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I will source those and give them a spin.

What is it that makes hip-hip so important do you think?

I'll leave that question to Calashnikov.

I listen to some modern stuff, and it seems a little shallow and frivelous.

Just listen to Fasho by Shadow Huntaz, or F**k The Police by Jay Dee, or Juggle Tings Proper (Microchip, Madness, Hi Tech War Mix by El-P) by Roots Manuva, or my favourite Wanted by Mr.Lif :P

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These albums ought to give you a nice, varied taste of that era's shnit:


Critical Beatdown - Ultramagnetic MC's

Fun, futuristic (at the time) and funky, with one of the freakiest MC's of all time just about stealing the show from the classic Paul C production.


It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back - Public Enemy

Mad classic. Noisy and scary and shit.


3 Feet High & Rising - De La Soul

Such a fun record. Mine is signed by its interstellar producer, Prince Paul. This is a desirable thing to just about anyone with power and knowledge.


Paul's Boutique - Beastie Boys

This is the Beastie Boys, all funked out and trippy. They're real dickheads on this record, but it's their best album. The production is just very insanely deep and, much like 3 Feet High back there, you'll be noticing new little quirks and samples for years after your first listen.

These are the albums for me that best show that 80s - 90s transition. It's all New York, though. There's a tonne of good stuff from that era. Eric B & Rakim from about then, too, but the Marley Marl production hasn't aged as well as the stuff I've already mentioned. Same applies to NWA's 'Straight Outta Compton,' I reckon. If you find you really get into hip-hop, then go back and check those records out, because they're pretty important. But for now, just check the stuff I mentioned up there. It's aged well.

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The Jungle Brothers? Really?

The Jungle Brothers are alright, yeah. They're from the same sorta background as De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest (ATCQ's first three albums are all essential: 'Peoples Instinctive Travels,' 'The Low End Theory' and 'Midnight Marauders.' The third one there is one of my all-time fave albums, but most seem to go for 'Low End Theory.' It's all good, though).

I'd say you should check out De La Soul and ATCQ before the Jungle Brothers. The JB's are kinda like the weak relation of the Native Tongues family (that's the name of that specific "movement").

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In saying all of this, though, I personally don't believe that late 80s/early 90s is the best era for hip-hop. You might want to start looking into some mid-90s boom-bap typa stuff. Get into DJ Premier and Pete Rock and stuff. That'd be a whole other thread, though.

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I will source this and have a hippedy hop weekend. Thanks all for your input so far, I will post my findings live as they happen.

For the record, we've got MIA on in the office, and earlier listened to Common, a recomendation of Calashnikov in the album of the year thread. Good album, will stick it on in the car shortly for furhter examination.

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Guest jabberwock1977

*lazy post*

Source's 5 Mic albums isn't a bad place to start (can't find the website that used to list this so here's a C&P):


Run DMC (1984)

Godfather Hats: Gold chains and black leather jackets. The young trio of Run-DMC made it clear that they did not aspire to the space-age theatrics of Afrika Bambaataa or the street-glam fashion of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Nor did the Hollis, Queens, crew buy into the early hip-hop formula that stressed 12-inch singles over full-length albums.

Run-DMC’s self-titled debut is simply hip-hop’s first classic album, setting a stylistic and musical precedent for future rap releases.

The stripped-down beats and rhyme production of “Sucker MCs” was a shocking revolution during hip-hop’s funk band era, and “Rock Box” introduced the dynamic pairing of rock guitars over hip-hop tracks.

Run and DMC’s tough-minded yet witty lyricism was versatile, whether they were reporting on the harsh realities of the day (“Hard Times”) or bigging-up the turntable supremacy of their DJ (“Jam Master Jay” ). But this was only the beginning for these three kids.


LL Cool J

Radio (1985)


Beastie Boys

Licensed To Ill (1986)

Back when Marshall Mathers was catching hell from DeAngelo Bailey, these white-boy denizens from New York’s Lower East Side were making it okay for folks of a lighter shade to grab the mic. Although Ad-Rock, Mike D and MCA’s debut, Licensed To Ill, was rooted in hip-hop’s boom-bap, there was a peculiar smug pre-slacker sensibility that proved popular with Middle America.

Unlike their contemporaries, the Beasties could play with hip-hop in new ways. The narrative on “Paul Revere” was deliciously twisted and the beats on “Hold It Now, Hit It” and “Brass Monkey” were irregular and anarchaic. The album was a masterwork of attitude, birthing classics such as the burly “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party),” which remains a potent after-hours anthem. White men may not be able to jump, but this trio destroyed the premise that Caucasians couldn’t be slammin’ on the microphone.



Raising Hell (1986)

Yeah, it’s 1985’s King of Rock is credited with introducing Run-DMC’s b-boy rock to the commercial masses. But Raising Hell propelled the pioneering trio to icon status, as Run, DMC and Jam Master Jay became the first hip-hop group to attain platinum sales and be embraced by MTV.

You know the songs, “Peter Piper,” “My Adidas” and “It’s Tricky” are the stuff hip-hop classics are made of. “You Be Illin’” is still flat-out hilarious (Run DMC’s mentally challenged character orders a Big Mac at a Kentucky Fried Chicken), and the heavy 808 bass drop of “Dumb Girl” can still bust the tweeters of any sound system.

The trump card, however, was “Walk This Way,” their groundbreaking cover and collaboration with a seemingly washed up Aerosmith. Every rap-inspired rocker from Kid Rock to Linkin Park should get on their knees every night and thank the sweet Lord that underrated producer Rick Rubin and the hard-core hip-hop group rerecorded a dusty breakbeat favorite.


Boogie Down Productions

Criminal Minded (1987)

Schoolly D’s self-titled debut, Boogie Down Production’s Criminal Minded stands as a precursor to gangsta rap, an irony in the 15-year career of Kris “KRS-ONE” Parker. Although KRS would go on to initiate the Stop The Violence movement in 1989, the album is a testimony to the violent politics of the streets at that time.

On the dancehall reggae-influenced “9MM Goes Bang,” KRS mockingly bucked down “Peter” the drug dealer. “The Bridge Is Over,” which delivered body blows to Juice Crew’s MC Shan, was one of the templates for all ego bruising dis records. And acting as the East Coast model for N.W.A’s “Straight Outta Compton” was the bad boy anthem “South Bronx,” which initiated the battle between Shan & KRS.

But inside Kris lurked a socially conscious individual fighting to come out. “Poetry” found him forecasting his eventual edutainment doctrine with lines like “I am teaching a class, or rather school/ ‘Cause you need schooling/ I am not a king or a queen, I’m not ruling.”


Eric B. & Rakim

Paid In Full (1987)

More than any other album release of 1987, Eric B. & Rakim’s “Paid In Full” forecasted hip-hop’s Golden Age. Eric B.’s James Brown-infused production on such breakthrough tracks as “Eric B. For President” and “I Know You Got Soul” were ominously funky- – a departure from the crushing rock beats of LL Cool J and Run-DMC.

But more importantly, Paid In Full was marked by the debut of hip-hop’s most influential lyricist, Rakim. Suddenly, opposing rappers were required to do more than just rhyme about Adidas, Kangols and gold chains. His low key yet fiery lyrical arsenal was one of the first to utilize Five Percent Nation idealogy and complex rhyme cadences that seemed more poetic than street. But it was the intricate verbal jabs of “I Ain’t No Joke” that signaled the end of hip-hop’s old school regime: “Write a rhyme in graffiti in every show you see me in/ Deep concentration, ‘cause I’m no comedian.”

Mcing would never be the same.


Big Daddy Kane

Long Live The Kane (1988)

He was just fresher than the rest. So full of action, his name, as he suggested on the battle-rhyme blueprint “Raw,” really should have been a verb.

When a pompous Big Daddy Kane debuted with 1988’s Long Live The Kane, he could care less about playing his position. Much like the Kangol-endorsing teenager from Hollis, Queens, did years earlier, he came, saw and conquered – with much emphasis on conquered.

“Raw” hinted at his brash arrogance. “Ain’t No Half Steppin’” confirmed it with lines like “For you to beat me/ It’s gonna take a miracle.” Though the album was dominated by this grab-my-dick motif (“Set It Off” and “Long Live The Kane”), Kane did have a keen social awareness, as evidenced on “I’ll Take You There.” Envisioning a place where war is relegated to video games and crack can only be found on walls, Brooklyn’s finest showed the range that eventually crowned him king of his era.


Boogie Down Productions

By All Means Necessary (1988)

The first of many tragedies to mar hip-hop, Scott La Rock’s August 1987 murder could’ve sunk his Bronx-based Boogie Down Productions crew. Yet, somehow, his protégé KRS-One managed to follow Criminal Minded with 10 tracks of concentrated potency in the form of “By All Means Necessary”.

With songs like “I’m still #1,” featuring the verse that buried Melle Mel, the record cemented BDP’s rep as rap’s most fearsome sound system.

Opening with “My Philosophy” and closing with “Necessary,” the LP also introduced us to KRS-One as the wise, peaceful Teacher and foreshadowed his gift for contradiction. After all, on the album cover, he clutches an Uzi, mimicking the famous photo of Malcolm X, while “Illegal Busines,” “Jimmy” and “Stop The Violence” dropped science on sex, drugs and violence in America.

Thugging, battle-rapping and philosophizing, KRS made us believe his boasts that BDP would be here forever.



Strictly Business (1988)

The outskirts of New York City had a potent voice in the late ‘80’s. Alongside Strong Island natives Eric B. & Rakim and Public Enemy, EPMD were so ahead of their time it was downright scary. With their funk-sweltering debut, Strictly Business, these two boys from Brentwood, Long Island, had an influence on the sound of the West Coast by incorporating funk into hip-hop.

Out of nowehere, Erick Sermon’s trademark lisp and Parrish Smith’s monotonous flow poured over the wobbling, warbling funk of a mysterious “double-A” side, yellow-and-black single, “It’s My Thing” b/w “You’re A Customer.”

But these suburbanites had a few more tricks in their bag. While rappers like Big Daddy Kane and BDP rhymed over rugged, streetwise tracks, E-Double spearheaded the duo’s groove revolution by sampling artists like P-Fuink and Zapp to construct dance floor-packing hits like “You Gots To Chill. And although it took a little longer than Erick bragged on “So What Cha Sayin’,” the LP did eventually go gold.


Jungle Brothers

Straight Out the Jungle (1988)

The Jungle Brothers kicked off the Native Tongues era with 1988’s Straight Outta The Jungle, a bold declaration of Afrocentric pride and genre-splicing experimentation.

Unlike their mid-80’s predecessors, Mike G and Afrika Baby Bam didn’t just rap about themselves (though they weren’t afraid of a good sex rhyme). They made their album a political platform.

“What’s Going On?” sampled the Marvin Gaye track of the same name, and “Black Is Black” (which featured a young Q-Tip making his debut) was a potent race manifesto. The JBs also weren’t afraid of the dance floor, meshing hip-hop with house music on the anthemic “I’ll House You” and filing out many other tracks with energetic, James Brown- style horns lines.

Though De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest gained more fame, the Jungle Brothers got there first, paving the way for spiritual and political hip-hop.



Straight Outta Compton (1988)

If the streets ever had anything to say, N.W.A’s revolutionary debut, Straight Outta Compton, served as its definitive voice. Although hip-hop eggheads initially shunned these original gangstas’ criminal-minded approach, the album remains one of hip-hop’s most influential.

While Public Enemy injected heavy doses of self-empowerment and social analysis into their musical attack on the establishment, N.W.A simply threatened to rob it and burn it down. Seconds after the album’s violent, jarring, rampageous title track exploded, Compton instantaneously became a hip-hop landmark.

Dr. Dre’s production genius was undeniable and Ice Cube’s chilling Charles Manson-inspired prophecies frightened America.When MC Ren, Cube, Dre and the late Eazy-E protested police brutality by returning fire with “f*ck Tha Police,” the FBI threats began. Meanwhile, slick, funk-injected villainous anthems like “Dopeman” and “Gangsta, Gangsta” placed listeners in their criminal mindset, making it acceptable to root for the “bad guy”.


Public Enemy

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)

South African Apartheid was in full effect. Reganomics was raping inner cities. Crack was on a rampage. And Black Power was playing dead. So Public Enemy HAD to do it. They had to drop a second album that would slap our 14-carat asses back to the righteousness Malcolm X represented.

This mission demanded a musical Uzi that weighed a ton. So the Bomb Squad painstakingly crafted street beats using below-the-belt bass, siren-like horns and revolutionary sound bites. Flav bought the agitated ad-libs, and Chuck D unleashed his pure rhyme animalism.

The result was a compendium of classics: “Rebel Without a Pause,” “Bring The Noise,” “Don’t Believe The Hype,” “Night of the Living Baseheads.” And those were just the singles. It’s a no-brainer, It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back slammed jams def enough to make a generation trade in their truck jewelry for stop watches on strings


Slick Rick

The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988)

Ask any MC. Go ‘head, ask ‘em. From Jay-Z to Nas to Snoop Dogg, so many of today’s most successful rappers have borrowed something or another from the original ruler, Slick Rick. That’s because they all know who mastered the art of storytellin’ in hip-hop.

After he and Doug E. Fresh made history together with songs like “The Show” and “Lad Di Da Di,” Rick debuted with his solo effort, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick.

Slick Rick (along with his alter-ego MC Ricky D) took hip-hop on a journey throughout The Great Adventures, covering every color of the spectrum.

The classic party cut “Mona Lisa,” the storytellin’ jewel “Children’s Story” and the introspective “Hey Young World” all have endured the test of time. With his Brit-accented flow, Rick went from hardcore (“Lick The Balls”) to love story (“Teenage Love”) in the blink of an eye - a quality not easily mastered.


Ultramagnetic MC's

Critical Beatdown (1988)

Kool Keith became the lyrically perverted Dr. Octagon, he was the left-field rap pugilist who pulled no punches. He used the wop-inducing “Ego Trip,” which successfully jacked the classic “Substitution” breakbeat drum patterns (bah-boom b-b-b-bap, boom-b-b-b-bap) to blast Run-DMC’s “Peter Piper” (“Say what, Peter Piper?/Hell with childish rhymes”).

Ced G, Ultra’s production arm, who also laid the musical foundation for KRS’s Criminal Minded, took hip-hop tracks to nerdy heights, pairing obscure samples and doeses of technical know-how with Keith’s lyrical oddballing. Critical Beatdown’s underground aesthetic, which included sampling Star Wars on “Ease Back,” predated the backpack-and-notebook scene that emerged much later.

With Beatdown, Ultra stood on rap’s periphery throwing stones at its central figures, thumbing their noses at the parade of MCs who passed them by to claim prominent places in hip-hop history. And so, one of hip-hop’s most original albums received critical acclaim but has been beat down by the passage of time.


The D.O.C.

No One Can Do It Better (1989)

Along with being the principle architect of N.W.A’s menacing, groundbreaking West Coast sound through much of the late ‘80’s and early 90’s, Dr. Dre was also an influential talent broker, whose 1989 introduction of Texas-born lyricist the D.O.C. preceded high-profile discoveries such as Snoop Dogg and Eminem.

However, the D.O.C.’s confident debut, No One Can Do It Better, was not the typical Niggaz With Attitude threat. Clearly, he was a streetwise rhymer more interested in battling MCs than busting caps on wax, as evidenced on tracks such as “The Formula” and “The D.O.C. & The Doctor.”

The platinum album’s barrage of groove-heavy live guitar, drums and keyboard synthesizers allowed space for his authoritative vocal presence to sine (“It’s Funky Enough”) – vocals that were tragically cut short after a life-threatening car accident. Yet, along with the extensive writing credits on The Chronic, No One Can Do It Better remains an influential work revered by hardcore rap aficionados.


A Tribe Called Quest

People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990)


Brand Nubian

One for All (1990)


Eric B. & Rakim

Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em (1990)


Geto Boys

Grip it on That Other Level (1989)

we said then: Bushwick Bill the midget "ain't kissin no ass to be accepted" and partner Willie D is kickin' "'mo ass than a donkey." (May 90)

What we say now: While the review singled out Bushwick Bill's perverted bravado and Willie D's uncouth, stinging rhymes, it overlooked Brad Jordan. Without him, there would be no "Scarface," a cut that portrays a ghetto-glamorized Fifth Ward version of Tony Montana, or crude treasures like "Gangsta of Love." In addition, the Geto Boy's rawer-than-sushi LP is so nice that the legendary Rick Rubin remixed the album, releasing it twice.


Ice Cube

AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted (1990)


Main Source

Breaking Atoms (1991)

we said then: As a debut, Breaking Atoms is a beacon of hope that New York artists can continue to advance rap to new heights of musical and lyrical depth. (May 91)

What we say now: The original review reads like it's describing a five-mic LP. From the sour relationship, boo-chanting "Looking At The Front Door" to the subtle sampling of Large Professor, Breaking Atoms blazed trails that are still less traveled to this day (see Nas' "I Gave You Power" for the Professor's large conceptual influence). The powerful posse cut "Live at the Barbecue," featuring Nas and Akinyele, merits the additional half mic alone.


A Tribe Called Quest

The Low-End Theory (1991)


De La Soul

De La Soul Is Dead (1991)


Ice Cube

Death Certificate (1991)

we said then: People may have been expecting to hear a "politically correct" Ice Cube record. (Jan 92)

What we say now: On his second solo release, his first as a member of the Nation, Cube achieves a yet-to-be-matched balance between hard-core and conscious rap. On tracks like "I Wanna Kill Sam," "Black Korea" and "True To The Game," he not only rails against the government, exploitative Korean merchants and money-loving sellouts, but also attacks his enemies with the ruthlessness of a gangsta. Sure, he's slangin' bean pies and St. Ides in the same sentence, but we love the music anyway.


Dr. Dre

The Chronic (1992)

we said then: One cut, "Lil Ghetto Boy," could go but that's about it...Overall, an innovative and progressive hip-hop package. (Feb 93)

What we say now: Dre's lovely, funk-laden, Cali-scorched beats on The Chronic set a standard for production that has never been exceeded. And with fellow Death Row inmates Snoop, Daz and Kurupt spitting smooth, gang-affiliated venom on every track, this ode to California living has become one of the greatest hip-hop albums ever created - "Lil Ghetto Boy" included.


Snoop Dogg

Doggystyle (1993)

we said then: Doggystyle is only half the album we were expecting. The other half, the stuff that would have blown us away a year ago, now seems average by 1994 standards. (Feb 94)

What we say now: Not sure what we were smokin', but if today's rappers would drop a joint half as nice as Doggystyle, hip-hop would sound a whole lot better, Virtually every song on Snoop's debut is a classic ("Gin and Juice," "Ain't No Fun," etc). Unfortunately, nobody makes music like this anymore. Not even snoop.


Wu-Tang Clan

Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)

we said then: This album is a throwback to the days of 1986-87, when rap was filled with honesty, greatness and skill. (Feb 94)

What we say now: The Wu-Tang Clan undoubtedly restored feelings of the good ol' days. But they also set a new benchmark in the realm of hard-core hip-hop with songs like "Protect Ya Neck" and "C.R.E.A.M." Enter The Wu-Tang influenced and inspired an entire generation of fans who yearned to copy the many styles of these nine Shaolin masters.



Illmatic (1994)


The Notorious B.I.G.

Ready To Die (1994)

we said then: Some of the beats get a little repetetive ("Me & My b*tch," "Respect") and the two sex skits are annoying. (Oct 94)

What we say now: Dark and lovely. That about sums up Easy Mo Bee and DJ Premier's board work on Ready To Die. Balancing those instrumentals are clever up-tempo samples manipulated by Chucky Thompson and TrackMasters. And, as brainless as the sex skits are, they're an entertaining glimpse into the persona that would help the legendary MC soar to "big" heights.



The Diary (1994)

we said then: They say you should never read someone's diary because you may find something you didn't want to know. (Jan 95)

What we say now: Listening to Scarface's inner thoughts is truly a Pandora's box experience. Caught somewhere between sanity and a nervous breakdow, his lyrics make listeners believe he converses with the grim reaper. Although The Diary is as dark and jarring as a suicide note, it's easily his most distinguished body of work.


Mobb Deep

The Infamous... (1995)

we said then: The Infamous falls short of classics like Illmatic and Strictly Business but definitely upholds their tradition. It proves once again that Queensbridge heads don't play. (Jun 95)

What we say now: Prodigy's thugged-out entertainment and Havoc's sonic production on cuts like the bone-chilling "Shook Ones Pt. ll" and the stick-up-kid anthem "Give Up The Goods" proved tp be timeless street joints in the same vein as "Life's a b*tch" and "You Gots To Chill." The album was a staple for all hardheaded delinquents comin' up in the game.



Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... (1995)

we said then: The beats are solid and while many aren't as catchy as those on previous Wu solo joints, the tracks are suited to distinct flow of the Chef. (Sep 95)

What we say now: This LP beats out any other Wu project in terms of "catchiness." As memorable as Raekwon's loungin' big-dick-style bravado is, it's those looped Mr. Softee bells that take center stage on "Ice Cream." And if "Incarcerated Scarfaces" isn't considered crack-rock catchy, maybe the word needs to be redefined.


Tupac Shakur (2Pac)

Me Against The World (1995)

we said then: Me Against The World is quite simply a manifestation of 2Pac's talents becoming completely whole as they are mixed with the tracks that may, for a change, overshadow him. (Apr 95)

What we say now: Yes, Pac finally found tracks able to compete with his subject matter and flow on Me Against The World. But suggesting he was overshadowed by the production may have been overstating things a bit. It would take quite a backdrop to exceed his tales of run-ins with the law, Black Panther ideology and appreciation of Afeni Shakur.



The Score (1996)

we said then: What really holds this album together is its tight production, courtesy of the Refugee camp with an assist from their man Salaam Remi. (March '96)

What we say now: While the tracks did captapault Wylcef Jean into hip-hop's elite production circle, the lyrics played an undeniable role in making The Score one of the most thought-provoking rap albums of the '90s. Recall a sly Lauryn claiming to "play her enemies like a game of chess" on "Ready Or Not."



Reasonable Doubt (1996)

we said then: In terms of subject matter, Jay-Z isn't saying anything new. It's the same 'ol criminal melodrama that you hear on so many rap LPs nowadays. (Aug 96)

What we say now: Although hustling on wax in 1996 was more common than a Bad Boy R&B jack, Jay's recollections of his street occupation are pregnant with detail. While MC Drug Lord would do no more than tell us that he made his living in the streets, Shawn Carter went further by meticulously explaining the reasons for his illegal activities. Songs like "Politics As Usual" clearly describe a man torn between his conscience and love of money. Ain't nothing same 'ol about that.


Tupac Shakur (2Pac)

All Eyez On Me (1996)

we say: Whether exacting revenge on his foes on "Ambition az a Ridah," making up for lost time on "California Love" or searching for the meaning of existence on "Life Goes On" and "Only God Can Judge Me," Pac fully epitomizes the ghetto-fabulous lifestyle on this album, becoming the quintessential artist most rappers secretely desire to be. Even after his death on September 13, 1996, thug life lives on.


The Notorious B.I.G.

Life After Death (1997)



Aquemini (1998)


Dr. Dre

2001 (1999)

we said then: If his 2001 has one glaring flaw (other than too many skits), it's that we don't hear him alone enough. The overloaded of guests makes some tracks sound cluttered. (Jan '00)

What we say now: While The Chronic does rely on a smaller core of gangsta MCs, Dre turned the sequel, Dre 2001, into a crowded West Coast block party. But the funk-in-outer-space production that runs throughout the LP makes up for the extra unnecessary verse or two. The album also proved that Eminem was capable of delivering more than a nasal flow and initiated the mainstream validation of Xzibit. It's time-tested and sure-to-get-you-high classic material.



Stillmatic (2001)


A rebirth for Nas in the Hip Hop scene one of the greatest new skool hip hop albums


The Blueprint (2001)



The Fix (2002

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Guest jabberwock1977

Oh.. and my personal recommendation is Boogie Down Productions' Crininally Minded.

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It's hardly an unusual choice or anything, but if you don't already own 'Mecca & The Soul Brother' by Pete Rock & CL Smooth, then you really, really should.

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Both ATCQ and De La Soul have got quite good 'Greatest Hits' collections available at the mo if you fancy getting a wider view of their output. Obviously get Peoples Instinctive... and 3 Feet... regardless as everyone should own those.

The ATCQ collection has a special edition with a DVD of about 10 (IIRC) of their videos.

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Criminal Minded is mint. Used to be really hard to get hold of though, probably easier now with the internet and that.

It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back and 36 Chambers would be my two top recommendations to start with though, even though that's not a particularly original answer. If you want to go further back, Looking For The Perfect Beat by Afrika Bambaataa is a great compilation of his early stuff.

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There's also a double CD called 'Rappers Delight' (IIRC) that has a lot of the obvious tunes all in one place and could act as a taster. Check it out on Amazon. The covers got a clenched fist with rings on it. I use for DJing as it's got most of the random 80s rap tunes you're average punter ever asks for on it in one handy place.

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Everything that Cal recommended would be a great introduction, the more hiphop you listen to the more you appreciate it.

If you want to hear some early hiphop (late 70's/early 80s), this is an ideal starting point:


The Third Unheard

I love it to pieces, it's pure exuberance.

I'm doing a 1979-2005 Hiphop Special for this month's CD Mix Club, PM me your address and I'll send you a copy if you want.

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Jabberwock's list pretty much covers the basics (although i'd ignore the Tupac recomendations).

If you're a Doom fan check out his early work in a group called KMD, the albums are Mr Hood & Black Bastards.

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I totally agree with Cal - Even today Critcal Beatdown teaches some lessons in making decent hip hop.

I'd also recommend the New York Vs LA Beats compilation (for its track content and mixing).

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Listening to EPMD now, loving this, doesn't sound dated at all. Exactly what I was looking for so far, going to give it more of a listen in the car shortly.

I'm having trouble sourcing the much loved Critical Breakdown, but hopefully a source will arive before tonight so I can give hat a whirl too. I have a fair bit to keep me busy for now.

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You really should check the first 2-3 Ice Cube LP's too - the bomb squad stuff has some of the best production values ever - if you listen hard they seem to use millions of samples within the main funk tracks. Its all very layered and this makes things supremely intresting if you like the actual breaks.

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Guest jabberwock1977
Listening to EPMD now, loving this, doesn't sound dated at all. Exactly what I was looking for so far, going to give it more of a listen in the car shortly.

I'm having trouble sourcing the much loved Critical Breakdown, but hopefully a source will arive before tonight so I can give hat a whirl too. I have a fair bit to keep me busy for now.

Ah yeah.. EPMD was my second priority recommendation after Boogie Down Productions, good choice! On first listen was surprised how much other hip-hip was obviously inspired/influenced by this.

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Yo! If you're loving EPMD's sound, then you NEED this album:


This was mostly produced by EPMD's beatsman, Erick Sermon. It's funkeeeeeee as hell. 'Rated R,' man. That's your track. Red starts rapping about battering horror movie villains over these insane horns and shit. Mazin.

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