• The Year 2000

    Nov 27 2009, 23:15

    Looking back at all the fantastic hip-hop that has come out in this past decade, I was struck by how many of my favorite albums were released in 2000. Many of these albums I would personally consider classic, or near classic. Just a quick reminder:

    Common - Like Water For Chocolate
    Deltron 3030 - Deltron 3030
    Blackalicious - Nia
    Quasimoto - The Unseen
    Slum Village - Fantastic, Vol. 2
    Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek - Reflection Eternal
    Ghostface Killah - Supreme Clientele
    Outkast - Stankonia
    Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP
    Dilated Peoples - The Platform
    Binary Star - Masters Of The Universe
    Dead Prez - Let's Get Free
    Kid Koala - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    Scienz Of Life - Coming Forth By Day: The Book Of The Dead
    Dan The Automator - A Much Better Tomorrow

    This was a cool year in hip-hop for many reasons. First of all, we still had major names making great music, and getting radio play for it. Common exploded with hit singles "The Light" and "The 6th Sense". Meanwhile Eminem and Outkast were nearly inescapable, even crossing over into pop radio with songs such as "The Real Slim Shady" and "Ms. Jackson", respecively. But around this time, dope hip-hop had a slight paradigm shift. More than ever there was a heavy reliance on the underground for great hip-hop. This is visible with the busy busy years of Kid Koala and Dan The Automator (both appear with solo LPs, and also behind the boards/tables for Del The Funkee Homosapien's masterful Deltron 3030). Prior to 2000 El-P had made it okay to be truly experimental, and utterly distort what it meant to be "hip-hop". Groups such as Blackalicious, Dilated Peoples, Scienz Of Life, and Binary Star made some of the year's best albums, all while remaining fairly underground, and experimenting in their own ways (maybe not to the extent of Def Jukies or Stones Throw). Sure there were underground groups in the 90s - and lots of them (Organized Konfusion, Souls of Mischief, Group Home just to name a few). But rarely did they experiment with traditional hip-hop formulas (I know, I know. There are some exceptions: Soundpieces: Da Antidote!, Endtroducing...). You had your DJ(s), your emcee(s), and you used samples and basic boom-bap structures to build songs. So the idea of groups and artists really pushing genre boundaries wasn't exactly a novelty in 2000, but it was a stylistic turn gaining increasing prevalence.

    Then there was that funky little label called Stones Throw Records, that was just buzzing with creativity behind the minds of Madlib (Quasimoto) and PB Wolf. In 1999 MF DOOM released his debut, Operation: Doomsday (not Stones Throw, but I have a point...). That album combined with The Unseen made it freakishly cool to be a blunted individual artist, creating weird, abstract hip-hop. Lyrics could be free-associative and there were no longer any boundaries. So while mainstream hip-hop in the 21st century would become extremely formulaic, and lose a sense of it's real roots, hip-hop looked to the underground to lead the charge and uphold the true principles of hip-hop.

    All in all, 2000 produced a plethora of fantastic albums. Major players were doing their thing, underground heads were getting love in packed small venues across the country, and life was good. Hip-hop was expanding, and faster than ever. So when considering the multitude of sub-genres we have in hip-hop today, just take a second to appreciate how far the boundaries of hip-hop have expanded, and where those influences may have come from.

    Here's to another great decade of hip-hop. Who's going to push us forward this time?
  • Classic Hip-Hop Tracks

    Lug 1 2009, 4:05

    This is a working (subject to change) list of 50 Classic Hip-Hop Tracks. Only one song per artist is allowed. Let me know what you think! (Songs are not in order by the way)

    1. Outkast - So Fresh, So Clean
    2. N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton
    3. Pharoahe Monch - Simon Says
    4. Common - The Light
    5. Fugees - Ready Or Not
    6. Jay-Z - Dead Presidents II
    7. Notorious B.I.G. - Juicy
    8. Gang Starr - Mass Appeal
    9. Mobb Deep - Shook Ones Pt. 2
    10. The Roots - You Got Me
    11. 2Pac - Dear Mama
    12. Dr. Dre - Nuthin' But A "G" Thang
    13. Mos Def - Ms. Fat Booty
    14. Lauryn Hill - Doo Wop (That Thing)
    15. A Tribe Called Quest - Jazz (We've Got)
    16. The Pharcyde - Runnin'
    17. Black Star - Definition
    18. AZ - Sugar Hill
    19. Eminem - Stan (ft. Dido)
    20. Souls Of Mischief - 93 'Til Infinity
    21. Eric B. & Rakim - I Ain't No Joke
    22. Wu-Tang Clan - Can It Be All So Simple
    23. Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth - They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)
    24. Nas - The World Is Yours
    25. De La Soul - Eye Know
    26. LL Cool J - I Can't Live Without My Radio
    27. Beastie Boys - Paul Revere
    28. Arrested Development - Tennessee
    29. Dead Prez - Hip Hop
    30. GZA/Genius - 4th Chamber
    31. Slum Village - Players
    32. Cypress Hill - Insane In The Brain
    33. Boogie Down Productions - South Bronx
    34. Snoop Dogg - Gin And Juice
    35. EPMD - You Gots 2 Chill
    36. Busta Rhymes - Woo Hah!! (Got You All In Check)
    37. KRS-One - Sound Of Da Police
    38. Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five - The Message
    39. Public Enemy - Fight The Power
    40. Run-D.M.C. - Walk This Way
    41. M.O.P. - Ante Up
    42. Raekwon - Knowledge God
    43. Camp Lo - Coolie High
    44. Talib Kweli - Get By
    45. MF Doom - Doomsday
    46. Digable Planets - Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat)
    47. Jurassic 5 - What's Golden
    48. Ghostface Killah - Mighty Healthy
    49. Method Man - Bring The Pain
    50. Jeru The Damaja - Ya Playin Yaself
  • 50 Questions & 50 Artists!

    Gen 22 2009, 21:31

    1.How did you get into 29? (Gang Starr)
    Right when i was getting into rap at a young age, I was looking for local acts (I'm from Boston, MA) and I came across Guru, and from there discovered Gang Starr. At the time I had no idea they were legends!

    2. What's the first song you ever heard by 22? (AZ)
    I think Sugar Hill, but I originally heard AZ on Nas - Life's A Bitch. His verse is CLASSIC.

    3. What's your favorite lyric by 33? (John Legend)
    I guess Ordinary People has some pretty cool lyrics. That song was real refreshing just because of how bare and real it was.

    4. How did you get into 49? (Eminem & Dr. Dre)
    Forgot About Dre... 'nuff said...

    5. How many albums by 13 do you own? (Eminem)
    Just 3, Slim Shady LP, Marshall Mathers LP, and Encore... Encore sucks lol Em's really fallen off.

    6. What is your favorite song by 50? (Arrested Development)
    It's a toss up between Mr. Wendall and Tennessee.

    7. Is there a song by 39 that makes you sad? (Alicia Keys)
    The Thing About Love

    8. What is your favorite song by 15? (Stevie Wonder)
    Living For The City

    9. What is your favorite song by 5? (A Tribe Called Quest)
    Electric Relaxation, Award Tour, Can I Kick It?, After Hours, oh man... there's just too many amazing songs!

    10. Is there a song by 6 that makes you happy? (Fugees)
    No Woman, No Cry

    11. What is the worst song by 40? (Beastie Boys)
    Haven't heard any song by them that particularly stands out as bad, they pretty much stay consistently dope.

    12. What is your favorite song by 10? (Outkast)
    Once again a VERY tough pick, it varies on any given day, today i will go with Da Art Of Storytellin, Part 2.

    13. What is a good memory you have involving 30? (MF DOOM)
    Listening to Doomsday on repeat on youtube on summer nights before i owned the album.

    14. What is your favorite song by 38? (Zion I)
    Temperature (feat. Talib Kweli)

    15. Is there a song by 19 that makes you happy? (Marvin Gaye)
    Sexual Healing, God Is Love

    16. Is there a song by 25 that makes you sad? (Dr. Dre)
    Nope, don't think so.

    17. What is the first song you ever heard by 23? (J Dilla)
    First song produced by Dilla: Common - The Light (my favorite song of all time). First song exclusively by Dilla: J Dilla - Geek Down.

    18. What's your favorite lyric by 11? (Lauryn Hill)
    Her whole verse on Fugees - Ready Or Not

    19. Who is a favorite member of 1? (Common)
    Lonnie Lynn

    20. Is there a song by 14 that makes you happy? (Black Star)
    Definition! Just thinking out it makes me happy haha.

    21. What is a good memory involving 27? (Deltron 3030)
    First time I heard 3030, and finally understanding what concept albums are all about.

    22. What is your favorite song by 16? (Notorious B.I.G.)
    Juicy, hands down.

    23. What is the first song you ever heard by 47? (Danger Mouse & Jemini)
    Not sure, probably Ghetto Pop Life, or Born A MC.

    24. What is your favorite album by 18? (RJD2)
    Dead Ringer

    25. What is your favorite song by 21? (2Pac)
    Dear Mama

    26. What is the first song you ever heard by 26? (k-os)
    Technically it was Introsuckshun, but really it was Superstarr Pt. Zero

    27. What is your favorite album by 3? (The Roots)
    Things Fall Apart

    28. What is you favorite song by 2? (Kanye West)
    Two Words

    29. What was the first song you ever heard by 32? (Usher)
    U Make Me Wanna

    30. What is you favorite song by 8? (Mos Def)
    I had a period of obsession with Climb, and The Panties, and Do It Now, but I am assured that my favorite Mos Def song is and forever will be Ms. Fat Booty.

    31. How many times have you seen 17 live? (People Under The Stairs)
    Zero thus far :(

    32. Is there a song by 44 that makes you happy? (CunninLynguists)

    33. How did you get into 12? (Lupe Fiasco)
    I heard Kick Push, and heard him on Touch the Sky and I knew he was for real.

    34. What is the worst song by 45? (King Geedorah)
    I really like the whole album, no lie!

    35. What was the first song you ever heard by 34? (Avant)
    4 Minutes

    36. What was the first song you ever heard by 48? (Dead Prez)
    Wolves maybe? If not, then Hip-Hop

    37. How many times have you seen 42 live? (Jurassic 5)
    Cero, otra vez.

    38. What is you favorite song by 36? (Little Brother)
    Never Leave

    39. What was the first song you ever heard by 28? (Talib Kweli)
    Get By

    40. What is you favorite album by 7? (Jay-Z)
    The Blueprint (RD close second, Black Album a distant third)

    41. Is there a song by 31 that makes you happy? (Slum Village)
    Are there any that don't make me happy? Let's see... Closer, Tainted, Players... the list goes on and on, they are just too smooth.

    42. What is your favorite album by 41? (Pete Rock)
    Soul Survivor II, but if it counts, I would go with Mecca & The Soul Brother

    43. What is your favorite song by 24? (Madvillain)
    Fancy Clown

    44. What is a good memory you have involving 46? (Eric B. & Rakim)
    When I finally learned to truly appreciate their genius.

    45. What is your favorite song by 35? (The Foreign Exchange)
    Nic's Groove, Daykeeper, Be Alright (Remix), and I Wanna Know all tie, I just can't decide.

    46. Is there a song by 9 that makes you happy? (Nas)
    If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)

    47. What is your favorite album by 4? (De La Soul)
    Stakes Is High, but 3 Feet High And Rising and De La Soul Is Dead both are very close as well.

    48. Who is your favorite member of 37? (Wu-Tang Clan)
    GZA/Genius or Raekwon

    49. What is the first song you ever heard by 43? (Anthony Hamilton)
    Charlene, that song made me melt.

    50. What is your favorite song by 20? (Bob Marley & The Wailers)
    Could You Be Loved
  • My Top 10

    Dic 12 2008, 6:50

    Write down your top 10 artists, then add:
    - the first song you ever heard
    - your favorite song of that artist
    - your favorite album of that artist

    1. Common
    First: The Corner
    Fave Song: The Light
    Fave Album: Resurrection

    2. Kanye West
    First: All Falls Down
    Fave Song: Two Words
    Fave Album: The College Dropout

    3. The Roots
    First: The Seed 2.0
    Fave Song: You Got Me (What They Do is a VERY VERY close second.)
    Fave Album: Things Fall Apart

    4. The Fugees
    First: Killing Me Softly
    Fave Song: Ready Or Not
    Fave Album: The Score

    5. A Tribe Called Quest
    First: Electric Relaxation
    Fave Song: Electric Relaxation
    Fave Album: Midnight Marauders

    6. De La Soul
    First: Keepin' The Faith
    Fave Song: Eye Know
    Fave Album: Stakes Is High

    7. Jay-Z
    First: Big Pimpin'
    Fave Song: Dead Presidents II
    Fave Album: The Blueprint

    8. Nas
    First: If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)
    Fave Song: Life's A Bitch
    Fave Album: Illmatic

    9. Mos Def
    First: I Against I
    Fave Song: Ms. Fat Booty
    Fave Album: Black On Both Sides

    10. Outkast
    First: Rosa Parks
    Fave Song: So Fresh, So Clean
    Fave Album: Aquemini
  • My Favorite Albums

    Ago 31 2008, 21:59

    I haven't heard everything out there and I am by no means a musical expert. This is not a list of the best albums that I've heard, it's a list of my favorite albums - those that I cannot live without, and those that just amaze me from beginning to end.

    Numbers 1-5 (in no particular order)
    - Outkast - Aquemini
    - Mos Def - Black on Both Sides
    - Black Star - Black Star
    - The Fugees - The Score
    - Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

    Numbers 6-10 (in no particular order)
    - Kanye West - The College Dropout
    - A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders
    - Common - Resurrection
    - Eminem - Marshall Mathers LP
    - The Roots - Things Fall Apart

    Numbers 11-20 (in no particular order)
    - Common - Be
    - Jay-Z - The Black Album
    - Nas - Illmatic
    - Bob Marley and The Wailers - Legend
    - The Roots - Phrenology
    - Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt
    - Outkast - Stankonia
    - Common - Like Water for Chocolate
    - Jay-Z - The Blueprint
    - De La Soul - Stakes is High