The Top Five Rap Songs For The Summer -- by Angus Crawford and the Knights of the Turntables, June 2008
Like a championship sports team during MVP voting time, the great summer artists hurt themselves by having so many quality songs and ended up splitting their vote. Outkast did not make the list but people voted for “Player’s Ball”, “Elevators”, and “Spottieoppidopilicious” (or however you spell it).
Tupac also suffered from a lack of consensus amongst his hits with panelists choosing “I Get Around”, “To Live and Die in L.A.”, and “Picture Me Rollin’” (my top choice) in their top five. Voters also could not decide between Jay-Z’s ode to our favorite season “Dear Summer” and the Reasonable Doubt classic “Feelin’ It”. If the question was "who are the five greatest summer artists?" then those three would all most likely make the list. Their greatness was both a gift and a curse. Now on to those who made the list:
5. Juicy – Notorious B.I.G.
“It was all a dream…” If you can’t finish the sentence then you got some homework to do. Biggie takes listeners through his tough times to his interviews with Robin Leech in a way that only he could. The nostalgia is heavy but the journey to the present is what makes this a summer anthem. We all have day dreams but Biggie showed people that these dreams could come true. Don’t forget the video with the mansion party too. That’s summer.
No one can forget that purple tape that came out in the late summer of ’95. Despite the radio friendly hook and clear catering to their female fans, the Clan still kept it gritty with lines like, “If I was jiggy, you'd be spotted like Spudz McKenzie”. The double entendre was also in full effect as Method Man (the greatest hook-deliverer) rattled off his favorite ice cream flavors to show his taste for a little variety in the opposite sex. Line after line is about hooking up with women and nothing represents summer more than a little summer love, it even got John Travolta and Olivia Newton John to sing (I can hear the booing from here).
3. It Was A Good Day – Ice Cube
Who knew that the same guy responsible for penning lyrics on “No Vaseline”, “Fuck the
Police”, and “Straight Out of Compton” would create a laid back summer anthem (before he became comedy actor). Cube takes listeners through a good day in South Central L.A. complete with pick-up basketball, long awaited hook-ups, enormous crap winnings and, of course, breakfast with no hog that paints a vivid picture for those unfamiliar with the City of Los Angeles. As one panelist put it, “This song lyrically laid out what each and everyone one of us did (or wish we did) on those warm days…‘Fucked around and got a triple-double’…enough said.” With the memorable story-telling lyrics like that this remains Ice Cubes most famous and popular song.
2. Nuthin’ But a G’ Thing – Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg
Fresh off the success of “Deep Cover” the Compton and Long Beach duo released their first single from the Chronic masterpiece and tripled the sales of hydraulics at the same time. A scrawny Snoop Doggy Dogg used his smooth flow to deliver catchy lyrics with plenty of punch (“And that’s realer than Real Deal Holyfied”) that made him a household name in no time. This arguably Dre’s greatest beat and propelled him into a different stratosphere compared to his producing peers. Everything about this track is smooth and combined with its video of BBQs, low riders, and house parties it’s hard to believe that this is only number two.
1. Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Before he became the current Hollywood box office king, Will Smith was a pretty good
rapper and even won the first ever rap Grammy along with DJ Jazzy Jeff. Surprisingly (and not surprisingly for some) this was the run-a-away winner. While the other choices were implicitly about summer or evoked thoughts of hearing a song during the summer, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince made their point pretty explicitly. Their purpose was to remind people of their great summer experiences and for the voters that were polled they did just that.