I was musing about the fact that EPMD had an amazing run of three four cutting-edge albums before they parted ways the first time, which is almost unprecedented. However, as Old Man Rap Twitter pointed out, there are a few other contenders:
Run-DMC – Set the pace on their first three LP’s, although Tougher Than Leather was merely playing keep up thanks to the delay and time hasn’t been kind to much of King of Rock.
Gang Starr – After a patchy start, Guru and DJ Premier delivered four outstanding LPs between Step Into The Arena and Moment of Truth, equally EPMD’s run but more content to lay in the cut rather than kicking down doors in the way that the brothers from Brenwood, LI did.
Ice Cube –AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, Kill At Will and Death Certificate made for an amazing solo run. The Predator was strong musically but it felt as if he lost his spark on the mic a little.
De La Soul – Tough to fault their opening three LP’s in terms of breaking new ground. Things got a little too earnest once Prince Paul left, however. (more…)
I really wanted to like Straight Outta Compton, and in many ways, I did. But in many other, more important ways, I did not. The fundamental problem with any biopic that’s produced by the people it’s telling the story about is that you’re getting an incredibly sanitized, white-washed version of events which goes to extreme length’s to paint it’s protagonists as flawless saints who can do no wrong. According to this film, N.W.A. were all innocent, perfect human beings who were the victims of the evil, calculated machinations of Jerry Heller, Brian Turner and Suge Knight.
Does anyone really believe that Dr. Dre is just a guy who wants to make great music and was in no way complicit with any of the fuckery that took place at Death Row? Or that Ice Cube is simply a hard working, talented writer who’s all about a fair shake in the music business? The same guy who has fallen out with almost everyone he has ever worked with or managed? At times I felt like I was watching a rap version of a Hallmark ‘Movie of the Week.’ For a film about ‘the world’s most dangerous group,’ Straight Outta Compton is disturbingly lacking in grit. (more…)
The fifth solo album from The Live Guy With Glasses finds L.P. in a reflective mood, as he revisits cherished musical memories from his childhood (‘Dreams Don’t Die’), salutes the achievements of Nas (‘In The Scrolls’) and demands respect for his generation of rapper dudes (‘New Train Ole Route’). It’s a short album that doesn’t outstay its welcome, managing to feel like his most focused and cohesive project since The LP. Where as Main Source and Professor @ Large both offered some stand-out tracks, they felt more like collections of songs rather than the fully-realized long-player that Breaking Atoms was in terms of pacing and covering a wide range of topics. (more…)
My old drinking buddy Phillip Mlynar penned Lyricist Lounge: An Oral History this week, which reminded me of just how disappointing the actual album dedicated to that place was. As a record buyer during that period, I fondly recall that period in the mid to late 90’s when MF Doom, Juggaknots, Jigmastas and Scaramanga were releasing some cutting-edge music. But I also remember that, as it’s always been, 85% of the singles released during the ‘indy rap renaissance’ were either generic, corny Backpack Rap or weirdo Company Flow type nonsense. When the Lyricist Lounge, Volume 1 album in 1998, there was a fair amount of hype behind it and in what would turn out to be one of my more regrettable purchasing decisions I decided to shell-out for the 4 LP edition only having heard the breezily enjoyable ‘Body Rock’ single with Mos Def, Tash and Q-Tip. (more…)
Thank fuck. It’s taken five months, but 2015 has finally delivered not one, not two, but three great rap albums in the space of a week. I’m in such a state of shock that I had to cop a bottle of Jameson and break my own anti-review policy to give these releases some light.
You Toober Eddie Frank has pieced together the original footage which MF Doom used to create the memorable Operation: Doomsday and MM Food skits. Comic nerds and fans of poorly drawn animation, unite! (more…)
Young Zee of the Outsidaz is finally getting an official release of his shelved 1996 album on cassette and CD through Gentleman’s Relief Records on 28 April (with liner notes from dedicated Outsidaz disciple Werner), having previously been issued over a couple of EP’s by Dope Folks Records.
United Crates has put together a superb collection of Ason Unique deep cuts and freestyles to mark the recent 20th anniversary of the Return To The 36 Chambers album. A timely reminder that Wu-Tang is for the children.
United Crates has assembled some of the Outdoorsman’s older work to mark four years since Dr. Lecter dropped. Who knew that this Flushing, Queens rapper dude would turn out to be the Hipster Music Mafia’s pin-up boy? Regardless, dude can rap and ‘Shiraz’ is still my shit.
The prospect of getting a guided audio tour through Afrika Bambaataa‘s record collection by two lifelong music geeks is appealing to even the most cursory of music fans, if the jam-packed crowd that squeezed into Melbourne’s Forum Theater on Friday night is anything to go by. It certainly didn’t hurt that it was helmed by music festival darlings Shadow and Cut Chemist, which made the whole thing easier to digest for those in the audience who haven’t memorised Bam’s original Blues and Soul list of his favorite breaks. (more…)