We all know the feeling: you’ve heard the song a million times. When the beat drops, you recognize it instantly. But, for the life of you, you don’t know the name. Well, don’t worry, because hopefully one of those songs you’re thinking of is in this piece. Now, all of you hip-hop heads will recognize all of these cuts, but you casual fans will hopefully appreciate this.
“They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” – Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth
This is no doubt one of the most recognizable beats in hip-hop history. When I was at a Common concert two years ago, the opening DJ at one point decided to play “Niggas In Paris.” The crowd wasn’t feelin’ it, and given the type of people who go Common concerts, it was no surprise. But the second he played “They Reminisce Over You,” the crowd went ape-shit. “T.R.O.Y.” has been featured on the soundtracks of Madden 12 and NBA Street: Vol. 2 and many of you will recognize it from the beat being recreated in Lupe Fiasco’s “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free).”
“Hip-Hop” – Dead Prez
All of you Chappelle’s Show fans will definitely recognize this one. Dead Prez is one of the most radical groups ever in hip-hop. If you’re not down to listen to some socialist and Pan-African messages, you’re not gonna feel any of their stuff. But regardless of your political affiliation, you’re head is definitely bobbin to the beat of this classic that opened every single episode of Chappelle’s Show.
“Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” – Digable Planets
The bass line. The snaps. The horns. This is one the best build-ups in hip-hop that I've ever heard. I can remember this song being featured in a phone commercial a few years ago, but I can’t exactly remember which one. But that’s beside the point. The point is that if you heard this track you’d scratching your head trying to name it. So, now you know.
“ATLiens” – OutKast
If I asked some of you if you knew a song by OutKast called “Throw Yo Hands In The Air,” I bet there would be a few of you who’d nod your heads. Unfortunately, no such song by OutKast exists. You're probably thinking of “ATLiens,” the title track to a classic OutKast record. The chorus is catchy as hell, which causes the song to be frequently misnamed.