Thursday, June 11, 2015

Sophomor(ic) Effort(s)

Grantland recently ran an article listing various editors' favorite second albums from hiphop acts. I don't have a problem with any of the selections, mainly because Steve Hyden had the good sense to include The Low End Theory--any such list without this album would be suspect. I do, however, think they missed a number of obvious choices, and so does Mark. So here are our thoughts on this completely unimportant matter.


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

A seminal album in hiphop. I've never heard anyone say it's overrated. If you like music and have broad musical tastes, you probably already own this CD.

Jungle Brothers, Done by the Forces of Nature

One of my all-time personal favorites. I've never heard anyone say it's overrated, mainly because most people have never listened to it. You should. It's fantastic. The Jungle Brothers were sort of a proto-De La Soul/Tribe group, founding members of the Native Tongues posse.

Boogie Down Productions, By All Means Necessary

BDP invented gangsta rap with their first album Criminal Minded. They then pivoted to the then-burgeoning "conscious rap" genre with By All Means Necessary. KRS-ONE's verses are almost 20 years old yet they're still culturally relevant. This is also Scott LaRock's last album; he was killed before it was completed.

Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele

GFK's second solo album, although he appeared on multiple albums with the entire Wu-Tang Clan and as a guest on other WTC members' solo albums. I can't say enough good things about Supreme Clientele, and I've said plenty about it here already.


Outkast, ATLiens

You could make the case that Outkast are the greatest group in hip hop history. In fact, I would make that case if this were a different post. After the success of their debut, "Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik", Outkast reemerged three years later a much different duo from when we saw them last. Somewhat older, much wiser and no long content to simply opine on the drugs, guns, women and violence they encountered in their Southwest Atlanta neighborhood. The sound of Oukast would continually evolve in the coming years but ATLiens was the our first clue as to where they were headed. The video from the first single, "Elevators" left no choice but to take notice of the beginning of this evolution.

Redman, Dare iz a Darkside

New Jersey's Reggie Noble followed up his gold debut album, "Whut? Thee Album" with this effort. Though once again largely produced by mentor Erick Sermon, this album was more driven by Redman's unique personality and gave listeners a deeper look into his strange, smoked out mind. Certain songs like "Cosmic Slop" and "Can't Wait" are highlights, but the whole album holds up well to this day and reminds listeners of what a lyrical force Redman was before he began making movies and hanging out with Method Man.


Beastie Boys, Paul's Boutique

I got back to college headed into sophomore year (Coincidentally.) I moved into the fraternity house suite. I went upstairs to find Dave and Rob's room, already messy. One of the very first things out of Dave's mouth in that conversation was, "Hey, the Beastie Boys have a new album. I have the CD." I had loved LTI in high school, but like everybody else, I wondered what came next.

We put it on and listened to it, and again and again. The three bad brothers you know so well (this time Dave, Rob, and myself) got a bunch of Mickey's Big Mouths, cut ourselves opening them, and listened to Paul's Boutique on repeat. We read and learned the lyrics. We picked favorite tracks (mine: "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun"). We heard Dave get philosophical about the omnipresence of dairy foods and wax on the record. These songs weren't quite like anything we had heard, and I had taken in a lot of rap from ages 13-18. Unlike many, many other albums, it never got old. Ever.

Dave's high school hoodlum buddies came down to Williamsburg, and we drank cheap swill and bugged out to Paul's Boutique. We introduced other fratres to it; some passed on it, others like Fitz caught the bug. It dominated our music soundscape for quite a while.  A few years later someone in the house had a copy of Spin magazine (crap). It had a list of top 10 Underrated Albums. Paul's Boutique was on it, as was Sandinista! -- I thought to myself, huh, those two were most of my listening sophomore year.  We never realized Paul's Boutique was underrated and a commercial disappointment because we lived in a total and utter vacuum in college.  To us, it was the greatest, and everybody knew it.  25 years later, everyone does.


TR said...

Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos is so goddam good. I've caught it a couple times on Backspin on SiriusXM recently and it's been played loudly each time. I promoted that station to be one of my top 6 pre-sets I first see when I switch to satellite radio. Sorry Bruce, but E Street station got demoted.

When Paul's Boutique came out I was a sophomore in high school, and I didn't get it at first. When I was in college, I became able to really appreciate it. It was cranked last w/e at our condo in AC.

Mark said...

Hip hop talk always gets the masses at GTB fired up.

zman said...

I expect everyone to download Done By the Forces of Nature and post 569 words or more about it by next Friday.

Danimal said...

Dusty Rhodes - RIP brutha

Mark said...

Jimbo Fisher and his wife filed for divorce today. That's been in the works for a while now and has been talked about on Gator and Nole message boards (ah, offseason). The rumor is that Jimbo's wife was banging her personal trainer. Her trainer is former Gator (and Redskin) WR Taylor Jacobs.

This rumor has now made it past CFB message boards and to the Internet at large. Oh boy.

Marls said...

Somebody check on Reynolds, not sure how he will handle Dusty's passing.

zman said...

I heard he threw himself out of an airplane.

Danimal said...

Well Jimbo should save lots of cash for being the cheatee versus the cheater. So he's got that going for him. And I'm sure none of it was his fault being the super great guy that he seems to be.

zman said...

I googled Jimbo's wife and she's attractive for an older woman ... but she's still an older woman. I assume Taylor Jacobs did it as part of the UF/FSU rivalry?

Danimal said...

dusty's age? 69.

TR said...

Mrs. Jumbo is a handsome woman indeed. And she may be up there in years, but her giant breasts aren't.

Speaking of big breasts, Dusty Rhodes sure had them. I was a big fan of his in the old NWA days. He wasn't afraid to cut himself in big matches. Clicks for the passing of the American Dream.

Dave said...

great capsule reviews, i love a lot of those albums, but nothing will ever compare to how many times we listened to "paul's boutique." too bad we couldn't parlay how cool we were into any other aspect of our lives. it was like we were watching "the big lebowski" and nobody else watched it for a decade . . . i can remember when the album had a resurgence with high school hipsters in the late '90's.

Mark said...

Mozgov is going to have 30+ in an NBA Finals game...

Dave said...

hello gheorghies!

TR said...

This made my day:

Mark said...

There is a chance I may be all in on Kristaps Porzingis. The Zinger!

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