Considering the amount of mainstream love West Coast gangsta rap had throughout the ’90s, Spice 1 surprisingly never became a household name. His R-rated raps were occasionally a bit brutal for mass appeal. Nevertheless, the fact Spice’s technical prowess and array of street favorites still go widely unnoticed stands as somewhat disheartening.
To help give this East Bay G his proper due, here are 10 Spice 1 songs we feel best reflect his two-decade long career.
Be sure to check out previous entries in The Primer Series where we break down the catalogs of many other legendary artists and groups.
For the second track to his 1992 self-titled debut album on Jive records, Spice 1 put his lyrical wit and street smarts on full display. He delivered a funky story which starred his vices as intricate roles over one of the more intoxicating tracks of his career.
“Welcome To The Ghetto”
Spice 1, on his debut, highlighted the constant fight for survival with this uptempo single. Full of descriptive reality raps and an unavoidable West Coast bounce, the lyrical red flag was successful enough to ensure his concerns were heard.
“Smoke ‘Em Like A Blunt”
Somewhere along the line Spiggy Spice must have taken a Rastafarian journey. Such has to be true because, throughout his entire career, the Rasta’s traditional sing-song delivery has been intertwined throughout his gangafied rhymes. A prime example being this smoking Too $hort-produced joint from his 1993 album 187 He Wrote.
“Trigga Gots No Heart”
This slow-burning track from 187 He Wrote explains why Spice’s 1’s catalog is almost completely centered around cold-blooded killing.
“Strap On The Side”
Spice 1 became one of the best at making house-party jams about spilling people’s brains. Turn this single from Spice’s 1994 AmeriKKKa’s Nightmare LP on amidst casual rap fans and they’ll immediately be rapping along. Keep in mind the East Bay G is kicking rhymes about murdering people for almost five minutes straight.
“Jealous Got Me Strapped”
Since envy comes in all shapes and sizes, Spice-motha-f****n’ 1 teamed with his West Coast partner in rhyme in an ode to watching the rear-view mirror.
“The Thug In Me”
In 1997, Spice 1 dropped his underrated The Black Bossalini LP, which featured this fan-favorite from Dr. Bomb From Da Bay. As far as tributes to the haters go, this bouncy album intro might be one of the most G’d up, middle finger-throwing rap tracks ever recorded.
“Caught Up In My Gunplay”
Thanks to a spine-tingling Marvin Gaye sample being paired with Spice’s vivid depictions of self-defense and subsequent paranoia, this harrowing stand-out from The Black Bossalini delivers goosebumps on every listen.
To kick off his seventh solo LP The Last Dance from 2000, Spice 1 delivered this next level dedication to his fallen soldiers. The track proved his technically-advanced gangsta raps were still some of the most potent in the game. This is how you start an album.
“Murder Man Dance”
After dabbling in the same circles for years, Spice 1 and UGK finally laid down a collaboration for The Last Dance. The result was a twangy lyrical assault and career highlight for both acts.