Album: Illadelph Halflife

In 1996, there were two sides of hip-hop that were waging war for your headphones: the Cristal-popping, flashy rappers and the more lowkey, underground, “do it for the art” cats. Philadelphia-based hip-hop group The Roots, at the time, were a band (!) that at the time were signed to Geffen and getting more love in Europe than in America by sticking to their guns and bigging up the foundation of hip-hop like none other. Never ones to sugarcoat his thoughts, lead MC Black Thought penned some cautionary rhymes about staying true to self and not sinking into the traps of gaining fame by selling yourself to record companies. The song itself was a great breakdown of the climate in 1996, but the video, which perfectly showcased all of the stereotypical rap shoots of the day, ruffled some feathers, including a beef between The Notorious B.I.G. that unfortunately never got resolved before his passing. —khal