Tag: Conscious Hip Hop

2017, Music

DAMN. (2017) by Kendrick Lamar

From the moment I heard this had won the Pulitzer, it was inevitable that, when I eventually got to it, I would have expectations, expectations that were not satisfiable. It’s not that the Pulitzer really is much of anything, but it carries a lot of cache with it even though, as with so many awards, …

2016, Music

We Got it from Here… Thank You For Your Service (2016) by A Tribe Called Quest

Though I am not a fan of hip hop for some reason Tribe were always one of the few groups I was interested in. They were somehow more compelling to me, without knowing basically anything about them, than a lot of other groups. Weirdly, I watched their documentary well before I ever listened to one …

2016, Music

Coloring Book (2016) by Chance the Rapper

I must admit that I have no idea what differentiates a mixtape from an album when everything is digital. Is it aesthetic? Is there some aesthetic thing here I’m missing that makes this a mixtape not an album? I’m sure there is.

1996, Music

ATLiens (1996) by Outkast

Somehow I’ve actually managed to listen to a substantial portion of Outkast’s catalogue at this point. But I’m sorry to say I’m still not really in a position to evaluate this album (or any of them) in relation to the catalogue simply because it’s usually a year or so between listens. Unfortunately, I don’t remember …

1991, Music

Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience (1991) by P.M. Dawn

I don’t know what I would have thought about this if I hadn’t yet heard Dearest Christian already, but I have, and I can’t help but have that experience colour this one.

1996, Music

Beats, Rhymes and Life (1996) by a Tribe Called Quest

I have only ever heard their debut (but I’ve seen the movie!) so I cannot really comment on how this is “darker” than their previous albums. (Though it certainly seems darker and angrier than their first.) It does seem like opinion is split between those who think it’s another fine album and those who think …

2000, Music

The W (2000) by Wu-Tang Clang

One of the things I find strange about musical collectives – especially collectives with multiple vocalists – is what the vocalists get out of it. This is somehow my first ever Wu Tang record – I have heard multiple solo records by members, though – and I had no idea how many rappers are in …

1995, Music

Soul Food (1995) by Goodie Mob

So record that has a song that lent its name to a style of music is probably a pretty deal, right? “Dirty South” has become the name of a sub-genre of hip hop, sometimes considered synonymous with southern hip hop, sometimes not, which was a pretty big deal at some point. So I feel safe …

1995, Music

Gangsta’s Paradise (1995) by Coolio

Coolio’s debut pleasantly surprise me if only because all I knew of him were the hits from this album, and I was surprised by sense of humour and his self-awareness, things that I didn’t know he had. But that very thing that I found really endearing on his debut – which I otherwise found too …

2000, Music

Stankonia (2000) by Outkast

In first year university I lived a few doors down from a girl who played “So Fresh and So Clean” and “Ms. Jackson” on repeat for what felt like weeks. (There were probably other songs in between but I don’t remember them. I certainly don’t remember a single other track from this album.) That, combined …

1990, Music

People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990) by A Tribe Called Quest

As I have said more times than I now count: I sure don’t know much about the history of hip hop. But, to the extent I know much about hip hop, I’m pretty sure I know that there wasn’t much out there that sounded like A Tribe Called Quest in 1990. Obviously I don’t know …

2000, Music

Like Water for Chocolate (2000) by Common

I’m sure I’ve heard a hip hop album quite like this, and I mean that as a compliment. I’ve heard music by some of the participants but I don’t know if I’ve quite heard something this clearly hip hop (as opposed to neo soul) which had such a neo soul feel, and lyrics which mostly …

1995, Music

Me Against the World (1995) by 2Pac

So I guess the first thing I have to talk about with this record is expectations, which is often a problem for me when I first encounter someone about which an absolute ton of ink (both literal and proverbial) has been spilt. 2Pac is one of the most lionized rappers in history as far as …

1995, Music

Do You Want More?!!!??! (1995) by The Roots

A friend of mine in university always used to tell me that, whenever I gave hip hop a try, I should start with The Roots. He thought they would be more appealing to me. That was many years ago and, since then the Roots became a household name thanks to Jimmy Fallon. So they’ve gone …

1994, Music

Illmatic (1994) by Nas

I am not a fan of hip hop and I pay no attention to hip hop or hip hop oriented media. One advantage of that, when I actually listen to hip hop, is that I have no expectations. I don’t know what albums are considered good or not good, beyond seeing some ratings or reviews, …

1998, Music

Aquemini (1998) by OutKast

When I was in first year university Stankonia was everywhere. I would walk down the hall and hear it. It was blaring so loud in my neighbour’s room that first semester I couldn’t escape it. Worse, it wasn’t really Stankonia, it was just the hits: “So Fresh, So Clean,” “Ms. Jackson” and “B.O.B.” just playing …

1993, Music

Return of the Boom Bap (1993) by KRS-One

It’s shocking, but the more I listen to hip hop the more I know what I like and don’t. (Imagine that.) And from the first time I heard this, I knew I liked it (well, the music) more than I liked most other hip hop I’ve heard to date.Something about the production here sounds more …

1998, Music

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)

So, full disclosure: Hip hop is not my thing and most contemporary R&B and neo soul is, as far as I know, not my thing. But this record was a big deal at the time and is arguably still quite a big deal today. As far as I can tell, Hill has written a pretty …

1988, Music

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988) by Public Enemy

Though I have no one coming on the podcast to help me with this record, I made a promise to listeners and myself that I would try not to ignore major hip hop releases, even if I feel like an imposter when I try to talk about music I have no context for. So, here …

1990, Music

Fear of a Black Planet (1990) by Public Enemy

This is the first Hip Hop album I have ever given my requisite 3 listens to. I am 33 years old. There have been a number of R&B (or “urban”) albums containing raps and Hip Hop that I have listened to, and I listened to an EP recently that might have sort of qualified, but …