Wednesday, 14 January 2009

10 Essential Hip-Hop albums

DJ Krush - DJ Krush
Dj Krush is a Japanese DJ who has honed his turntablist skills to the max. I have heard of him Dj'ing with 4 turntables, utilising all 4 limbs to scratch out a masterpiece. He is, in my opinion, the best out there! He has made a bevvy of dark, flashy and inventive albums that have all succeeded in giving me a mild erection! The best one is this one - his second. I especially love the scratchy dub-hop of ON THE DUB-BLE and the purposefully bad singing of KEEPING THE MOTION. It's a nuts album, a beautiful album, a dark album but above all, it's a magnificent opus to all that is groovy in hip-hop. Buy it now!

EPMD - Strictly Business
This is EPMD's first LP and I think their best! It is mad funky, boyo and epitomises what was the golden age of Hip-Hop. Fact - 4 singles were released from this album and 3 peaked high in the US charts. Lazy rapping, funky samples, an album that makes you happy and not wanna kill someone - it's got it all! You should own all EPMD's material but start here!

Kurtis Blow - Kurtis Blow
Released in 1980 this album made Kurtis Blow rap's first superstar! His music is funk-heavy, especially THE BREAKS, which is a gigantic tune. RAPPIN' BLOW PT 2 is another funk-tastic formula. There is some dodgy stuff on here also, like TAKIN' CARE OF BUSINESS, which is a dodgy mix of hip-hop and Country Rock - it just doesn't go. He has been know to sing some dodgy ballads in between his raps also, such as ALL I WANT IN THIS WORLD (IS TO FIND THAT GIRL) - watch out for this! Plus a lot of his rhymes can easily be second-guessed - it is very simplistic rhtym-ology. But the superiority of tracks like THE BREAKS far make up for these little gaffes!

Madlib – the Beat Konducta vols 1-6
The Beat Konducta series is an almost instrumental collection of funky, mind-blowing mixology based hip-hop. The beats have been crafted so well that it is quite clear that what we are dealing with here is a complete genius! Madlib does it all across these 6 volumes, incorporating funk, soul, house and rock music stylings. My only gripe is that some of the songs are atad too short but that, you understand, is me being ultra picky. Get yourself some MADLIB!

N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton
NWA is the epitomy of Gangsta Rap and it is some the best music produced by this subgenre! It is angry, homophobic, misogynistic and glorifies murder ad rape. All this aside, it is fucking good (oh er, am i being affected by the music?) - it is well produced and showcases some of the best rhyming by any bunch of angry young men. STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON is a classic and begs to be heard, just don't take any of the messages seriously!

Pharcyde – Bizarre Ride to Pharcyde II
Humourously called Alternative Rap, Pharcyde's first album is a COMPLETE gem! It was a world away from the dominant form of rap at this time - Gangsta Rap. It is funny, intelligent rhyming at its best. The sound is more on the jazzy, cool side and this makes for a album that is both listenable and danceable! A treat for the ears, brain and the feet!

RZA – Bobby Digital in Stereo
This is the first part of a concept album - no, come back! It is an intelligent sound that shows off RZA's fantastic production skills. It has some of the best rhyming on it - just look:
"Bobby Bobby Bobby, Digi Digi Digi,
Stuck to your ass like a Victoria's Secret wedgie".
All this adds to this album being an overall joy to listen to, and those musical interludes between the main songs are just plain great!

Tribe called quest - People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
Another Alternative Rap classic! Lazy rapping, jazzy, funky touches to the sound and officially the 3 best songs in the world, BONITA APPLEBUM, THE LUCK OF LUCIEN and CAN I KICK IT? of course you can! No more talikng - go get it!

Wu Tang Clan – Enter the Wu Tang (36 chambers)
9 strong rappers, 1 very strong producer all make up for a hip-hop supergroup. Obsessed with kug fu TWTC created an album of featuring many old kung fu film samples and some of the best tracks contained within the whole Hip-Hop ouevre. Each track is better than the last. C.R.E.A.M. is fantabulous! Nuff said!

Zimbabwe Legit – Brothers from the mother
Straight off the plane from Zimbabwe and straight into the studio. It happened this quickly because those in the know, saw their great potential. One of the tracks even contains production from DJ Shadow. ZL were one of the first African Hip-Hop groups to break out of Africak ad to a world audience. Lyrically they rap about Africa's struggles, musically they sound a lot like bands like A Tribe called Quest and Del La Soul. This is an album that serious Hip-Hop headz have never heard of yet every one serious about music should own it!

Peace out!

A-Z of Hip-Hop

Afrika Bambaataa – Planet Rock (1986)
Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (1989)
Cash Crew – Cash Crew (1984)
Doug E Fresh – Oh My God (1986)/Derek B – Bullet from a gun (British)(1988)/ DJ Krush – Krush (Japanese) (1995)
EPMD – Strictly Business (1988)
Fu-Scnikens – F.U. Don’t Take it Personal (1992)
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five – The Message (1982)
Handsome boy Modelling School – White People (2004)
Ice Cube – the Predator (1992)/IAM – L’Ecole Du Micro D’Argent (French) (1997)
Jungle Brothers – Straight out the jungle (1988)
Kurtis Blow – Kurtis Blow (1980)
LL Cool J – Radio (1985)/La Caution - Peines De Maures / Arc-en-ciel Pour Daltoniens (French hip-hop) (2005)
Madlib – the Beat Konducta vols 0-6 (2001-2009)/Massive Attack – Protection (British trip-hop) (1994)
N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton (1988)
Outkast - Atliens (1996)
Pharcyde – Bizarre Ride to Pharcyde II (1992)
Qbert (and DJ Shadow) – Camel Bobsled Race (1997)
RZA – Bobby Digital in Stereo (1998)/Ruthless Rap Assassins – Think – It Ain’t Illegal Yet (British) (1991)
Sugarhill Gang - Sugarhill Gang (1979)/Skinnyman – Council Estate of Mind (British) (2004)
Tribe called quest - People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990)
Ultramagnetic MC’s – Critical Breakdown (1988)
Viktor Vaughn (aka MF Doom) – Venomous Villain (2004)
Wu Tang Clan – Enter the Wu Tang (36 chambers) (1993)
Xzibit - Restless (2000)
Young MC – Stone Cold Rhymin’ (1989)
Z-Ro Tolerance – Life (2012)/Zimbabwe Legit – Brothers from the mother (African) (2005)