Friday, July 9, 2010

Being Hip to the Hop

When someone like myself enjoys hip-hop, it can usually be perceived in two ways.
1. I'm simply an anomaly. A white, suburban kid who simply enjoys an eclectic selection of music.
2. I'm an indie-music-loving-kid-cliche who enjoys the idea of rap music because it doesn't make sense and either loves obscure "indie" rappers or digs super mainstream artists for irony's sake.

I'm a little bit of both.

The following are a few hip-hop albums I have recently acquired and would recommend. (For those of you with sensitive ears, please realize most of these albums are "R-rated.")

Artist: A Tribe Called Quest
Album: The Low End Theory
Hip-Hop legends from the late 80's/early 90's. They're kind of kings in the genre so I decided to check them out and I discovered some jazz influenced hip-hop that's done it's fair share of influencing. One of this album's singles: Scenario...

Artist: Big Boi
Album: Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son Of Chico Dusty
Half of the illustrious Outkast duo, Big Boi has some serious beats on this solo album. Maintaining a sense of otherness often thought to belong to Outkast's other half (Andre 3000), Pitchfork describes the album as "inventive, bizarre, joyous, and masterful;" hardly the grounded rapper he played in Outkast. Take a listen to his single: Shutterbug...

Artist: Drake
Album: Thank Me Later
Dubbed "the next big thing," Drake was signed by Lil' Wayne at the young age of 23. He's not exactly wise and mature ... but his lyrics do contain an honesty that I respect, an honesty that's oftentimes sad and depressing (oh, and an "honesty" often explicit). Album highlights usually occur whenever he's "spitting it," which, unfortunately, is not as often as I'd like. Listen to the album opener: Fireworks...

Artist: Shad
Album: TSOL
So this is my "indie-rapper" pick. Hailing from Canada, still pretty underground, he's not exactly a chart topper. I heard about him from the RELEVANT Magazine editor (via their podcast), which can be a hit or miss way of discovering music, but I am loving this album. His lyrics range from encouraging women to get in the hip-hop arena to rapping about his name: Shad, short for Shadrach, from the Old Testament. I'm super hesitant to mention that he may be a Christian (1. I'm not for sure if he is and 2. about 99% of Christian rap is absolutely dreadful) but his lyrics reflect a certain redemptive quality without having that preachy aspect that's so annoying in any CCM rap. For reals, check this guy out. Here's his single: Yaa I Get It...

That's it folks, any hip-hop suggestions?