Well we started from the bottom, but now we’re here – at the top ten of my personal favorite hip hop singles of the 1990s decade! It’s been a lot of fun recounting the fabulous hits of the decade that saw hip hop move from what some thought was a fad to a phenomenon that is here to stay. If you missed any of my previous eight posts covering numbers 90-11, you can find ’em here:
And now – the Top Ten!!
10. “My Name Is” by Eminem (1999)
Slim Shady burst onto the hip hop scene with his first amazing single with production work from Dr. Dre. He would dominate the following decade, but this is where it all started.
9. “Jump Around” by House of Pain (1992)
With production by DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill, Everlast and company had a smash hit with this party starter.
8. “O.P.P.” by Naughty by Nature (1991)
We still may not know what it really stands for, but Naughty by Nature gave us their true classic with their first single off their self-titled debut album.
7. “It Was a Good Day” by Ice Cube (1993)
Mr. Cube had a classic with this lyrically brilliant cut about a typical day in the life of a rapper.
6. “Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)
The debut single from his iconic Ready to Die debut album, “Juicy” announced the presence of a rap god that we lost too soon.
5. “California Love” by 2Pac featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman (1996)
Much like Biggie, we also lost the unforgettable 2Pac soon. “California Love” was the smash hit first single off All Eyez on Me with production from Dre and a terrific Road Warrior inspired music video.
4. “Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J (1991)
He’d been here for years with some in the rap community doubting him, but LL Cool J gave us this hard hitting and magnificent cut that serves as his signature track.
3. “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” by Geto Boys (1991)
The highest charting single from this innovative Houston rap group, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” is flat out brilliant.
2. “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need To Get By (Razor Sharp Mix)” by Method Man featuring Mary J. Blige (1995)
A remix of a track off his Tical album, Wu-Tang member Method Man teamed with Mary J. Blige and producer RZA to come up with an unforgettable take on the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell 1968 hit.
1. “‘Nuthin but a ‘G’ Thang” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg (1992)
The 1990s decade was in many ways dominated by Death Row and Dr. Dre. This first single off The Chronic (the album of the 1990s in hip hop) with Dre and Snoop trading rhymes earns its rightful place atop the best singles.
And there you have it, friends! My work is done here. Hopefully, at the least, this list gave you some iTunes fodder or reminded you just how great certain tracks were back in the day. Until next time…