Now as a person who always has had flawless and impeccable taste even when bumping material that years later upon reflection would severely hurt my street cred as a hip hop fan, I can admit that there are couple of "Crank Dat's" in my past that I bumped to high heavens when I was young and impressionable. This is coming from a man who owns an Ace Of Bass CD. However, these are the songs that I loved as kid which I still would bump with semi-regularity when I'm in the privacy of my own company. So dim the lights, prepare a bubble bath, and light the candles and get ready for:
The Good Doctor Zeus' Top 5 Favorite "Questionable" Songs That He Loved As A Kid
5. Vanilla Ice - Ninja Rap (1992)
A few years ago, I was watching one of those exploitative VH1 celebrity reality shows where they were following around a few artists who were on the comeback trail; they were all being guided by various "lifestyle" coaches who were trying their best to re-make their images for a modern audience; it was all pretty hysterical. Rob Van Winkle, better known to the world as Vanilla Ice, was on the show and he was doing his best to live up to his reputation of being a certifiable lunatic. Ice's most memorable moment on the show for, me - amongst refusing to do anything to change his image claiming that he had millions of loyal new fans - was sitting down and planning his comeback show at a local bar. He was discussing which song to open his set with and he inexplicably decided that the best course of action was not just to perform "Ice Ice Baby" ten times in a row and then leave (He refused to perform that song, by the way) but start out with "Ninja Rap" and then go into his newer rap-rock oeuvre. This struck me as particularly awesome. For those who don't remember, "Ninja Rap" was Ice's contribution to the brilliant cinematic masterpiece, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze, one of my favorite movies of all-time. Being an avowed fanatic of the Ninja Turtles, from the rough ages of five to twelve, this placed Ice deep within my childhood pantheon of musical icons; in between Rafi and the guy who sang the Duck Tales theme. Actually, this song is pretty awful but I would feel suspect without placing it on this list. Still hearing Ice rap about the the Ninja Turtles brings back fond memories of simpler times...
4. Limp Bizkit Feat. Method Man - N 2 Gether Now (1999)
Of the all the bad musical trends that I was briefly into as a kid, I would say that rap-rock had to be the one that I'm most embarrassed to have actually, legitimately liked. There is enough circumstantial evidence in my CD booklet to suggest that it wasn't something that I was tricked into buying because of naivety - as say with my Jock Jams tapes. I own enough Korn, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park records to not be able to pass it off as though they were unwanted gifts from my parents. As bad in retrospect as those records are, Limp Bizkit's collaboration with Method Man "N 2 Gether Now" from Bizkit's "Significant Other" is actually pretty dope. For one, it has Method Man tearing the walls down with a memorable verse and it's produced by DJ Premier; back when DJ Premier still had his fastball. Fred Durst is predictably pretty terrible but otherwise, I wouldn't be too embarrassed if my iTunes randomly decided to play this when my friends were over my apartment. The video is kind of notable, for the fact, that it kind of marks the point where Method Man started to go down the path of cartoon-ish self-parody that culminated in those ridiculous deodorant commercials with Redman. Still dope, though.
3. M.C. Hammer - 2 Legit 2 Quit (1991)
I can remember the first time that I saw the video to Hammer's seminal masterpiece "2 Legit 2 Quit"; I was enthralled. I remember all of the fire, the spectacle, the steroid-infused athletes, the shirtless-ness; it was a sight to behold for an impressionable eight year-old boy. If there was a God-King for the Young Doctor Zeus, it was M.C. Hammer and his magical, mystical parachute pants. I was already a big fan of M.C. Hammer from his days when he used to taunt "You Can't Touch This" as I used to practice doing the Running Man in my room blasting "Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em" on my old faithful boom-box but when Hammer descended from the skies to gift the earth with this masterpiece, I would have laid down my life for the man. I was that big a fan. In actuality, I know this song isn't that artistically removed from Soulja Boy but Hammer had flair; even though, he rhymed horrifically off-beat that man could move. Soulja Boy's retarded. Deal with it. Hip hop homo-eroticism at it's finest...
2. Montell Jordan - This Is How We Do It (1995)
There was a brief and beautiful period in the mid-90s where R&B and rap co-existed and made transcendent music together. From artists ranging from Mary J. Blige and Adina Howard to R. Kelly and Jodeci, "Rap & Bullshit" was fucking awesome. (This was, of course, before rap and R&B collectively murdered each other's respective genre's leaving us with the whole Ja Rule and Ashanti debacles. I will never forgive hearing Ashanti murder the beat to "Can I Live.")
There was a king of this particular genre to me, though, and his name was Montell Jordan. Montell Jordan is the man who taught me the importance of "getting mine in a big black truck"; you, for all, I care can get yours in a "six-four." Now I'm still not sure why it was so important to Montell for him to "get his" in a large, black pick-up truck as I'm sure he could do better but if it were me circa 1995, I would probably want to "get mine" in a "Big Wheel" but I digress. "This Is How We Do It" is one of the those endlessly entertaining party songs that takes you back to a particular time period where all was right with the world. For me, it's sixth grade and awkward school dances. Montell was King of the 6th grade school dance and that's good enough for me. I salute you, sir.
1. Skee-Lo - I Wish (1996)
I say this without hesitation or the slightest bit of irony: Skee-Lo's "I Wish" is my favorite hip hop song of all-time. If there was a personal anthem for my life, as much as I would love it to be "Big Pimpin" or even "Ante Up", Skee-Lo's ode to shortness and social insecurity would be it. I really do wish I was a little bit taller, I really do wish I was a baller, and I most certainly wish I had a girl that looks good and I would certainly call her. This song is pretty damn legitimately great. The song has this warm, blissful feel that just oozes charm due to it's G-Funk synth lines and it's everyman humor. Skee-Lo isn't a bad rapper per se but he's an extremely likeable and funny one. I would kind of compare him to being a proto-Devin the Dude. If I could, I would write thousands and thousands of pages about Skee-L0. It's just that damn good of a song.
Childhood is a funny thing. You obsessively like things that in the long run make you look silly but you reminisce about them wistfully until your long and old. I miss the days when I could bump me some Vanilla Ice and not immediately make myself look like a tool. Sometimes you wish that you could go back... Sometimes you wish you could be a little bit taller...
Ahmad - Back In The Day (1997):