MC Lyte, Bahamadia & Yo-Yo’s Pete Rock-Produced Cut Still Speaks Today (Audio)
It’s not all that uncommon for a soundtrack to outshine the movie it was created to accompany. Twenty-one years ago, when the Ice Cube flick, Dangerous Ground was released, the exclusively Rap soundtrack may have stood a bigger test of time than the film itself.
Although Cube’s “The World Is Mine” with Mack 10 and K-Dee was the video single promoted for the record, there were other standouts that didn’t get all of their due praise, namely “Keep On Pushin’.”
The Pete Rock-produced track by MC Lyte features Bahamadia, Nonchalant and Yo-Yo, each taking a part and making it their own. The message is positive, but it exists without naivety, tackling the struggles of everyday life sprinkled with a little hope. Lyte takes on the hook while the other ladies each spit a few bars. The intricate metaphors layer well over the delightfully simple production, allowing the lyrics to shine. Bahamadia’s line “Pull my family ties in one big knot,” is answered by Nonchalant’s verse, “I’m holding on to my roots cause they pulling my leaves.” Both MCs make references to finding comfort and knowledge in their past. Yo-Yo keeps it lighter, but still weaves in some verbal imagery, “All in the game a young female / So intelligent and deep like seashells.”
Using a sample of The Meters’ “Hand Clapping Song,” Pete Rock extends the track well beyond the three verses with a repeat of the refrain over his refined signature style of cutting.
When this record (and movie) dropped, Hip-Hop was in its golden years. MC Lyte was promoting her fifth album, Bad As I Wanna B. Its pioneering single, “Keep On, Keepin’ On” boasted a similar premise as “Keep On Pushin’.” Bahamadia was fresh off the release of her debut project, Kollage, featuring production by Guru, DJ Premier, and Da Beatminerz. She had recently done a feature swap with The Roots, appearing on Illadelph Halflife while they performed on “Da Jawn.” Yo-Yo, on the come up as Ice Cube’s protégé, was promoting her fourth album, Total Control, which features Lyte on the first track. In good company, Nonchalant released her first and only album the prior year, Until The Day.
Much has changed in music and the world in the last 20 years, but the message of this track has held steadfast. From the vibe to the lyrics, this song can still ride hard today.
The Dangerous Ground soundtrack also featured original music by JAY-Z, Too Short, KRS-One, a brand new Kxng Crooked, Keith Murray and more.