Ask me about old rap

Phat Friend reader Rough Cut recently bought up how I’m kind of an asshole when it comes to fondly remembering older hip hop ( Examples: CL smooth was not a good rapper, Digable planets debut album is boring and I don’t really like The Roots even though, for all intents and purposes, they’re very good at what they do). He is not wrong. He also had an idea where I write a post about old albums and artists and rating them accordingly. This seems like a far too overwhelming task as I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Instead, this post can work as a forum for you to ask me my opinion on any older rappers and albums. Let’s keep it between 1988-2000. That’s really where i feel I have concrete opinions. I promise to be completely honest.
So, using the comments section below, ask away…I’m an open book.

Also, If this goes well, I may extend the idea to other “question” type blogs. This could range anywhere from advice to personal info. Who knows…it could be fun.

164 thoughts on “Ask me about old rap

  1. Thanks for referencing my question. I suppose I’ll get the ball rolling. The two rap outfits I’d like to know your opinion about and that you seem to rarely mention is the Hiero crew and Wu-Tang. What do you really think of them on a production level and a lyrics level? Do you still want to listen to the albums at all? It’s all yours….

    • Wu-tang:
      I actually have mentioned both these crews quite a bit over the course of this blog. Lots of “songs of the day” between them.

      Who doesn’t love the Wu-tang clan? Obviously, their first album is classic. Their second album, I’ll admit, when it dropped i was very disappointed but it’s one of those rare albums that I went back to years later and gained a new respect for.I still don’t think a double album was a great Idea but it’s got a solid 12 plus dope songs on it which is pretty impressive. after that, with the exception of ghost solo albums, masta killas debut and , to a lesser extend Raekwons newer album, they’re been somewhat of a mess but very capable of making the occasional banger in the midst of dialed in bullshit.
      As rappers, I think most of them are dope and a few are over rated. Raekwon, for instance, is a pretty good rapper but I’ve never been into his shit. His first album is a classic but it really has everything to do with the other rappers on it and the production and nothing to do with him rapping on it. I’d say Ghost and Inspectah deck are my two favorite mc’s in the crew. GZA is awesome but he’s fallen off pretty hard and , even when he was in the zone, was a tiny bit boring for my taste. U-god had potential , as did cappadonna but they’re both pretty “meh” in the end. Method man is style of substance and I liked him a lot more when I was younger. I’m one of the few people who never liked “Tical” but it was more because the beats sounded like pots and pans being thrown down a staircase. The rza is the man. As a rapper, I like him in small doses. MAsta killa is very under rated. ODB was a lunatic and the best crazy person rapper ever. Pure entertainment. His second album is the illest “Drug” album ever. Not in a “it’s about drugs” kinda way, but in a “it was made on drugs” kind of way. Who am I forgetting?
      As producers, the RZA is one of the GOATS. Tru master never got enough love and the 4th disciple had some moments. The majority of the rest of them are hacks and should never have been allowed in the studio with the RZA.

      Ok, hiero…
      I LOVED hiero until “No man’s land” came out. But, I also think 3rd Eye Vision is a great comeback album.
      also, it’s one of those rare cases where they are all pretty good at making beats. I honestly can’t tell them apart. But that’s not a bad thing.
      as rappers:
      Casual: Great first album but I actually think he’s improved as an mc over the years. I wish he’d pick better beats cause he’s one of the few old school dudes I think could make a dope album right now.
      Del: Loved him the most back in the day (NH). His stuff didn’t age as well as some of the other stuff from that era. His first album is my favorite. “no need for alarm” is good, but very fairly over rated by europeans and old school revivalists who can’t grasp things they loved when they were 18 not aging well.. his albums after that had moments but I kinda stopped checking for him more due to how hard it was to get my hands on his new material (this was the late 90’s and early 2000’s). The internet was not always the thing it is now.
      Souls of mischief: Classic first album. everything after that was pretty crappy (up until their new album that’s surprisingly decent). Opio remains one of my favorite guys in the crew though.
      Pep love: dudes talent is through the roof. His flow is as smooth as it is effortless. it’s just too bad he never made an album when he was in his peak form. “after dark” remains one of my all time favorite Hiero songs ever.
      Extra prolific/snupe: He was ok. His album had some good cuts on it but I was never that excited to peep his new shit.

    • I love all that shit. I think southern rap was in a really good place during that era, before it got turned into the retardfest is now. Goodie mobs debut is one of the most under rated classics ever.

  2. I got one for ya

    Darc Mind – Symptomatic of a Greater Ill

    Was originally supposed to be released in 1997, but never came to be as his record label went under, and was finally released in 2006 (as completed in 1997). “Visions of a Blur” is one of my favorite hip hop songs ever. Kevroc just has that voice and the way words roll of his tongue does it for me.

  3. How about your thoughts on specific albums? What’s your take on:

    Reflection Eternal
    Deltron 3030
    Heavy Mental
    Manchild (shyheim)

    And while your obviously biased, I’d like to know what you think when listening or thinking about Float and Labor Days. (and also how frequently you still go back to them on your iPod.)

    • Reflection eternal: Dope beats, not dope rapping. I’m not a Kweli fan on any level.

      Deltron: amazing beats, and dope rejuvinated Del. I didn’t give this one as much run as I should have but it’s undeniably solid.

      HEavy mental: Killa priests album? I never even listened to it. He was always a second rate Wu guy to me and I had no interest in a full album by him.

      MAnchild: seriously? LOL. At his best, shyhiem was a cute gimmick. Good for a kid but , that doesn’t mean I ever wanted to bump his shit.

      As for the early aesop albums. I pretty much never go back to them. I’d say that common of most artists. When they do pop up here and there, my initial reaction is usually how shitty some of my drums are and how i kinda didn’t know what I was doing when we made it. at the same time there’s an organic aspect to it that is something I don’t think i’ll ever be able to capture again.

  4. What do you think about NWA (mainly straight out of compton) and not sure if you are familar with the Quannam/Solesides crew (Blackalicous, Latyrx, Lyrics Born and Dj Shadow)

    • I adressed NWA in this already.
      as for quannam/solesides, I loved all their early shit and lost interest as they went on. Latyrx first album is great. Shadow is dope (though, as I mentioned, I never really bumped much instrumental stuff). At some point, they all got to spiritual for my taste but , as a collective, they’re extremely talented and original.

  5. I agree with you 100% about Raekwon. I always thought he was overrated.

    What’s your opinion of Redman? I liked most of his shit up until Doc’s the Name. After that I think he fell the fuck off. I only ask because recently, I’ve seen some people talk about Redman like he’s the best rapper alive and I don’t get that. Speaking of Redman, have you seen the video where he’s driving around in a Smart Car? I think it came out last year. It was pretty funny.

    • Redman is my favorite rapper ever who never made an album I really loved. He came out in that era of sludgy Erick Sermon beats that I always fucking hated. But as a rapper, he’s awesome and has shown amazing longevity in his awesomeness.

    • Capitol punishment: Dope album but it wasn’t something I went crazy for when it came out. Pun was awesome though. This one actually was one I came back to years alter and appreciated much more.

      The lox: I’ve never given a shit about the Lox.

  6. What do you think of…

    Blackalicious: Melodica
    UNKLE: Psyense Fiction
    Beastie Boys: Ill Communication

    & what is your opinion of other artists who may
    be considered to have a similar sound…

    Prefuse 73

    • Melodica: Classic. Changed who I looked at rapping. When I first heard “lyrical fathom”, I seriously lost my shit.

      Unkle:never checked for it.

      Ill comunications: I was never a huge Beastie boys fan. I appreciate them but that kind of rapping never appealed to me. I.C. had some great beats but , outside of that , I wasn’t into it.

      I think all those producers are very dope (except Nobody, whom i’ve never heard). To be honest, I don’t listen to any instrumental music on a regular basis and I never really have. Ironic, I know , but i prefer shit with vocals on it.

  7. I like this…nice idea…

    There used to be tracks on albums that bigged up the DJ, cuts like “DJ K la Boss”, “Ak-Shun” & “Moe Luv’s Theme”…what’s your favourite DJ song?

  8. Whats up with Tim Dog? I see you mention him fairly often in your blog. I had bangin on wax(I think that was the title), and to me he was kind of a one hit wonder with his Fuck Compton track. I thought the rest of the album was pretty meh.

    • Tim DOg is terrible…in the best way possible. He’s so bad he’s funny. thus, I love him.
      “Penicillin on wax” is amazing cause, for one, it’s produced insanely well. BAsically all just ultramagnetic mc beats that they never used (and probably should of on “funk your head up”). Secondly, the dude is high comedy. seriously, the song “dog’s gonna getcha” is top five unintentionally funny rap songs ever.

    • I love the liks. Not their new shit but they’re first two albums are great.
      as for the others, I never got into them. They all bored me and never really stood out as anything special on any level.Evidence does make some good beats though.

  9. this might be way out of left field but i kinda wanna know what you think about 3rd bass. i guess serch is the guy that comes to mind for me, and how he was seemingly on the bubble.

    • I have two stages of my feelings about 3rd bass.
      1)when they dropped, I was a fan. I never loved them but I bought their albums and enjoyed them. particularly “derelicts of dialect” which is one of the better produced albums of it’s era that gets no credit.
      2)flash forward to the present day, I can’t really listen to them. It just didn’t age well for me. Serch was a good mc. Not great. i’d say he was a c+. Pete nice was about the same.

  10. Whats up Block,

    Its really rare that I get into an album on the first listen, but that is exactly what happened to me with Operation Doomsday. What do you think of it? I havent listened to a ton of Doom’s stuff (Mr. Hood, Take me to your leader, Madvillainy, but these are obviously a small sample compared to his huge body of work), but I think his lyricism is interesting and original as hell.

    I also love the production. Dead Bent and Gas Drawls are straight ridiculous in my opinion. Do you know if he produced the whole thing? Ive never been able to find any info on the album’s production credits. Ill take my answer off the air, and thanks!

    • Doom is one of my favorites. He indeed produced the whole thing.
      Now, this may seem petty but , while O.D. is a fantastic album, I have some minor issues.
      basically, all my favorite songs from that album had been released on 12” before the album came out. those original songs were amazing. for some reason, they opted to rerecord all of them for the album and the result was not really my shit. sure, if you never heard the originals, you’d love them but for me, I really loved the original versions. Other then that, great album.

    • 1)I love outkast. Aquemini i easily my favorite album of theirs. You can add me to the club of people who wishes Andre would just rap all the time.

      2)he’s a good rapper that I simply don’t really give a shit about. ten years ago I might have but his style of rhyming doesn’t really do much for me anymore.

  11. Black eyed peas

    haha jokes

    but seriously, on some still kinda jokey shit:

    how bout Cypress Hill.

    I used to like them when I was 13…then I got into other stuff and years later I saw them at Rock the Bells and was like…wait..all your songs are the same.

    • Paris: Eh..I was never crazy about him. I was all about super pro-back rappers when he dropped too but it never clicked with me. He was pretty boring.

      Kam: he was a dude who , with the right beats, coulda made a really special album. But he opted for second rate P-funk loops that everyone else had already used a million times and made a pretty underwhelming debut. I stopped checking for him after that , more so cause he’s second album was a minor release that slipped under the radar.

      The coup: Boots is one of the most underrated mc’s ever. PErsonally, I’d say he’s, without doubt, the best storyteller in hip hop ever. album wise, I feel the same way about almost all the coup albums. they’ve all got about 3-5 amazing songs and the rest just kinda falls flat. But those good songs are some seriously epic shit that never gets old to me. This also may have to do with my general disinterest in that live instrument west coast style production.

      Living legends: I actually never got to heavily into them. Of the collective, I like murs and the grouch the most. They rest aren’t bad at all, I just enver got to deep into their shit.

      The nonce: super boring. THey’re a great example of some golden age shit that people revere WAY too much. THey were simply ok. Kinda liek a west coast group home with much worse beats. They had a few songs that I liked too…they just weren’t anything special.

      Aceyalone: there was a period in my life that aceyalone was easily my favorite mc. his first two solo albums are fucking great. After that, it seems like he lost his fire. But I hold all his work prior to “Accepted eclectic” in extremely high regard.

  12. What about all that early gangsta shit, like South Central Cartel, Da Lynch Mob, W.C. and the Mad Circle, Low Profile, Spice 1, etc.?

    • I’d say I’m half and half on those dudes.
      I loved da lench mob and dudes like Threat but I never got into SCC or spice 1. Mostly due to the shitty synth beats they used or the same played P-funk samples.
      W.C and maad circle and low profile were ok. Nothing special but not wack either.
      compton’s most wanted had some great songs as well.

      • U couldn’t really have a lot of those post Ice-T cats without W.C.-low profile.

        Paid Dues was classic-still pertinent.

        What about DJ Quik, Suga Free?
        Ras Kass, Saafir (‘Come Widdit’-should have made that posse cut post!)

        Western Hemisfear

        I guess I’ve been hitting you with a west coast bias-from the east:
        Black Sheep
        Das Efx
        K Solo
        Boss (<– she was corny)
        Nine (<- corny w/good production)
        Blazay Blazay
        Real Live

        (ahh old rap city)

      • Dude, let’s limit this to a few a post, ok? this shit is overwhelming.

        I love suga free. possibly the funniest rappers alive.

        Quik is ok but his 90’s shit was not my steeze. Too many synths.

        as for “come widdit” it is definitely in one of my posse cut volumes. I love that song and think ras kass’ verse is one of the doper verses from that era.

        western hemisfear: meh…after ras kass, they didn’t offer much. mean green was entertaining but nothing special.

        Fu shnickens: Loved them when they dropped but they got old quick. Moc fu (the asian looking one) is one of the worst rappers ever.

        Black sheep: Their debut is top 5 all time albums to me. Their second was a decline but nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be.

        Das Efx: like fu-shnickens but much better and with more longevity.

        K-solo: Meh, I never got to into him. He had a few songs I liked but he always came off a little dumb to me (in a uninteresting kinda way).

        boss: girl rapper. NEXT!

        YZ: Big fan. He’s not the most skilled dude but he had something. “the ghetto’s been good to me” (the album) is a slept on jewel of that era.

        Nine: what you said.

        Blazay blazay: never peeped their album (did they ever have one?). I liked the single the dropped “danger” but it wasn’t enough to get me to seek out more of thse guys stuff.

        Real Live: amazing beats. like, seriously amazing. super forgettable rapping though.

  13. Ok what about the members of the super group Children of the Corn(worst name ever) individually? Big L, Mase, Cam’ron. Honestly I was a little late getting up on Cam, but he is now in my top ten NY rappers.

    • Big L: Awesome. Even though, I think his debut album is pretty mediocre. The verses he was dropping after that album were great and it’s really too bad he died so young.

      Mase: I hated him when he was popular but, in hindsight, he’s much better than I gave him credit for. this also may have something to do with the current state of pop rap and how if “feels so good” dropped now, it would be the best song on the radio.

      Cam’ron: back then , i think he was pretty forgettable. It wasn’t till he really lost his mind and became the Cam of “purple Haze” that he really took the leap. He’s like a retard savant.

      and you forgot Herb Mcgruff…who, even though he gets love from nordic rap fans, is actually very mediocre.

  14. u ever listen to juggaknots, or their album, clear blue skies?

    the main rapper in that group, breezy brewin, was the protagonist in a prince among thieves, what u think of that album? and prince paul’s beats?

    • Breezly bruin is one of the most under rated rappers of all time. I love the juggaknots and it’s criminal that they never released more official material.

      Prince among thieves is kind alike a decent movie. I liked it but I have no interest in revisiting it much. It’s just too skit heavy. But it was pretty awesome that it got made and executed very well.

      Prince paul is easily one of the best producers ever. He’s a big influence on me.

      • criminally slept on yo. he’s in my top 6 ever, i dont think there’s any mc that can do what he does. i love prince paul’s shit a lot too. my fav work of his is a prince among thieves. i met him at a gza concert couple years back he had mad jokes, mad cool dude.

  15. Thoughts on Madlib’s Quasimoto?? Its the kind of music that grew on me much like El’s first Lp Fan Dam which at first just seemed like noise but after you train your ears to el’s industrial/grimey production and actually start picking up the melodies and what hes actually saying its amazing.. Thats how it was when i first heard quasimoto’s first album.. Thoughts on Madlibs old group LootPack? shame they only had one real album..

    oh and lastly did you always think Diddy was as much of an asshole as he is here?:


    • I actually never got into any of that shit. Outside of his work with doom, I’ve never been a huge Madlib fan. I think he’s gotten a lot better recently though. all that old shit sounded super sloppy and just thrown together. I get the angle he was trying to take but it just didn’t interest me.

    • I think there’s a lot of talent in that pool. I’m a big Freestyle fellowship fan (at least their earlier stuff). Ab rude has had some great moments. Tech nine can rap his ass off but I can’t really get into most of his recorded material.
      I like Ellay Khule and CVE a lot too but I haven’t heard any new shit from those dudes in over a decade.

    • I never listened to much of that stuff. To be honest, that shit never really made its way to NYC in a noticeable fashion so i ended up just not hearing it.
      I met qwel at a show in the mid 2000’s and he was kind of crazy. Like on some religious cult shit…so I didn’t investigate his stuff much after that.

    • He’s a legend. Obviously. But , he’s a west coast legend. I didn’t peep him till it was too late. I appreciate his whole existence but I’m not exactly bumping any too short songs on my Ipod.

  16. What do you think of:

    – Mecca And The Soul Brother

    – Breaking Atoms

    “I Used To Love H.E.R.”: Clever or silly?

    Lord Finesse is the greatest rapper alive. Comment?

    • MEcca and the soul brother: Amazing beats and a mediocre mc with a great voice. A great album nonetheless. Definitely my favorite PR and CL smooth album.

      Breaking atoms: Classic. I remember buying the cassette the day it dropped. I played it all the way through like 4 times. Great shit.

      I used to love H.E.R.: I loved it when it came out. It was a huge song at the time. Can’t say i’d make it through that song today though but that’s no fault of common’s. BAck then, conceptual songs like this would be the centerpiece of an album. Now it would be corny but it wasn’t back then so I can’t fault him for it.

      lord finesse: Definitely not the greatest mc alive on any level but a good rapper who was great at two things: smooth flowing and talking shit. He seemingly was mailing it in post “return of the funkyman” but finesse will always be a favorite of mine.

  17. I don’t know if you have a post limit going on but what about-

    Thirstin Howl III


    Brooklyn Academy and any solo shit the members have done (metaphor, block mccloud etc..)

    • Very dope. He inspired some of the more prominent Mc’s of my generation (monch , big l, big pun). He just never got his shit together and put out an album at the right time. I really don’t know if that’s his fault or just bad luck but it’s a shame.
      Hearing him in the late 80’s/early 90’s was some mind blowing shit.

  18. Rumpletilskinz? I personally think that they deserved more shine while others might say people only remember them because of some 90s nostalgica shit.

    LONS? Did none of these dudes besides Busta have the talent for a successful solo career?

    Run DMC’s Down With The King?

    • Rumpletilskinz: Yeah, i’m one of those guys who thinks they were just another mediocre mid 90’s hip hop group with a few good songs. Kinda like Top Quality or shades of lingo. Ultimately , they’re very forgettable.

      LONS: I always thought Dinco D was underrated but I understand why none of the others guys ever blew up. They just didn’t have “it”. As a group, they worked well though.

      Down with the king: it was a really nice try to stay relevant but it didn’t pan out to well. Run Dmc wasn’t really cut out for staying relevant. No amount of thuggish posturing (the “back from hell” debacle) or love from jesus could change that.

  19. What about Group Home? I think it’s pretty funny that two mc’s like Lil Dap & Melachi the Nuttcracker made such dope albums…DJ Premier helped out big time…

    And what about Motion Man? And Sir Menilik?

    • I love group home’s first album. it’s kinda on some “tim dog” shit but not as cartoonishly funny. Malachi is easily the worst rapper ever and says so much funny shit on that album that it would be impossible for me to even begin to quote him. Not to mention, Primo laced them with some of the dopest beats he’s ever made.

      motion man: meh. Never really cared

      Sir menilik: He’s has some great moments but overall I never got too deep into his shit. He was like if you mixed kool kieth and Afu ra but with faster , more jumbled rapping. That meant he was real hit of miss with me.

  20. Amazing that people have avoided asking you about the 2 best selling artists of the past decade, Jay-Z and Eminem. We all have our opinions about their individual albums. What are your thoughts on their talent levels? Have they under/overachieved? Do they deserve the acclaim they have received? Have they jumped the shark?

    • Both these guys, at different times, have been the best rappers in the game. The main difference is that Jay-z has a great ear for beats and has been more consistent. Eminem had potential to be the best ever but his unwillingness to stop making songs about his mom/britney spears was a little dumbfounding. as well as thinking he should produce himself. IT just didn’t work well. Talent wise, he’s one of the illest ever to do it.
      I’d say Em under achieved , absed strictly on how good he really was.
      Jay achieved about what he should have. He’s a smart business man who’s made a few musical missteps here and there but , overall, remained on point.
      however, they both make music I don’t give a fuck about now. Jay still has some hits in him (it really depends on the beats he picks) but I think em is done.
      Regardless, both dudes will go down at top ten mc’s.

  21. Hey, Blockhead — great show. All right, I’m curious; what are your thoughts on:

    • Basehead (you can stick to the first couple records, since no matter what your opinion on them, I doubt either of us cares about that third one where he found Christ & got boring)

    • Slim Thug

    • Ludacris

    • DJ Screw/chopped & screwed hip-hop in general

    • Organized Konfusion’s solo output

    I’ll take my answer off the air, thanks.

    • Basehead: I always thought he was corny, even before he found christ.

      these next few are drifting way past pre-2000 shit but I’ll oblige:
      Slim Thug: I can appreciate him with the right production. He’s got a handful of songs I like. I wouldn’t exactly say he’s a great mc but he does what he does well.

      Luda: I like Luda a lot. He’s kinda in that redman zone in the wayI always enjoy his rapping but he’s hasn’t really put together a great album ever

      dj screw: I don’t understand that shit. It’s a southern thing I assume my east coast brain can’t really grasp.

      OK’s Solo output:
      Monch’s first album was pretty good. After that, he came down with a tiny case of Common-itis and got too corny. He can still rap his ass off though so you never know when he’ll randomly drop some jaw dropping shit.

      Prince po didn’t really pan out as a solo artist. I always felt he was perfectly suited to be the second guy in a group. great voice, good flow. He just wasn’t interesting enough to carry a solo project.

      • Sorry — I totally missed that 2000 cutoff.

        Your Redman comment was actually the reason why I asked about Ludacris; totally agree. & I liked that Prince Po record on Lex a lot, but I’m with you overall on him.

        I wish every piece of music that came out had a chopped & screwed version. But I recognize it’s an acquired taste. Thanks for the insight, homes.

        Mr. Graham

  22. Ras Kass’ Soul On Ice?

    “I used to watch my Granddaddy and Uncle hit the bottle and then hit each other”

    “In eighty-one I remember the night
    I covered myself with baby powder, so my black ass could be light Cause God is white, and Bo Derek is a ten”

    for some reaosn these lyrics stuck with me more than almost any other hip hop songs for some reason.. he got real personal on that track

    and Canibus?

    i am the only one that like wyclefs production on his first album?

    • When it came out, people were disappointed with “soul on ice”. I had had a demo version for month prior to it’s dropping so the version that eventually did drop was kind of a surprise (they had to cut out some samples and remove certain songs, but they also added a few songs as well).
      Looking back, i think it’s really good album by a dude who rapping on a different level that most of his peers. peoples biggest gripe with it was that the beats were underwhelming but, in hindsight, they were actually not bad at all.
      Canibus: never liked him. not ever. I hated his voice. his face. his whole vibe sucked to me.

    • Bone thugs: Never got into them. They were like second rate project blowed guys to me and “crossroads” is one of worst songs ever made.
      I do have a suspicion that if I peeped their early shit now, I might actually like it though.

      Nice and smooth: loved them. they did more with less talent then most groups I can think of.

      Jurassic 5: Dope beats. That’s about all I can say. The “bring back the old school” style has always been mad corny to me. I could never get through their songs.

      Horrorcore: some good , some bad. On the good side we have the gravediggaz ,Gangsta nip and , to a lesser extent, brotha lynch hung (and I guess necro could count). on the bad side we have everyone else. in reality, horrocore is ridiculous but it has been done successfully.

    • Actually covered this one already but I’ll reiterate.
      Not a fan. Mostly due to the type of production. I’ve never been a fan of super muddy shit. That album was full of sludgy , non-melodic tracks that just tickle my fancy. That said, it’s got some great songs on it, I simply don’t hold it in the same high regard that some of my peers do.

      • Nope.
        Illmatic is a top 5 album of all time. Duh.
        I will say this though, as good as the verses are on that song, “life’s a bitch” has always ben pretty wack to me. This is 100% due to the horrifically boring L.E.S. beat.

      • yeah, man, that track just feels so weird in that album which was, and still is, a fucking masterpiece.

    • I love freddie foxxx. He’s the best cameo rapper of all time. His albums haven’t always been great (although “industry shakedown” was pretty dope) but he’s the man.

      as for part 2 of that question…that’s tough. I’d say rakim was technically better but I’d rather listen to G rap, as he is my all time favorite rapper.

    • Liquid swords: great album. I don’t love it as much as some people (It’s in many peoples top five all time and it’s not even in my top ten)
      but, still, great album.

      Ghostface: I am a big fan of both of those albums. I think Ironman is my #1 ghost album but S.C. would be a close #2

      POTS: I’ve never heard a single song of theirs. a few separate people described them to me well enough for me to never even bother looking into them any further.

    • Ah, this is a good one.
      Obviously, it’s good album. Biggie was dope. However, I was never a crazed lunatic fan of this album. People treat it like it’s “Illmatic” and it simply isn’t. I’d say half of it is great, 1/3 of it is good and the other 1/3 is pretty forgettable.
      Also, never for a moment did I like the song “juicy”.

  23. Who is more hip hop, KRS or Bizmarkie?

    And I think Cannibal Ox’s album is a classic, do you?

    And what do you think of Schoolly D? I think his first 2 are classic albums…

    And how do you like the reactions to this post so far?

    • more hip hop? I can’t answer that. I don’t even know what that means.

      Can Ox: It might be to early to call in a classic but it’s certainly one of the best albums ever made that came out of the indie explosion during the early 2000’s.
      Fantastic album.

      Schooly D: To be honest, his peak came a hair before I got into hip hop on a major level. I never bumped his shit that much cause I just missed it. in 86, i was 10 years old and I wasn’t exactly a nerded out music fiend at that age.

      this post: so far, so good.

      • Yeah, that question about KRS and Bizmarkie was a bit sarcastic…KRS always says he is hip hop, if he is Biz sure as hell is too…

        And what’s your top ten best hip hop albums ever? And do you look at the albums that are in it as what they mean personally to you or the impact they had on a whole? I mean, I really like Runaway Slave by Show & AG, but I guess a lot of people consider It Takes a Nation more of a classic…

      • I don’t think I could really make a top ten list of albums for the very reason you mention above. I have personal favorites and albums I think had a huge impact that can’t really be ignored. a fair amount of those albums would make both lists but if I started making claims that an album like “I’m goin out like soldier” by WIllie D is a top album of all time, people would think I’m retarded.
        A lot of my personal favorites, I’m aware they’re flawed and can’t really argue a case for them, but they hold a special place in my heart. On the same note, a lot of so called undeniable classic simply were not that big a deal to me. It’s too hard a challenge to really buckle down and do.

    • Eh…He’s ok. He’s made some great songs but I’ve never really gotten into his stuff on any sort of deep level. I don’t love his voice really, so that may have something to do with it.

  24. Just put a see above if already addressed

    black on both sides – mos def

    The Luniz?

    Run DMC?

    Common before he got old?

    RBL Posse?

    • Black on both sides: one of the most over rated albums of all time. Mos is a dope rapper. No question but that album bored the shit out of me. It’s an era of “rawkus” sounding beats that i always hated.

      THe luniz: who cares? Out side of the one hit, I don’t think I ever peeped them. East coast bias, i suppose.

      Run dmc: kinda like schooly D in that they were good before i was really caring. I definitely love some Run DMC songs but I don’t hold them as close to my heart as some people do.To be honest, I didn’t start really getting into rap until sampling came into the picture (87 was when it started becoming the norm).

      Early common: “can I borrow a dollar” was ok. It showed promise. Loved “resurrection” but i can’t really listen to it nowadays. But it was definitely a great album. everything after that was real hit of miss. Once he got too spiritual, I checked out.

      Rbl posse: Never gave a shit about them.

      • Maybe I’m an old fart, but you never checked rap that came out before 88? I like to listen to Otis Redding & Robert Johnson and they made music way before I was born, but I still felt the need to check them out…

      • Oh, I certainly checked it out. I just never got into it like it did the post 87 stuff. It lacked melody until sampling came in.
        The majority of the music I listen to (that’s not hip hop) was made before I was born. But hip hop, in it’s earlier stages ( past the rappers delight era and more into the 84-86 drum machine era, was never THAT interesting to me, simply cause it was just a lot of drums and not much else. I was also, a child when it came out and wasn’t really a huge fan of any music THAT much.
        I have gone back and listened to all the old shit over the years but to be honest, it still doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t connect to it from a nostalgic level cause it’s not anything I was obsessed with as a kid and I don’t connect with it from an actual “enjoying the music” level either cause it just sounds too dated for my taste.
        The best I can do with hip hop from that era is appreciate it for what it is. The stepping stone between hip hop being a form of party music into the real art form it later became.
        That said, there are songs from pre-87 that I like , i’m just not on some “cause it’s old, it’s good” shit.

  25. I’d like to know your take on The Chronic and Doggystyle.

    And this is slightly off topic, but I’m gonna throw it out there anyway. When you think of your favorite hip hop do you value fantastic production over great rapping? Can you say one component is more important than the other when evaluating what makes a song great? I feel like I’d rather hear a bad rapper over a great beat than vice versa.

    • The chronic is a classic. It easily changed the way people made beats (although it did inspire some of the worst music to ever come out of the west coast).
      Doggy style was ok. I liked it at the time and it’s got a handful of classic songs on it but it was kinda like “The Chronic lite” and appealed to the lowest common denominator of rap fans (suburban whigs).

      as for the question, I think i agree with you. I can listen to shitty rappers if the beats are dope (group home being a prime example) but if a rapper is dope and rhyming over some bullshit tracks (redman comes to mind) , it’s a problem.

    • The first atmosphere song I heard was “Outernet” and it blew my mind. Then I got “Overcast” and I was a huge fan. I’d liked all their shit up til about 2004 , but after that I fell off with listening to them. Not so much the fault of them as much as me losing interest in the majority of new rap period.

  26. Company Flow’s Funcrusher Plus?

    and why hasn’t any other radio shows been as good as stretch and bob’s?? Everything radio now especially for hip hop seems too corporate

    • It’s safe to say that early Co-flow had a huge impact on me. Funcrusher is amazing and truly changed the landscape of indie hip hop.

      I agree that no radio shows will ever match stretch and bob but it also has a lot to do with timing. the internet has ruined any chance of things being “exclusive” to a radio show and the days of people making dope demo’s is long gone. 92-96 was truly amazing.

  27. damn just catching all this… if you’re done already – no worries.

    any thoughts on:

    the Goats ‘tricks of the shade’

    the Pharcyde – first two records

    • The goats: dope beats but very bullshit rappers. I appreciated their angle but they simply were not that dope enough to pull it off. Their second album is one of the worst albums of all time.

      The pharcyde: First album is one of my my all time favorite. Even with it’s frat boy following. that shit is amazing. The second has it’s moments but suffered greatly from no J-swift and a lazy fat lip.

  28. What do you think of live performances…Most of the mc’s I’ve seen live were terrible…sidekicks always shouting and shit, I can imagine people being really turned off by it….is hip hop more studio music you think?

    And what are your thoughts on Buhloone Mindstate by De La, very underrated to me…

    And what’s Gangstarr’s best album? Step In The Arena, Daily Operation or Hard To Earn? I really dig Daily Operation….

    • 1)I think it’s possible for mc’s to put on a hell of a show but it’s rare. The older I get, the less I care to see anything live. But, in general,yes. Live shows fucking suck.

      2)I think it’s a dope album. I prefer “de La soul is dead” but that’s neither here nor there.

      3)I think “step in the arena ” has the most dope songs but I’d say “Daily Operation” is where guru peaked as an mc and they really hit their stride as a group. So, I vote for “Daily operation”.

  29. Just found this. This is a great idea Block.

    Which Jeru album do you prefer? (both classics imo)

    What do you think of Mic Geronimo’s “The Natural” album?

    Also I also wanted to know what you think of Sage Francis?

    • 1)I prefer his debut by leaps and bounds. On his second album, while very dope, it seems like he started getting real lazy with the rhymes. THe beats are great but there are a few songs on it where I began to question his style (that I had always loved) as perhaps him just not being a very good rapper. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely thing Jeru is a dope rapper but his second album has some pretty embarrassing moments on it, lyrically.

      2)It’s ok. Mic was a very “blah” mc. basically, he was as good as the beat he was on. That album had some dope beats and some boring ones. And that is how that album went, half dope, half boring.

      3)I’ve never really gotten into Sage. I also didn’t peep him till the mid 2000’s which was way past my point of really being open to hearing tons of new hip hop.

  30. After this I’m done. I swear. What’s your opinion on these albums?

    Xzibit – At the Speed of Life – and what do you think of Xzibit overall?

    Boogiemonsters – Riders of the Storm (I used to rock this tape all the time. Now it’s more nostalgic than anything but I still think it’s pretty decent. The 2nd album not so much)

    Yesh and Siah – The Visualz

    • Xzibit: I love this album. That album was definitely one of those albums that I came back to a year later and realized I had slept on it big time. I’d say every album he made after that got worse and worse. His second album had some good moments though. as for xzibit in general, I think he was dope, but it never all really came together for him after his first album.

      Boogiemonsters: “riders of the storm” is a very solid album. It’s funny. To me, there are no songs that really jumped out as great but it’s also an album that you could listen to front to back. It maintains a nice level of “good” throughout the whole thing. If i gave it a grade, it would be a B/B+
      Their second album kinda sucked though.

      Siah and yesh: Loved it. I dunno how well it’s aged but at the time, I was all over this EP> Siah’s 12” that followed was also really dope.

    • I think UGK has had some great moments but they were never consistent (to my personal taste) enough for me to really care that much about them.

      Az: a huge waste of talent.

      Capone and nore: I Liked Noreaga for a couple years but he fell off hard with that reggaeton crap. Capone has always kinda sucked to me. It might just be his voice. It’s pretty grating to me.

    • 1)Huge ace fan. PArticularly his earlier shit. his first two albums are personal classics to me. I don’t really check for his new shit but whenever i do hear it, he still sounds decent.

      2)awful. Kid rappers in general (excluding Earl sweatshirt) are always wack.

      3)Big fan of their first album. Not so much the second.

      4)Meh. He’s never done anything for me. He’s not bad just not that interesting either.

    • Dude, hate to knit pick but the purpose of this post is talking about pre-2000 shit. The more we talk about newer rappers , the less I have to say. I spent my entire youth and early 20’s picking apart songs and albums. after that, I stopped caring THAT much and everything generally blends together.
      but i’ll just say I like both Lif and Edan.

      (not trying to be a dick but I really don’t have much to say about newer rap)

  31. Considering you don’t sound like a fan of Mos/Kweli around that time, what are your thoughts on Black Star?

    Nas – It Was Written?

    Favourite Tribe album?

    • Black star: I think it had 3 good songs on it. Mos was dope on it though but kweli was just never listenable to me (except on “2000 seasons” and “manifesto:.

      NAs: It was a huge disappointment when it dropped. But to be honest, I never really gave it a second chance. I think I should have. At this point, I feel like it may be too late for me to really be open enough to appreciate it as I’ve kinda soured to Nas over the last decade or so. But I really should give it a second chance.

      It’s close between “people instinctive travels” and “Low end theory”. I think i’d have to say LET but by a hair. Midnight Marauders is great and all but , to me, it was the beginning of the end of Tribe. It was their first album where I felt they were leaning in a direction I didn’t like that much. THat direction would eventually become “the ummah” production style which would eventually ruin tribe forever.

  32. have you ever listened to tech n9nes anghellic? it came out in like 2001. if your not a big fan of him i think it would change your opinion of him a bit. hes older shit is dope as fuck imo

  33. With regards to your comment about “the ummah” I was just wondering how you feel about Jay Dee?
    I think he’s dope but ever since he died seems to be getting a ridiculous amount of respect and being called the GOAT.

    • I think Jay dee made some really awesome beats, as well as some totally mediocre beats. His death certainly catapulted him (as death tends to do) but there’s no question he was a talented dude. Personally , his “style” was often not my kinda thing. That’s when he was working off of that “ummah” sound. Bare synth tones and drums with not much else. I much preferred his shit When he sampled (which could be said for most producers in hip hop).

  34. Ok last question from me. My friend and I often have this debate so I would like to get your opinion on it. In the 90s which boro produced the best rappers Queens or Brooklyn?

    • That’s a really tough call. I don’t think one is particularly so much better than the other. You could really make a decisive argument either way. It comes down to taste. Queens was more about that thug shit (queensbridge) with a mix of random weirdo’s like Organized konfusion and A tribe called quest. While BK,was a smoother more polished style of rapper (the big daddy kanes , master ace and BIG’s) but also has it’s share of weirdo’s as well (the cella dwellas and mods def). Personally, I’d give the slight nod to BK but by a hair…and depending on the day, I would sway the other way.

  35. you mentioned being bored with the first Digable Planets LP- i agree it has not aged well, though i would say the opposite of their follow up “blowout comb”, which is in my all time favorites. The roy ayers sample on “9th Wonder- (Blakcitolism)” is seriously dope. I bought my first sampler a couple years after this came out and studied the hell out of it. Seriously under rated follow up. Thoughts?

    • Tough call. I guess lauryn hill or What!What! (aka Jean Grea) would be my pick, but as I’ve said before, picking the #1 female mc is like picking the #1 little league team of all time.

    • Awesome. They were super consistent for about 3 albums. That was one of them. Billy Danz is one my personal favorite rappers ever in that era (not to be confused with “best rapper”)

  36. Great subject! A few more for ya if you’re not sick of the subject…

    E Rule?

    And of course, Downtown Science?

    By the way, I’m certainly not gonna try to change your mind on anything, but People Under the Stairs are crazy fresh in my humble fucking opinion – and based on the things you like, I have a feeling you’d agree.

    • X-clan-Love them. Their first album both scared the shit outta me and made me hate my own white skin.

      E-rule: Great first single and everything after never even remotely lived up.

      Downtown science: honestly, I think they were pretty mediocre. Good beats but bosco was pretty half assed. Love the name though.

  37. hey block, big fan of your beats and your writing style. it’s fresh and honest, totally glad i found this after laughing madly at some of your sweeping generalizations. was gonna ask about prince among thieves, one of my personal favorites, but i found the answer. so, what about the handsome boy modelling school stuff and automator in general (yes, i know paul was in that shit too)?

  38. Slick Rick – The Great Adventures of…?

    Ice Cube – Amerikkka’s Most Wanted?

    Common – Resurrection?

    Apologies if any of these have already been addressed.

    • All classics. AMW would be my favorite of the three. Ressurection was my shit when it dropped but didn’t age as well as i was hoping it would. Slick ricks album was awesome but I also was never crazy about lots of the beats on there.

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