Tag: East Coast Hip Hop

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 …

1991, Music

A Future Without a Past…(1991) by Leaders of the New School

I must admit that I was kind of charmed on the first listen to this album. That charm wore off a bit with repeated listens – why that happened is probably a long story – but that initial positive vibe is pretty rare for me with hip hop, especially hip hop that is this obsessed …

1996, Music

Reasonable Doubt (1996) by Jay-Z

I have listened to hip hop for basically only six years, with somewhat increasing frequency. I feel like I am starting to get a grasp on the flow and technique of rap, and I’ve long felt like I know what I like when it comes to the production side. But I still find myself flummoxed …

1986, Music

Raising Hell (1986) by Run-D.M.C.

Full disclosure, as usual: I know little about hip hop. But, that being said, the more I learn about hip hop the more I get at least some idea of what matters and what doesn’t. And I feel like I might be able to say that this has to be one of the most consequential …

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 …

1985, Music

Radio (1985) by LL Cool J

Early albums in the history of a genre always sound primitive in retrospect. But, for someone like me, who listens to a lot of old music, they don’t always sound dated. For me, this is true of genres I really like. I understand how primitive early rock and roll, or folk rock, or psychedelia, or …

1990, Music

Mama Said Knock You Out (1990) by LL Cool J

Before he was an actor, LL Cool J always struck me as a rapper with less weight. I don’t really know if I heard much of his music beyond the title track here, but the moment I learned what LL Cool J stood for, I smirked and I couldn’t take him seriously. (Not that this …

1980, Music

Kurtis Blow (1980)

My understanding is that this is like the second hip hop LP ever. If that’s true, it’s certainly one of the most important albums of its era. It’s also worth noting that it is way better than the Sugar Hill Gang’s debut LP, just by the simple fact that Kurtis Blow is the actual performer …

2000, Music

The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book (2000) by Wyclef Jean

Why are Wyclef’s albums so fucking long? I don’t know the answer but it feels like it’s not just a case of the ’90s album bloat. Here is a man with a lot of pretty decent material (arguably more than on his debut) who doesn’t seem to know how to present it to the world. …

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 …

1990, Music

Blacks’ Magic (1990) by Salt n Pepa

Contrary to what I thought, Salt n Pepa are a manufactured group, just TLC is (which I didn’t know either, at the time). They’re like proto TLC albeit with their own DJ. (That’s a joke.) Not knowing much about the state of Hip Hop in 1990, it still feels to me more authentic than “manufactured” …

1980, Music

Sugarhill Gang (1980)

I know just about zilch about the history hip hop which means I know nothing about the history of record labels and producers thinking they know better how to market the genre of hip hop. But I know a fair amount about how they did that to other genres which, I hope, gives me some …

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 …

1989, Music

Paul’s Boutique (1989) by Beastie Boys

My understanding is that this is the Beastie Boys’ best record. But I have come at it a super weird way, having heard three other records of theirs first, completely out of chronological order. So whatever awe I might have experienced hearing this immediately after Licensed to Ill is just not happening because of this, …

1994, Music

Ill Communication (1994) by Beastie Boys

The Beastie Boys confuse the hell out of me on this record, but that’s probably by design and likely what endears so many people to them. I have only heard a few of their other albums but this is the most traditionally “musical” of those, so it’s the one you’d think I’d like the most.

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, …

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

Hello Nasty (1998) by Beastie Boys

If there is one hip hop album I’ve heard more than any other, it’s this one. Now, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually heard it all the way through, but my brother owned this one, I know a lot of it. Sure, I know the hits – a few of these were played on Much …

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 …