5. Montell Jordan "This Is How We Do It" (1995)
Producer: Oji Pierce, Montell Jordan
Slick Rick's debut was an acclaimed hip-hop classic. The album was produced by Rick, Hank Shocklee, Eric Sadler and Jam Master J using an Oberheim DMX drum machine. Music technology, especially in the 1980s, can easily date music; Slick Rick's record is timeless, but there's no question that the album sounds of-its-era. But sometimes a track can transcend that context.
"Children's Story" was one of these moments, as Montell Jordan discovered with his massive mid-90s R&B smash "This Is How We Do It." It transformed Slick Rick's cautionary narrative into a bold lifestyle statement. By 1995, the West Coast's rap scene had taken over; New York's production sound had become dirtier, more tense, while California's sound opened up and became more pop-friendly. Between the era's sonic shifts and Jordan's laconic vocal style, Slick Rick's beat found new life as a left coast party anthem. —David Drake
Inspiration: Slick Rick "Children's Story" (1988)
Producer: Slick Rick