The excellent blog Straight Bangin'
is using the internets for good. They've asked bloggers and anyone with some passion for the hip hop to submit their personal lists of the 25 greatest hip hop albums of all time. My chum and fellow internets celebrity, Rafi
clued me in to the excellent communal effort and after much deliberation and nostalgic waxings, this is what I came up with:BUHLOONE MIND STATE – De La Soul
Those first three De La albums have an amazing batting average. As I recall, this album was not terribly popular and I remember hearing that De La felt profoundly disappointed by how few units got moved. I hope they've made some peace with this album as I think it comes very close to being a perfect listen. No weak moments. Total balance. This is not an album to shuffle. Much better when listened to in its entirety. I heard 3 Feet again recently. Ridiculous album. Prince Paul: Greatest producer ever? C'mon. He's at least in the discussion...THE PREDATOR – Ice Cube
This rap album got me into rap. Though I loved PE, the Fat Boys and Grandmaster Flash as a youth, I didn't really recognize it as a genre until this album hit me in the brain. "When Will They Shoot" is pure powerful. Still rock it. Still holds up.RAISING HELL – Run DMC
I have this on vinyl. My dad gave this to me along with Tougher than Leather and Licensed to Ill - which for some reason he'd picked up and added to his massive LP collection. More lyrical and musical than most rock albums of the same era. "They even bother my poor father cause he's. down. with. me." This is a rap band at its peak.FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET – Public Enemy
Memorized it. Chuck and Flav are the Woodward and Bernstein of the late eighties rap scene. Epic scope. Truly insightful. Ambitious aesthetic. ONLY BUILT FOR CUBAN LINKS – Raekwon
Best WU album. THE LOW END THEORY – A Tribe Called Quest
Tip was well ahead of his time. "What is a poet? All balls no cock." I always took Phife for granted as just a punchline provider. Then Tip went solo. Phife, I just wanted to say I'm sorry. Please get Tribe back together. THE INFAMOUS – Mobb Deep
I've been listening to the Prodigy solo album over the last couple of weeks. It's good. LIQUID SWORDS – Gza
"Signal's so deep picked up by radios in tunnels."ILLMATIC – Nas
Important to me. Important to you. "The type of n**** who be pissin' in your elevator." MIDNIGHT MARAUDERS – A Tribe Called Quest
"Tip, settle down, what's the reason for the laughter?"
"I really can't say. I guess I laughed to keep from crying. So much going on. People killing. People dying." ENTER THE 36 CHAMBERS – Wu-Tang
READY TO DIE – Notorious B.I.G
THE BLACK ALBUM – Jay-Z
"99 Problems" is up there on the greatest rap songs of all time list.
AMERIKKKA’S MOST WANTED – Ice Cube
SEX PACKETS – Digital Underground
BLACK ON BOTH SIDES – Mos Def
The song "New World Water" is for all those people who say rappers only rap about the same few subjects. SUPREME CLIENTELE - Ghostface
VOLUME 3: LIFE AND TIMES OF S. CARTER – Jay-Z
"Go read a book you illiterate sonovabitch" - from Big Pimpin.'
That line always makes me laugh.THE MARSHALL MATHERS LP – Eminem
"Kill you" is the definition of crisp.THE SCORE – Fugees
A friend of a friend once gave me a live Fugees freestyle ripped from the radio entitled "Battle of the Sexes," where Lauryn challenges Wyclef and Pras to a battle. They had angered the "Nina Simone defecating on your microphone" songstress by disrespecting the women in the audience. Wyclef does a clearly well-rehearsed rearrangement of lines that Lauryn Hill then utterly obliterates with a REAL straight off the dome freestyle. Of course I lost this cassette and have been unable to find this freestyle. Does anyone have it? The sweetest moment is when Lauryn cracks herself up with the line "... you want my titties in your mouth..." I wish I could remember more of it.CHECK YOUR HEAD – Beastie Boys
Not ashamed to admit that I used to lip sync and mosh at parties with two other guys to So Watcha Want. One time, one guy got so into it, he threw the other guy through a wall. Everyone was fine through the healing power of The Beastie Boys.NIGGA PLEASE – Ol’ Dirty Bastard
John Candy. Kurt Cobain. Big Baby Jesus. Deaths that didn't really make sense to me. Personally meaningful pop culture icons whose presence I took for granted on this Earth. I just assumed they'd live forever. I miss Dirty.
MADVILLAINY – MF Doom/MadLib
BIZARRE RIDE II THE PHARCYDE – The Pharcyde
Saw Fat Lip in concert a couple months ago. He asked for a volunteer from the audience to rap two of the parts from Passing Me By. Thought thoroughly hard about doing it. Thoroughly chickened out. RESURRECTION – Common Sense
Some mind-blowing metaphors going on here. At least at the time, they were sufficiently mind-blowing. The band that made Common Sense become Common should be ashamed of themselves. His music has suffered since the namechange. But this record still kills.
HONORABLE MENTION - BIG & BEAUTIFUL - The Fat Boys
Don't hate on the The Fat Boys.
Go get these albums if you trust my tastes. Or if you don't - and who can blame you (John Candy?) - then wait for Straight Bangin' to publish the consummate list darn soon.