Yeah, yeah, I know today is Grammy night. And while I can’t help but be a little intrigued, Steven Hyden of Grantland penned a nice piece on the history of hip hop in the Grammys and that actually kind of deterred me from watching. It outlines some of hip hop’s grossest, most overlooked moments which even led to boycotts from some of hip hop’s biggest stars, most notably Jay Z at one point. It’s a great objective read. Between that piece and the general hearsay about the politics behind the Grammys, my enthusiasm is once again tempered compared to previous years. I’ll have my eye on the show late this evening, but I’ll actually be hooping through much of the night tonight, ha.
While I realize this stream of consciousness is probably not the best way to bring in this new Old School Sundays feature, I started writing it with this in mind: I was more excited about the return of the NBA Sunday Showcase today than the Grammys later tonight. And during halftime of the albeit disappointing Spurs-Heat matchup, I watched the first half highlights set to the iconic beat of “Next Level” the Nyte Time Mix. This classic hip hop song deserves its own feature spotlight (and I’m sure it was a Jalen Rose suggestion for ABC today too, ha).
As part of the twenty-something generation, I actually knew of this production first as one of the lethal backdrops in the 8 Mile Freestyles. That’s when a 13 year old Sgt. Tibs became a mega-fan of Eminem, as he kicked off his bars against Lickety Split with
This guy raps like his parents jerked him. He sounds like Erick Sermon, the generic version.
While that will still resonate as my lasting memory for this track, it is refreshing for me to run back the original from Showbiz & A.G., especially in music video form above. The old-school 90s aesthetic is on display, illustrated in those skyline and group shots, and I’ll automatically be brought back to my happy childhood whenever I see or hear anything 90s. I’m excited for others to revisit it today, and for a new generation of hip hop lovers to recognize this old school classic for the first time!