Every day on instagram, I post a record photo, an audio snippet and a mini statement about the record on display. And since all I really know about is music, I figured I’d share here weekly. I’m not here to tell anyone that my taste is better or that I somehow have more knowledge, I just really enjoy music of all kinds and love to share in hopes of generating discussion. Sure, I have my thoughts on albums, songs, labels and artists, but would love to simply talk more about it with any and all interested. If you continue reading, thank you for your time. If you’ve already moved on, thank you for stopping by.
I’m a little tardy this week. I’m not going to bore you with the details, but I had a great weekend. Then I had to go back to work. All I can really say is that the burnout is very real and something feels like it has to give. It’ll be an extra week till the next one of these because frankly, I need to rest.
To the vinyl!
August 5, 2018
Open Mike Eagle — Unapologetic Art Rap
Vinyl Me, Please has a wonderful knack for putting me on to things that I’m familiar with to a tertiary degree, but have never pulled the trigger on. This debut from Open Mike Eagle from 2010 feels like the remnants of the native tongues filtered through a post bling era colander and saturated with a smart, sardonic wit. Open Mike Eagle has a flow that I expected, but was still surprised by. Having listened to him discuss other rappers (namely a favorite of mine, MF Doom) — not only intelligently but with the kind of criticism that feels like peer discussion rather than ‘here are the flaws’— I know the man cares about the art. What surprised me was his deft ability to poke into what most popular hip-hop does, make it to the radio and eventually disappear. Luckily, he’s released multiple albums since this fantastic debut for me to be excited to dig into.
August 6, 2018
MF Doom — Metal Fingers Presents Special Herbs, Volume 5 & 6
MF Doom’s versatility has been documented by many smarter than I. From his iconic mask, stretching all the way back to KMD, his appearance on 3rd Base’s “Gas Face,” he’s fell from grace and fought his way back to put his indelible mark on the art form. His Special Herbs series is one of the many examples of his tool set being deeper than others. The beats across all volumes of the series are interesting and listenable to the point where they’re just as mesmerizing as the man’s flow.
August 7, 2018
Public Enemy — It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
I’m not ashamed to admit that I think about the internal argument over what’s the best and what’s a favorite. Sometimes they even match up making everything super easy. Having been listening to hip-hop for over 30 years now, I actually find it to be one of the more difficult things to nail down. It’s a fluid art from that changes on a dime so much so that it keeps me thinking I know absolutely nothing about it. However, there are those artists who make albums that become paragons. Public Enemy’s second album (incidentally, their third may be as well) is one of those Mount Rushmore albums that deserves to be etched in stone and preserved for even when our species has moved on. While Raising Hell by Run-DMC might be called the first crossover smash out of hip-hop, It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back crossed over with its sense of rebellion steeped in the politics of America in the late 80s. It showed this suburban white kid that there are real struggles out there that we all won’t have a frame of reference to and that maybe there are folks getting ritually screwed by a system stacked against them. The shocking thing about this album isn’t that it’s still relevant today, it’s how little has changed.
Outkast — Aquemini
I remember the first time I saw a video from Outkast. I think it was actually on BET rather than MTV because they were playing hip-hop. “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik” was the song and I was 100% confused and amazed by it. It felt like G-funk of the years prior, but immediately separated itself via the rhythm of speak that Big Boi and Andre 3000 displayed. By ATLiens, both Outkast, Goodie Mob and other Dirty South contemporaries had made a splash. With Aquemini, Outkast set a course for where ever they wanted to go and I wanted to go with them.
August 9, 2018
De La Soul — Buhloone Mind State
I remember when I got into De La Soul, I had a hard time finding their second album, De La Soul Is Dead on shelves. I’d loved their debut so much I’d bought it for others that had asked me about good hip-hop. In the late 90s however, people were befuddled that it wasn’t Snoop, Dre or 2Pac, but I digress. When I saw this album on shelves instead of their 2nd, I figured that no one else wanted to give it a shot, so I would. In a lot of ways, I think it might be my favorite by them. “I Am I Be,” “Patti Dooke,” “Area,” “In the Woods” and of course, “Ego Trippin’ (Part 2)” and “Breakadawn” spent a lot of time on repeat in my headphones. I was super happy when Vinyl Me, Please got to reissue this on vinyl. My one gripe is that “Long Island Wildin’,” a skit showcasing 2 Japanese rappers is sadly omitted this pressing.
August 10, 2018
A Tribe Called Quest — Midnight Marauders
Probably the group that cemented my fandom of hip-hop for life. There’s no post-golden age collective in the art as important as Q-Tip, Phife, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White. Sure, their 3rd album might not be their best, but it’s easily their most fun, repeatable and downright groovy effort. Had I not heard “Award Tour” when I did, a different music fan I might be. I’d challenge any music lover in general to not find something worthwhile here.
August 11, 2018
Beastie Boys — Rock Hard
The first release by Beastie Boys as hip-hoppers is an interesting thing. It samples “Back in Black” by AC/DC and features very much the same everything for which they would explode onto the mainstream with Licensed to Ill. AC/DC would also sue them for the sample and the 12-inch would be pulled from sale. Three years later, Boogie Down Productions would sample “Back in Black” as well without recourse to my knowledge. While I chose “Beastie Groove” as my sample here, I’ll admit that the only reason I didn’t choose the title track is because I think I’ve used it 2 or 3 prior times on my feed. Overall, I really like this single and the point in time it represents. I think I prefer it to Licensed to Ill for the most part, but this trio would go on to much bigger and better things. Rest in peace, MCA.
So, that was a week of hip-hop selections. I hope there’s some enjoyment for others than just me.
Banana and out!