Skits have almost been a crucial part of an album since hip hop’s inception. An imperative process, including skits can really help emphasize a theme or reinforce a message that an album is trying to communicate.
Often, skits are comedic and are recorded to add levity to a project, meant to offset what are often dark or menacing projects. All of the greats have recorded skits, from Snoop Dogg to Jay-Z, with even Biggie Smalls including skits on his projects, they were almost obligatory for albums.
However, as streaming takes over the music industry, with the album format on the decline, artists no longer include skits as they have no purpose within the context of a playlist. If artists are releasing albums with the hope that listeners will include some of their tracks within a playlist, there is no purpose for a skit. A skit needs the rest of the album to provide context. Otherwise, they don’t make sense.
For a long time, skits were as important as the songs themselves. However, as we move into a new era, that doesn’t mean that artists who are aware of real hip hop do not still make them. Similarly, consumers who are aware of the practice will still pride3 themselves on listening to skits if they are made.
With skits being such an integral part of hip hop culture, included on almost every classic you can name, we have decided to pick out the top five in-album skits of all time.
Top five in-album skits of all time:
5. Azealia Banks – ‘F.L.A.P.S’, Ms Banks EP, (2011)
Like many skits, this one is comedic, and although it is not a classic, it has to be included in the top ten because it is a personal favourite. Upon listening, it is extremely funny, especially for a teenage and adolescent audience. Extremely explicit, the conversation we hear is one that is occurring after a couple has had sex.
Banks makes a comment that no man ever wants to hear. We hear the male say, “Babe you was the best, where you learn that from?!” Continuing to compliment her the male asks, “how was it?” To which Banks responds “It was ai’ght” insinuating that the sex was average and pretty poor. It is very funny, words cannot describe you can take listen to the skit, which precedes a song below.
4. Dr Dre – ‘The $20 Sack Pyramid’, The Chronic, (1992)
A classic, this skit is longer, and a lot of the references are very specific to the West Coast and West Coast rappers, especially with regard to slang.
Most definitely something that will be hard for audiences outside the U.S. to understand, the skit is a spoof of the show $100,000 Pyramid where instead of competing for $100,000, they are competing for a sack of weed worth $20 and a $35 gift certificate for the Compton swap meet. Quite comical, it’s also an ode to weed-smoking culture.
3. Kanye West – ‘School Spirit Skit 1’, The College Dropout, (2004)
Our first skit with a message this skit is actually quite disturbing. It is essentially Kanye West giving the middle finger to the concept of college. In fact, the skit almost suggests that it’s pointless for people to go college and will get them nowhere in life. The skit even states that you can get a degree, but you will still end up being “The secretary to the secretary”.
Scary and a bit dangerous, the skit is basically advising people not to go to college but suggests if you drop out like Kanye, you can end up successful like him. It’s a scathing takedown of the concept a degree and simply suggests college, in the long run, will be detrimental to anyone who goes. Take a listen below.
2. Eminem – ‘Steve Berman’, The Marshall Mathers LP, (2000)
Eminem has made more than a few interesting skits during his career, but the skit named after Interscope’s 2000 President of Sales and Marketing, Steve Berman is by far the best. ‘Steve Berman’ is considered one of hip hop’s most classic skits.
A skit drawing attention to Eminem’s struggles with his label, during the skit we hear Eminem cheerily enter Steve Berman’s office only to be scolded about the quality of his album. Berman clamours, “Tower Records told me to shove this record up my ass! Do you know what it feels like to be told to have a record shoved up your ass?” Very funny you can listen to the skit below.
1. Juvenile – ‘Cash Money Concert’
A surprising number one, akin to Azealia Banks’ skit, this skit, upon listening, it is extremely funny. The skit hears an argument between American rappers and a Japanese bouncer as the rappers try to get into a concert. The argument between the two parties is just hilarious and is a great skit. Take a listen below.