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anewman

Common - Like Water For Chocolate

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Common's Be is probably my record of the year (that or Arcade Fire, or possibly Sufjan Stevens... but that's another thread).

I listened to Be because a friend at work happened to be listening to it. It's amazing stuff. Shortish, but very very sweet. Kanye West's production is almost sugar-coated, but never saccharine. I think probably every single song maintains the high quality of the album, and they all just fit together perfectly. It's politically and socially concerned music, but it never sounds like politically and socially concerned music - a bit like Marvin Gaye's What's Going On. Basically it just sounds amazingly good all the way through.

Anyway, I've just been leant Like Water for Chocolate. It has quite a different sound to Be. Much much more jazzy and relaxed (whereas Be races through 47 minutes like it knows what it's got to say and doesn't need to mess around, Like Water... is 70 odd minutes long), occasionally it sounds a bit like the acid jazz collections I sometimes listened to almost 10 years ago. I've just really enjoyed my first listen (6th Sense is amazing, but that may be just because it sounds like a Be track).

Anyway, I've made this thread because I'm hoping to hear more about Common, and this kind of intelligent and musically sophisticated (I think) hip hop, because I know very little about it. My experience of hip hop is probably quite familiar. I can list most of it here: it consists of De La Soul's 3 Feet High..., a bit of Naughty By Nature and NWA, a bit of Snoop, Tupac, Wu Tang, Dre, Eminem and 50 Cent.

Most of these artists have never really fit my tastes. And some of them have always seemed a bit childish to me. I'm worried that this has messed up with my perception of hip hop.

So I guess what I'm asking is: Is Common typical of a certain kind of hip hop? And if so what other amazing stuff like this am I missing out on?

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How about The Roots? I'm quite fond of Do You Want More!!!?!!!?! And maybe Talib Kweli... He's got a number of decent records... Quality and Reflection Eternal. He also did some stuff with Mos Def called Black Star which is quite good as well.

Oh yeah, and A Tribe Called Quest.

Anyway, I'm sure other people will have better recommendations as well.

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Those acts you listed (anewman) are all quite hard and attitude filled, there's a whole world of hip-hop outside of that realm. Jurassic 5 are an excellent place to start - melodic, uplifting, sometimes political but never gangster, and most of all for me - I can heavy relate to their songs.

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How about The Roots?  I'm quite fond of Do You Want More!!!?!!!?!  And maybe Talib Kweli...  He's got a number of decent records... Quality and Reflection Eternal.  He also did some stuff with Mos Def called Black Star which is quite good as well. 

Oh yeah, and A Tribe Called Quest.

Anyway, I'm sure other people will have better recommendations as well.

Ojlim nicked my post.

The Roots - Things Fall Apart / Phrenology

Talib Kweli - Reflection Eternal

Mos Def - Black on Both Sides

To be more precise.

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Thanks for those recommendations. I'll definitely check out these:

The Roots - Things Fall Apart / Phrenology

Talib Kweli - Reflection Eternal

Mos Def - Black on Both Sides

I also what to try that Madvillain album, as it got a couple of mentions in the Album of the year thread.

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Madvillain is like the hip-hop equivalent of lo-fi garage rock. I think the sound anewman is after is so-called conscious hip-hop. 'Black on Both Sides' by Mos Def is a good one to check out, off the top of my head.

I'll be back tomorrow with more recommendations. I've got a bucket to smoke right now, though :blink:

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I love Commons stuff, the only album I could add to the recommendations above is Hope by the Non-Prophets. It’s a bit jazzy, there’s loads of trumpets and clarinets and flutes. Like Commons albums it’s angry but focused. It’s beautiful and the lyrics are out of this World.

I’m no big Hip Hop fan (and I’m a bit drunk so this post might be a bit dis-jointed) but if you like Common I think you’ll dig Non-Prophets.

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I've just really enjoyed my first listen (6th Sense is amazing, but that may be just because it sounds like a Be track).

I'm glad you picked that one out. It's one of my favourite songs. It was produced by DJ Premier. Any hip-hop fan will tell you that he's responsible for a shitload of good music. He produces a really good track (Mathematics) on the Mos Def album you've been recommended.

Also, you say 3 Feet High & Rising-era De La Soul never really caught your attention. It may interest you to know that later De La Soul albums rejected the childish playfulness that they were famous for, in favour of a more mature and world-weary standpoint. Of all their albums I reckon the one that best typifies this chapter would be 'Stakes Is High.'

Common features on the superb, so-simple 'Bizness' track, and steals the show. You should like it. It's also worth mentioning that the majority of 'Stakes Is High' was produced by the great producer Jay-Dee a.k.a J-Dilla*, who produced much of 'Like Water...'

Dilla actually produced two songs on 'Be,' rather than Kanye West. The Dilla tracks are the Marvin Gaye-sampling 'Love Is...' and the last track, 'It's Your World.'

So, yeah. I think you'll like 'Stakes Is High,' despite having one or two skippable tracks (one of which is more of an R'n'B pisstake, rather than a proper song). It has a great cover, too:

B000000HKY.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

And read into Jay-Dee/J-Dilla. His group 'Slum Village' are probably right up your street, although I can't say I've heard too much by them. The general consensus is that their earlier albums are best (I don't think J-Dilla worked on their later releases).

There's a whole load of stuff that you'd like. Anything with Pete Rock's name attached to it is worth a listen. He was the 90's other super producer, alongside DJ Premier. Pete Rock was like a jazzier, smoothed out version of Premo, who had a tougher, funkier sound. They're both all-time greats.

*EDIT: Closer consultation with the sleeve notes suggests that the majority of the album was self-produced by De La themselves. Dilla produced the (awesome) title track.

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The constant pimping of 'Be' in this folder has lead me to download it (along with the instrumental version). Half way through and it's pretty good, although much like his solo work, I'm not keen on Kanye's vocal performances. The title track is beautiful. Trying to source a copy of Like Water for Chocolate but so far have only managed to find one track with Mos Def entitled The Question. This one was excellent, I love the laid back flow and the organic sound to it.

I noticed people mentioned The Roots as a similar alternative. Highly recommended from me too. I've only just started to get into them but everything I've heard has been great. The new Homegrown! album is a perfect place to start. I listened to it for the first time today and the opener with Roy Ayers sets the pace for a truely smoooooooooth album, with even the more aggressive tracks still retaining the sweet soul sound. Get it!

B000BLI4SI.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

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I would recommend some Little brother, all of thier albums are good and thier 1st one is great.

9th Wonder, the member of the group who produces all thier stuff, to me is a better version of Kanye West. He loves his soul samples like Kanye does but is a lot less commecial and does'nt use speeded up samples so much either.

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Be, be here, be there, be that, be this

Be greatful for life, be greatful to life......

Be food for thought to the growin mind, be the author of your own horoscope

Be invited, be long-living, be forgiving, be not forgetful

Be a proud run, only to return to fight another day.......

Be a brilliant soul, sparklin in the galaxy while walkin on earth.....

Be....eternal!

Wow, I thought the opener 'Be' was a cracker, but how about 'It's Your World' for a finale! It's the kind of track that demands a second listen, then a third, before enjoying some silence afterwards to appreciate it's full beauty.

I shall be picking up a copy of this cd very soon. Thanks to you all for the heads up.

-edit-

1133887982,Common - It's Your World (Feat. Bilal & Pops)

1133887490,Common - It's Your World (Feat. Bilal & Pops)

1133886959,Common - It's Your World (Feat. Bilal & Pops)

1133886304,Common - It's Your World (Part 1 and 2)

1133885784,Common - It's Your World (Feat. Bilal & Pops)

Make that 4 listens, plus the instrumental :)

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I really really like that final track on Be, both parts 1 and 2 (the second part, the final 5ish minutes of the track's 14 or 15 minutes, which comes after a lengthy silence, like a sort of bonus track, is some very funky shit).

Although probably Chi-City is my favourite, + the title track. They're all really high quality basically.

Thanks for the recommendations (great post, Calasknikov). I'm off to source some of this stuff...

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Both of my downloaded versions were 8.30 in length. I take it whoever ripped it merged both parts together? It didn't sound like it had been tampered with tough.

Mine's also downloaded, but it's 14.02. It just goes completely silent in the middle so you're not missing anything.

I keep meaning to buy it, just for its gorgeous cover.

EDIT:

Ah fuck it. Just placed my order on Amazon, for that and Kate Bush's Aerial (which has been sitting on my harddrive since about a week before it was actually released...).

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All the recomendations so far have been spot on but i'd like to add these recent concious, jazzy releases:

Kev Brown - I Do What I Do

Maspyke - Static

Ohmega Watts - The Find

Digable Planets - Beyond The Spectrum

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Liking the Hip hop re-birth thang going on in this folder at the moment :D Not too much to add except maybe Blackalicious? They were my first Hip-hop steps after J5 and Shadow and showed me there was more too it than all the aggressive gangsta stuff I didn't like at the time. Some of my favourite lyrics of all time on Nia, don't know easy it is to find their stuff now though, they always seemed to suffer from being about 20 quid everywhere when I first heard of them.

Also Dilated Peoples, People Under the Stairs and maybe Divine Styler. He's more of an aggressive, dark sound but the lyrics aren't your typical gansta stuff.

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So I got hold of Stakes Is High. It's like it's like a completely different group to the De La Soul that made 3 Feet High. The only thing I recognise from that is their names - it feels a bit odd when they use their names. I guess they're using samples in a similar way too, sometimes - like a repeated melodic-type sample over a beat. Which I quite.

The track with Common, The Bizness is really good. Also Long Island Degrees, and Itzoweezee (which is with Mos Def, I think...). 4 More is pretty amazing (very cool and chilled out). And Big Brother Beat.

There's maybe nothing as immediately listenable and engaging as The 6th Sense, but it's working for me. I like how they settle into a beat, and then there's just a stream of rapping over it.

I'm still working my way into the lyrics and the concept of the album.

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I've heard people rave about that album. Care to write some words about it, bud?

I haven't heard the whole album tbh but from what i've heard its dope, very laid back production in a similar style to the Jazzy Jeff album (Kev Brown is signed to Jazzy's label).

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Def Jux fo' life !  :D

Pure shite.

So by citing Aesop Rock for this list somehow makes me a Def Jux zealot? Clearly he's the single most gifted MC out there at the moment. Conscious lyrics, leftfield beats - check out his latest EP, then read the amazing lyric book that comes with it.

Some of the artists on Def Jux are among the best in the business right now. I take it you missed Company Flow first time around then? Rjd2 beats the living piss out of DJ Shadow, Aesop Rock is (ok, imho) the best MC around at the moment, and El-P is one of the truest pioneers in underground rap - check out his latest jazz-tinged album High Water for an idea of how good a producer he is.

Other than that, I'd add Madlib, MF Doom, Talib Kweli and Phi-Life Cypher to the list.

Damn, its hostile in here... :)

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So by citing Aesop Rock for this list somehow makes me a Def Jux zealot? Clearly he's the single most gifted MC out there at the moment. Conscious lyrics, leftfield beats - check out his latest EP, then read the amazing lyric book that comes with it.

Some of the artists on Def Jux are among the best in the business right now. I take it you missed Company Flow first time around then? Rjd2 beats the living piss out of DJ Shadow, Aesop Rock is (ok, imho) the best MC around at the moment, and El-P is one of the truest pioneers in underground rap - check out his latest jazz-tinged album High Water for an idea of how good a producer he is.

Other than that, I'd add Madlib, MF Doom, Talib Kweli and Phi-Life Cypher to the list.

Damn, its hostile in here... :angry:

Not hostile, just robust discussion...?

I'm loving Stakes Is High, and I've now been leant Black on Both Sides and The Roots's Do You Want More!!?!?!?!, but I keep returning to Like Water For Chocolate. I'm enjoying it more than Be at the moment. The thing I like so much about it is the jazziness of it all - it's probably just because I've never really listened to this mixture of hip hop beats with a jazz type beat over the top of it (probably not describing this very well).

Basically, it just sounds unbelieveably cool. And when you throw in Common's rapping over the top, it becomes quite special, because I really like the way his personality comes across in his rapping. Same with Be. He's so positive, but incisive too.

Anyway, all of this is to say that I might try out this High Water album. Where can I get that? Will it be in Virgin/HMV?

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Company Flow's 1st album is about the only rap album i own which i just cant stand listening too, i mean i like my hip-hop a bit different sometimes, but to me Funcrusher plus is just a unlistenable mess.

Murs is about the only the only artist on Def Jux i like

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So by citing Aesop Rock for this list somehow makes me a Def Jux zealot? Clearly he's the single most gifted MC out there at the moment. Conscious lyrics, leftfield beats - check out his latest EP, then read the amazing lyric book that comes with it.

Some of the artists on Def Jux are among the best in the business right now. I take it you missed Company Flow first time around then? Rjd2 beats the living piss out of DJ Shadow, Aesop Rock is (ok, imho) the best MC around at the moment, and El-P is one of the truest pioneers in underground rap - check out his latest jazz-tinged album High Water for an idea of how good a producer he is.

Other than that, I'd add Madlib, MF Doom, Talib Kweli and Phi-Life Cypher to the list.

Damn, its hostile in here... :unsure:

Have a wank ?

RJD2 and Murs I quite like but as far as I am concerned Aesop rock could dissapear up his own arse and the world would be a better place. I have had to endure his grating annoying whining voice for far too long as my mate for some strange reason likes him. Best MC, fair enough your opinion but you must have a pretty limited list of MC's to base that opinion on.

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2 more words

Masta Ace

Disposable Arts.

The penetrating, hardcore rhymes of Disposable Arts blend intelligence and wittiness with clear-eyed observations of ghetto reality as only Masta Ace can. "There's gotta be a way, a fresh new way, to bring it out," he says. "Rather than say, 'I sold drugs,' or, 'I shoot cats, I rob cats, and I still do it in 2001.' There's gotta be a way to bring across that feeling of where I grew up and that atmosphere I grew up in without being just a fake thug on a record."

Amazon link with samples

Disposable Arts begins with Ace’s character being release from prison and returning to his block, a metaphor for the five-year hiatus he took before returning to the rap game prior to this release. From there we follow Ace from BK to a college campus and ride with him as he leaves his hood in search of an education beyond the streets.

More than a concept album, Disposable Arts showcases Ace exceptional flow and highlights his own inner demons about the rap game. Ace’s versatility as an MC is evidenced throughout, and his knack for soulful producers (Ayatolla, Domingo, Paul Nice etc) and sharp-witted guests (Jean Grae, Greg Nice, Rah Digga, Wordsworth) make Disposable Arts a memorable edition to Hip Hop’s encyclopedia.

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