“Bonita Applebum” by A Tribe Called Quest (1990)

There were hip-hop love songs before “Bonita Applebum”, and then there was “Bonita Applebum”. In my opinion, it was the jam that began to set ATCQ apart from the other Native Tongue groups. The Jungle Brothers could’ve maybe done a song like “Bonita”, but they didn’t have Q-Tip’s voice or production. De La’s love songs… Read More “Bonita Applebum” by A Tribe Called Quest (1990)

“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)

“Between Me, You & Liberation” by Common (2002)

Common’s 2002 album Electric Circus was met with a lot of scratched heads upon release. The Chicago MC had already engineered a stylistic shift from prototypical boom-bap to full-on neo-soul, and broke through commercially with 1999′s Like Water For Chocolate. Even with that genre detour though,  Electric Circus was on some other shit. It was… Read More “Between Me, You & Liberation” by Common (2002)

“Back In The Day (Puff)” by Erykah Badu (2003)

Hip-hop and R&B are littered with nostalgic songs (many of which are specifically titled “Back In The Day”.) Why does Badu’s jam stick out more than the others? It’s just a vibe, man. Not to say the other “Back In The Day”s don’t have a certain hazy warmth to them. Erykah manages to evoke that warmth without… Read More “Back In The Day (Puff)” by Erykah Badu (2003)