Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 56
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
Max-A-Million’s only album, Take Your Time, was a favorite of mine back in the day. Initially I’m sure it had to do with the remakes of the SOS Band’s “Take Your Time (Do It Right)” and Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” but going back they had an interesting and maybe even kind of unique vibe to them. A bit electronic, a bit techno, a bit rock, a bit pop and more than a bit reggae, I suppose it’s not a shock why they weren’t a bigger hit as they didn’t fall into one pocket of music but they deserved a better fate than they were dealt.
“Fade Into You” 1994, #44 (20 weeks) (download)
I was never into dream pop, so Mazzy Star was only ever on my radar because this was part of the soundtrack to my first year of college. Maybe I could use more of this though, to mellow out a bit.
“Brainstorming” 1992, #69 (9 weeks) (download)
If you aren’t familiar with MC Brains, after listening to this and his bigger hit, “Oochie Coochie” it should be no surprise at all that he was discovered by Michael Bivins of Bell Biv Devoe. Because of that, “Brainstorming” featured Boyz II Men and hell, there was even a track on his debut called “Boyz II Men (the Sequel)” featuring the Boyz as well, naturally. Nate Morris produced this track, which would be MC Brains’s last Hot 100 hit.
Real name: James Davis
There wasn’t a heck of a lot unique about MC Breed as he tended to sound almost exactly like the sound that was really popular at the time. Breed’s first album was a collaboration between him and the group DFC (which featured his cousin Al in it) and “Ain’t No Future In Yo Frontin’” sounded a lot like Ice Cube or Digital Underground.
“Gotta Get Mine” was from his third record – The New Breed – and surprisingly was not a bigger hit since it featured a rap from 2Pac. That album was produced by the D.O.C. and Warren G so the West Coast style was heavily present on it.
He released albums through 2004 with very little fanfare but also provides and interesting footnote for me as a fan of metal as his 1999 was distributed through Roadrunner records (the metal label) for some crazy reason.
Breed died of kidney failure in 2008.
Real name: Eric Breed
“Streiht Up Menace” 1993, #72 (8 weeks) (download)
Certainly not the person you’d lean on to teach your kids how to spell, MC Eiht was the leader of Compton’s Most Wanted and was a west coast gangsta rapper. His lone hot 100 hit here came from the movie Menace II Society in which he was the character A-Wax. This song is also the only time I’ve ever seen “streiht” in anything.
Real name: Aaron Tyler
“Here Comes the Hammer” 1991, #54 (14 weeks) (download)
“Do Not Pass Me By” 1992, #62 (8 weeks) (download)
“This Is the Way We Roll” 1992, #86 (3 weeks) (download)
“It’s All Good” 1994, #46 (19 weeks) (download)
Easily the most accessible of the MC’s in this post, admit it – you like the Hammer. You might have even thought about buying a pair of parachute pants. You almost certainly did the hand motions to “2 Legit 2 Quit.”
Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em has always been quite an interesting album. Hammer got sued twice for the record, the first from a guy named Kevin Christian that says that “Here Comes the Hammer” ripped off a song of his and then from Rick James who said that the use of “Super Freak” wasn’t authorized for “U Can’t Touch This.” Both were settled, Christian getting cash and James getting credit on the record which means Rick turned out to be the big winner here. Apart from that though, it went way beyond samples, essentially putting four cover tunes on the disc and even odder, three compositions from Prince who is notoriously stingy in letting other people use his tunes. Hammer did a cover of Prince’s “Soft and Wet” and then used “When Doves Cry” for “Pray” and “Let’s Work” for “Work This.”
It’s widely known at this point about the millions and millions of dollars that Hammer spent touring and his next record, Too Legit To Quit, would be the last one to make him any real money. But even then, apart from the singles, the album wasn’t very good.
Then in 2004, he released the Funky Headhunter which at the time was sort of the laughing stock of the rap world. After being ripped in the media by a million other rappers that thought he was a sellout, he decided he was try to go harder, which clearly didn’t work. However, I still think there are some really good tracks on the record, like “It’s All Good” (which was a dis record directed at Black Sheep) and “Pumps and a Bump.” Yes, I actually am a big fan of “Pumps and a Bump” which admittedly is a pretty stupid song and from a male perspective, maybe the worst video ever made, but it’s catchy as hell.
After that, he went gospel, southern hip-hop and funk with pretty much zero success. He’s even had a show on the Trinity network, preachin’ the ways of the Hammer. And of course, somehow he whored himself into a remix of “Gangnam Style” probably making millions in the process (which has probably been spent on bandanas by now).
Real name: Stanley Burrell
While I realize that “Pumps and a Bump” isn’t in this post, I just simply had to share the original video in case you forgot about it.
Just like I have a soft spot for L’Trimm’s “Cars with the Boom,” I have the same feeling towards “Boom! I Got Your Boyfriend.” It surely sounds dated now but variations of this type of song have been hits throughout the years and with a slight tweak it could probably be a hit today as well. On the other hand, her cover of Freak Nasty’s “Da Dip” is significantly worse than the original making you wonder why she did it in the first place.
Real name: Rosalyn McCall
“Poor Georgie” 1992, #83 (5 weeks) (download)
Despite having a couple solid ‘80s records, “Poor Georgie” was her first Hot 100 hit, from Lyte’s 3rd album, Act Like You Know. While 1993’s “Ruffneck” happens to be one of my favorite rap tunes from the deacde, Mc Lyte really didn’t hit it big until 1996 when Bad As I Wanna B produced two top 20 hits.
Real name: Lana Moorer
This is halfway between the male equivalent of MC Lucious and a weak version of 2 Live Crew. Neither tune is terrible but are a complete afterthought at this point.
Real names: Darnell Williams and Fred Gray
“Same Ol’ Shit” 1993, #90 (4 weeks) (download)
The 4th most successful member of NWA (far below Eazy-E but a little bit higher than DJ Yella), it’s not surprising that his tunes sound a lot like the group he came from. Ren stayed on Ruthless records after NWA split up and Eazy-E produced his first EP in 1992 and his debut LP in 1993 – Shock of the Hour.
Real name: Lorenzo Patterson
“Here It Comes” 1992, #71 (10 weeks) (download)
One third of 3rd bass, MC Serch’s debut solo record – Here Comes the Product – was a pretty fantastic record that was a commercial failure. He then moved into producing and was one of the executive producers of the legendary Illmatic by Nas.
Real name: Michael Berrin
MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob
“Skat Strut” 1991, #80 (4 weeks) (download)
Did you forget that the fictional cat from Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract” video actually had an album? There’s also a whole story about the Stray Mob which was six other fictional cats which you can read all about on their Wikipedia page. Oddly enough, this isn’t a terrible song. It doesn’t hurt that the sampled, “Let’s Groove” is one of my favorite songs ever though.
Real name: Derrick Stevens