Tag: Hip Hop

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 …

1991, Music

And Now the Legacy Begins (1991) by Dream Warriors

I have no memory of Definition, probably because I was not even 8 when it ended its run. But I certainly felt the reverberations because the moment “My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style” came on, I knew it. I’m not sure I had ever connected it and the theme to Austin Powers before, as …

1996, Music

All Eyez on Me (1996) by 2Pac

When I was young, I would eat up everything I thought I should like and this included double albums which, in the LP days, meant a maximum approximately 90 minutes of music. (Usually 88 or less, but often much less, such as Exile on Main St.), which is not much more than an hour.) But …

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 …

2000, Music

Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (2000) by Limp Bizkit

Limp Bizkit are so monumentally dumb that, while I’m listening to a Limp Bizkit record, I have trouble imagining there are dumber bands. Now, I know there are plenty of dumb bands, but the scale of the Bizkit’s dumbness is so immense that, during the album, you just sort of forget that there could be …

2000, Music

Let’s Get Ready (2000) by Mystikal

When I first started purposely listening to hip hop about 5 years ago, the idea that a rapper had charisma was something I couldn’t really stomach. As a music fan I am primarily a fan of chops and, for me, vocal chops had to do with singing, not rhyming. I didn’t understand flow and I …

1995, Music

The Gold Experience (1995) by O(+>

I can’t claim to know Prince’s catalogue that well, especially since the ’80s. So you can’t take what I say as gospel. But, listening to this, I’m inclined to agree with the critical consensus that says it’s his best record of the ’90s (or one of them). There may well be better ones, of course, …

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 …

1995, Music

E. 1999 Eternal (1995) by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

I have had a hard time getting into (and just plain getting) hip hop for basically my entire music-listening life. One of the major barriers to me has been rap – I am a fan of musicality in music, and rap is often not very musically interesting to me. This is especially true of early …

2000, Music

The Marshall Mathers LP (2000) by Eminem

I am always at least partially at a loss with reviewing hip hop records but it’s so much more true with lyrics like this. Fortunately, Eminem is a white guy (like me), so I feel a little less like a jerk writing about what he has to say. My experience is still very far removed …

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 …

2000, Music

Voodoo (2000) by D’Angelo

I heard so much about this album that I was bound to be disappointed. I had read really positive reviews but also multiple friends of mine told me it was a great album and at least one of these people was not an R&B connoisseur. (Meaning I should take his opinion even more seriously.)

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 …

1999, Music

Kaleidoscope (1999) by Kelis

I remember when I first heard “Caught Out There”. I didn’t swear at the time, but imagine it was the polite equivalent of “What the fuck?!?” And I’m sorry to say that was basically the last time I thought about Kelis (whose name I thought was pronounced “Kell Es”). And listening to this record, that …

1994, Music

CrazySexyCool (1994) by TLC

I was 13 when this came out but I was already sort of aware of manufactured pop music. I already sort of got that the Monkees hadn’t evolved like the other bands I listened to, and I was sort of aware that some of the oldies music I listened wasn’t made the same way. I …

1994, Music

It Takes a Thief (1994) by Coolio

I guess serious hip hop fans have strong feelings about Coolio, like he got too famous or something, or he’s not as talented as less famous rappers, or something. I don’t know anything about this and, frankly, I couldn’t care less. I hate arguments about whether or not someone is more authentic than someone else …

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, …

1999, Music

Significant Other (1999) by Limp Bizkit

What does it say about your band when a lounge parody medley of your songs is better than your original songs? I don’t care that the music was created by a keyboard, I will take Richard Cheese’s “Nookie / Break Stuff” over the originals every day; the music is better and it shows that Durst’s …

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

Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994) by OutKast

Everything I know about scenes is confined to rock music, and most of the detailed stuff I know about rock scenes is confined to the psychedelic rock scenes of the 1960s. That’s probably the only period where I could hear music I don’t know and give a good guess as to where it was made. …

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, …

1999, Music

The Slim Shady LP (1999) by Eminem

At this point, having listened to a number of big hip hop records over the last few years, I have two types of reactions to hip hop albums: The first is I admire the production (and/or the musical diversity) and can spend my time focusing on that. The second is, I can’t do that, because …

1993, Music

Plantation Lullabies (1993) by Me’Shell NdegéOcello

It’s hard not be impressed by the ambition of this debut; NdegéOcello seems to want to do everything within the R&B spectrum and, at times, it feels like she might succeed. She’s like a female Terence Trend D’Arby with more of a jazz and hip hop influence and a better sense of rhythm but with …

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 …