Digital Underground feat. Saafir: Carry the Way
From “The Return of the Crazy One” 12″ (Tommy Boy, 1993) and The Body Hat Syndrome (Tommy Boy, 1993)

Original Flavor feat. Jay-Z: Can I Get Open?
From 12″ (Atlantic, 1993) and Beyond Flavor (Atlantic, 1993).

Can we get open? I was filing some records the other day and brushed across the 12″ for Digital Underground’s “The Return of the Crazy One,” which probably hasn’t seen much sun since ’94. What I remembered is that the B-side cut, “Carry the Way” was the first time Saafir ever appeared on wax. Actually, that may not be entirely accurate: he also had a white label cut called “Runnin’ From 5-0” that might have predated his D.U. cameo but I’m not positive on that. Anyways, Saafir kills it on this track, dropping that distinctive flow that gained him noteriety to begin with: “I feel like a steel-belted tire/cause I’m wired/when I roll.” Nice.

Speaking of flow – doesn’t Jay-Z sound like an entirely different MC back in ’93 when he got down with Original Flavor (an early Dame Dash project)? This obviously isn’t Jay’s first appearance: Jaz had already put him on a few years earlier, but this is hot track, one of those momentary club hits that no one remembered six months later since hip-hop was moving towards gun clap anthems rather than peppy dance jams to do the Running Man to. Jay still sounds pretty good though with his quick-spit style and he still has his punchlines (save for two dumb gay/dyke comments): “I killed Chico/and now it’s just me/The Man.” Who knew this little whipper-snapper would grow up to become hip-hop’s playa president?