Del Tha Funkyhomosapien!-I Wish My Brother George Was Here (1991)

My Rating: 93% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 93% (A+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. What Is A Booty?
  2. Mistadobalina
  3. The Wacky World of Rapid Transit
  4. Pissin’ On Your Steps
  5. Dark Skin Girls
  6. Money For Sex
  7. Ahonetwo, Ahonetwo
  8. Prelude
  9. Dr. Bombay
  10. Sunny Meadowz
  11. Sleepin’ On My Couch
  12. Hoodz Come In Dozens
  13. Same Ol’ Thing
  14. Ya Lil’ Crumbsnatchers

Label:

Elektra

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Sick of gangster rap and want to have some fun hip hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s iconic.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So badly, yes!

Final Thoughts:

If you asked me to create a list of the 50 Greatest Hip-Hop albums of all time I would include I Wish My Brother George Was Here. Without Del, we wouldn’t have guys like Tyler, The Creator or Watsky, they are so clearly influenced by his geeky/honest style. Del is Ice Cube’s cousin and he’s really marketing that on this album, smartly because this album may have fallen into obscurity without Ice Cube pushing it. Like Ice or not, he has done the underground a true favor by getting behind this album. This is Del’s Illmatic, I don’t think it gets much better than this.

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Deepspace5-Unique, Just Like Everyone Else (2005)

My Rating: 95% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 95% (A+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Talk Music
  2. Wingspan
  3. Crumbs
  4. Embrace
  5. Mechanical Advantage
  6. Truth Be Told
  7. Half-Hearted
  8. Free Checking
  9. One And The Same
  10. Cityscaping
  11. If I Don’t Make It
  12. Brilliant
  13. Axe To Grind
  14. Start Right Here
  15. I Feel So Bad
  16. The Last One
  17. They Say
  18. Last Ditch Effort
  19. One For The Road

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a weird hip-hop album to expand your mind.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s amazing, I love this cover.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So badly yes.

Final Thoughts:

If an underground hip hop super group didn’t sound meta and/or pretentious enough, there is Deepspace5 an underground Christian hip hop super group. Including some of the most popular underground Christian rappers of the time (Manchild, Playdough, and Sivion to name a few), Deepspace5 stands the test of time and become more than their sub-genre. A lot of times the culture writes off emcees just because they have that “Christian” label, as if that somehow makes them inferior and unable to release anything of note. Unfortunately for that train of thought is how other emcees embrace talented emcees regardless of sub-genre or belief. Deepspace5 has preformed with MF Doom, KRS-One, and Atmosphere to name a few, that doesn’t happen to weak emcees. Deepspace5 breaks through the assumed expectation of Christian Hip Hop and makes a truly solid underground album that should be considered alongside such super groups as Doomtree, Living Legends and Hieroglyphics.

Heath McNease-Straight Outta Console: The Nintendo Thumb Mixtape (2011)

My Rating: 95% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 95% (A+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Tanuki
  2. Make That Paperboy
  3. Konami Kode (Bill and Lance’s Excellent Adventure) featuring Playdough
  4. 40 Hard Bars
  5. Bomberman
  6. Do the Rambo
  7. Chopstlevania featuring Red Cloud
  8. Mmm…Donuts!
  9. Style Points featuring Playdough and Manchild (aka The Dangle Brothers)
  10. First Person Shooter
  11. Mayor McCheese
  12. The Day My Bars Dropped featuring Sev Statik and Freddie Bruno
  13. Kain’t Moov Nuthin
  14. LATFH
  15. Toads Magoats featuring Cas Metah and Sivion
  16. Bonesaw’s Ready
  17. Turtle Van Damme
  18. Glass Joe vs Gabby Jay featuring Okwerdz (Grind Time)
  19. Nintendo Thumb Remix featuring KJ 52

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Nostalgic for the Nintendo 64 days.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Fits the concept perfectly.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

If it exists then yes.

Final Thoughts:

What a brilliant concept, Nintendo and Hip Hop were a huge part of my childhood so having the two on one album is a quick way to my heart. Honestly, this album feels like it was made specifically for me. But from a marketing side of things it’s a great way to reach a wider audience, like it or not a lot of hip hop fans are actually nerds who blast it while getting some sick pwns, the gangster side of things doesn’t really fit the typical hip hop head. Heath McNease is one of the most underrated Christian emcees, he’s witty, fun, and gets serious when it’s called for (not at all on this album). Straight Outta Console: The Nintendo Thumb Mixtape is so so so much fun, any gamer or hip hop fan should give it a spin.

La Dispute-Wildlife (2011)

My Rating: 93% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 93% (A+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. A Departure
  2. Harder Harmonies
  3. St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Blues
  4. Edit Your Hometown
  5. A Letter
  6. Safer In The Forest/Love Song For Poor Michigan
  7. The Most Beautiful Bitter Fruit
  8. A Poem
  9. King Park
  10. Edward Benz, 27 Times
  11. I See Everything
  12. A Broken Jar
  13. All Our Bruised Bodies And The Whole Heart Shrinks
  14. You And I In Unison

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Hurt and angry.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s alright, don’t know if it really fits their sound, though.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Very badly, yes.

Final Thoughts:

I recently saw King Krule live, and one of the things the friend I went with said really stuck with me: “his performance looks like he’s in anguish.” I couldn’t agree more, and I think if King Krule is the performer who looks in pain, Jordan Dreyer is the singer who sounds like he’s in utter torment. And it works to his credit, where bands try to get across an ounce of emotion that La Dispute does, they can end up sounding whiny and pathetic. But somehow Dreyer and his crew get away with it. His narrative style isn’t so self-focused, songs like King Park (which seems all too relevant these days) really show that he’s actually just a really good songwriter. La Dispute is an impressive band, not just angry with emotion to let out, but musicians who are in pain who are trying to make sense of things.

Thee Oh Sees-The Master’s Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In (2008)

My Rating: 93% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 72%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 83%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Block Of Ice
  2. Visit Colonel
  3. Grease 2
  4. Ghost in the Trees
  5. Two Drummers Disappear
  6. Graveyard Drug Party
  7. The Master’s Bedroom is Worth Spending a Night in
  8. Grease
  9. Adult Acid
  10. The Coconut
  11. Maria Stacks
  12. Poison Finger
  13. You Will See This Dog Before You Die
  14. Quadrospazzed
  15. Koka Kola Jingle

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting to rock out/dance.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It creeps me out, I love it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Own it on vinyl, haven’t spun it yet, though.

Final Thoughts:

This is one of those albums that I didn’t know how familiar I was with it until I sat down and listened to the whole thing. Damn every second song is one that made me have an “oh yeah, this song is friggin’ rad” moment. Thee Oh Sees will always be one of those landmark bands for me, a band that points to a specific time in my life as well as a gateway drug to some of my other favourite bands currently. The Master’s Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In is the bridge between the old Oh Sees and the current Oh Sees, it helps explain the evolution of the band. It’s a great record for newbies to start with, as well as just a really solid album in general. Easy to dance to; easier to dance to with a cheap beer in hand.

Radiohead-OK Computer (1997)

My Rating: 92% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: 100%

Rolling Stone Rating: 100%

Metacritic Rating: 100%

Average Rating: 98%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Airbag
  2. Climbing Up the Walls
  3. Electioneering
  4. Exit Music (For a Film)
  5. Fitter Happier
  6. Karma Police
  7. Let Down
  8. Lucky
  9. No Surprises
  10. Paranoid Android
  11. Subterranean Homesick Alien
  12. The Tourist

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Going through a breakup and/or existential breakdown.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I really like this album cover, it reminds me of Saskatchewan and the SSX video games.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

One day for sure.

Final Thoughts:

I’m sure I’ve already proved myself irrelevant by not giving this album a perfect score and putting it as one of my favourites, especially when Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and Metacritic all gave it a perfect score. When it comes to innovation and importance, I have no doubt that OK Computer is essential. When it comes to this being a great album, well 92% is still a damn good rating so everyone calm their shit. OK Computer is emotional, epic, and groundbreaking. The album flows from song to song with expert care. The experience is truly one of a kind and I think that any music lover would be incomplete without at least listening through this album once.

Motion Man-Adult Situations (2010)

My Rating: 96% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 96%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Pouring You Mo Champagne
  2. High School Reunion (feat. Lyrical C)
  3. Interoffice Romance
  4. Remodeling Job
  5. You’re The Woman
  6. Porno Mustache (feat. Lyrical C)
  7. Close Call
  8. Smile (feat. Lyrical C)
  9. Tell Me What You Want (feat. D’Wyze)
  10. Night Stroll
  11. Interoffice Romance (Kutmasta Kurt remix)
  12. Tell Me What You Want (TomC3 remix)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for jazzy, sexy, hip-hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It reminds me of like a noir detective film from the 60’s. Super original.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes, I doubt I’ll be able to find it though.

Final Thoughts:

I first heard Motion Man through a song called One Time For Your Mind featuring Gift of Gab (one half of Blackalicious) and I was shocked how we could keep up with Gab’s flow. He has a style that is unique and expressive, so I took a chance on his album Pablito’s Way. Years later I’m digging into other albums and I’m glad  I did. Adult Situations is a concept album, with lots of what it promises. It’s a goofy, fun album with lots of really amazing beats. Motion Man rhymes along to the beats with ease, having fun while doing it. Motion Man is one of the most underrated emcees around, even among the underground scene he’s not really well known, which is unfortunate because he’s really talented, Adult Situations shows how ridiculous the emcee can get, while still showing his incredible vocal talent.

Randy Newman-Good Old Boys (1974)

My Rating: 88% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: 93%

Rolling Stone Rating: 100%

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 94%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Rednecks
  2. Birmingham
  3. Marie
  4. Mr. President (Have Pity On The Working Man)
  5. Guilty
  6. Louisiana 1927
  7. Every Man A King
  8. Kingfish
  9. Naked Man
  10. A Wedding In Cherokee County
  11. Back On My Feet Again
  12. Rollin’
  13. Marie (Demo)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Feeling a mix of nostalgia and bitterness.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Pretty boring.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah it’d be wonderful on vinyl.

Final Thoughts:

Randy Newman is the musical voice of Disney, every time I hear his voice I picture the credits of A Bug’s Life or Monsters Inc. But with Good Old Boys we’re treated to the same voice, with a whole different kind of gravitas. It’s still upbeat and fun sounding at times, but a lot of the songs are about adult subjects like drinking, heartbreak, and rolling doobies. It’s truly an odd experience at first hearing this previously pure artists actual music, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. There’s some sweet sweet self-deprecation tracks that fit really well with his sound. He sounds like a mix between Harry Nillson and Frank Sinatra, but that’s just me trying to rationalize him, to most people he’s Randy Newman, the influential artist, to me he’s the dude who rounded the Disney flicks out.

Kanye West-My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

My Rating: 86% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: 100%

Rolling Stone Rating: 100%

Metacritic Rating: 94%

Average Rating: 95%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Dark Fantasy
  2. Gorgeous Feat. Raekwon, & Kid Cudi
  3. Power
  4. All of the Lights (Interlude)
  5. All of the Lights
  6. Monster Feat. Jay-Z, Bon Iver, Rick Ross & Nicki Minaj
  7. So Appalled Feat. RZA, Jay-Z, Prynce Cy Hi, Pusha T & Swizz Beatz
  8. Devil In a New Dress Feat. Rick Ross
  9. Runaway Feat. Pusha T
  10. Hell of a Life
  11. Blame Game Feat. John Legend
  12. Lost In the World Feat. Bon Iver
  13. Who Will Survive In America
  14. See Me Now Feat. Big Sean, Beyoncé & Charlie Wilson

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Ready for a mish mash of different genres and proof that Kanye is a genius.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Well it depends on the cover but I like the story behind it more than I actually like the look of it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Absolutely friggin’ yes.

Final Thoughts:

Kanye and I have an interesting history. I swore to myself I would never like his music in high school, and when it came to Columbia House (my monthly ordered album service) I would never pick his album Graduation (which was popular at the time) because of this oath, even though the album cover was really intriguing. Around comes 2010 and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is dropped and I’ve significantly calmed down from my overly conservative self and I decide to finally give the guy a shot. I couldn’t stop listening. It was one of those albums that changed the way I looked at music. This is one of those times my rating system doesn’t do the album justice, it’s one of my favourite albums of all time, and definitely my favourite Kanye record, but the purest that I am must stick to the formula even when it doesn’t meet my personal draw to the album. The tracks flow well and are diverse, experimental and expertly done. This is an album that will continually impress generations and I’d be surprised if it’s not the album that he is most known for.

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