Ranking Five West Coast Hip-Hop Classics That Turn 20 This Year
"Regulators" YouTube screengrab
But when it comes to West Coast rap classics that are two decades old, 2014 has all sorts of great entries. It may feel like you were just yesterday using these albums to attract all of the fly honeys as they exited The Lion King, but now many have become classics. Below are the five best 1994 West Coast rap albums.
It Takes a Thief
Before he was taking dimly lit one-on-one meetings with Michelle Pfieffer and kickin' it with Kenan and Kel, Coolio found his way into our hearts through his breakout single "Fantastic Voyage." By taking the familiar thump of G Funk - but somewhat obscuring the grittiness in favor of the party elements, he gave us gems that still bring the party to life today.
The Mail Man EP
In the dark ages before the Internet,the best way to stay connect to fans between full-length projects was by releasing EPs. One of the best was E-40's The Mail Man, which included the classic "Captain Save-A-Ho" and the unforgettable "Practice Lookin' Hard" that gathered E-40, 2Pac and The Coup's Boots Riley in a single frame. Speaking of whom...
3) The Coup
Genocide and Juice
The Coup's sophomore album Genocide and Juice was smart as it was funking. The group's last outing with member E-Rocc, it was the perfect balance of Pam the Funktress' infectious production, Boots Riley's razor-sharp lyrics and E-Rocc's endearing eccentricities. While the group went on to greater fame following his departure, his contributions to Genocide and Juice showed how fun a funky, socially conscious record could be.
While there was a lot of funk bubbling in '94, the West Coast also a crop of avant garde artists pushing the envelope with unorthodox flows and innovative wordplay. Among those leading the pack was Saafir. While some may know him best as one-third of supergroup Golden State Warriors (with Ras Kass and Xzibit) Saafir's debut Boxcar Sessions was among the sleeper hits of '94. It became a cult classic and is continues to influence underground hip-hop in ways that are still being felt.
1) Warren G
Regulate...G Funk Era
If Coolio emphasized the party aspect of g-funk, Warren G emphasized the melodies. Do you know anyone over age 20 who doesn't know the words to "Regulators"? Even three years removed from Nate Dogg's passing, that groove seems certain to live on forever. This is also the album that saved Def Jam Records in their darkest hour, moving four million units and re-establishing the label at a time when they most needed it.
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