I’ve played plenty of retro nights in my day, and any DJ will tell you that there are certain tracks that have aged to a particular vintage that can have a huge impact on your set. Whether it is a remix, interpolation, cover or original, songs with a bit of history pack a punch of nostalgia that the freshest cut in the world lacks. The psychological impact of familiarity is well-documented. From disco nights and 80’s themes to 90’s hip hop and dance parties, the vibe from a well-executed theme party can’t be denied. They are a lot of fun to attend and to play.
We are half way through a 90’s revival and as we coast down the other side of the hill it’s time to start thinking about the decade after and the timeless hits, misses and forgotten gold that is destined to be rediscovered.
So, I pulled out a few crates and dusted off a couple CD books to take a look at what I was playing and conjure up a visit from the ghost of bangers past. During this time I was lucky enough to have a healthy mix of gigs that let me dive deep into certain genres. Club nights packed with Hip Hop and Top 40 anthems, Lounges where Deep Sexy House ruled the day, and the explosive rise of EDM. My stint in college radio let me dive deep into the progressive and underground sides of Hip Hop. It was an action-packed time.
Sticking to the world of Hip Hop and the first 5 years of the decade, here are some choice cuts you may have missed or forgotten about from the 2000s.
Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek – Move Something (2001)
Pharoahe Monch – My Life (2002)
The Cunninlynguists, guilty of not only having one of the cleverest hip hop band names around next to the Finger Bangerz and local faction Swollen Members, but also of crafting some pure hip hop joints. Add the lyrical mastery displayed by the legendary Masta Ace, and this track knocks nicely over some majestic strings.
Cunninlynguists feat. Masta Ace – Seasons (2003)
Black Thought set Sway’s Sirius XM studio on fire as well as the internet after his spectacular display. Any head who is worth his salt knows that Mr. Trotter is a beast, so it was nice to know that those who slept had been properly informed. I’ve been dropping this next joint lately at Juice Fridays at Bayside Lounge and always get one person asking who the hell it is. A cool 14 years before the decimating freestyle from the Tonight Show band Lieutenant.
The Roots – Web (2004)
Don’t bother with the original. The vibe on this remix crushes. Dr. Dre working his magic on the beat with the infamous duo and 50 in his prime. Deluxe!!!
50 Cent ft. Mobb Deep – Outta Control (Remix) (2005)
That takes us to 2005. I will hit you in the head with some gems from the last half of the 2000’s in an upcoming instalment. What are some of your favourite hip hop tracks from the 2000s? Let me know in the comments. Easy.