359: Da, Da, Da

Emancipation (1996)
In my youth, in order to feed an unquenchable thirst for mid 90s hip-hop I would spend weekends raiding Our Price bargain bins and buying up anything sporting a Parental Advisory sticker (the very one that was outraged into existence by Darling Nikki a decade earlier). The results were mixed. Stone cold classics got unearthed along with cynical cash-ins and I acquired enough unchallenging g-funk and gangsta rap to fill a bath. And bathe in it I did, constantly. If you could take a median average of this collection the resulting song would sound something like a Scarface b-side with a competent yet easily forgettable rapper. Or, in other words, the first half of Da, Da, Da. Even Scrap D’s verses sound like a hip-hop word cloud. But two and a half minutes in, Prince steps out of the catchy (yet lyrically lazy) chorus to deliver a brief verse of positivity and then at the point where most producers would be on repeat-to-fade mode, he unleashes the guitars which sends the beat into spasms and elevates this track from hip-hop plaything into one of the album’s standout songs. The meaningless title becomes a nation of Russians chanting ‘yes, yes, yes’ as Kali, goddess of the boom bap, sits on a bed of jewel cases, rattling her gold rope of human skulls and scratched CD singles in time to a Funkmaster Flex mixtape.