Top 25 90’s Songs – Hip Hop

Last week, I debuted my “Top 25 90’s Songs – Rock” list and it stirred up a little discussion about some things that were left off. This week is my Hip Hop edition and this was probably the hardest of the Top 25’s lists that I’ve made (R&B coming soon!).

These songs are snapshots of what was going on in hip hop during the 90’s (commonly known as the “Golden Age”). In order to get a good representation, I decided to only take one song from each person/group. There are a couple cross-overs, but that is because it’s part of a duet or a guest-spot on someone else’s song.

Again, these songs are in no particular order, just as I thought of them. If you think I left one off that should be on there, let me know in the comments.

1. “Tha Crossroads” – Bone Thugs
2. “Nuthin But a ‘G’ Thang” – Dr. Dre f. Snoop Dogg
3. “California Love” – 2pac f. Dr. Dre
4. “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” – Diddy f. Mase
5. “Regulate” – Warren G f. Nate Dogg
6. “Triumph” – Wu-Tang Clan
7. “Can I Get A…” – Jay Z f. JaRule
8. “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” – Busta Rhymes
9. “Sabotage” – Beastie Boys
10. “If I Ruled the World” – Nas f. Lauryn Hill
11. “All I Need” – Method Man f. Mary J. Blige
12. “Rosa Parks” – Outkast
13. “Bow Down” – Westside Connection
14. “Gangstas Paradise” – Coolio
15. “Get At Me Dog” – DMX
16. “My Name Is” – Eminem
17. “Ready Or Not” – Fugees
18. “Jump Around” – House of Pain
19. “What They Do” – The Roots
20. “What’s My Name” – Snoop Dogg
21. “Hip Hop Hooray” – Naughty By Nature
22. “Ghetto Superstar” – Pras f. Mya and ODB
23. “Richter Scale” – EPMD
24. “I Wish” – Skee-Lo
25. “Hypnotize” – Notorious B.I.G.

***I purposely left off Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” because while it’s cultural impact and overall greatness cannot be ignored, I never really listened to Public Enemy.

Alright, what songs are on YOUR  list?

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Top 25 90’s Songs – Rock

Having grown up in the 90’s, I have a natural bias toward the music/movies/pop culture that came from that era. I will tell you it’s better and then offer no defense because I feel that none is needed. Having said that, I have compiled 25 rock songs that sum up the decade for me. Some have sentimental value, some I heard on the radio a thousand times, and some are tied to a specific place and/or time.

That’s what music does. Whether we like it or not, it becomes the soundtrack to our lives. Whether it’s playing in the background or in our headphones, it’s the songs that carry on. So here are my Top 25 90’s Rock Songs (Hip Hop, and also R&B to follow). No links, no commentary, just titles and artists. And if you’re from the 90’s, you won’t need any of that stuff anyway.

1. “The Way” – Fastball
2. “Semi-Charmed Life” – Third Eye Blind
3. “Rock the Party (Off the Hook)” – P.O.D.
4. “Ironic” – Alanis Morissette
5. “No Rain” – Blind Melon
6. “Virtual Insanity” – Jamiroquai
7. “Basket Case” – Green Day
8. “Follow You Down” – Gin Blossoms
9. “Higher” – Creed
10. “Jeremy” – Pearl Jam
11. “Wonderwall” – Oasis
12. “Where It’s At” – Beck
13. “Iris” – Goo Goo Dolls
14. “Only Wanna Be With You” – Hootie and the Blowfish
15. “Who Will Save Your Soul” – Jewel
16. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana
17. “Spiderwebs” – No Doubt
18. “Machinehead” – Bush
19. “Kiss From a Rose” – Seal
20. “Interstate Lovesong” – Stone Temple Pilots
21. “Buddy Holly” – Weezer
22. “Down” – 311
23. “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” – Smashing Pumpkins
24. “Amish Paradise” – Weird Al Yankovic
25. “Under the Bridge” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

What’s on your list?

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Shows that I Wished I Was On While I Was Growing Up

1. All That – Out of all the shows on this list, this is the one that I would have done anything to be on. I was already a smart-allecky 12 year-old who was constantly on stage wherever I went (at least I was in my head). I’m not sure how good I would have been at creating characters, but I was very good at imitating characters like “Ed” (Good Burger), “Super Dude”, and “Ishbuu.” They also had one of the best theme songs (performed by TLC) and had cool musical guests like, Da Brat, Soul 4 Real, Immature, and Craig Mack. Oh, and you know Kenan Thompson from SNL? This is where he got his start (see the video below).

– Nick Arcade – So, you’re telling me that I come on your show, and you’re going to have me play video games and answer questions about video games, and you’re going to give me prizes and cash? Where do I sign up?

– Salute Your Shorts – I grew up going to camp every summer, and no matter how much fun my camp experience was, I always imagined it being 10 times better at Camp Anawana. I wanted to play ball with Pinsky and Telly, pull a prank on Ug with Budnick, or just hang out at the lodge with everybody. It didn’t matter to me that their food (when they showed it) was atrocious and their activities were pretty dismal. I just wanted to be there.

**I couldn’t find a usable clip of the opening credits, so I just found a clip from the show. It starts in the middle of an episode where there are hunting for treasure using a fake map that Budnick sold to them.

– GUTS – I was an athlete. I’ll humbly say ‘was’, because I’m not exactly doing line-drills in the gym for hours like I used to. And this was the ultimate athlete game show. Kicking, jumping, running, throwing, climbing, this show had it all, and I just knew that if I was on that show, I would totally dominate. The challenges were sweet along with the host (Mike O’Malley) and of course, Mo, the British lady who would have to explain the challenges to the audience (and probably to Mike as well.) Top it off with climbing a fake mountain and taking home ‘a piece of the crag’ if you won, meant this show was everything I wanted in a show that liked to watch instead of being active myself.

– Double Dare – One of the original Nickelodeon game shows, this paved the way for many other shows on this list. I always wanted to lean into the microphone and say, “Physical challenge.” Also, with the dynamic duo of Marc Summers and announcer Harvey, everything seemed twice as exciting as it actually was. And then there was the final challenge, slipping and sliding all over the place, grabbing and stuffing flags and loading up on prizes with each completed challenge.

– Wild and Crazy Kids – This felt like the one that I was closest to actually getting on. Not that I ever did anything to get on it, but since it wasn’t acting and it wasn’t in a studio, it felt like if I just went down to the local ball field or pool that I would see them filming and I would grab a shirt and compete. Donny Jeffcoat, Omar Gooding (Cuba Gooding Jr.’s little brother) and two different girls shared hosting duties and occaionally jumped into the games. All the games seemed to be things that I could have done in my backyard and this was the other one that I felt like I could have dominated had I ever found that park where they were filming.

*Bonus for having Ashley Johnson from Growing Pains!

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Great 8

THINGS I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO OR CURRENTLY ENJOYING ABOUT THE 2011 NBA PLAYOFFS

Love it or hate it, the NBA season is kicking into high gear and the playoffs are hitting their stride as some of the 2nd round match-ups are already set. I personally can’t get enough of the NBA playoffs and could sit and watch any of the match-ups all of the way through the NBA Finals.

Maybe it stems from my basketball card collecting days of the 90’s, but what can I say, I’m a fan of the NBA. And regardless of whether or not you think college basketball is better, their season is over, deal with it.  So, since it’s the only roundball going on right now worth watching, here is my Great 8 List of what I’m looking forward to (or currently enjoying) about the 2011 NBA postseason.

1. The ‘Little Guys’ – Most teams have at least 1, maybe two superstars (Sorry, Bosh), but inevitably, the teams that are truly hoping to win a championship this year will have to get some major help from some minor players. I don’t mean to use ‘minor’ in such a negative way, it’s just the word you use when comparing Mario Chalmers to LeBron James. But somewhere along the lines, key shots, clutch free-throws, and stout defensive stops will need to be done by the guys who aren’t getting paid $2.3 million a game* (*slight exaggeration). We already saw it with the Spurs/Grizzlies series as a rookie named Gary Neal hit a game-tying 3 pointer to ‘spur’ San Antonio on to an overtime victory. I love seeing guys step up when their name is called and come through for their team in a big way, and I keep watching to see the next time it happens.

2. The Perkins-less Celtics – In what still seems to be a little bit of a head-scratcher, the Celtics traded away one of their key big men, Kendrick Perkins and have been dancing with mediocrity ever since. They stumbled into the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference and have looked pretty vulnerable on the inside. By trading away Perkins, the Celtics have put their faith in Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal, and Glen Davis to be the big defenders and scorers in the middle. Shaq has been injured for half the season and didn’t see any time against New York. Jermaine O’Neal is hardly a stopper and Glen Davis has limited mobility and is turning into more of a jump-shooter. Perkins brought a toughness on the defensive end and could be trusted to haul down a few offensive rebounds a night. And even though they swept New York in the first round, they will miss Perkins on the inside when they face Miami in the 2nd Round (and if they get past Miami, they will more than likely face the #1 seed Chicago Bulls).

3. Can the Thunder Roll? – Speaking of Kendrick Perkins, he is now crashing the boards (and the opponents) while wearing an Oklahoma City Thunder jersey. The Thunder have the NBA’s leading scorer in Kevin Durant and a good secondary scorer (with some serious hops) in Russell Westbrook. This team has gone from the basement to the rafters in a matter of a few seasons and much of it is due to drafting Durant instead of chronically injured and potential draft bust Greg Oden. Last year they were excited to make it to the playoffs and got bounced by the eventual champion Lakers. But this year, they have the talent and the experience that could lead them to a not-that-surprising run at the NBA Finals. And with the recent acquisition of Perkins from Boston, they have turned themselves from a cute story into a legitimate threat.

4. The Bulls Potential Return to Glory – It’s been 13 seasons (1998) since Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to their 6th NBA Championship. Not long after, Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Coach Phil Jackson all were gone and the Bulls plummeted to the bottom of the Eastern Conference. But now, behind the tremendous talents of assumed MVP Derrick Rose and guys like Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and offseason acquisition and interior presence Carlos Boozer, the Bulls were able to finish with the NBA’s best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs (and the NBA Finals, if they make it). They’ve got the talent, they’ve got the experience, and come June, they could also be saying that they’ve got the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

5. Hot Hot Heat – Despite a Game 4 hiccup in Philadelphia, the Heat sailed into the second round with a 4-1 series victory over the 76’ers. And while Miami was a team that dominated lesser talent (except for the Cavs on March 29th), they have been average (at best) when going against ‘upper-level’ competition. Now they have to take on the Boston Celtics who swept the New York Knicks on their way to the 2nd round. Boston holds a 3-1 edge in head to head games this season, but I’m expecting to see that go out the window when these two teams meet in Miami for Game 1. I’m interested to see how LeBron does against the team the embarrassed him last year as a Cavalier and a guy, Paul Pierce, who has played him exceptionally well. This series has great matchups (James vs. Pierce, Bosh vs. Garnett, Wade vs. Rondo) and at the end, either team has a chance to be on top.

6. Lakers 3-Peat – Until they get knocked out of the playoffs, the Lakers are still the champs. And if Bynum is healthy (which is a very shaky ‘if’), they are very tough to match-up with. If Bynum is in, they have 3 bigs (Bynum, Gasol, Odom) as well as the extremely dangerous even if he has a tweeked ankle Kobe Bryant (6 rings) and a coach (Phil Jackson) who would be hoping for his fourth 3-peat. In the back of his mind, you know Kobe is looking for a shot at the Heat in the Finals, but he will have  a tough road ahead. They will have to go through some stiff competition to even make it to the Finals, but if they can not only make it there but win it all, Jackson will have 12 rings as a coach and Kobe Bryant will have 7 rings (one more than Michael Jordan).

7. Don’t Get Upset – It already happened to the Magic, and the Spurs barely escaped it the other night: the upset. It’s bound to happen and it’s what makes the playoffs more exciting. Every victory by an underdog calls into question the favorite. If the Bulls lose to the Pacers in January, not much is said about it. But if the Bulls lose to the Pacers in the playoffs, it’s “What’s Wrong With the Bulls?” and “Where’s Carlos Boozer?” and “How is Derek Rose’s Ankle?” It’s a much bigger deal because it’s the playoffs. Memphis is going home for Game 6 against the Spurs with a 3-2 lead. They are the 8 seed and if they’re able to beat San Antonio, the Grizzlies will be praised for their tenacity and the Spurs will be written off as “Yesterday’s Champions” (having beaten Cleveland in the 2007 Finals). The first round isn’t quite over, and we’ve already seen it a little bit, but the upset is one of the more exciting things about the playoffs.

8. It’s All About the Match-Ups – There are many predictions and many ‘experts’ declaring this team to be the best or that team to be washed up. But when it comes down to it, it’s all about the match-ups. I wrote earlier about the Boston/Miami matchup and the key players that will be facing off against each other, but there are also some other teams and players that could make for some amazing games. The Hawks are facing the Bulls and the Bulls have dominated the Hawks all season. I don’t see that changing in the playoffs, but it will get interesting when Chicago has to go up against either Miami or Boston (both teams will no-doubt be limping out of that series). I would think Chicago would want Miami, because they went undefeated against them in the regular season and the Bulls don’t really have anyone to stick with Ray Allen on the perimeter. The Lakers should take care of Dallas on their way to a showdown with (more than likely) Oklahoma City. If the Lake-show can shut down Durant, it should be a short trip to the finals and I wouldn’t mind seeing Los Angeles play either Chicago or Miami (sorry Boston, just suffering from a little ‘been there, done that with you and the Lakers). But whether you’re referring to whole teams or individual players, when it comes to the playoffs, it’s all about the match-ups.

There you have it. Anything that you’re looking forward to or currently enjoying about this year’s NBA Playoffs that I didn’t list here? Make your own list in the comments, and sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

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Kalahari Retreat 2011 – By the Numbers

2543 – Total chairs set up for sessions and meals

1225 – 1ft x 1ft sheets of bubble-wrap

1200 – Glow-sticks, glow-necklaces, and glow-bracelets

1181 – Students and adults

200 – 2ft x 2ft x2ft white cardboard boxes

82 – Hilarious minutes spent with comedian Michael Jr.

60+ – 1st time decisions for Christ!

19 – Giant cardboard heads of youth pastors and leaders

10 – Amazing worship sets

8 – Dancers

7 – Great musicians in the worship band, Exodus

4 – Parody videos (“Love the Way You Slide”, (“Flip-Flops”), (“Kalahari, Kalahari”), (“Kalahari Gurls” – stay tuned)

3 – Students sharing their testimony of how God has worked in their lives

2 – Air mattresses ridden across the crowd

1 – Amazing weekend

Have any numbers to add?

 

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The CATALYST Guide to Fashion

This is the last CATALYST post from me, I promise. I acknowledge that the conference was almost 4 weeks ago, but I’ve been sitting on this for awhile and knew that it was now or never.

This was my first time going to CATALYST and my first time in 3 years that I had gone to a Christian conference. I was excited about everything, except for the fact that I didn’t know what to wear. I’m pretty much a t-shirt and jeans kind of person, and even though I know Jesus wants me to come “Just As I Am”,  I wasn’t sure if that was acceptable attire at a Christian leadership conference.

Well, I took some fashion notes on what I saw (trends, looks, styles) and thought I would save you some grief if you were to ever find yourself at CATALYST (or a Christian conference like it). So for all of you who might be thinking about going next year, here is my CATALYST Guide to Fashion.

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– Hats – Be on the lookout for the guy wearing the stocking hat pulled up halfway on his head. There’s also the flat-bill with the gold sticker on it (you know, like the cool jr. highers wear). If it’s not either of those, it’s one of those half-bill hats that I’m pretty sure are called “military”, but c’mon, it’s pretty much a green baseball hat with half a bill.

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– HAIR (cranial) – Faux (for the uneducated, it’s pronounced “foe”) hawks are ALWAYS good. Regardless of age, personal style, or what color your sweater-vest is. It’s either the faux, or the ‘bie’ (pronounced ‘bee’), as in Justin Bieber. It’s longer hair that looks like you don’t care about it, but it has really taken you an hour to get it juuuuuuust right. Watch out for the neck-jerk that happens about every 11 seconds to keep the hair out of the eyes.



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– HAIR (facial)In years’ past, I’m sure the goatee was the prominent face-grooming template. But if you want to keep up with the current Catalyst trend, just don’t shave at all. Grow out your facial hair until Grizzly Adams calls you about copyright infringement. And due to the current rise of actors like Zach Galifianakis, anybody that CAN grow a beard, DOES grow a beard. But for the sake of the nation and the guy sitting next to you fending off the birds living in there, try to keep it under control. Signed, that guy.


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SHIRT – There are different variations in this category. If you’re going for a t-shirt, it’s gotta be either a free one that you got at the conference about 11 minutes ago, or a v-neck. No exceptions. If it’s a dress shirt, it’s gotta be long-sleeved and have a GIANT cross on the back or a MEDium decal diagonally across the chest and some pseudo-spiritual word somewhere on it. If it’s a sweatshirt, zip it up and pull the hood halfway up on your head, but not too far, so we can still see the stocking hat pulled up halfway on your head.

*DISCLAIMER – I like Perry Noble (the guy on the left). I just couldn’t find another picture of a guy with the kind of shirt I was talking about.

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SHOESThis one is simple. It’s either: TOMS so you can let me know you care more about poor people than me without actually saying anything; or Converse All-Stars, so you can tell me that you care less about fashion than me even though your shoes match your hoodie which matches your hat, which matches your sunglasses that are hanging from your v-neck.

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ACCESSORIESYou’ve got a laptop, your Catalyst notebook, and a whole lot of free cra-, stuff and you can’t be expected to just carry it around with your hands. What do you do? You throw it in your over-the-shoulder bag. Don’t have one? No problem, just use your Swiss Backpack this is big enough to smuggle out one of the guest speakers in it. Oh, you’d like to let me know that you’re creative? Be sure to carry around your Moleskin notebook and pretend to write in it as much as possible.

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Luckily, I had a few of these things with me, so I wasn’t a complete disaster down there. If you don’t have these things, you might want to get on it so you can be set for next year. And if you’re still not sure what shirt to wear or how to comb your hair, all you need to do is follow these simple guidelines, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming  a Catalyst Fashion Champion of Destiny!

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Catalyst Meal Tracker

Going to a conference for a couple days usually means any chance of eating healthy gets thrown out the window. For our trip to Catalyst, I was interested to see all the food that I would eat over the course of our four day trip. So, to make this happen, I kept a running log of everything I ate while I was away and present it here for public scrutiny.

WEDNESDAY – LUNCH
Place – Arby’s
Food
Medium Roast Beef, curly fries
Drink
– Medium Mountain Dew (no refill)

WEDNESDAY – DINNER
Place – Olde Towne Restaurant
Food
10 Wings (5 hot, 5 extra hot), celery
Drink
– Sweet Tea (1 refill)

THURSDAY – BREAKFAST
Place – Hotel
Food
Waffle and bowl of fruit
Drink
– Water

THURSDAY – LUNCH
Place – Parking Lot (packed lunch)
Food
2 ham sandwiches, 3 mini-bags of chips, granola bar, cookie
Drink
– 1/2 32oz bottle of Gatorade

THURSDAY – DINNER
Place – Arena
Food
1 Chicken taco
Drink
– Water

**Snack @ Chik-Fil-A – Regular waffle fries @ 10pm

FRIDAY – BREAKFAST
Place – Hotel
Food
Waffle
Drink
– Water

FRIDAY – LUNCH
Place – Parking Lot (packed lunch)
Food
2 ham sandwiches, 2 bags of chips, 2 granola bars, carrots
Drink
– Water

FRIDAY – DINNER
Place – Some barbecue place
Food
Half rack of ribs, fries
Drink
– Diet Coke (2 refills)

**Snack @ Sonic – M&M Sonic Blast

SATURDAY – BREAKFAST
Place – Hotel
Food
Waffle, apple
Drink
– Water

SATURDAY – LUNCH
Place – Chik-Fil-A
Food
3 Chicken strips, fries
Drink
– Diet Coke (1 refill)

I’ll be the first to say that I didn’t exactly eat the best food. But considering what I ate the last time I went to a conference, this was a step in the right direction. It was nice to come home and have a turkey sandwich, and I think it was the packed lunches that helped sustain us while we were gone. Overall, I’d grade my food selection as a “C”. Not too bad, but not too good either. Dah well, better luck next time.

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