December 1st marks World Aids Day, an event that’s unfortunately still necessary as this horrible disease still spreads around the globe. I assume it’s no picnic to find out you’re HIV-positive in a western country but it’s a death sentence in the third world, where pharmaceutical companies prove how they value their profitable patents over millions of human lives on a daily basis. Hip-Hop churned out some memorable stories on STDs over the years, especially in the 90s, and what they may sometimes lack in subtlety they make up in humour and solid advice. It’s 2011 but you still gotta remember to pack that jimmy hat y’all.
10. Coolio – Too Hot
Remember when Coolio still seemed like he would have a career after smash hit ‘Gangsta’s Paradise?’ Before he went on to try and make ODB’s haircut look normal by comparison? Well he did, and the smoothed out joint ‘Too Hot’ was pretty successful even while teaching a generation of kids to take care of themselves.
9. De La Soul – Buddy (Remix) feat. Jungle Brothers, Q-Tip, Monie Love & Queen Latifah
Okay, so it’s more about the act of making sweet love in general but it does include that great line in the head of this post. I had to put it on the list, I hope that you’re not mad at me, miss Crabtree.
8. Eminem – Drips Ft. Obie Trice
Back when Shady Records was still 1.0 and Obie was the next man to bat, he hopped on this track of the ‘Eminem Show’ to spit along with Slim about his diznick. Pause?
7. Erick Sermon – Safe Sex
It’s a signature early 90s move when a joint gives you some safe sex advice while rocking a funky beat. Like this early solo joint from Erick after he made made ducats with Parrish, it doesn’t have to be dark and (excuse the pun) sermonizing to get it’s point across.
6. Prince Paul, Chubb Rock & Biz Markie – No Rubber No Backstage Pass (America Is Dying Slowly)
This track from the vaults of Prince Paul was actually first released on ‘America Is Dying Slowly,’ a compilation album for which the theme should be obvious. Another perfect example of a fun sounding jam while touching on a serious issue.
5. A Tribe Called Quest – Pubic Enemy
Tribe always handled mature topics sensibly, and they did so on their debut album as well. Phife Dawg would later go on to “bust a nut into ya eye to show you where I come from” and “on your couch, now you got Seaman’s furniture” but nasty as that may be, at least it won’t spread an STD.
4. Ice Cube – Look Who’s Burnin’
During his first four albums Cube sounding menacing was just his default mode. After hearing his hilariously derisive remarks on burning pickles in such an aggressive tone you’d almost be inclined to wear two rubbers, just in case.
3. Kool Moe Dee – Go See The Doctor
Really, what can we add to this? It’s the Vito Corleone to all the paisans on this list. Now go see the doctorrrrrr…
2. Big L – The Clinic (Shoulda Worn A Rubber)
Masterful storyteller Lamont Coleman could even turn a visit to the clinic into a classic on this B-side from the ‘Lifestylez’ sessions. The song may sound like fun but the tale it describes sure doesn’t.
1. Boogie Down Productions – Jimmy
Forever solidifying the term ‘Jimmy Hat’ into the book of slanguage and with a chorus that you can’t get out of your head it becomes hard to forget to pack some. The J, the I, the M, the M, the Y…
BONUS: The Roots – Streets Of Philly
Yeah, it doesn’t really belong on the list but every year on this day some network broadcasts the movie ‘Philadelphia’ wherein Tom Hanks plays the role of a successful lawyer who sues his employer after getting fired for being HIV-positive. Bruce Springsteen delivered the iconic title track that The Roots beautifully sampled on this track from J.Period’s fantastic ‘Best Of The Roots’ mixtape.