Tuesday, December 20, 2011

That's Some Funky Body Paint

A Tribe Called Quest
Midnight Marauders
1993, Jive
produced by Large Professor
Ali Shaheed Muhammad - DJ
Phife Dawg - MC
Q-Tip - MC

  • Award Tour/ The Chase part 2
  • Oh My God/ Lyrics to Go
  • Electric Relaxation/ Midnight

This was a purchase after my friend in high school wouldn't stop talking about Q-tip.  This is the kind of hip hop I like.  Intelligent, laid back, clever, with a swagger and bounce that is missing from pop rap dance and party tracks.  Q-tip is also featured on a Beastie Boys track on Ill Communication, which is awesome.  The hip hop style of the '90s is definitely a centerpiece to this album, complete with intros and outros reminiscent of television bumpers.  This is the follow up to their Low End Theory album.  The best era for hip hop in my opinion was the early to mid '90s, and this album is a great example.  The cover art not only displays the same stylizaed figure that was on Low End Theory, but is also an homage to who the Tribe considered Hip Hop legends and revolutionaries.  The full illustration is below, and this page from Wikipedia lists all of the artists and producers featured.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Too Drunk to be a Dancing Nancy

Dave Matthews Band
Under the Table and Dreaming
1994, RCA
produced by Steve Lilywhite

Dave Matthews - guitars, vocals
Stephan Lessard - bass
Carter Beauford - drums
LeRoi Moore - saxophones, flute
Boyd Tinsley - violin

  • What Would You Say/ Recently
  • Satellite/ Christmas Song
  • Ants Marching
  • Typical Situation/ What Would You Say
  • Jimi Thing/ All Along the Watchtower/ Christmas Song
Dave Matthews definitely earned a bad reputation mostly because of his fan base... and his drinking. If it were drinking alone, Eddie Vedder would also be seen as an asshole. The people that attempt to discredit this band as being elitist and too popular, and over-played, or whatever, are probably the same people that contributed to the '90s backlash to Hootie and the Blowfish. This just proves that people are stupid when it comes to music. As if Justin Bieber wasn't enough proof.

Sometimes bands are unique and talented enough to warrant fame, even if it is given to them by hordes of drunk college kids whose parents paid for school. This is Dave's band's first album. They had an EP called Recently, but this was their actual full-length debut. They put jazz and big band back into rock in a way that few had done since the Grateful Dead, and it was refreshing. The tracks are sing-a-long friendly, and musically well put together. This is a great debut, and you can't take that away from them. No matter how much you hate them now.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

No One is Going to Kill Me Softly

The Fugees
The Score
1996, Ruffhouse
produced by Jerry Duplessis
Wyclef Jean
Lauryn Hill
Pras Michel
John Forte

  • Fu Gee La
  • Killing Me Softly
  • Ready or Not
  • No Woman No Cry
I don't own much rap stuff, most of the hip hop I own came out between 1986 and 1999. Apparently, to pop culture, this is the music of the ancients. This particular ancient album could be the best hip hop album of all time.  

Up until I heard this, I was not a fan of anything rap. Basically, my only exposure up until this album had been early Snoop, the I Like Big Butts song and popcorn rappers like Vanilla Ice and Kris Kross. None of which was appealing, and even the Run DMC/Aerosmith collaboration was pretty silly.  

I gave this album a chance though and it opened a huge door into a genre of music that I had previously dismissed. This is not just beats and rhymes and sexual lyrics and bravado. Wyclef Jean shows his brilliance, and Lauryn Hill has an amazing voice, and proves how clever and talented she is, despite being a woman in a male dominated genre (at the time). There is melody, intelligent banter, well constructed music, and definite homages to other older and well respected genres including reggae, the blues, and rock. I ate this up.