Scarface, "In Between Us"
Scarface is one of the elder statesmen of rap, having gotten his start with the Geto Boys, who terrified the hell out of mainstream white America back in the day. After leaving them and going solo, he's had a long string of solid records, sometimes rising above that level and making something great. He's also someone who has had the respect of everybody in hip-hop, bridging even the east coast/west coast beef when that was going on. This song comes from The Fix, one of my favorites of his.
The Books, "Be Good To Them Always"
The Books are like a more musical Negativland, which, yeah, no wonder I like them as much as I do.
Arrested Development, "Mama's Always On Stage"
Arrested Development's debut album, 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days In The Life Of..., was a genuine sensation when it came out. Driven by several successful singles, critics fell all over themselves praising the record, focusing on the positivity of the album as a contrast to the nihilism that has always been so prevalent in rap. It won critics polls and Grammies, and the band even joined the Lollapalooza tour as a crossover act. People thought that it was going to herald a new era in rap music. It, of course, did nothing of the sort, and is now kind of a curiosity, mostly unremembered as rap was quickly taken over by G-Funk. It still sounds pretty good, although it's certainly not an all-time classic.
Diamond Fist Werny, "Shining Moment"
This doesn't really go anywhere, does it?
Stevie Wonder, "Sunset"
Here's what Stevie Wonder sounded like in 1962, when he was still called "Little" Stevie Wonder. He actually signed with Motown when he was 11.