The Top Five Hidden Rap Tracks
Life bursts at the seams with mysteries we'll never fully understand, like the Texans' decision to pass on Vince Young, Kesha's entire existence and the strange concept of hidden songs.
Some of them are superior to the ones that make an album's final cut and track listing. Why hide a song that could potentially enhance an album? We'll leave that discussion for another day. For now, let's toast five hidden rap songs you should be up on.
5. Jay-Z - "People Talking" Original Song: "Jigga That Nigga" (Begins at 8:22) Album: Jay-Z feat. The Roots, Unplugged
Released in the thick of Jay's feud with Nas, "People Talking" served as a precursor to The Blueprint, Vol. 2. Jay seized the opportunity to toss some subliminal disses at his then-nemesis Nas ("I see right through ya, Judas/ The man that I am, and damn, don't you know, the harder you go at me the harder I flow, let's do this") in between a few humorous lines ("Can you even fathom not having a fear in the world? I'm cool in my afterlife if I'm reading these chapters right).
Too bad he wasted a brilliant Ski beat on a hidden track.
4. Viktor Vaughn (MF Doom), "Change The Beat" Original Song: "Change The Beat" (Begins at 3:35) Album: Vaudeville Villain
Rap's quintessential enigma, Daniel Dumile, released Vaudeville Villain under one of his 849 aliases, Viktor Vaughn. As it turns out, the final song on this album is not a song at all. It's a skit set against the backdrop of extreme weather conditions.
The skit lasts a few seconds, followed by three minutes of nothing but rain. Then, DOOM puts down whatever he's smoking and starts rapping." True to its title, the beat changes every few bars. It's totally worth the three-minute wait.
3. The Roots, "Act Fore the End" Original Song: "Return to Innocence Lost" Album: Things Fall Apart
The Roots are notorious for sneaking a hidden track or two onto their albums. They've had some remarkable ones, but there's none is more stunningly wondrous than "Act Fore the End," in which ?uestlove wakes up at 5 a.m. to complain that something is missing from the album. Black Thought steps up to the challenge and delivers a steely verse over the course of four minutes.
2. Jay-Z, "Breathe Easy (Lyrical Exercise)" Original Song: "Blueprint (Momma Loves Me)" (Begins at 4:05) Album: The Blueprint
Okay, the only way you could've missed this one was if you stopped your player at the end of "Momma Loves Me." If that's the case, you skipped about nine minutes of good music.
As The Blueprint draws to an end, a few seconds of silence follow. Then comes the first of two hidden songs, ""Breathe Easy (Lyrical Exercise)." Throughout the song, Jay-Z compares his mike skills with various athletic drills. Genius.
1. AZ, "Born Alone, Die Alone" Original Song: "Mo Money, Mo Murder" (Begins at 5:17) Album: Doe or Die
AZ and Nas caught lightning in a bottle on the mafioso number "Mo Murder (Homicide)." Right after the song ends, another song rolls along. It boggles the mind that AZ didn't turn this single-verse gem into a full song. Another strange thing about "Born Alone, Die Alone" is that it's embedded right in the middle of the album, whereas most hidden songs can be found at the end.
HIDDEN ENTRY (In the spirit of hidden tracks, we decided to leave you with one more pick):
N.E.R.D., "Find My Way" Original Song: "Chariot of Fire" (Begins at 4:16) Album: Fly or Die
You may be forgiven for inadvertently skipping this one because you didn't want to sit through an entire N.E.R.D. album from front to back. Few people can handle 49 minutes of falsetto and genre-bending in one sitting. Anyway, go play the last track on Fly or Die, wait about 66 seconds and "Find My Way" will find its way through your speakers.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.