Living through the 1990s period, it’s undeniable that this period in hip-hop was at its greatest. From album classics to one-hit wonders, Word is Bond examines those great jams that ended at just that, a great jam. There was a plethora of one-hit hip hop wonders, but some stood above the rest. Here are the singles that hit it and quit it the best and left us in wonder.
Luniz – I Got 5 on It (1995)
Luniz, a hip-hop duo from Oakland, got a banger out of “I Got 5 On It”, the single off their album, Operation Stackola. Reaching certified platinum status, the single off the album samples featuring Club Nouveau’s “Why You Treat Me So Bad.” Released in 1995, “I Got 5 on It” transformed the duo into hip-hop superstars as they rode high through the BillBoard Charts, peaking at #8 on Billlboard’s Top 100 chart and bagging The Luniz spots as the opening acts of Notorious B.I.G., Jodeci, and Mary J. Blige. A lesser known fact, the single is actually about claiming one’s portion on a bag of marijuana. Regardless, the single became a radio hit, and one of mary jane’s most memorable times in the spotlight.
Ahmad – Back In the Day (1994)
“Girl, I wanna go back. Way back, check this out.” The intro of this hip-hop classic is then followed by Ahmad’s crazy, catchy hook courtesy of Teddy Pendergrass’s “Love TKO.” Released when Ahmad 18 years young, the song is a tune rhyming about the praises of childhood freedom. As he narrates scenes reminiscent of a time was simple and carefree, you can’t help but nod your head in agreement. The song has gone on to been interpolated in Mariah Carey’s “Candy Bling” track along with J. Cole’s “School Daze.”
Craig Mack – Flava In Ya Ear (1994)
When Bad Boy Records’ first rapper affiliate, Craig Mack, released “Flava In Ya Ear” back in 1994, the masses were loving it. With hip-hop heavy hitters such as Biggie Smalls and Busta Rhymes lacing the track, it’s no surprise that this ‘90s tale would. However, like some artists that heat up quickly, Craig Mack notoriously fell off, leaving us craving, in fact, for more flavor.
K.P. & Envi – Swing My Way (1998)
K.P. and Envyi, a female Hip-Hop and R&B duo consisting of Khia Philips (K.P.) and Susan Hedgepeth (Envyi), rose to one-hit wonder legacy with “Swing My Way,” a track released in 1998. With it’s popularity peaking at #6 on the Top 10 in Billboard, this jam still stays on repeat for any shorty. Indeed, with the memorable line “You lookin’ good shorty…sho ’nuff good enough for me”, how could they not? Unfortunately, K.P. & Envi stop swinging, and we’ve been missing them ever since.
Skee-lo – I Wish (1995)
Becoming a solidified hit during the summer of 1995, “I Wish” quickly rose to commercial success, earning Skee-Lo a number one MTV Video and two Grammy nominations for both the single and his debut album released under the same name. But, we can’t help but wonder, did Skee-Lo get everything he wished for? Is he taller now, specifically six foot 9? Is he a baller? Did he find a girl that looks good so he could call her? We might never know. Skee-Lo became a VJ for MTV in 1996, and has released two albums since then, in 2000 with “I Can’t Stop” and 2012 with “Fresh Ideas.” Although neither are as successful as his hit debut, he did find himself a girl, married her, and currently lives in Los Angeles.
Albeit the solitary note these hit singles struck, one thing is for sure- they sure did spark our attention and fuel our imagination (if at least for a moment in time), and left us wanting more.
Mary Elainne Dizon
artwork by: KimikoTakeshita