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The Best of 1995
Here it is the end of another year, and what a year it was, both for hip-hop and The 411. At this time last year we were still a one- or two-page section in a regional magazine, wondering from month to month how much space we'd get in the next issue to bring area hip-hop fans "The 411" they wanted. Now here we are 12 months later with our year-end issue, the seventh installment since our personal "independence day" issue in June. Back then we were only four pages, but since then we have expanded to 12 pages full of news, reviews, face-to-face interviews with some of hip-hop's hottest artists and coverage of the biggest events, namely the 1995 Source Awards. Our reach has expanded from coast to coast and Rap Pages gave us national exposure in their "Underground 'Zine" column. But enough about all that, let's get to the task at hand -- the year's best albums, singles, videos, remixes, interludes, album covers and so on and so on. The Best of 1995. Back for round two are Cvere, B.J. Maniac, Kawon, Paradise, The W and Mason Storm, joined by newcomers Ren, Brentwood and Pookie. We've all got our different tastes, so hopefully if you don't agree with some of us, you'll find somebody you can see eye-to-eye with. This year's picks follow a different format, sorted by staff member rather than category.

Cvere's picks
Best album: Bone -- E. 1999 Eternal
Best single released: Notorious B.I.G. & Method Man -- "The What"
Best single (unreleased): The Luniz -- "She's Just a Freak"
Best remix: Method Man & Redman -- "How High"
Best producer: RZA
Best sample: Michael Jackson's "Lady in My Life" used by LL Cool J in "Hey Lover"
Best lyricist: (TIE) Notorious B.I.G. and Method Man
Best lyric: Grand Puba -- "I've got more Promise than that Thomas that makes english muffins, I do more stickin' in chicken than stove top stuffin'"
Best soundtrack: New Jersey Drive Vol. 1
Most underrated album: Souls of Mischief -- No Man's Land
Best video: Raekwon & Wu-Tang -- "Ice Cream"
Best R&B album: Mary J. Blige -- My Life
Best R&B song: Soul for Real -- "Every Little Thing I Do"
Best interlude: Mobb Deep -- "The Infamous Interlude"
Best album cover: O.D.B. -- Return to the 36th Chamber (The Dirty Version
Best new artist: The Luniz
Best hip-hop/R&B collaboration: Jodeci, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah -- "Freek'n You" (remix)
Best live performance: Souls of Mischief (In Chicago)

B.J. Maniac's picks
Best album: Bone -- E. 1999 Eternal
Best single released: Notorious B.I.G. -- "One More Chance"
Best single (unreleased): Too Short & Freddy B -- "Game"
Best remix: E-40 -- "Dusted & Disgusted"
Best lyricist: Brotha Lynch Hung
Best lyric: B-Legit -- "You can wake me in the mornin' with a bottle of 'bird"
Best soundtrack: Dead Presidents
Most underrated album: Brotha Lynch Hung -- Season of Da Siccness
Best video: The Maniac don't watch TV
Best R&B album: H Town -- Bangin' After Dark
Best R&B song: Jodeci -- "Freek'n You"
Best hip-hop collaboration: UGK, Master P and Sillk -- "Playaz from the South"

Kawon's picks
Best album: Raekwon -- Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
Best single released: Blahzay Blahzay -- "Danger"
Best single (unreleased): Notorious B.I.G. -- "Real N----- Do Real Things"
Best remix: Method Man & Mary J. Blige -- "All I Need"
Best producer: Genius
Best lyricist: KRS-One
Best soundtrack: New Jersey Drive Vol. 1
Most underrated album: Smif-n-Wessun -- Da Shinin'
Best R&B album: Mary J. Blige -- My Life
Best R&B song: Brandy & Wanya Morris -- "Brokenhearted"
Best hip-hop/R&B collaboration: Boyz II Men, Treach, Method Man and Busta Rhymes -- "Vibin'" (remix)
Best hip-hop collaboration: Method Man & Redman -- "How High"
Best live performance: Wu-Tang Clan (at Source Awards in New York)

Mr. Freez's picks
Best album: (TIE) Raekwon -- Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Mobb Deep -- The Infamous
Best single released: (TIE) AZ -- "Sugar Hill" and Blahzay Blahzay -- "Danger"
Best single (unreleased): Notorious B.I.G. -- "West Side Story"
Best remix: Method Man & Redman -- "How High"
Best producer: The RZA
Best video: Masta Ace -- "Sittin' On Chrome"
Best album cover: The GZA -- Liquid Swords
Best lyricist: (TIE) Method Man and Notorious B.I.G.
Best new artist: AZ
Best hip-hop/R&B collaboration: Mary J. Blige & Method Man -- "All I Need"
Best hip-hop collaboration: Method Man & Redman -- "How High"
Best live performance: Notorious B.I.G.

Ren's picks
Best album: Notorious B.I.G. -- Ready to Die
Best single released: Mobb Deep -- "Shook Ones Pt. II"
Best single (unreleased): The Roots -- "Mellow My Man"
Best remix: Notorious B.I.G. -- "One More Chance"
Best producer: RZA
Best sample: Al B. Sure's "Nite & Day" used by LL Cool J in "Loungin'"
Best lyricist: Method Man
Best lyric: Method Man -- "More than you bargained for, tical, I stays open like an all-night store. For real, I keeps it ill like a piece of blue steel, pointed at your temple with the intent to kill, and end your existence... M-E-T... ain't no use for resistance... H-O-D."
Best soundtrack: The Show
Most underrated album: Tha Alkaholiks -- Coast II Coast
Best video: Raekwon -- "Ice Cream"
Best R&B album: Jodeci -- The Show, The After-Party, The Hotel
Best R&B song: D'Angelo -- "Lady"
Best album cover: AZ -- Doe or Die
Best new artist: Notorious B.I.G.
Best hip-hop/R&B collaboration: Method Man & Mary J. Blige -- "All I Need"
Best hip-hop collaboration: Method Man & Redman -- "How High"

Brentwood's picks
Best album: 2Pac -- Me Against the World
Best single released: E-40, 2Pac, Mac Mall & Spice 1 -- "Dusted & Disgusted"
Best single (unreleased): Notorious B.I.G. -- "Real N----- Do Real Things"
Best remix: Notorious B.I.G. -- "One More Chance"
Best producer: Daz
Best Sample: Club Nouveau's "Why You Treat Me So Bad" used by the Luniz in "I Got 5 On It"
Best lyricist: E-40
Best lyric: Ray Dog -- "So whatcha gonna say wit a mouthful of glock, the most beutifullest thing will be your ass in a wooden box"
Best soundtrack: New Jersey Drive Vol. 1
Most underrated album: South Circle -- Anotha Day Anotha Balla
Best video: Tha Dogg Pound -- "Let's Play House"
Best R&B song: Blackstreet, SWV & Craig Mack -- "Tonight's the Night"

Pookie's picks
Best album: Notorious B.I.G. -- Ready to Die
Best single released: Method Man & Redman -- "How High"
Best single (unreleased): Bone -- "Buddah Lovaz"
Best remix: Method Man & Mary J. Blige -- "All I Need"
Best producer: Sean "Puffy" Combs
Best sample: Silver Convention's "Fly Robin Fly" used by Method Man and Redman in "How High"
Best lyricist: Grand Puba
Best lyric: Mad Verbal -- "I love what I've done, I stuck my d--- in your eye so you can see where I'm coming from"
Best video: ODB -- "Shimmy Shimmy Ya"
Best soundtrack: The Show
Most underrated album: The Bums -- Lyfe n' Tyme
Best R&B album: Jodeci -- The Show, The After-Party, The Hotel
Best R&B song: Jodeci -- "Get On Up"
Best interlude: The Luniz -- "She's Just a Freak"
Best album cover: The GZA -- Liquid Swords
Best new artist: The Luniz
Best live performance: Notorious B.I.G. & Junior M.A.F.I.A.

The W's picks
Best album: DJ Quik -- Safe & Sound
Best single released: Mystikal -- "Y'all Ain't Ready Yet"
Best single (unreleased): W.C. and the Maad Circle -- "The One"
Best remix: Method Man & Redman -- "How High"
Best producer: DJ Crazy Toones
Best lyricist: Method Man
Best soundtrack: Friday
Most underrated album: (TIE) Special Ed -- Revelations and O.D.B. -- Return to the 36th Chamber (The Dirty Version)
Best video: Dr. Dre & Ice Cube -- "Natural Born Killaz"
Best interlude: Kausion -- "Dictate"
Best album cover: Masta Ace -- Sittin' On Chrome, cuz the Volvo got props
Best new artist: Mack 10
Best live performance: Common Sense (in Chicago)

Mason Storm's picks
Best album: Luniz -- Operation Stackola
Best single released: 2Pac -- "So Many Tears"
Best single (unreleased): Spice 1 & Method Man -- "Hard to Kill"
Best remix: Method Man & Redman -- "How High"
Best producer: The RZA
Best sample: Kool & the Gang's "Too Hot" used by Miilkbone, Lil' Shawn and Coolio
Best lyricist: Method Man
Best soundtrack: A Low Down Dirty Shame
Most underrated album: DJ Quik -- Safe & Sound
Best video: Dr. Dre & Ice Cube -- "Natural Born Killaz"
Best R&B album: Monica -- Miss Thang
Best R&B song: Jodeci -- "Love U 4 Life"
Best interlude: The Dove Shack -- "The Train"
Best album cover: Redman -- Dare Iz a Darkside
Best new artist: The Luniz
Best hip-hop collaboration: Dr. Dre & Ice Cube -- "Natural Born Killaz"
Best hip-hop/R&B collaboration: Method Man & Mary J. Blige -- "All I Need"
Best live performance: Method Man (at Source Awards in New York)


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