Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 41

With Bottom Feeders we take a look at the songs on the Billboard Hot 100 that only got a little love. It’s an A-Z look at songs that charted no higher than #41 in the decade. Take a listen, enjoy and comment. And don’t forget, information on the top 40, airplay and bubbling under charts are on pages 2-4.

Section 1: The Ass End

“Laid” 1994, #61 (13 weeks) (download)

“Laid” is one of those automatic sing along songs when you hear it and for good reason, it’s a fantastic tune. For the longest time it was my favorite song of the decade, now somewhere in the Top 5.

“Laid” was the title track from their fifth record and although they’ve never had another real hit, they do still continue to release records – and strangely enough, they are still on Mercury records – an oddity since it’s been almost two decades since they hit the chart last.

“Alright” 1997, #78 (8 weeks) (download)

It’s pretty fascinating that “Alright” is the only Jamiroquai song to chart. “Virtual Insanity” was in my headphones every ten seconds and won a Grammy, so I expected to see that at least in the Top 40 and yet, it’s not on the chart at all.

Jay Kay and gang are still releasing albums and have had a pretty great career in the UK with every single they release charting pretty high. And they have had quite a few dance #1’s in the US as well.

Jesse Jaymes
“Shake It (Like A White Girl)” 1991, #74 (5 weeks) (download)

I remember loving this at the time it was released because you know, white girls aren’t exactly known for their asses or anything, so a song dedicated to them shaking it was kind of funny. Jesse Jaymes was whiter than white but actually seemed to quite a bit of talent. He was essentially the Caucasian counterpart to Young MC. I don’t know anything from him other than this tune but that’s probably all I need anyway.

“Ain’t No Nigga” 1996, #50 (20 weeks) (download)
“Dead Presidents” 1996, #50 (19 weeks) (download)
“Can’t Knock the Hustle” 1996, #73 (14 weeks) (download)
“Feelin’ It” 1997, #79 (9 weeks) (download)
“Who You Wit” 1997, #84 (4 weeks) (download)
“Sunshine” 1997, #95 (2 weeks) (download)
“City Is Mine” 1998, #52 (20 weeks) (download)
“It’s Alright” 1998, #61 (12 weeks) (download)
“Jigga What” 1999, #84 (3 weeks) (download)
“Girls’ Best Friend” 1999, #52 (13 weeks) (download)

While Jay-Z released an album every year since his first in ’96, he didn’t really hit his full potential until 2001’s The Blueprint. Of the first five albums, 1998’s Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life is the album that made him a household name but the only one that can really be considered a classic is his debut, Reasonable Doubt. With that, only “Dead Presidents” is also a classic Jay-Z song out of the ones here. It was a double A-side with “Ain’t No Nigga” and doesn’t appear on any album. “Dead Presidents II” shows up on his debut with the same chorus but different verses. He also used Amil a lot on early tracks (where’s she today?) and is immediately recognizable in tracks like “Jigga What?” (“Nigga What, Nigga Who?” on the album.)

Wyclef Jean
“We Trying To Stay Alive” 1997, #45 (12 weeks) (download)
“What’s Clef” 1998, #61 (1 weeks) (download)
“Chickenhead” 1998, #69 (2 weeks) (download)
“Cheated (To All the Girls)” 1998, #74 (5 weeks) (download)

Wyclef has certainly made some unique sounding rap records and continues to work in the sounds of Haiti into his music but hit wise, he really didn’t do much on the charts. His guest spots like on Destiny’s Child’s “No, No, No, Part 2” and Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” were usually better than any of his solo material – with “Gone Till November” being the lone exception. Of these, only “We Trying To Stay Alive” is really any good. I haven’t looked forward at all, but “Cheated/Chickenhead/What’s Clef” might be the only triple A-side single to chart in the decade, maybe ever.

(Note: My file of “Cheated” is corrupt. I’ll post it when I get another)

“What’s It Gonna Be” 1991, #90 (5 weeks) (download)

For the Hot 100, Jellybean Benitez’s moment in the sun was with the ‘80s pop sounding “Who Found Who” and “Sidewalk Talk” with Madonna. Everything else was pure club music. He’s well known as a producer and remixer and has remixed a lot of Madonna tunes over the years.

“Baby’s Coming Back” 1991, #62 (8 weeks) (download)

Weirdly enough, though I was very into power pop and Jellyfish are a highly influential group in the genre, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anything but this song from them. At this point the group still featured both Roger Manning, Jr. and Jason Faulker with the latter leaving before the next (and final) Jellyfish record.

  • drxl

    A very close friend of mine dragged me recently (about three months ago) to catch James live, and they played (and almost filled) a huge stadium, and I am also surprised about how loyal their many fans are. Except for “Laid” their songs are not particularly catchy or sing-along-friendly. My highpoint of the evening was “Sometimes” and trying to sing along to the chorus was quite challenging, since it is so close to a tongue-twister that must be sung at a very fast pace. Try singing “when I look deep in your eyes
    I swear I can see your soul” fast over and over. It is hard, I tell you.

  • TheWickerMan

    I’ve been following this feature for a few months waiting to get to Jellyfish. If “Baby’s” is the only one you’ve heard, do yourself a favor and pick up their two albums. Especially is you’re into power pop, they are one of the finest bands in the genre (or any genre, for that matter.

    Ghost At Number One is one of the smartest, catchiest songs of all time. Christ, “Spilt Milk” is just too amazing for words…

  • steed

    I will. Certainly seems like it will be a worthwhile couple of hours for me.

  • TuffGong

    If you wanna blow your mind a bit, look at Jesse Jaymes’ Wiki profile. You laugh at him as the guy who did novelty rap songs, but look at all the things he’s done outside his music career! I only knew of this stuff because I looked at his Wiki profile a while back after being reminded of the song “College Girls (Are Easy)”.

    It’s kind of like when you discover Gerardo wasn’t just the goof who did “Rico Suave” but has actually been a successful suit in the music industry.

  • Aron

    I bet you’ll instantly recognize ‘The King is Half-Undressed’ as one of those Oh-I-know-that-song-never-knew-who-sang-it type of songs

  • Hooks and Harmony

    The first five songs of Spilt Milk are sheer perfection. It will blow you away.

  • steed

    Wow. Who would have thought that – I mean he has a kid named Lazer.

  • mstgator

    Holy crap, I didn’t know he was married to the Spanx chick (she’s like the local-girl-made-good where I live).

  • Annie Zaleski

    James were actually contemporaries of the Smiths (no, really–Moz and co. even covered the early song “What’s The World?”), and were huge in the UK well before “Laid” in America. They sort of floated around indie, baggy dance music + C86 scenes. Their music was always very spiritual, which I think helped their cause. I saw them in Chicago a few years ago–sold out crowd, enthusiastic for sure. Their album “Hey Ma” from a few years ago is quite good.