DecibelCast 24 “Dat ’96 Sh*t”

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1996 was when we reached peak hip-hop—the year when the genre’s creative vitality was finally eclipsed by its significance in the mainstream culture of America, the year when it came crashing down.  In 1996 hip-hop was pop music and vice versa. The West Coast sound, which had basically dominated the decade was finally being legitimately challenged by what had begun as a small insurgency with Wu-Tang‘s debut and gained steam with insta-classic debuts from Nas and Notorious B.I.G.

1996 saw the first and only Fugees record, the debut solo outings of Ghostface,  Busta Rhymes and Eminem. There were classic records released by Nas, Lost Boyz, Mobb DeepTribe Called Quest, De La Soul, The Roots, Redman and Too $hort.  And there was 2Pac. More than any other rapper, 1996 belonged to Tupac Shakur.  Pac managed to release three(!!!) albums worth of material (counting the double album All Eyez on Me and the posthumous Don Killuminati) and sell more records than any other rapper probably ever will, before the inevitable end to his tragic whirlwind of a life arrived in September of that year. 96 was the very height of the East Coast/West Coast war. It was beginning of the end for Death Row Records (and  Biggie Smalls who was murdered in early ’97). And it was the  beginning of the South’s ascension, as heralded by Outkast‘s objectively game-changing ATLiens.

DJ Shadow, who correctly interpreted the glitzy cul de sac that mainstream rap was entering even while releasing an album that has yet to be equalled said hip-hop sucked in ’96, but from here it sounds pretty damn good. Fuck! 20 years, I can’t believe it’s been that long. It was a trip listening to all this stuff again. I sincerely hope you enjoy listening to this mix as much as we enjoyed making it.

SIDE A  [DOWNLOAD]

DJ Shadow “Why Hip-Hop Sucks in ’96”
Busta Rhymes feat. Biggie Smalls “Modern Day Gangsta Shit”
The Fugees – “Ready or Not”
2Pac – I Got My Mind Made Up”
Lost Boyz “Music Makes Me High (Album Version)
De La Soul  “Itzsoweezee (Hot)”
Do or Die “Po Pimp”
Dru Down “Breezy”
Nas  “Affirmative Action”
MC Eiht “You Can’t See Me (Compton’s Most Wanted)” Instrumental
Heltah Skeltah “Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka”
Mobb Deep “Hell on Earth”
The East Flatbush Project “Tried by 12” feat Des
Redman feat Method Man  “Do What Ya Feel”
Nonchalant  5 O’Clock (Album Version)
Cypress Hill “Illusions Instrumental (Jay Dee Remix)”

SIDE B  [DOWNLOAD]

A Tribe Called Quest “1nce Again”
Westside Connection “Bow down”
Camp Lo “Luchini (AKA This is It)”
Delinquent Habits “Tres Delinquetes”
The Roots “What They Do”
O.G.C. “Hurricane Starang”
Makaveli (2Pac) “To Live and Die in LA”
Da Bush Babees “The Love Song” feat Mos Def
UGK “Diamonds and Wood”
Outkast “Mainstream”
Jay-Z “Dead Presidents”
Eminem “INFINITE”
Biz Markie “Studda Step”
Jeru the Damaja “Whatever”
Too $hort “Gettin’ It”
Ghostface Killah “All That I Got is You” feat Mary J Blige
DJ Shadow “Midnight in a Perfect World”

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