Is Aaron Fuchs Really The Ultimate Bloodsucker of Hip-Hop? http://www.unkut.com/2014/02/is-aaron-fuchs-really-the-ultimate-bloodsucker-of-hip-hop/
No Country For Old (Rap) Men: The Wacky World of Rap Peace Treaties http://www.http://www.unkut.com/2014/02/no-country-for-old-rap-men-the-wacky-world-of-rap-peace-treaties/
The story of founding De La Soul member DJ Stitches: http://www.unkut.com/2014/02/dj-stitches-the-unkut-interview/
Artwork for the next Diamond D album, Diam Piece.
Timeless Classics Or Only Classics For Their Time?
Every now and then, one of these rap websites puts together a list along the lines of “The 30 Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of 1993″ and such, which in theory isn’t something I should have an issue with. The reason I mention it is that a decent proportion of these albums – most of which are widely regarded as “classic” and important records – don’t exactly inspire me to dig them out of the shelves and throw them onto the turntable (or, if I’m feeling lazy, navigate to the folder on my hard drive). Is this simply due to the fact that I played that shit to death back when it was released? Or is it more of a case that some music outlives its usefulness?
Take De La Soul’s much discussed 3 Feet High And Rising, for example. While there’s no doubting the impact and originality that Prince Paul and Plugs 1, 2 and 3 brought to the table, I can confidently state that I have no intention to ever listen to that record in it’s entirety in the foreseeable future. That’s likely more of a reflection of my preference for anti-social rap with loud drums than anything else, but it’s an issue worth considering. Let’s take a look at the 1989′s greatest hip-hop albums according to ego trip‘s Book of Rap Lists for example:
1. De La Soul - 3 Feet High & Rising (Tommy Boy)
Was a big deal but the only De La album that there’s even a remote chance of getting rotation at CRC HQ in 2014 is De La Soul Is Dead, since “Afro’s” got a slammin’ beat…
2. Beastie Boys - Paul’s Boutique (Capitol)
Some great breaks on here, but I wasn’t really checking for the Beasties by the time this dropped so I never really connected with this tape in any meaningful way, seeing as though I was too busy listening to EPMD and the Geto Boys. I’d rather bump the lost cut “Scenario” or “It’s The New Style.”
3. Jungle Brothers - Done by the Forces of Nature (Warner Bros)
This was great when it dropped, especially the title track and “J. Beez Comin’ Through.” Still holds up well as an under-appreciated part of the Native Tongues puzzle.
4. Big Daddy Kane - It’s a Big Daddy Thing (Cold Chillin’)
Still amazing, although Long Live The Kane remains as the most consistent Kane LP. The live version of “Wrath of Kane” makes this essential.
5. The D.O.C. - No One Can Do It Better (Ruthless)
The title track and “Grand Finale” still win. “Beautiful But Deadly” is still just as shitty as it was in 1989.
6. Geto Boys - Grip It! On That Other Level (Rap-a-Lot)
One of the greatest rap albums ever made, the Def American version still gets regular play.
7. 3rd Bass - The Cactus Album (Def Jam)
Well-produced album let down by the less than thrilling verbal technique of Serch and Pete Nice. Could be that I’m just White Rapper Racist.
8. 2 Live Crew - As Nasty as They Wanna Be (Luke)
These guys kinda got played out after the first album, but it’s tough to front on any record with a song titled “The Fuck Shop.”
9. Nice & Smooth - Nice & Smooth (Fresh)
If you don’t fux with this dynamic duo, I feel sorry for your mother. Fronting on this is like fronting on Jesus, to paraphrase Smooth B.
10. Biz Markie - The Biz Never Sleeps (Cold Chillin’)
Without assists from Marley and Kane, this is pure Biz Markie insanity, for better or worse. Always good for a laugh, but tough to pick this over Goin’ Off given the choice.
11. EPMD - Unfinished Business (Fresh)
This was the state-of-the-art, cutting edge sound of 1989 as far as I’m concerned. It sounded about five years ahead of it’s time back then, and still holds up as a timeless classic, although Business As Usual is better overall.
12. Queen Latifah - All Hail The Queen (Tommy Boy)
I’m still a big fan of “A King And Queen Creation”, “Dance For Me” and “Wrath of My Madness”, but not sure if I could sit through this from start to finish anymore.
13. L.L. Cool J - Walking With A Panther (Def Jam)
In line with the accepted CRC party line of the time, I didn’t mess with this album at all, since I was still recovering from the trauma of hearing “I Need Love” on Bigger and Deffer, and everyone knows that songs about love are effin’ teh ghey. Apparently it had some joints on it, but I doubt I’ll ever force myself to own a copy of this, let alone listen to it.
14. Special Ed - Youngest In Charge (Profile)
I’ve never owned a copy of this, although I have the singles. I guess the whole Teen Rap Idol thing kinda put me off.
15. Chill Rob G - Ride The Rhythm (Wild Pitch)
This still gets a lot of love at Unkut HQ. Still holds up remarkably well thanks to those timeless 45 King beats and Chill Rob’s advanced lyrical gymnastics..
16. Low Profile - We’re in This Together (Priority)
WC was a lot more entertaining on the MADD Circle stuff, but the beats and scratching make this worth a spin every now and then. “No Mercy” was my shit.
17. MC Lyte - Eyes On This (First Priority)
Call me misogynistic if you will, but I never bought any chick rap albums except for the first Salt ‘N Pepa, Latifah and anything involving Roxanne Shante. Only Lyte song I own is “10% Diss.”
18. Three Times Dope - Original Stylin’ (Arista)
Everything about this album is essential, from the beats to the raps to the concepts to the slang to the Jordan 3‘s on the cover.
19. Stezo - Crazy Noize (Fresh)
Thanks to strong production, this record is still decent. The 12″ version of “Freak The Funk” was the highlight.
20. Boogie Down Productions - Ghetto Music: the Blueprint of Hip-Hop (Jive)
As much as I appreciate KRS exploring ska breaks, this was just filling in time until Sex and Violence dropped.
21. Ice-T - The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech…Just Watch What You Say (Rhyme Syndicate)
This LP was pretty good, but I still prefer the first two in terms of nostalgia value. Ice’s schtick was wearing a little thin by this point, although “New Jack Hustler” and the OG album were a great return to form. Special mention to the inner sleeve of this record though, which contained an intricate collage of photos of Ice with a veritable who’s who of rap royalty and various on tour fuckery.
22. Willie Dee - Controversy (Rap-a-Lot)
The pinnacle of Shout Rap, and possibly the greatest CD ever released by Rap-A-Lot. I still play this at least once a month.
23. Heavy D & the Boyz – Big Tyme (Uptown)
No disrespect, but I was never a fan of the Hevster.
24. Sir Mix-a-Lot - SWASS (Def American)
Is this the one that has “Square Dance Rap” on it? I’m gonna have to pass on this one too.
25. Kwame - The Boy Genius featuring a New Beginning (Atlantic)
Aw hell naw…
Bonus: Kool G Rap & DJ Polo - Road To The Riches (Cold Chillin’)
Listed as an 1988 album in the book, but the label says ’89 so I’ll include it here. The first three tracks are incredible, but loses focus halfway through with “Cars” and “She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not”. G Rap’s second album is a far superior package.
In summary, if I could choose five 1989 releases from this list, I’d go with Willie Dee, Geto Boys, Three Times Dope, Chill Rob G and EPMD.