I’m switching it up a little bit here. I’ve been listening to entire albums for the past few weeks and wanted to post a few. I haven’t had a chance to get to Nico the Beast’s No Beast So Fierce yet (thanks to Zilla Rocca @ clapcowards.wordpress.com for mailing that to me last Saturday) but I’ll get to it by the end of the month.
Boogie Down Productions – By All Means Necessary (19888)
1988. What a great year for hip-hop and a great time to be in high school. There were so many great (not just good) albums coming out every other week that I couldn’t get all of the ones I wanted until 1989. But By All Means Necessary was a must have. It’s still in my top ten albums of all time after twenty years. After hearing “My Philosophy” on the radio (Power 99 in much better days), I scraped up some money and picked up the tape. From the imitation Malcolm X cover art to the rhymes about drugs, violence, government corruption, vegetarianism, venereal diseases, etc., I was dazzled to say the least. That album pretty much solidified KRS-One as my all time greatest MC ‘til this very day.
Brand Nubian – Everything is Everything (1994)
I didn’t like Everything is Everything when I bought it back in 1994. It took a good six months for it to grow on me even though the beats were ridiculous. Lord Jamar really stepped up on the production. I just couldn’t fathom why they had changed up the lyrical formula from In God We Trust but eventually reasoned that they were probably frustrated with their label (Elektra) and since they weren’t exactly focused decided to make an album about whatever came to mind at the time. I imagine they made this album in the studio with the lights low and pounds of weed because the mood is definitely dark. You can hear it in their voices that they were clearly high on some of these tracks which made me laugh out loud yesterday listening to this. Another thing that probably bothers people like TC is that there’s no clear cut single a la De La Soul is Dead. I’m not sure if that bothers anyone else but listen to the album and judge for yourself.
Ghostface Killah – Bulletproof Wallets (2001)
Here’s another album that disappointed me when I first bought it. But it wasn’t because of the lyrics or Carl Thomas’ singing. It was because the track listing on the CD booklet didn’t match the actual CD. Don’t you just hate it when someone screws up like that? I wonder if most people were looking for Supreme Clientele 2 when this dropped. I was the only person in the record store buying this the day it dropped. And I don’t remember it selling much at all. But why? It’s a hilarious album especially “The Forest” and “The Hilton”. Ghost is a very visual MC and I almost choked laughing when I heard him say something about soap suds falling on the floor. If you haven’t heard it, then check it out and let me know what you think.
Joell Ortiz – The Brick (Bodega Chronicles) (2007)
I slept on this for a minute and I’m still kicking myself about it. Hungry isn’t an adequate enough description of Ortiz at all. I’ve always been a fan of real MC’s and he delivers lyric after lyric straight to your face. Strangely enough, when I heard the first song, I had this goofy look on my face wondering if Fat Joe learned how to rhyme overnight. Fortunately, Fat Joe is no where to be heard and there are no tracks about ‘ice’ or ‘b***hes in the club’ on this. If you like strong, honest lyrics and an aggressive delivery, you’ll like this one.
Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – Wanted: Dead or Alive (1990)
This album dropped literally days five days before I started my freshman year of college in August 1990. From that day until maybe October 1990, Terrell and I debated Ice Cube AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted versus Kool G Rap’s Wanted: Dead or Alive. At the time, I was a junkie for the Bomb Squad’s production and Terrell was Kool G Rap’s (and LL Cool J’s) biggest fan. So we went back and forth just about every day playing these albums between classes and coming up with new arguments for each side. Today, I feel the same way. The production was clearly better on AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted but Terrell was right about Kool G Rap winning the lyrical battle. Lyrically, Kool G Rap paints murals and directs audible movies. He’s the king of that NYC gangster rhyme style and Biggie, Raekwon and Nas were three of his best followers. A lot of youngsters out there haven’t heard this album so click that link and listen to it ASAP.