BJ Smith’s ‘Dedication to the greats’ EP is now out on NuNorthern Soul records, two great covers of the hip-hop classics with the Pharcyde’s Jay Dilla produced ‘Runnin’ getting the treatment alongside Mos Def’s ‘Umi Says’. Gilles Petersen has already come out and stated it’s the sound of sunsets across the world for years to come… which is pretty good praise!
The Mos Def cover has two videos, an illustrated romp here and the below done by Liverpool crew BeatBox, but my personal fav is the ‘Runnin’ track. Both are great however and now available to purchase from Beatport or iTunes.
The next guest selector is Bido Lito scribe and Liverpool DJ the Mighty Mojo, a jock who was an institution in Bumper for a few years and now lays down beats in heebies on a Saturday and Santa Chupitos on a Sunday. I’ve chewed the fat with Mo about hip-hop at a ridiculously high amount of after-parties over the years so he was a natural choice to contribute… even if he took a bit more coaxing than I expected after he believed his choices would be too similar to the earlier ones made by Darren Williams.
Which was odd, because I didn’t consider Darren’s selections to subscribe that readily to the classic hip-hop canon (No PE, Dre, De la for example) and what Mo mustered equally only paid lip service to a few of them. Anyway; I’ll let the man himself breathe his voice, and be sure to check out his weekly discourse on his blog The View from the Booth.
To distill all of hip hop down to 10 albums is very tricky for me, and not just because I’m an indecisive bastard. A lot of my favourite hip hop artists never quite nailed it over a full album, hence the likes of Nas, Redman, NWA, Roots Manuva and A Tribe called quest aren’t represented. There are some obvious choices in here, but that’s because the main criteria is which albums have given me the most joy down the years. I accept that I could wake up tomorrow with a very different list, but right now, these are the pinnacle.
10. Labcabincalifornia – The Pharcyde
I discovered this off the back of the best video of all time (c) for Drop, and realised there was so much more to be had. Most people I know prefer the cartoon energy of Bizarre Ride, but to produce the difficult post-fame 2nd album they had to freshen up their style a bit. Songs like Something that means Something and the peerless Runnin’ are testament to how well they did it.
9. The Grey Album – Danger Mouse
Controversial! I know there are people who will never acknowledge the creativity necessary to produce an album like this, but as a man who has attempted to do something similar, I can tell you it takes a truly deft hand. The way he twists the Beatles’ work into a hip hop template while retaining a lot of the original melodies is remarkable. I like that I can still tell which Beatles song was used, and there isn’t one single track on which I prefer the original production. The Black Album is probably Jay’s most consistent set, but he could be singing nursery rhymes and I’d still love this album.
8. Deltron 3030 – Deltron 3030
This was a straight toss up with Dr.Octagon, but due to consistency across the whole album Deltron takes it. Dan the Automater, Del tha Funkee Homosapien & Damon Albarn may have received more praise (and pounds) for their Gorillaz work, but this is their best collaboration. The murky atmospherics are the perfect background for Del’s flow as he weaves his way through complicated themes of space and oppression. For some they may take the space opera bit too far, and they probably didn’t need 9 skits, but when they set about making tunes, they don’t fuck around.
7. Blow your Headphones – The Herbaliser
Some may argue against The Herbaliser’s hip hop credentials, but even a cursory listen would knock those complaints into a cocked hat. The best example of female MCs outrhyming their male counterparts, even the idea fragments such as More Styles are fantastic. Had more plays than every album on this list bar the top three.
6. Quality Control – Jurassic 5
A lot of people prefer the J5 LP, but to me that’s more of an EP, as there’s really only 6 songs on there. Plus Concrete & Clay is much better than Concrete Schoolyard. Quality Control is when they were at the top of their game, taking 4 MCs and making them sound like 1. Like Mos Def, the Jazz influence is integral to what makes them great – Jurass Finish 1st, Monkey Bars and Swing Set is the kind of hip hop your parents can tolerate, but isn’t Will Smith.
5. When Disaster Strikes – Busta Rhymes
I almost didn’t put this in once I’d seen Darren’s selection, but it would do a great disservice to a hitherto criminally underrated album. Despite greater chart success later on, this was when Busta was at his peak. The strength of Album tracks like Survival Hungry, There’s not a Problem my Squad can’t Fix and Rhymes Galore makes a mockery of the quality control of most modern LPs.
4. Doggystyle – Snoop Doggy Dogg
Over the course of my DJ career I have played every single track on this album, at least once. There is no other record I can say that for, of any genre. Probably in the collection of every single hip hop fan. Even those who detest what Snoop has become can’t deny the laid back genius at play here.
3. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 chambers) – Wu-Tang Clan
There is nothing new to say about this album, except to tell you that it was the catalyst for my introduction to a whole new world of raw, abrasive, discordant hip hop. And for that I am eternally grateful. Oh yeah, and GZA’s verse on Protect ya neck is probably my favourite in hip hop history.
2. Black on Both Sides – Mos Def
One of the best records of all time regardless of genre. Mos Def comes on like a cross between Marvin Gaye & Chuck D, intelligently dissecting the troubles of today’s society in a way that makes you want to move. I even love the OTT thrash-out at the end of Rock’n’Roll, although I’d be interested to see if his stance on the Rolling Stones has changed since he worked with the Black Keys…..
1. Hello Nasty – Beastie Boys
I could have picked ill Communication and/or Check your head for this list, but for sheer blow-your-balls-off impact, on it’s release and since, it has to be Hello Nasty. The depth and variety is pretty stunning, and I have played this album in full at many parties without ever needing to reach for the skip button. Super Disco Breaking, Just a Test, The Negotiation Limerick File, Remote Control, 3 Mcs & 1 DJ – so many straight up bangers, which contrast brilliantly with the poignancy of I Don’t Know, or the Beasties Britpop of Song for the Man. This isn’t a sentimental vote in honour of MCA – no other hip hop album has given me as much joy as this one.
Honourable mentions also go out to Outkast’s ‘Stankonia’, A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘The Low end Theory’, Kool Keith dropping weird science with ‘Dr.Octagon’, West coast polar opposites in Cypress HIll’s ‘Black Sunday’ and Ugly Duckling’s ‘Taste the Secret’ and finally, UK hip-hop selections from Braintax & Skinnyman with ‘Panorama’ and ‘Council estate of Mind’ respectively.
To counter the indulgence currently being wacked out by my drawn out saga of releasing my top 25, I asked a few others to contribute their top ten. Darren flips the script not only in his choices, but also in our usual blogging techniques by offering a great selection brilliantly streamlined in comment.
10. 6 Feet Deep – Gravediggaz.
Perhaps the most surreal concept album ever conceived in Hip-Hop, but also one also producing some of it’s most highly creative beats.
9. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West.
Is he a member of The Illuminati? Why is the Album Art bizarre? Elton John’s on the record..!! Despite all these interesting questions, it will be remembered as one of the greatest artistic works in Hip-Hop history.
8. Illmatic – Nas.
Nas’ first ever long player has, due to the total brilliance, become something of a curse for his career as with each proceeding album leaves aficionados disappointed. Sort of how Wayne Rooney has never topped his début for Manchester United.
7. Midnight Marauders – A Tribe Called Quest.
Deliberately recorded from Midnight till 6am, the result was a unique sounding album that captures the collective at their zenith. Wide awake when the majority of their counterparts where sleeping.
6. When Disaster Strikes… – Busta Rhymes.
This album can only be described as perfect Saturday Night Warm-Up Music, ready for before the adventures begin. It’s just fun; something that’s sadly in very short supply within the genre & the lifestyle.
5. Doggystyle – Snoop Doggy Dogg.
Long before the Adidas contract & numerous other endorsements that he now promotes turned him into a brand, Snoop Doggy Dogg was a youngster with the aim of being the No. 1 on the Mic. When this came out he most definitely was.
4. Cypress Hill – Cypress Hill.
This entire album was in-fact intended to be the demo version, yet it was decided that it’s rough gritty sound perfectly suited the lyrics. At times, the imperfections are better.
3. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) – Wu-Tang Clan.
It simply should work having that many members then including tooo many samples from badly dubbed 1970’s English Kung-Fu Films.
An Aggressive but also silly combination, yet one executed perfectly.
2. Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde – The Pharcyde.
A group of four very young 20yr old stoners from Southern California that have concerns about women, marriage & weed make a masterpiece without realizing. It doesn’t matter it you’re from Los Angeles or Leeds, you’ll instantly connect with this album as it’s about the Human Experience.
1. The Score – The Fugees.
Inspired by the later work on Bob Marley, it impressed both the ghettos & the suburbs across the globe.
According to urban-myth, for some reason the album directed connected with the Chinese Population making it currently the most bootlegged album in history.
Agree or Disagree with my selections? Send me a Tweet at @DazAltTheory using hashtag #GJHH25
Arcade Fire, Spike Jonze & Martial Law in America?
The majority of you might be surprised that something as powerful as this, created by award-winners in Popular Music & Cinema is hardly known about – yet this is sadly the case. What needs to get your attention is why the majority of you are interacting with this for the first time?
Shouldn’t the subject matter of the above Short Film got headlines especially from the Music Press along with that once cool but these days totally self-righteous British Newspaper The Guardian.
Before, some of you think that it might have been caused by a lack of promotion from Arcade Fire’s representatives, I’ll take the alternative view that’s it was way toooo close to actual reality..!
It must be remembered that the United States of America in terms of land-mass is more like that of a continent, therefore it will always contain varying different views on socio-economics based on geographic location. Residents living in San Diego (California) will be totally different from those living in Cleveland (Ohio).
Whilst in the UK, we have differences this is generally on a North vs. South basis, strangely summed up in the current Television Classic – Game of Thrones, yet due to a considerably smaller land mass we tend as a people to be on a more harmoniums wave-length.
Before, American readers take umbrage with my views; the United Kingdom is far from it’s title as clearly seen by the social tension of wide spread riots of 2011 especially in the Capital City – London.
Photo: Enjoying the spoils in Peckham, South London.
Who exactly are Arcade Fire?
The common belief due to the Music Press is that the entire band are from Montreal, Canada hence their unique acclaimed style of music. Yet, if you regularly read my articles one theme that keeps returning is the role that the main-stream media play is actual deception at times arranged with each other.
Going on a tangent as these articles tend to do, Sky News along with it’s sister station Sky Sports News reported the below yet the BBC have ignored this therefore giving the false impression that the Liverpool vs. Manchester United Premier League game of Sunday 23rd September 2012 had absolutely NO trouble.
Sometimes I wonder why continue keep paying my BBC License Fee…
If you’ve guessed Arcade Fire aren’t totally French Canadian & you’d be correct. The band is the Wu-Tang of Indie Music with 7 Members with 3 driving the artistic direction of the collective these being:
The Butler Brothers & Régine Chassagne.
Chassagne is married to lead singer of the band Win Butler & is most interesting as she has a direct link to being strongly against Fascist Dictatorships due to her immediate families experiences of living in the Haiti controlled by C.I.A Operative – François “Papa Doc” Duvalier.
This then leads to concerns around the manner America is currently heading as both Butler Brothers (Win & William) are America Citizens born.
It’s not a far-out theory that majority or entire Western Entertainment Industry is controlled at Boardroom levels by those whom aren’t fans of equal opportunity for all humanity. Therefore, a potential reason why the following might have occurred:
Another interesting fact, was the Band deciding on the respected Berlin Film Festival to be the place to premier the short film where 78yrs earlier, a short Fascist Dictator became supreme leader of Germany & we know the rest.
Have a watch of the Press Conference in which nobody directly including band members addresses the subject of the Film depicting America being under Martial Law:
The final word on this article should go to Leader of Arcade Fire – Win Butler from an Interview with Billboard (major league American Entertainment Magazine). Ask yourself does he know something those in ‘The Club’ have possibly planned & / or is giving us the ordinary 99% of humanity a clever warning.
“…that 30 years from now, when a computer virus crashed all the computers, and people have to look at DVDs to see what life was like in the early 2000s, there is some record of what we were thinking visually.”