyneth Paltrow can apparently also rap the entire song, so that should adequately sum up how mainstream N.W.A.'s music has become.
3. Geto Boys, "Mind Is Playing Tricks On Me" It's one of the best hip-hop songs to emerge from the '90s, and it's all about how mind-fucking things like hallucinations and paranoia can be, so it's pretty rad. Oh, and not to mention the whole -- Willie D is on this track -- thing, which only makes it better.
2. Public Enemy, "Fight The Power" It's a song about societal injustices that samples James Brown and was somehow unlike anything that had been heard before, despite the heavy-handed sampling on the song. It's pissed off, defiant, and just fucking right.
1. Beastie Boys, "Hey Ladies" This track, from the Beastie Boys' album Paul's Boutique, was the first single to ever chart in the top twenty spots of both the Billboard Hot Rap Singles and Modern Rock Tracks charts. It's never seen the commercial success that other Beastie albums (or tracks) have, but it set up their path to be accepted not only by the hip-hop community, but the alt-rock community as well. The Beastie Boys were some of the most versatile recording artists to emerge during that time, and their music is bound to remain on lists about old school jams for long to come.
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