Visionaries-Sophomore Jinx (1999)

My Rating: 82 (B+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 82 (B+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Never The Same
  2. Top Choice
  3. Making Things Right (Love Rules All)
  4. Quattroduction
  5. Stand Still
  6. Reach
  7. DJ’s MC’s
  8. Somersault Suicide
  9. La Fresh
  10. Tipping The Scales
  11. Peace Mic
  12. Self Sufficient
  13. Come One Come All
  14. Spiritual Warfare
  15. Everybody’s Lying
  16. Thicken Up
  17. Who?
  18. Honorable Mention
  19. Together or Separate

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting some pure hip hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Super 90’s it’s hilarious.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Absolutely.

Final Thoughts:

Visionaries are yet another underground hip hop super group, as with most supergroups of the time, most, if not all, of the emcees involved went on to become successful with their solo careers as well. Visionaries gave us LMNO and 2Mex, 2Mex being the standout emcee of the crew. Sophomore Jinx is pure hip hop, simple beats, lots of samples and scratches, with an emcee spitting vivid imagery over the whole thing. If you’re a fan of the art in itself then Sophomore Jinx is an album to dig into, if you are more into current hip hop this might be a bit out of your comfort zone.

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Mase-Double Up (1999)

My Rating: 53% (D)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 53%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Intro
  2. Stay Out Of My Way (Feat. Total)
  3. Get Ready (Feat. Blackstreet)
  4. Make Me Cry
  5. Award Show (Interlude)
  6. Same Niggas
  7. No Matter What
  8. If You Want To Party
  9. Jail Visit (Interlude)
  10. Fuck Me, Fuck You (Feat. Mysonne)
  11. Do It Again (Feat. Puff Daddy)
  12. Another Story To Tell
  13. Blood Is Thicker
  14. You Ain’t Smart
  15. All I Ever Wanted
  16. Mad Rapper (Interlude)
  17. From Scratch (Feat. Shyne, Harlem World & Mysonne)
  18. Gettin’ It (Feat. Funkmaster Flex)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Digging for a few Bad Boy releases to add to your collection.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Laughably terrible.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Nah.

Final Thoughts:

Double Up is a conglomerate of what makes a rap album terrible: unnecessary interludes, featuring artists who end up being the only artist on the track, a trying to hard to be tough attitude, repetitive choruses, and explicit to be explicit mentality. Mase is no doubt somewhat of a legend when it comes to hip-hop, but good lord Double Up misses so many marks it’s almost like it was intentional. This is bottom of the barrel Bad Boy records that are better left forgotten than revisited. There are a couple tracks that are fun, but honestly you’re not missing much if you skip out on this one.

Built To Spill-Keep It Like A Secret (1999)

My Rating: 90% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: 93%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 79%

Average Rating: 83%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. The Plan
  2. Center Of The Universe
  3. Carry The Zero
  4. Sidewalk
  5. Bad Light
  6. Time Trap
  7. Else
  8. You Were Right
  9. Temporarily Blind
  10. Broken Chairs

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for some laid back summertime/skateboarding tunes.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s great, super unique, love the background colour.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yep!

Final Thoughts:

It took me a long time to figure out who Built To Spill reminded me of, but I finally put my finger on it: Pinback. It’s an album I wish Pinback could produce, consistently jammy, really fun, just really solid music. It seems to be regarded well critically and I can understand that, there’s nothing on this album to piss you off, only stuff to tune out to while you go about your daily life. Built To Spill probably won’t become one of my favourite bands, but I’ll be happy to hear from them from time to time. I doubt I’ll find another album of theirs that is this good.

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