Saturday, February 28, 2009


Okay, so an F-book chain, but I haven't updated the blog in a while and want some shameless self-promotion thrown into the mix!
Some rap albums I like, a lot
No order, just because I don't believe in hierarchy (omg, anarchism 101!)

Geto Boys - The Resurrection - So the horrorcore pioneers with a foot in the grave and a touch of the real real drop a totally cohesive funked-out trunk rattler with a head on the ground, a heart on the sleeve, and guns blazin'. This is a bone fide classic of the protest genre in the aural aesthetic that jars more than three-pronged -isms.

Z-Ro - I'm Still Livin' - A depressive street album tired of the streets. Evangelical only out of palpable desperation. Bunch of friends dead, the rest in prison. One of the most insightful rap albums not just into the socio-economic subjugation of the hood and its effect on the psyche of the drug game rappers rap about, but into one person's depression in the face of it all as well. None of it pretentious, all of it heart.

Kanye West - Graduation - In my opinion Kanye's most cohesive album, despite his free-for-all grab-a-thon synthesizing eurotrash with street bangers. Kanye's brash egotism is, to me, half name-making, half-desperation and captures the beatmaker/fashion icon at his most desperate and vulnerable. Here he's careful to enunciate every syllable so they'll hear him in the nosebleeds, and even with the endearing cheese of some of the puns, it's totally worth it.

Lil' Wayne - Da Drought 3 - 100 plus minutes free (literally) to spend time in Wayne's purped-out, blazed up thought process. The wonders of the english language unveiled.

Trick Daddy - Back By Thug Demand - Nostalgia and about-face rolled in one. Bought it for cheap at a liquidation sale, found out a hometown hero was really one of rap's greatest storytellers. From "Born a Thug"'s breakdown of the life of a criminal in the making, to the the way that "Booty Doo" he leaves no life detail untouched. It also helps the beats are monstrous. "Breaka-Breaka, dade county on the number line..."

UGK - Underground Kingz - An accidental swan song, of sorts. So yeah, Pimp C plays out nearly all the facets of the literary archetype (minus 8Ball and MJG's added violence) but I never really realized the breadth of Pimp C's humanity until I heard second-half sleeper Shattered Dreams, where he puts more on the line than most of the rap canon big upping ladies' and gays' hopes and futures. The rest of this, too, is just great, especially because it's overblown and all over the place. Finally Port Arthur, TX hits the limelight the way it's been on every rapper's tongues and half of it's biggest export hits the grave. A worthy goodbye.

Notorious B.I.G. - Ready 2 Die - Yeah, classic. The I'm a total asshole, thug in the negatory and I know it, but here's the whole of me, take it or leave it. And there's just as much heart as body mass. To be taken instead of left behind, obvs.

Dizzee Rascal - Maths + English - His earlier stuff's good, too, but here he realizes his niche and the connections between the trans-atlantic hoods and there respective cultural outputs. He slows down his double-time and big-ups like never before. He still fails to get anywhere but american niche purveyors Def Jux, but with UGK guesting, dude didn't need to worry about distribution.

Outkast - Southernplayasticadillacmusik/ATLiens - The sound of two gifted young MC's just playing with the possibilities rolling off their tongues. Touching stuff.

Nas - Illmatic - Who else wrote stuff like this at 18? Puts academia to shame with the heights contained within.
Wu-Tang - 8 Diagrams - Yeah, if noticed, I'm as much for the first borns as the tenth plague, but even outside the wake of ODB's death, and despite being totally removed from the drug deals they originally recorded out of, this totally captures the weirdness of there being an entire capitalistic enterprise centered around powerful sensory distorters. To Ghostface and Raekwon, "hip-hop hippie bullshit," to drugs, this is the underside of it all that even "Timberlake and Timbaland" references fail to push out of the center.

Clipse ft. The Re-Up Gang - We Got It 4 Cheap vol. 2 - Clipse and friends avoid label drama while in contract limbo, cherry pick the hottest beats and give us their own album with the gusto of a young MC laying it all out in hopes of making a name. But they've already made a name and know they've got the skills so this thing is fire, like, M.A.D.

Madvillain - Madvillainy - typical underground/undergrad staple, but the experimentalism on this is not obnoxiously pitted against listenable rap. There are a few clever and subtle swipes at the "mainstream" but the production here eschews the labored attempts at hooks MF Doom was guilty of on Operation: Doomsday to drop in and out in multiple personalities to not just touch on weed mentals but alien spaceship rentals. It's wonderfully distended and out there, while also being in here (pointing to headspace!)

Beanie Sigel - The B. Coming - Written before a jail term, no B.S., all Beanie Sigel. Another really depressive rap album playing out like dead man walking despite the one year sentence, the pangs sting.

Big Boi - Speakerboxxx - One of the first instances where I realized self-hating experimentalism in rap pales in comparison to straight up rapping. Big Boi blew Three Stacks out the water with this, with a more wildly divergent emotional and stylistic pallette touching not just on big money fun but down-home slum humdrum. It's great.

David Banner - Certified - Another instance where the thug vernacular Little Brother are embarrassed white people will call them on works a whole lot better than yelling something about the "revolution" while awaiting a commercial tie-in. Yeah, lots of it is harsh, but the way it basically destroys standard connotations of the b and h words is almost populist delineation of how to hate, ha. No, this is great, the relationship triptych is no boner-kill either, flipping the horribly misogynistic "beat that pussy up" line (and beat) from the yin yangs and making an anthem devoted to the female climax, following it with a straight up jam dedicated to consummating (rap equivalent of the Gaye) and then a kinda f'd up but totally down and out desperate apologetic plea to an ex in which the extent of masculinity is called into question. The politics on this album vacillated between free-for-all ignorance and thoughtful panoramics. It's awesome.

Scarface - The Fix - Before calling it quits with men and women there was a drop of hope laced in the nihilism, the 'face seemed to be onto something peaceful, with healthy dollops of the hate thrown in, there's still something this seems to waiting on.

T.I. Urban Legend - On the basis of freak though, really. Pretty much anything in his catalogue up to King is spotless, but this here is cristal.

Trina - Diamond Princess - yet another bit of Miami withdrawal, the politics are (obvs) problematic, (totally) hilarious and (actually) wonderful. So maybe switching the gender balance and turning words like "pimp, bitch and ho" on their progenitors doesn't get rid of their existence, but gosh darn Trina totally makes dudes wobble at the knees while they grabbing their crotch for cover. The materialism no worse than MJB declaring womanhood by the stuff that Kendu buys her, but with women still making 77 cents of that man dollar, this is just as much the statement it was when Maralyn Monroe made it with Diamonds are a girl's best friend.

G-Side - Starshipz and Rocketz - Okay, so this is the waters barely tested, this though almost entirely rest on the possibilities contained within. Block Beataz beats speak to 2 lettaz and Young Clova's words like their enterprise speaks to the docked spaceships pointed to by the wall-eyed kids on the cover, the universe apparent but held back from the youth in the hood. If NASA ain't answering, G-Side answer for themselves.

DAM - Dedication - Occupied hood anthems, the hood as a refugee camp, the police as an occupying power. The women as victims equal to the men. The resistance fertile. The syllables washed through like fluids into the beats. The middle east as a template for rapping what's rapping against the rib cage. This knocks the world over.

The Unicorns - Who Will Cut Our Hair When We Are Gone? - Arrogant, self-mythologizing, beef-prone with a legend-toting head nod in the B.I.G.-lite suicide that caps it off. It's got all the touchstones, so why not?

And yeah, not 25, but ^&*% there's too many to mention so I'll cut it here.
Thanks for the time!