54)Slum Village – Players

Song: Players

Album: Fantastic Vol. 2.10

Year: 2010

A Tribe Called Quest was the universal gravitational force for anyone presently 27 years of age or older who called themselves a fan of this Hip-Hop shit. Headstrong allegiances to most other acts (what became known as being a “Stan” after Eminem’s tale about an obsessive subscriber of his) were debatable, but Tribe was just undeniable or you didn’t deserve a say in a conversation about the music.

When ?uestlove took to heaping endless amounts of praise (much like my adulation for Odd Future) upon Tribe’s midwestern foul mouthed relatives Slum Village, doubts and aspersions were immediately casted (much like OF’s detractors have been doing). Immediate reaction: These cats can’t really rap. Second thought: Okay, the “this is my project hoe, on some MC Shan” line is kind of dope, but still they’re too unorthodox. The beats are kind of dope, but this is really different, I’m not sure what ?uest is hearing but I want to trust his word, after all he is the musical genius behind The Roots.

Once you got past the novelty and accepted that Slum was going to be who and what they were, they became the shit. The group shirked convention at every turn, just doing and saying whatever felt right to them, bringing us to their sound rather than making themselves easily palatable. A big part of SV’s appeal was tone and attitude whether it was laying down mack game (“Climax”), getting live (“Raise It Up”) or simply not giving a fuck as heard on “Players”. This song is the epitome of “we’re better than you and we’re not even trying to be” and don’t get me started on the fact that a barbershop quartet record was sampled (sort of humorous I found this clip where the original group has balloons captioning them telling the background of the song in T3’s voice)

My greatest memory of “Players” remains late summer of 2005 when a group of us were at a party out of town, crashing at the DJ’s house for the night. The party was pretty much over, the DJ was spinning just for practice, the venue was literally empty with the exception of the DJ and everyone going back to her place. We’re sitting on chairs falling asleep, it’s 4 AM and we just want to leave but we’re staying with the DJ who won’t stop playing records. She throws on this song, my homegirl and I proceed to hop out of our chairs and party with new life as if it were midnight all over again.

If you never heard Fantastic Vol. 2 you’re not winning and deserve to be accosted to no end by Charlie Sheen. This is the version from last year’s Fantastic Vol. 2.10 (bonus cuts, different versions, interludes, instrumentals, it’s close to a new album, FIND IT) with Common dissing them on the end.

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