1994 was my favorite year in music.
The West Coast was still dominating the Billboard charts on the backs of acts we all knew would never fall off like Snoop Doggy Dogg and Warren G. Meanwhile, the East Coast was prepping to reclaim the geographic lyrical crown with seminal releases from Nas and Biggie Smalls. Hell, even Outkast and Bone Thugs N Harmony were still listenable.
1994 was also the apex of the rappin' athlete.
Shaquille O'Neal was still riding the wave of his '93 debut LP "Shaq Diesel", a perfectly acceptable and inoffensive novelty album. History hasn't been kind to Shaq's rap catalog, but it's important to remember just how hot he was as an entertainment entity back then. And, when "Shaq Diesel" went platinum, it opened the door for every jock with a mic.
Speaking of which, the above video ("Flow On") is from former NBA forward Cedric Ceballos. He was part of one of the greatest "so bad, it almost doubles back to being good" music projects in recent memory: the 1994 release "B-Ball's Best Kept Secret". M'man, Nick'a Please wrote a song-by-song review for my old Bootleg column and it pulled in a ton of feedback from readers who'd remembered it well.
A few things to look for:
-The clip opens with that singular staple of '90s rap videos: light-skinned Black women with blown-out curls. Who'd have thought that the girl who gets sprayed with 40s at the end of the "Nuthin' But A G Thang" video would be so influential?
-Ceballos drops the "W" Westside hand gesture almost a full two years before Tupac "invented" it.
-The basketball shorts on Cedric seem awfully short considering Chris Webber and The Fab Five came on the scene in 1993. No one wore shorts above the knee after that. Except, apparently, Cedric.
-My favorite lyric: "It's like bop, bop, bop, bop, baahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"
-Nicka's favorite lyric: "Well, it's a Westside thang, mics I slang, winnin' battles ain't nothin' but a chicken wang!"
-Ceballos makes references to Shaq, Hammer and Jodeci. Could someone please ask Machine Gun Funk's Mathan Erhardt to explain the fall of Jodeci? 15 years ago, these guys were on top of the world. No, really…Jodeci.
-Really…whom do we blame for that ill-fated fashion trend of the vest worn over the short-sleeve shirt?
-Can you believe that Warren G. (who produced the song and provided a few lyrics) almost certainly WAS too busy to appear in the video? Hope he saved some of that "Regulate" money.