4. Crucial Conflict "Hay" (1996)
Album: The Final Tic
If you happened to flip on BET's Rap City in the summer of 1996, there's no way in hell you would've missed this energetic foursome bouncing around in matching overalls, carrying on about smoking hay in the middle of the barn. But let's get one thing straight-there were no barns on the side of town these guys were from.
After being discovered by Chicago businessman Shorty Capone, Crucial Conflict was courted by Suge Knight and other industry executives before signing with Fab 5 Freddy's Pallas Records. Their first introduction to the world was "Hay," a song dedicated to partaking in the herbal arts.
The track had so much bounce, soul, and harmony that it was able to covertly sneak on to radio airwaves across the country despite its drug-related content. The single eventually struck gold and climbed to No. 2 on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart.
Perhaps the best thing about Crucial Conflict was that despite their image as some fun-loving party boys, these guys were NOT to be played with or tested. But hey, if you ever have some "hay" and run into group member Cold Hard, he'll show you one hell of a time. He is the Mayor, after all.—Andrew Barber