Ol’ Dirty Bastard-Return To The 36 Chambers (1995)

My Rating: 74% (B-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 74%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Intro
  2. Shimmy Shimmy Ya
  3. Baby C’mon
  4. Brooklyn Zoo
  5. Hippa To Da Hoppa
  6. Raw Hide
  7. Damage
  8. Don’t You Know
  9. The Stomp
  10. Goin’ Down
  11. Drunk Game (Sweet Sugar Pie)
  12. Snakes
  13. Brookly Zoo II
  14. Protekt Ya Neck II The Zoo
  15. Cuttin’ Headz
  16. Dirty Dancin’
  17. Harlem World

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting crazy non-conventional hip hop that’s grimy and dirty.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s iconic, can’t say enough about it. A+

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

If it was on sale, sure.

Final Thoughts:

Ol’ Dirty Bastard is The Wu-Tang Clan’s wild card, while Method Man is sleepy, Redman is goofy, Ghostface is lyrically impressive, Ol’ Dirty sounds like he’s being unleashed from a cell somewhere deep in a mental asylum. Although this album is iconic among hip-hop heads, I personally thought it was a little too all over the place for my liking. When Dirty has his Clan members to keep him somewhat contained, his dangerous flow style is a breath of fresh air and keeps the Wu-Tang interesting and diverse. On his own though, there is nobody to reel the crazy man in, and although it makes for a unique and influential album, it doesn’t always make for the best listen. I love Dirty, there are some amazing tracks on Return To The 36 Chambers but it just will never mean as much to me as it seems to to others.

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Wu-Block-Wu-Block (2012)

My Rating: 81% (B+)

Pitchfork Rating: 65%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 73%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Crack Spot Stories (feat. Raekwon & Jadakiss)
  2. Pour tha Martini (feat. Cappadonna)
  3. Pull tha Cars Out (feat. Method Man)
  4. Guns for Life (feat. Styles P)
  5. Comin for Ya Head (feat. Styles P & Raekwon)
  6. Cocaine Central (feat. Styles P)
  7. Take Notice
  8. Drivin’ Round (feat. Masta Killah, GZA & Erykah Badu)
  9. Different Time Zones (feat. Inspectah Deck)
  10. Stick Up Kids (feat. Jadakiss)
  11. All in Together (feat. Styles P & Jadakiss)
  12. Do It Like Us (feat. Raekwon)
  13. Stella (feat. Method Man)
  14. Been Robbed
  15. Bust Shots (feat. Inspectah Deck)
  16. Bust Shots (Andrew Kelley Remix)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

On the search for Wu Tang side projects.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s not amazing, but it’s not offensive to look at either.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Meh if it was cheap, if not then no.

Final Thoughts:

Ghostface Killah is my favourite emcee of the Wu-Tang Clan, easily. Anything Ghostface is involved with is automatically interesting to me, but that’s not to say he can do no wrong, he’s more of the artist who when they hit they hit hard and when they miss it’s a whole lot of meh. Surprisingly Wu-Block landed in the middle for me, it wasn’t the best album Ghostface has touched, it wasn’t the worst, it was great shuffle material. The album as a whole didn’t do a lot for me, I’m not going to laugh giddily if I come across it in a record store, but if I saw it I would briefly consider picking it up. Wu-Block is great fodder for your shuffle, but it’s not an album you’re going to turn to often.

Rock Plaza Central-Cover Me In Brule (2012)

My Rating: 75% (B-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 75%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Srexy Brack
  2. Ain’t No Grave (boom boom boom version)
  3. I Wrant You
  4. Monkey and Gecko
  5. Cow and Bird
  6. Pranama
  7. You Don’t Need
  8. Ain’t No Grave (movie version)
  9. Record Brody Crount
  10. Excellent Steel Horse (pseudo-acaprella)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

I don’t know, high I guess.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s pretty ugly, but I get that it’s supposed to be a Tim and Eric reference.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Sure it’d be funny to own on vinyl.

Final Thoughts:

What kind of psychedelic nightmare trip did I enter when I found this mish mash of an album? Seriously, Rock Plaza Central+Steve Brule+Justin Timberlake Covers=wtf? The whole album is hard to take seriously, I don’t think it is meant to be. It’s a lot of fun though, and certain songs even have the strength to strike a sad chord (I Wrant You), and the seriousness of the instrumentals are still there. I’m not in on the joke though, and for that it’s hard to understand what really is going on on Cover Me In Brule, but regardless we’re still looking at some solid tunes in a weirdly packed concept album.

Tyler, the Creator-Goblin (2011)

My Rating: 69% (C+)

Pitchfork Rating: 80%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 72%

Average Rating: 73%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Goblin
  2. Yonkers
  3. Radicals
  4. She feat. Frank Ocean
  5. Transylvania
  6. Nightmare
  7. Tron Cat
  8. Her
  9. Sandwitches feat. Hodgy Beats
  10. Fish
  11. Analog feat. Hodgy Beats
  12. Suck feat. Jasper Dolphin & Taco Bennett
  13. Window feat. Domo Genesis, Mike G, Hodgy Beats & Frank Ocean
  14. Au79
  15. Golden
  16. Burger feat. Hodgy Beats
  17. Untitled 63
  18. Steak Sauce

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Angry and want some grimy hip-hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s awesome, one of those that I’m sure pop culture could easily mix to make t-shirts and what not (Goblin/Rick and Morty is what I’m thinking).

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Hmmmmmmmm, perhaps if it were on sale.

Final Thoughts:

Tyler, The Creator is quite the rapper, he is definitely not music you put on with a large crowd around, he will 100% offend more than a few. His albums seem to follow a similar trend for me, lots of tracks with mostly good stuff, but a few major misses. Yonkers is such an amazing track, probably the song he will be most known for (even though he probably doesn’t want to be known just for that). I have a hard time getting through whole albums of Tyler’s, mostly because it is so explicit and kind of gets a little much after a bit. I do really like his flow and his lyrics are really clever sometimes, especially when it comes to mental illness (Email full of emails, I never write back. Ain’t kill myself yet, and I already want my life back). Tyler, The Creator is shocking, no doubt about it, but every once in awhile his vulnerability will drip through, and when it does it’s really out of place, but also relatable to the crowd I think he’s trying to cater to.

The Shins-Oh, Inverted World (2001)

My Rating: 77% (B)

Pitchfork Rating: 80%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 76%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Caring Is Creepy
  2. One By One All Day
  3. Weird Divide
  4. Know Your Onion!
  5. Girl Inform Me
  6. New Slang
  7. The Celibate Life
  8. Girl On The Wing
  9. Your Algebra
  10. Pressed In A Book
  11. The Past And Pending

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a really different/unique sounding alt album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Super unique, I like.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this Shin’s release.

Final Thoughts:

The Shins were one of the first alt bands that I got into, I must’ve listened to Caring Is Creepy over 100 times now. This album has a nostalgic hold on me, the artwork will always remind me of my teen years, walking through the high school feeling like nobody understood me (the real me, y’know?) The album itself has a few highlights (New Slang being the other big standout for me) but is kind of boring overall. I don’t know if it was a pioneering album that didn’t age well or if it was just one of those albums I always assumed I loved until I listened from start to finish. At any rate, this is a well regarded album that is not lazy or grating by any sense, just not as wonderful as I remember it being.

Doomtree-All Hands (2015)

My Rating: 96% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 71%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 62%

Average Rating: 76%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Final Boss
  2. My Own Nation
  3. .38 Airweight
  4. Gray Duck
  5. Heavy Rescue
  6. 80 On 80
  7. Mini Brute
  8. Cabin Killer
  9. Beastface
  10. The Bends
  11. Generator
  12. Off In The Deep
  13. Marathon
  14. High Water

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a hip hop album with lots going on at once.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s a beautiful looking cover, I’d be stoked to have it in my collection.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

I need to own more Hip-Hop on vinyl (yes I want it).

Final Thoughts:

Doomtree is a hip-hop super-group (at least in my eyes), Sims, P.O.S., and Dessa are all artists with amazing solo work, so to have them all in the same group making music is kind of a big deal for me. Granted I got into Doomtree before their solo careers but now that I’ve researched more I almost forgot that these guys all worked together. They take things in a different direction on All Hands, keeping the lyrics abstract and the percussion raw, they get much more electronic than I’m used to hearing them, which was a good move because they now can appeal to a larger audience. Old fans may be a little let down with the new sound but I’m on board and excited to hear these guys push themselves as a group and as individual artists.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti-Mature Themes (2012)

My Rating: 69% (C+)

Pitchfork Rating: 85%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 74%

Average Rating: 75%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Kinski Assassin
  2. Is This The Best Spot
  3. Mature Themes
  4. Only In My Dreams
  5. Driftwood
  6. Early Birds Of Babylon
  7. Schnitzel Boogie
  8. Symphony Of The Nymph
  9. Pink Slime
  10. Farewell American Primitive
  11. Live It Up
  12. Nostradamus & Me
  13. Baby

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a mix of genres that stays generally mellow.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Cool colours and trippy!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this one.

Final Thoughts:

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti is all of over the place when it comes to genre, at times it reminds me of Thee Oh Sees, other tracks make me think The Smiths or Ween, others Mac DeMarco. So putting your finger on this album is not an easy task. That being said it makes for an overall entertaining, but confusing listen. The first half seems a little more coherent as the B-Side gets more and more out of control and experimental. I can see the draw to Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti and I love a couple tracks (loved Only In My Dreams for years now), but I’m not quite on board yet. Perhaps another album listen would solidify my opinion.

The Game-1992 (2016)

My Rating: 73% (B-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 73%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Savage Lifestyle
  2. True Colors / It’s On
  3. Bompton
  4. Fuck Orange Juice
  5. The Juice
  6. Young Niggas
  7. The Soundtrack
  8. I Grew Up On Wu-Tang
  9. However Do You Want It
  10. Baby You
  11. What Your Life Like
  12. 92 Bars
  13. All Eyez (feat. Jeremih)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

At the beach and want some old school hip-hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s pretty ugly, but reminds me of the artwork on Doggystyle.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Nah, not this one.

Final Thoughts:

The Game seems to be highly underrated, I’ve been listening to his stuff since High School and am continually shocked how little attention he seems to get. He can sound so different from album to album, some being really jazzy, others being old school, and others being straight gangster. 1992 is a great reminder that The Game is still around, it’s not really an overly impressive album, but it’s a good prelude to something better. It feels very much like KRS-One’s The Mixtape, which was released to hold fans over until his next full length album came out. It’s a great mix of tracks showing   stylistic diversity, while not being overly well thought out or produced. It’s fun (especially on a summer day) but it’s not gonna be an album that sticks with me.

Del The Funkyhomosapien!-Iller Than Most (2014)

My Rating: 73% (B-)

Pitchfork Rating: 74%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 74%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Leader
  2. Boogieman
  3. Delta Time
  4. Mental Fitness
  5. Bitin Ain’t Samplin
  6. Robust
  7. Militant
  8. Wreckin The Upside
  9. 10 Paces
  10. Grand Royal
  11. Land Of Immediate Rap Hits

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

On the search for renowned underground hip hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s super trippy, I don’t like how I can’t tell what’s going on, it scares me.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Nah he has better stuff than this.

Final Thoughts:

Del The Funkyhomosapien! was my gateway drug to nerdy/alternative hip-hop, I remember listening to his album Eleventh Hour back in my high school skater days and half loving it and half being completely confused as to what was going on. He’s kinda one of those rappers that has done all he’s wanted stylistically and any other album he makes is just padding to his already impressive discography, I don’t see him making any albums that really catch me off guard (this one didn’t) but there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the plan. Iller Than Most is a perfect definition for Del, it’s not showstopping hip hop, but it’s quality and it’s better than a lot of the stuff being made.

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