“Listen Close, Take Notes…”
"...This is how you make a classic."
Why do humans dream and why do we dream about what we dream about? The contents of your life: what's been on your mind, what's stressing you, mesh with the totally random or the subconscious to produce visions in our heads, most of which we don't remember. TSS has been on my mind lately, I've enjoyed the challenge of finding issues and areas of hip-hop to write about for my peers and the peeps here, and can't wait to see where it goes. I got confirmation that it's become a bigger part of my life because I had my first TSS related dream. Granted the dream involved P facing off against Kobayashi in a hot dog eating contest, but I still think that counts. (Kobayashi won by the wayâ€¦ Don't worry P you put up a good fight.)
With that bit of weirdness out of my system, I'm going to look back at some album tracks of classic pre 1990 releases. I figure most people have probably heard "Aint No Half-Steppin,â€ or "Straight Outta Compton,â€ but maybe haven't taken the time to cop whole albums. In doing so, you can miss out on some of the best hidden gems in music history. I'm picking one song from 8 classic releases for your consumption.
Paul's Boutique: "What Goes Aroundâ€ - The Beasties' second album got them no love originally, but it now recognized as a classic. I'm sure the same will happen to T.I. vs. T.I.P. "Shadrachâ€ is my favorite track, but it's too much a rip off of Sly's "Loose Booty.â€ This track is has a sweet guitar riff and piano loop with the Beasties at their weirdo call and response peak.
Long Live the Kane: "Set It Offâ€ - Big Daddy Kane drops a faster flow than on some of his more famous tracks off this album such as "I'll Take you There,â€ or "Half-Steppin.â€ The beat is simple, but that just lets Kane's rapping dominate, as he drops lines likeâ€¦.
Go with the flow, my rhymes grow like an afro
I entertain again and Kane'll never have no
Problem, I can sneeze, sniffle and cough
E-e-e-even if I stutter Imma still come off
The result is an assault from Kane that leaves no doubt why some still rep him as the greatest MC in the game.
By All Means Necessary: "#1â€ - Maybe my favorite BDP song, because its one of the best examples of an MC taking the criticism of hip-hop from outsiders, engaging in a debate, and explaining the presence of violence in lyrics as part of describing reality. KRS also deals with other questions of hip-hop (what is old school) that are still coming up twenty years later when this song should have put them to sleep.
No One Can Do It Better: "Portrait Of A Masterpieceâ€ - First of all, this is ridiculous for a Dr. Dre beat, imagine if he had taken his sound this way instead of in the direction of G-Funk. D.O.C.'s rappingâ€¦words can't describe. In addition to his normal multi-syllable tongue twisters, the way his voice becomes an additional instrument, like a bass drum that matches perfectly to Dre's synths.
Straight Out the Jungle: "Because I got it Like Thatâ€ - Great party jam that samples Sly once again, as well as some good smack talking from the Jungle Brothers. Play this at your next BBQ. Straight Outta Compton: "Parental Discretion Iz Advisedâ€ - Only track off this album with a guest, as The D.O.C. takes a break from ghostwriting duties to put in a verse himself. The addition of D.O.C. complements the rest of the N.W.A. crew, just like on "Grand Finale.â€ I don't understand why they just didn't bring him into the group, maybe because he was an out-of-towner? Or because he makes Dre and Easy sound like amateurs? Nah, couldn't be.
The Great Adventures of Slick Rick: "Indian Girl"...and "Lick The Balls" - Alright so I was only supposed to include one track per album. But MC Ricky D just makes it so damn hard to chooseâ€¦so I give you one example of how Rick is the funniest rapper alive, and one of the best shitalkers ever.
Critical Beatdown: "Give the Drummer Some,â€ The title references the James Brown quote from "Funky Drummer,â€ and the production splices about four James Brown songs into a fat groove. Kool Keith's final verse is a fine example of why he was a household name before he became incredibly weird and stopped making sense. He was a great, innovative rapper that had incredible variety in his diction and rhythms.
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