“Got ‘Til It’s Gone” by Janet Jackson feat. Q-Tip & Joni Mitchell (1997)

“Got ‘til It’s Gone” has to be one of the least safe lead singles to be released as the first single from a highly anticipated pop project. Janet Jackson was coming off the twin triumphs of 1993’s janet and a 1995 greatest hits collection when she began to prepare what became The Velvet Rope. For… Read More “Got ‘Til It’s Gone” by Janet Jackson feat. Q-Tip & Joni Mitchell (1997)

“Get It Together” by The Beastie Boys feat. Q-Tip (1994)

I’m pretty sure Q-Tip was the first featured rapper on a Beastie Boys track, and that’s gotta count for something. Even though I want to knock “Get It Together” down half a point for Tip’s repeated use of the word “nigga” on a track where the main artists are three white dudes, the song is… Read More “Get It Together” by The Beastie Boys feat. Q-Tip (1994)

“Electric Relaxation” by A Tribe Called Quest (1993)

Hip-hop songs about sex and romance have become a bit more easy to take as the genre has matured (and its artists have matured along with it), but well into the ‘90s, hip-hop’s attempts to discuss love and its attendant relationships tended to go to one of two extremes. They were either extremely mushy (“I… Read More “Electric Relaxation” by A Tribe Called Quest (1993)

“Crooklyn” by The Crooklyn Dodgers (Special Ed, Masta Ace & Buckshot) (1994)

“Crooklyn” is one of the last classics of hip-hop’s golden age. Released in the spring of ‘94 for the soundtrack of the Spike Lee Joint Crooklyn, the song brought together three of Brooklyn’s best unsung emcees, Special Ed, Masta Ace (whose biggest commercial success was still ahead of him at the time of this song’s release)… Read More “Crooklyn” by The Crooklyn Dodgers (Special Ed, Masta Ace & Buckshot) (1994)

“Can I Kick It?” by A Tribe Called Quest (1990)

The greatest call and response in hip-hop history. If someone asks you if they can kick it, and you say “no, you can’t”, then you’re an asshole. “Can I Kick It” was Tribe’s third single, and was the first to really stamp coolness on Q-Tip’s flow. “El Segundo” and “Bonita Applebum” were a nerdy kind of cool, but “Can… Read More “Can I Kick It?” by A Tribe Called Quest (1990)