Filed under: Features,Listicles,Not Your Average
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
These aren’t one hit wonders, since none of these records were technically “hits” in the traditional sense. This is more of a collection of rappers who only got one chance to shine before they got a steady city job with a pension or dangled in record company hell for all eternity.
These are ten essential 80’s b-sides, from the time when the 12″ single truly reigned supreme. “La Di Da Di” isn’t included as it’s basically a double A-side single for all intents and purposes. Technically “Ego Trippin'” also started out as a b-side on the second pressing of “To Give You Love,” but those are so scarce it barely warrents a mention.
A selection of tracks worthy of twelve inch status on the grounds of how great they are. The fact that I don’t own proper instrumental versions of any of these kills me a little bit inside every day.
The good thing about actual singles was that it was possible to keep track of b-sides and such. These mp3 folders are far too confusing for old folks, so I’ve been told.
EPMD - “Brothers From Brentwood, L.I.”
Sermon’s rapping fell off seriously after the third album, but this beat and Greg Nice hook can’t be denied.
After checking out the Up North Trips mix with their picks for the best Alan The Chemist beats from the past ten years, I couldn’t resist responding with my own personal selections from the past decade of work from the house of ALC.
Here are a few examples of not-so-subtle examples of rappers wearing their influences on their sleeves. $20 says the first comment reads: “YOU FORGOT ACTION BRONSON / GHOSTFACE!”
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:
The time is finally here for the CRC Top 40 for the year. The only rule is a maximum of one song per release, which is why a few people were able to sneak in two entries courtesy of a mixtape or street album. As you’ll see, much of the list is comprised of the usual suspects – we’re not called the Conservative Rap Coalition for nothing…
Since I threw out the statement that “I respect Jay Dee but he doesn’t crack my top 25″ comment earlier, it’s only right that I back it up by providing the Unkut top 30 in no particular order. Send all hate mail to the usual address.
While you’re enjoying the sounds of Pimpire Strike Back, I thought I’d run through six of his finest moments before the undisputed classic Marcberg album dropped in 2010.
This is a little somethin’ somethin’ I was asked to write for another media organization that ended up on the cutting room floor. The basic premise is “The Most Offensive Lyrics From Conscious MC’s”, but the definition of “conscious” rappers is so vague that it’s pointless. It’s also the reason why stuff like “Black Korea” and “lllegal Aliens” isn’t included. In the plus side, you only have to click this post once!
A list of great violent rap, including everything from broad beating anthems to gun clapping to cannibalism. Good times for all.
My latest contribution to the fine tradition of Rap List Trolling, with a piece that’s certain to upset everybody. Which may be the point…
Time for another Complex list, this time around on a topic that’s close to my cold, cold heart – record label history. With 2013 marking 30 years in the business, I wrote about the best fifteen years of the iconic label, based on my highly-scientific formula of Sales x Influence x Artistic Merit x Coin Flip.
There was once an unwritten law that said that all rap albums must contain at least one “slow jam” to attract the “female demographic”. Despite some rare exceptions (MC Shan’s “Left Me Lonely”, Kool G Rap’s “She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not” and Kid Capri’s “This Is What You Came Here For”), these love raps were shameful blights on the discographies of otherwise respectable MCs. Here are ten particularly painful examples:
The music world lost a giant this week, as legendary trumpeter Donald Byrd passed away at the tender age of 80. Having bridged the spectrum from be-bop to funk without missing a beat, Mr. Byrd released a massive catalog of great music, much of which provided perfect source material for classic rap tracks. In honor of the great man, here are my ten favorite uses of his work.
Obviously, Unkut made the top 20, otherwise I wouldn’t even be posting this. Shouts to Alvin Aqua Blanco for recognizing that we don’t eff around over here.
Inspired by oskamadison‘s suggestion in the comments section of the 50 Best Debut Albums In Hip-Hop History post, I put together a follow-up list with the Complex crew which caters more to my personal tastes.
Here’s another list to annoy everybody. I managed to sneak Percee-P, Lord Finesse, RA The Rugged Man, Big L, Ras Kass, Pharoahe Monch and Kool G Rap in to the chart to offset the expected Lil’ Wayne, Jay-Z and Kanye content, which is a victory of sorts.