Spice 1 is one of the most underrated rappers in the history of hip-hop. Despite being one of the best to ever come out of the West Coast, his name has been lost in the shuffle when it comes to many "best rapper" debates; which is criminal being that he's arguably the most acclaimed rapper from California not associated with Dr. Dre or the Death Row Records empire.

Born in Corsicana, Texas, Spice 1 (real name Robert L. Green, Jr.) would come of age in Hayward, Calif., where he would get his big break in rap after catching the attention of Bay Area pioneer Too Short. Releasing an EP, Let It Be Known, in 1991, Spice 1 followed the success of the that project with his self-titled debut album in 1992. The collection, which spawned the hit single, "Welcome To the Ghetto," positioned Spice 1 as a hot prospect from the left coast.

His two subsequent projects, 1993's 187 He Wrote and 1994's AmeriKKKa's Nightmare, made him a star, notching three consecutive gold-certified albums under his belt.

On Dec. 5, 1995, Spice 1 would release his fifth studio album, 1990-Sick. The LP wouldn't reach the same level of success as his previous offerings, but was far from a dud. Although not an undisputed classic, 1990-Sick remains one of the better rap albums of the mid-'90s.

On the 20th anniversary of 1990-Sick, we take a trip down memory lane and highlight five of the album's best tracks. Check it out below.

  • 5


    Gunshots greet listeners on the 1990-Sick salvo, "Survival," one of Spice 1's more inspired tracks on the LP. Over a bass, guitar and ghastly piano keys (courtesy of producer Chase), the rapper laments, "I'm looking up at the barrel of a 45 / And I'm thinking survival, will these muthaf----- see me die / You see, I'm living in a society where soldiers breed / And you see murders and 187's over hustler's greed." "Survival" is in the vein of many Spice 1 songs -- lyrically felonious and sonically addictive.

  • 4

    "Ain't No Love"

    Featuring Joya

    Spice 1 reminds listeners of the perils of street life on "Ain't No Love." Produced by Chase, the song boasts a live bassline, guitars and keyboards. The Bay Area rhymer gets reflective about his hustling day, rapping, "I used to hustle street corners back in 1986 / Slanging yayo by the dub, me and E Bay in the mix." "Ain't No Love" sees the Cali rep dropping social commentary and cautionary tales on this memorable track. Watch the video below.

  • 3

    "Tales of the N----s That Got Crept On"

    On "Tales Of The N---- That Got Crept On," Spice 1 details the lengths that gangsters go to whenever the beef needs to get cooked. Produced by BlackJack, the beat is one of the LP's more addictive efforts and contains enough bass to rattle the trunk of an old school Caddie with ease. Spice 1 comes equipped with plenty of lyrical firepower in tow and proves why he was considered one of the West Coast's most touted rap stars.

  • 2

    "Dirty Bay"

    "Dirty Bay" is an ode to Spice 1's northern Cali stomping grounds that lets listeners know that nothing is sweet when it comes to Spice and his everyday life. Rhyming aggressively over the sinister Chase-produced soundbed, the Bay Area rhymer spits, "Born to die but hard to kill, a b-b-balling ass timer / Blow a hole up in ya' chest like the f---ing Una-abomber" over the grungy guitars and steady drums. Spice 1's intentions are far from pure on "Dirty Bay" and cooks up one of the album's superior tracks.

  • 1

    "1990-Sick (Kill 'Em All)"

    Featuring MC Eiht

    Spice 1 opens up the album up with the title track, "1990-Sick," with the rapper barking, "Cause everybody dies on this motherf---ing album." Produced by Blackjack, the beat is a nefarious soundscape which Spice 1 spits nihilistic rhymes to. "They telling me 'n---- get the f--- out before you die' / If you surrender we'll make sure that you could be fried / Should I kick in the door and go to war / Or should I slit my throat, leave a pipe bomb and a f---ing note." MC Eiht makes a cameo and turns in a lively performance on the third verse. "1990-Sick" was the album's biggest hit and is regarded as a classic rap song.


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