Top 90 Hip Hop Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 10-1

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…


Top 90 Hip Hop Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 20-11

The Top 20 has arrived in my personal Top 90 hip hop singles of the great 1990s decade! Please feel free to peruse my other entries by scrolling through the blog or clicking the Music tab to review numbers 90-21. We’ll get to the Top 10 tomorrow (!), but here are the fabulous tracks comprising nos. 20-11:

20. “Tha Crossroads” by Bone Thugs n Harmony (1996)

The Cleveland rap group’s tribute to their founder, Eazy-E, was a soulful summer anthem of 1996.

19. “Now That We Found Love” by Heavy D and the Boyz  featuring Aaron Hall (1991)

This Teddy Riley produced dance hit marked a career highlight from the late Heavy D… and his Boyz.

18. “Scenario” by A Tribe Called Quest (1992)

The brilliant hip hop group had their best known track with this banger that featured an amazing verse from one Busta Rhymes.

17. “Regulate” by Warren G. featuring Nate Dogg (1994)

Fantastically sampling Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin'”, Warren G and Nate Dogg burst onto the west coast scene with this classic from the Above the Rim soundtrack.

16. “Hypnotize” by The Notorious B.I.G. (1997)

The first single off 1997’s Life After Death found Biggie rapping over a sample from Herb Alpert’s groovy “Rise”.

15. “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” by Busta Rhymes (1997)

Mr. Rhymes has given us plenty of terrific rap tunes, but this first single of his When Disaster Strikes album is his finest hour.

14. “Hard Knock Life” by Jay-Z (1998)

Shawn Carter is one of the few MC’s alive who could take a sample from Annie and make it relevant to his music. And did he ever!

13. “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” by Missy Elliot (1997)

Our first taste of the incredible collaboration between Missy and producer Timbaland, this is an impossibly infectious groove from the best female rapper we’ve likely ever seen.

12. “So What’cha Want” by the Beastie Boys (1992)

So many unforgettable tracks, yet the Boys second single from their Check Your Head project is perfect.

11. “What’s My Name?” by Snoop Dogg (1993)

Mix Dre’s production with Snoop’s natural flow and this first single from his debut smash Doggystyle has everything you’d want.

Top Ten tomorrow, friends! Until then…

Top 90 Hip Hop Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 30-21

We’re into the Top 30 of my personal top 90 hip hop singles of the 90s decades! If you’ve missed any of the entries covering numbers 90-31, you can peruse them by clicking the Music tab on the blog or simply scrolling through.

Let’s bring it:

30. “Big Poppa” by The Notorious B.I.G. (1995)

One of Biggie’s signature tunes from his Ready to Die debut album, this gave the brilliant rapper his most prominent nickname.

29. “Bring the Pain” by Method Man (1994)

One of the stars of Wu-Tang Clan, this was Meth’s first single from his acclaimed Tical album.

28. “Insane in the Brain” by Cypress Hill (1993)

Cops come and try to snatch Cypress Hill’s crops (likely marijuana) in the group’s best known hit.

27. “Fu-Gee-La” by Fugees (1996)

The lead single from Wyclef, Lauryn, and Pras’s landmark album The Score.

26. “The Choice Is Yours” by Black Sheep (1991)

Engine engine… number 9… Black Sheep had an amazingly catchy smash with this release.

25. “The Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground (1990)

Digital Underground released their signature tune that memorably described lead rapper Shock G’s proclivity to do things at Burger King that didn’t involve typical menu ordering.

24. “Triumph” by Wu-Tang Clan (1997)

The RZA led hip hop super group showcased the talents of all its rappers on the first single off their Wu-Tang Forever album.

23. “Rosa Parks” by Outkast (1998)

The lead single off Aquemini offered one of the most commercial and catchy tracks from Andre 3000 and Big Boi.

22. “Can’t Truss It” by Public Enemy (1991)

Many PE fanatics might rank other songs higher, but this has always remained my personal favorite track from the iconic group.

21. “Deep Cover” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg (1992)

The world got its first taste of the Dre/Snoop combo in this title song from a 1992 Laurence Fishburne crime thriller. Rap would never be the same.

And that’ll do it for now! We’ll enter the top 20 tomorrow…


Top 90 Hip Hop Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 40-31

We’ve reached the top 40 of my personal favorite 90 hip hop singles of the 1990s decade! If you missed my posts covering numbers 90-41, you can scroll through the blog or click the music tab to find them (and feel free to look back at my series on top 90 1990s R&B tracks while you’re at it)…

Let’s get rolling:

40. “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” by DMX (1998)

DMX had a signature hit from his debut album with this hard hitting anthem.

39. “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” by Digable Planets (1992)

This Grammy winning, jazz fused track gave Digable Planets a mainstream smash.

38. “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio (1995)

By far the greatest hip hop song that featured Michelle Pfeiffer in its video, Coolio scored his biggest success with this track from the Dangerous Minds soundtrack.

37. “Shook Ones (Part II)” by Mobb Deep (1994)

The lead single from the duo’s The Infamous album is a career highlight. The beat was later used in the climactic rap battle scene in Eminem’s 8 Mile movie.

36. “One More Chance” by The Notorious B.I.G. (1995)

The Biggie hit actually knocked Michael Jackson from the #1 singles chart. It features both Faith Evans and Mary J. Blige on backing vocals.

35. “I Get Around” by 2Pac (1993)

‘Pac had a playa’s anthem for the ages with assists from Shock G and Money-B from Digital Underground.

34. “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” by Ol Dirty Bastard (1995)

ODB had his greatest track with this entry from his debut solo album. Years later, it would play over the opening credits to Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up.

33. “Tennessee” by Arrested Development (1992)

The eclectic hip hop group had a classic here which crossed over to massive mainstream airplay.

32. “Elevators (Me & You)” by Outkast (1996)

Probably the best rap duo of all time, this is the Atlanta’s group’s first single off their second LP ATLiens.

31. “Gin and Juice” by Snoop Dogg (1994)

The Dogg’s second single from Doggystyle informed the universe that his mind was on his money and… you know the rest.

We’ll have a break in the action and resume my top 3rd of the list later this week. Until then!

Top 90 Hip Hop Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 50-41

This evening on the blog, we’re breaking into the Top 50 of my personal favorite 90 singles of the 90s decade. If you missed my first four entries of this blog series, simply go to the Music tab category and use your incredible scrolling abilities to track them down.

Let’s get to it!

50. “Mo Money Mo Problems” by the Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy and Mase (1997)

The second single from Biggie’s posthumous Life After Death project, this is one of the brilliant rapper’s most mainstream tracks with its sample of Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out” and its assists from Puff and Mase.

49. “Shoop” by Salt-n-Pepa (1993)

One of the most infectious singles from the greatest rap girl group in history.

48. “N.Y. State of Mind” by Nas (1994)

With its propulsive DJ Premier beat, this is a highlight of Nas’s terrific debut album Illmatic.

47. “New Jack Hustler” by Ice-T (1991)

Ice-T hit a home run with his single off the New Jack City soundtrack, which he also costarred in.

46. “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice (1991)

So… yeah… if you don’t this should be on the list – I will ask: do you know all the lyrics? Thought so.

45. “C.R.E.A.M.” by Wu-Tang Clan (1994)

This pioneering and very large hip hop group had one of their best with this single from their Enter the 36 Chambers debut album.

44. “Award Tour” by A Tribe Called Quest (1993)

One of the most innovative rap groups ever, this is Tribe’s first single off their Midnight Marauders album.

43. “I Got 5 On It” by Luniz (1995)

A green anthem for the ages, Luniz staked their place in rap history with this jam.

42. “All About the Benjamins (remix)” by Puff Daddy featuring The Notorious B.I.G. and Lil Kim (1997)

The creme de la creme of Bad Boy got together on this banger from Puff’s debut solo album.

41. “Still Not a Player” by Big Pun featuring Joe (1998)

The late Pun has his signature hit with this party starter featuring R&B singer Joe.

And that’ll do it for now! We’ll enter the Top 40 tomorrow.


Top 90 Hip Hop Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 60-51

Today we roll into part 4 of my personal top 90 hip hop singles of the 1990s. If you missed the first three parts covering numbers 90-61, you can check them out here:

Alright, onto the next ones!

60. “Dre Day” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg (1993)

The second single off Dre’s brilliant Chronic album also featured a very memorable video dissing former NWA partner Eazy-E.

59. “Money, Power, Respect” by The Lox featuring DMX and Lil Kim (1998)

This Bad Boy label group had their signature tune with this banger with assists from DMX and Lil Kim.

58. “Gimme Some More” by Busta Rhymes (1998)

Mr. Rhymes can usually be counted on for great beats (this one samples the Psycho theme) and imaginative videos. This one has both and then some.

57. “Passin’ Me By” by The Pharcyde (1993)

This rap foursome hit #1 on the charts with this groove.

56. “Warning” by The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)

One of Biggie’s most hard hitting and creative tracks from his debut Ready to Die album.

55. “1st of tha Month” by Bone Thugs n Harmony (1995)

The Cleveland group had one of their giant singles with this unforgettable ode to welfare checks.

54. “Natural Born Killaz” by Dr. Dre and Ice Cube (1994)

Dre and Cube reunited for the first time since NWA for this fantastic song from the Murder Was the Case soundtrack.

53. “Ditty” by Paperboy (1993)

It may have been his only big hit, but Paperboy delivered a wonderful one with this catchy tune… or ditty, if you will.

52. “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch (1991)

The second best song with the name “Good Vibrations”, it’s still awesome and it’s definitely Marky’s finest hour at the mic. He would go onto a storied movie career. The Funky Bunch did not.

51. “Cell Therapy” by Goodie Mob (1995)

This Atlanta based group (which includes Cee-Lo) created a masterpiece here. This is Mob’s only single that cracked the top 40.

And that’ll do it for now, friends! We’ll get into the top 50 tomorrow…

Top 90 Hip Hop Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 70-61

We have arrived at part 3 of my personal top 90 hip hop singles of the nineties decade, covering numbers 70-61. If you missed my first two posts covering nos. 90-71, shame on you. However, you can find them here:

Here we go:

70. “Hip Hop Hooray” by Naughty by Nature (1993)

With its infectious chorus and its Spike Lee directed video which had us all ridiculously waving our arms to and fro, Naughty by Nature scored a well deserved smash in 1993 with this jam.

69. “Still DRE” by Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg (1999)

The lead single off Dre’s Chronic 2001 album found the glorious mix of Dre and Snoop back in business.

68. “Keep Ya Head Up” by 2Pac (1993)

Pac’s single showcases the more sensitive side of the iconic rapper.

67. “Ice Cream” by Raekwon featuring Method Man, Ghostface Killah, and Cappadonna (1995)

Four Wu-Tang Clan members collaborate on this classic track from Raekwon’s amazing Only Built 4 Cuban Linx album.

66. “Baby Got Back” by Sir-Mix-a-Lot (1992)

It’s still being put to good use today by Nicki Minaj in her hit “Anaconda”, but Seattle based Mix-a-Lot created a booty jam for the ages over two decades ago.

65. “I’m a Player” by Too Short (1993)

So many filthy yet remarkable songs to choose from involving Too Short – but this cut from his Get In Where You Fit In album rose above the rest.

64. “Murder Was the Case” by Snoop Dogg (1994)

One of Snoop’s many masterpieces from his Doggystyle debut album.

63. “Funkdafied” by Da Brat (1994)

Da Brat and producer Jermaine Dupri had a summer 1994 highlight with this title track off her debut album.

62. “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince (1991)

Speaking of summer, before Will Smith became one of the biggest film stars in the world – he and partner DJ Jeff made a seasonal anthem that will never go away.

61. “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer (1990)

Quibble if you want, but this Rick James sampling classic was instrumental in bringing hip hop to the mainstream. Plus – Hammer pants!!

And that’ll do it for now, folks! I’ll be back with part four soon enough…

Top 90 Hip Hop Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 80-71

This evening we continue on with part two of my personal 90 favorite hip hop hits of the 1990s. If you missed part 1 covering numbers 90-81, you may find it here:

Let’s get right to it! 80. “Slam” by Onyx (1993) Undoubtedly one of the greatest rap songs where the rappers are basically yelling at you for the duration of the cut. It makes you want to break stuff.

79. “Bout It Bout It II” by Master P (1995) Mr. P started a 90s empire with No Limit Records with hit singles and albums by himself, his family members and others that included Mystikal and even Snoop Dogg. This is one of the most memorable tracks.
78. “Can I Get A…” by Jay-Z featuring Amil and Ja Rule (1998) Jay had his first crossover hit with this single from the Rush Hour soundtrack that also featured Ja Rule’s first intro to mainstream listeners.
77. “Playaz Club” by Rappin 4 Tay (1994) If I ever go to a Player’s Ball Convention (which is unlikely), I want this smooth track by Mr. Tay as my entrance soundtrack.
76. “Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)” by Craig Mack (1994) A discovery of Puff Daddy, Mack had a giant hit with this jam and it’s terrific remix which featured Biggie, LL Cool J, and Busta Rhymes.
75. “Hit ‘Em Up” by 2Pac (1996) Quite possibly the greatest diss rap song ever recorded, Shakur spits his venom at Puff Daddy and Biggie in unforgettable fashion.
74. “Doggy Dogg World” by Snoop Doggy Dogg featuring Tha Dogg Pound and the Dramatics (1994) With help from his cohorts Daz and Kurupt and soul group the Dramatics, this throwback to 70s funk is a highlight from Snoop’s glorious debut album Doggystyle.
73. “Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)” by Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz (1998) This duo had a top ten hit with this late 90s gem that provided them their only significant success.
72. “Crush on You” by Lil Kim (1996) The Queen B had one of her finest songs with assists from Lil Cease and Biggie on the chorus.
71. “Got Your Money” by Ol Dirty Bastard featuring Kelis (1999) The Neptunes produced banger is impossibly groovy with the late ODB at his very best and funniest. Kelis contributes the catchy chorus.
And that’ll do it for part two, folks! Part three coming your way tomorrow…