Hip Hop Fans: Help me spend my tax return

It’ll take more than 5 albums to be a ‘true, up-to-date hip hop fan’, I’m afraid.
Albums that are pretty well essential to hip hop culture, and changed hip hop:
Rakim & Eric B - Paid In Full (Rakim basically created the style of rap all MCs use today)
Wu-Tang Clan - 36 Chambers (often named as the best hip hop album ever)
Nas - Illmatic (it’s New York, in 10 songs - absolute classic)
Dr Dre - The Chronic (these beats were made more than 10 years ago, and they still sound modern - warrants the ‘ahead of its time’ tag more than any other album)
Tupac - Me Against the World (political, passionate, compelling - at his best, Pac was incredible)
Notorious B.I.G - Ready to Die (the best album from the widely considered King of New York)
Run DMC - (I can’t remember the album names, but they single-handedly took hip hop out of the underground)
Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation Of Millions to Hold Us Back (intensly political and innovative)
A Tribe Called Quest - (can’t remember the album, but they are also considered pioneers of hip hop)
All of these albums are reasonably modern (ie. the oldest out of these was released in 1989, I think), and they’re the albums that brought hip hop to the forefront of music. I’ll name the artists that, once you’ve learnt about the basics of hip hop, you should definitely check out:

Az - Very underrated; an excellent lyricist. Check out ‘Aziatic’.
Jay Z - Listen to ‘Reasonable Doubt’ and ‘The Blueprint’. Smooth flow, and nice beats.
50 Cent - His old work was much better than his new album. Buy ‘Guess Who’s Back?’ or download ‘Power of a Dollar’.
Big Pun - Incredible flow and multi-syllabic rhyme scheme. Constantly switched between Spanish and English rapping.
Big L - Was killed before he had a chance to properly shine. Another excellent lyricist (get ‘Lifestyles of the Poor and Dangerous’).
Canibus - His albums aren’t good, on the whole, but he is a stunning battle lyricist, with a lot of genuine intelligence.
Dilated Peoples - Lovely beats, good lyrics.
Dead Prez - Highly political - buy ‘Let’s Get Free’.
De La Soul - Old Skool tracks.
Del - Get ‘Deltron 3030’. Basically, just a great rapper.
GZA - Member of the Wu Tang Clan. ‘Liquid Swords’ is hailed as a classic.
Outkast - Get ‘aquemimi’. Dirty South brilliance.
MOP - Grimey, with incredible beats. They represent New York.
Method Man - Another Wu Tang member, with a wicked flow and delivery.
Naughty By Nature - Old Skool hip hop.
Snoop Dogg - ‘Doggystyle’ is also hailed as a West Coast classic.
Slick Rick - Get ‘The Adventures of Slick Rick’. Often touted as the best hip hop storyteller ever.
Artists that are less well known, but that you should check out anyway, once you’ve waded through that lot:

Talib Kweli - Very deep rapper
Mos Def
Boom Bap Project - Very underground; very good.
Gangstarr - Stunning beats from DJ Premier, and a good rapper in Guru.
Jedi Mind Tricks - Fast, dark beats and incredible flows. I’m a big fan of JMT.
Kool G Rap - Another pioneer of hip hop. Was pretty much the first rapper to use multi-syllabic rhyme schemes.
Saigon - Currently in jail, but has amazing beats, an amazing flow and clever lines. (‘They say love is pain/ So would it be unconditional love if I put a hot slug in your brain?’)
Inspectah Deck - Another Wu Tang member. One of my favourite rappers for flow and delivery.
D Block - Consisting of Sheek and Jae Hood. Some quality tracks.
CL Smooth & Pete Rock - Old skool. Pete Rock is one of my favourite producers - his beats are stunning, and CL Smooth has awesome mic precense.
Aesop Rock - Very strange, but if you can understand him, his words are so poetic, metaphorical and complicated that he’s above the level of a rapper.
Demigodz - Consisting of Apathy, Celph Titled (both of whom you should hear seperately) and others. Great punchlines and beats.
Benefit - Great punches and storytelling
Binary Star - For rapping on a deeper level
DMX - Passionate rapping - he has a great mic precense.
Mobb Deep - Tight duo. Listen to ‘Shook Ones’, which was in 8 Mile, the movie, at the beginning.
Mad Skillz - Underrated battle rapper
Pharaohe Monch - Very original flow.
Redman - New York rapper that everyone seems to love
Rass Kass - Underrated battle rapper, who occasionally delves deeply into politics and society
X-Ecutioners - Taking it back to the days of scratching
That should keep you occupied for a little while :slight_smile:

Great list, Philosopher.

I think the Tribe Called Quest Album you are looking for is “The Low End Theory”. Their next one “Midnight Marauders” was also very good. They went downhill from there.

There’s a documentary airing on one of the pay movie channels (Shotime, maybe?) about DJs (the kind that scratch). The X-Ecutioners are in the doc. I only managed to watch part of it but it was really good, from what I saw.

I’ll hunt down the title and post it here unless someone beats me to it.

Ditto to that. Last night some friends and I listened to “Float” with a phillie. His flow can be ridiculously quick and the lyrics are tight.

Here’s a few more good albums to check out…

Aceyalone- A Book of Human Language
Afu Ra- Lifeforce Radio
Dr. Octagon- Dr. Octagonecologyst
Grouch & Eligh- E Music
Hieroglyphics- Third Eye Vision
J-Live- All of the Above
Kool Keith- Black Elvis
Kut Masta Kurt- Master of Illusion
Madlib- Blunted in the Bomb Shelter Mix
Mos Def- Black on Both Sides
People Under The Stairs- Question In The Form Of An Answer
Phi-Life Cypher- Millennium Metaphors
Prince Paul- A Prince Among Thieves
RJD2- Dead Ringer
Roots Manuva- Brand New Second Hand
Sage Francis- Personal Journals
Scarub- Heavenbound
Spearhead- Chocolate Supa Highway
Unsung Heros- Unleashed
Zion I- Mind over Matter

But remember, just because you have all the albums listed in this thread doesn’t make you a true hip-hop head… it couldn’t hurt though. And the ladies love a man with good taste in music, and a lot of mirrors.

Lissener’s current hiphop faves:

Outkast–get em all
The Streets–loving it
Sole–Amazing new “emo” rapper (not really new, just newly widely distributed)
Talib Keli
Michael Franti/Spearhead–he could be my favorite hiphoppy artist
Lauren Hill–The Miseducation of Lauren Hill is one of the most important pop-culture artifacts of the last half-century.
Gangstarr–amazing stuff
Jurassic 5–future classics

lissener, last summer I saw three of your current faves at one show. Smoking Grooves in Philly had J5, Lauryn Hill, and Outkast, plus the Roots. Unfrickenstopable, it ruled all hell.

I asked for 5 albums because I can only afford to buy 5 new CDs right now. I appreciate all the advice and I will see how many I can get on eBay.

Ruby, there are places which board rules prohibit me from naming where you can listen to tracks off these albums and see what catches your fancy. Just a thought.

Also, some of the independent, underground acts mentioned encourage downloading of their tunes online. Also worth checking into.

cainxinth: I have no idea whatever you could possibly be talking about :wink: but I only have a 56KBS modem, soooo… but I’d check into it if I did know what you were talking about.

Yeah, I’m not surprised your unfamiliar with the reference, its a big secret. :stuck_out_tongue:

I know you’re probably overwhelmed as it is, but please consider one last recomendation before you plunk down hard earned greenbacks. Cee Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections. It’s funk, soul, hop hop, r and b, and dance all in one. Whatever your mood is there is probably a track to match it.

My favorite track is, “Getting Grown” I’m DJing a gig in two weeks, I’ll be dropping that on the crowd whether they like it or not. :slight_smile:

Nas - Illmatic : the new school begins here. (all apologies to the God, Ra)
Wu Tang Clan - Enter the 36 Chambers : grimy, raw, i love it
Dr. Dre - 2001 : I prefer this to the Chronic, i think you will to considering ur frame of reference.
Blackstar : basically it is a Mos Def/Talib Qweli side project. lyrically mind blowing. Anyone who likes hip hop NEEDS to own this.
Method Man/Redman - Blackout : awesome beats and lyrics. consistently thorough. meth and red are two of the best in the game, buy this and see why. I u like eminem you will almost definitely like Redman.

you will buy these 5 albums if you know whats good for you : )
but seriously, buy these you won’t regret it

Redman and Methodman also, and maybe Erick Sermon.

I spent the weekend listening to Tupac (Me Against the World and Greatest Hits). I really like his voice, very deep and rough. However, some of the sappy love tracks and shrill female backing vocals where not my cup of tea.

How about Biggie? It seems like he and 'Pac are the two most revered hip hop artists. I like Tupac well enough, so how is he in relation to Biggie?

I Biggie is amazing. His mannerisms, presence and voice are phenomenal but his albums are hindered by some weak production and filler. Definitely check out “Born Again” first. it is awesome all the way thru and the perfect primer. it came out after he died and is basically vocals he had put down with guest rappers on every track. Eminem even puts down one of his best verses on Dead Wrong. now that i think about it add this album to my list above. Purists will argue that you need to get ready to die or Life after Death first, but get this seriously it is his most accessable album and the most enjoyable for a fairweather rap fan.

I never understood the appeal of Biggie at all. Always sounded to me like he was trying to rap with a mouthful of mashed potatos.

Then again, I never cared for Tupac so keep that in mind when you’re spending my 2¢.