Blak Twang ft. Roots Manuva - "The Queens Head"
Album: Dettwork Southeast Year released: 1996
Sorry, but Blak Twang beat Mr. Carter to this concept. Take "Dead Presidents" and scale-down the admittedly superior grasp of gangster-economics that Jay-Z demonstrated throughout Reasonable Doubt in 1996, Londonify what you have left, rewind it a year, and the result is this song, released as a single in 1995. Blak Twang’s debut album that followed became an underground classic, full of local slang, commentary about being Black and poor in Britain, and shout-outs to different tube-stops and districts in London. Here, he uses the artwork of pound notes as a reference point to simply explain the importance of making money.
Sharing a back-and-forth format with the debut verses of fellow OG Roots Manuva, who is definitely the more coherent MC here (showing exactly why his career went on to reach greater heights), their serious, deep voices fit nicely with the Havoc-esque production.