“Criminal” by Fiona Apple (1996)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know, the video. Truthfully, I don’t remember seeing “Criminal”’s clip all too often. By the time it emerged in the summer of 1997, I was cable-deficient. And YouTube hadn’t been invented yet. So my memories of “Criminal” don’t have much tie-in with the unforgettable image of a borderline-emaciated looking Fiona cavorting around in… Read More “Criminal” by Fiona Apple (1996)

“California Love (remix)” by 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre & Roger Troutman (1996)

The only thing different about the two versions of “California Love” is the beat. Oh, but what a difference that beat makes. The original version (which I think people are more familiar with) uses a Joe Cocker sample that’s made it onto a couple other rap records. It’s insistent and menacing, and maybe not the… Read More “California Love (remix)” by 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre & Roger Troutman (1996)

“Brooklyn’s Finest” by Jay-Z (feat. The Notorious B.I.G., 1996)

I was born and raised (mostly) in Brooklyn and yes, I wear that shit like a badge of honor. I’m one of those guys. After a 21 year detour in which I lived on the Lower East Side, the Bronx (twice), Queens, Harlem, Jersey City and Boston, I’m back in Brooklyn. The borough is significantly… Read More “Brooklyn’s Finest” by Jay-Z (feat. The Notorious B.I.G., 1996)

“Blackberry Molasses” by Mista (1996)

Mista came at the tail end of the R&B vocal group era, popping out of Atlanta and scoring a mid-chart hit (#13 R&B) with this song. The young men of Mista hailed from Atlanta, and were the beneficiaries of the Organized Noize production sound. “Blackberry Molasses” had a very similar sound to TLC’s “Waterfalls” (the production team’s… Read More “Blackberry Molasses” by Mista (1996)