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Editorial: Fifteen Important Rap Videos From 1996

Editorial courtesy of Steve 'Flash' Juon.

[Questlove courtesy Wikimedia Commons]Every now and then somebody will ask me to "rank the best rap artists/groups/deejays/etc. of all time" and send back an e-mail. When I compile these lists of hip-hop videos by year, I don't necessarily view them as a ranking exercise. I may start a list with the things I remember and love off the top, but I ultimately settled on the phrasing "Fifteen Important" to reflect the fact that each of the songs and their respective videos are equally valuable to me as a passionate hip-hop head.

That said if somebody left me on a deserted island with a solar powered boombox and only five albums (and hopefully enough food to eat and fresh water to drink) it's a safe assumption that at least one of those five would be from The Roots. I'm not necessarily saying it has to be "Illadelph Halflife," but I'm not saying it would be a bad choice either. "Do You Want More?!!!??!" is the more acclaimed album out of their early catalogue of work, but there's a quiet cool confidence to "Halflife" that I've always appreciated. The Roots no longer had to prove they were great, it was already established, so now they could just settle into the groove and deliver slick hip-hop that seemed deceptively effortless but was incredibly polished and smooth.

Few songs exemplify that aura of refined ease that the Philadelphians of Swing generated than the track "What They Do" and Black Thought's epithet "To emcee requires skills, I demand some shown." The video itself playfully mocks the ideas of hip-hop video cliches, from the honey shaking her booty behind Thought as he raps, to Questlove pouring himself a tall glass of champagne. "Livin the life of limos and lights" might be the order of the day for a famous artist, but you can see the comfort level of The Roots Crew hit epic highs when they're jamming in a smoky nightclub or standing on a street corner with their friends. It's about the music to them, not the image, and the video fires shots at the idea you have to be a conspicuous consumer to fit the rap mold of the day. Still Black Thought doesn't eschew capitalism, because he still wants it "made like Ed, nuff said" but he'll go "infinitely against the grain" to achieve it. When I tell you "What They Do" is my #1 video for 1996, it's definitely my personal favorite - but the cinematic "Elevators" and the spy movie thriller "Ready or Not" come close.

1.) The Roots - "What They Do"

2.) OutKast - "Elevators (Me & You)"

3.) The Fugees - "Ready or Not"

4.) 2Pac - "I Ain't Mad at Cha"

5.) Jay-Z - "Can't Knock the Hustle"

6.) A Tribe Called Quest - "1nce Again"

7.) Nas & Lauryn Hill - "If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)"

8.) Cypress Hill & Friends - "Throw Your Hands in the Air"

9.) Mobb Deep - "Give Up the Goods (Just Step)"

10.) Ghostface Killah - "All That I Got Is You"

11.) M.O.P. - "World Famous"

12.) Foxy Brown - "Get Me Home"

13.) Xzibit - "Paparazzi"

14.) Redman & K-Solo - "It's Like That (My Big Brother)"

15.) Dr. Octagon - "Blue Flowers"

The Hip-Hop Shop #327 - Keep It Real & Keep It Humble

It's time for another edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. Episode #327 is Keep It Real & Keep It Humble! Enjoy new tracks by Soulbrotha, Krazy Drayz, Arys Dejan and Drama Sinatra among others! Follow us @RapReviews so you never miss a new podsafe free show.

Download Here (right click to save)

Tracks featured this week:

* Soulbrotha - Humble
* Krazy Drayz & DJ Rondevu - Real
* Arys Dejan - TheCode
* Drama Sinatra - Live Free
* eMeX - The Highs & The Lows
* Jay Rose - Be a Star
* Spaz Montega - Time Piece
* Sivion - Out to Win

Video: @NickiMinaj - "The Night Is Still Young"

Video: Nicki Minaj - "The Night Is Still Young"

Republic: NICKI MINAJ releases new video for “The Night Is Still Young”

Directed by: Hannah Lux Davis

Audio: @HypePacino f/ Young Scooter, Young Dolph, Zaytoven (@MsRiverCity) "Real R & B Muzik (Racks & Blow)"

Audio: Hype Pacino f/ Young Scooter, Young Dolph, Zaytoven - "Real R & B Muzik (Racks & Blow)"

Ms. RC: Illest Records presents Hype Pacino "Real R & B Muzik (Racks & Blow)" mixtape hosted by Illest DJs. The tape includes Young Scooter, Young Dolph, Zaytoven, Drumma Boy and more. Listen & download the tape below, and watch the video for "Dope Boi" featuring Young Dolph.

Video: @illxchris @SmokeDza @LeezySoprano "Hell Up In Harlem"

Video: iLL Chris f/ Smoke Dza & Leezy Soprano "Hell Up In Harlem"

Matt: Born in the era where battle rap reigned, iLL Chris has made a name for himself with his witty punch lines and strong hustle. Born and raised as a military brat in Oklahoma & Virgnia, L picked up influences from early 90's hip hop from his older brother.

Video: @KillahPriest - 'Planet Of The Gods' Album Sampler f/ @SnoopDogg @GhostfaceKillah

Video: Killah Priest - 'Planet Of The Gods' Album Sampler f/ Snoop Dogg & Ghostface

Matt: Killah Priest’s Planet Of The Gods will blow you out to the cosmos and bring you back to earth on a higher chakra. Priest’s mastery and scholarly depth continues to transform and today he releases a new promo video for his upcoming album that features guest appearances from Snoop Dogg, Ghostface and Ras Kass. Also included is an album sampler for Planet Of The Gods.

Audio: @PeteRock - "Heaven & Earth" (@MelloMusicGroup)

Audio: Pete Rock - "Heaven & Earth"

MMG: "Heaven & Earth" is the newest single from Pete Rock. An introspective beat drawn up by the original master bringing in a piano and strings driven melody while trademark drum snaps and a rubbery bassline pushes through the background.

Audio: D. Anthony "Wrong For That" (@PreachGold @DopeByBlood)

Audio: D. Anthony - "Wrong For That" (prod. Preach Gold)

Artist: D. Anthony
From: Brooklyn, NY
Song Title: “Wrong For That"
Twitter: @DopeByBlood
IG: DopeByBlood
Producer Credits: Preach Gold (@PreachGold)

Video: @JamesGardin - "Feels Like" (@sohhPR)

Video: James Gardin - "Feels Like"

SOHH: "At times we can start to feel like we've lost who we truly are. This can happen because of mistakes, regrets, and guilt that we let haunt us through our lives. I believe grace has forgiven us, and and that only way back to our truth is through God's navigation."

Audio: @Diplo x CL x RiFF RAFF x @OGMaco "Doctor Pepper" (@Biz3)

Audio: Diplo x CL x RiFF RAFF x OG Maco "Doctor Pepper"

Biz3: Diplo teams up with South Korean superstar CL, RiFF RAFF and OG Maco for "Doctor Pepper"! CL lays down a flawless hook you'll find stuck in your head almost immediately. Cue RiFF's Versace rhymes and OG Maco's Atlanta-style rap and you'll find yourself driving backwards through Rome in a Range Rover, blaring "Doctor Pepper" on repeat all day long.

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Welcome to for the week of May 26th, 2015!! Please like us on Facebook and shop Amazon through RapReviews so we can bring you new material every week. This week we have TEN new items for you to enjoy: Clara Wang's Fashawn interview, an editorial with Fifteen Important Rap Videos From 1996, eMC's "The Tonite Show," a new edition of The Hip-Hop Shop, KB's "Tomorrow We Live" (our featured review), Oddisee's "The Good Fight," Rhonnie O'Neal's "The May," Samurai Guru's "Glitch," Supreme Ace's "Timeless" and Emanuel Wallace: The (W)rap Up for May 19, 2015!

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