I didn’t set out this morning with the intention of yelling fire in a crowded theater. I didn’t. I was just minding my own business like I always do having thoughts of things I think about. Well, one particular thought stood out from the rest, dope as can be…and well, it went all the way left.
This morning I had the idea that, hey, you know what, I think that Kid ‘n Play’s “Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody” is the most 90s song of all time in the urban realm. Not only did I have this thought, I excitedly had this thought and felt so good about it that I began writing about how good of a thought this was. And I’d have gotten away with it too if not for the fact that I decided to share this thought with several people who all responded back to me with varying levels of disgust, disappointment, disdain, and emojis that I’m not sure are appropriate for children.
What followed were several discussions and debates about what constitutes a song that should be in the running for “Most 90s Song”. And here’s what I came up with as a criteria: if you have a 90's party, what is the one song that you can’t NOT play without it being both noticeable and causing dismay. And by causing dismay I mean obnoxious, drunken party goers attempting to get to the DJ to request said song or ask when it was going to be played.
This is a DJs favorite happening of every night they ever DJ, by the way. Totally do this the next time you’re at the club.
(Don’t do this this the next time you’re at the club.)
Suffice it to say that while I’m in the minority of folks who think that Kid ‘n Play’s contributions to hip-hop are more vital than they actually are – who knew? – there are a few songs that did rise above the rest when trying to ascertain what the most 90s song would be. As the title suggests, and spoiler alert, “Poison” ended up being the proverbial winner.
But let’s talk about what DIDN’T win. “Poison” is almost a “duh” answer, especially in terms of the criteria. If you went to a 90's party and you didn’t hear “Poison”, you’d feel like Rich Homie Quan (is he still around?). It’s one of the most certifiable Club Bangers of all time; one whose intro is one of the most recognizable on dance floors from here to there and back again. It’s got quotables, its got dancing AT THE SAME DAMN TIME!
Don’t you like how I said let’s talk about what didn’t win and then talked about “Poison”? I know you like it.
Here are some other choices that didn’t win.
Montell Jordan – "This Is How We Do It"
While super popular, it’s probably 100 times moreso in white establishments. I know more Black people who hate this song than I do who love it, or even like it at a picnic when its playing in the background while somebody is paintin' the ribs. It’s also one of the few songs that I’ve heard DJs doing 90s parties flat out refuse to play, along with Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby”. If you want to hear those, you have to take your ass to a pub with the flat foots and people who show up at the club with zip-up hoodies as their good clothes and love to recite lines like, "and now I'm the G, the girls see I got the money, dolla dolla bills y'all!" Be cooler than those people.
House of Pain – "Jump Around"
Similar to “This Is How We Do It”, it’s a super popular song and bangs like none other – real hiphop dawg – and I’m almost always guaranteed to hear it at a 90s party, but I could see a DJ leaving it out and nobody being pissed, whereas at the zip-up hoodie dress code spot I could see it being one of the main ingredients on the DJs list. Plus, let’s keep it one hundy, it’s a song whose title is also a direction that can be followed by even the most non-rhythmic individual, regardless of color, creed, or sexual orientation. I am always confused when I see a person jumping up when the rest of us are coming down. I’d call them rebels, but usually they’re just dicks.
Dr. Dre & Snoop Doggy Dogg – "Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang"
You know what I noticed about the 90s and hip-hop 90s parties? They’re extremely East coast biased. You almost have to make a concerted effort to go outside of the NYC canon of music because there was so much and so much of it was good. Especially during the Bad Boy years. Even at the parties I’ve thrown, I had to specifically let my DJs know that they were to play West Coast and southern (the 90’s step child until Cash Money took over for the 99 and the 2000) music. While I think this song should be a staple of all 90’s parties, it can easily get lost amidst the NYC sets. And if you’re on the East Coast, the bias is real. Like real real. And you know what it means when you say it twice. (It means you mean it.)
Kid ‘n Play – "Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody"
It’s a reach. I know. Hear me out. Look, I get it that it’s not a song most people remember. Hell, if it wasn’t for the fact that House Party 2 (and 3 and whatever the last one is called) get played on TBS so often, I’m pretty sure most people would forget that Kid ‘n Play even exist, let alone one of their songs. However, I contend that this song is one of those that you forget about until you hear it, at which point it transports you back to the 1992 and you remember how good it feels. It’s a feel good song that instantly makes the dance floor move. Though admittedly, if you never heard again, you’d never remember that you’d never hear it again. My guitar gently weeps for weeping guitars who are gently weeping. What? Exactly.
Sir Mix-A-Lot – "Baby Got Back"
Full disclosure, I’ve never heard this song played inside a club that didn’t have a SIGNIFICANT majority of white people. I throw 90s parties and I’ve never once heard this song played at my parties and nobody has ever complained about it. And my party is one where we’ve played the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. But it is a ubiquitous song that everybody knows even if nobody can remember the last time they heard it.
Alright, I’m going to end it here. I’m saying it’s “Poison”. I drew my line in the sand. What say you? State your case.
Always remember kiddies, you cannot trust a big butt and a smile.
Bell Biv Devoe…now you know.
Yo, Slick, blow.