The Reatards-Not Fucked Enough (2005)

My Rating: 39% (F)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 39% (F)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Saturday Night Suicide
  2. Sour And Vicious Man
  3. Oh My Soul
  4. Twice As Hard
  5. Won’t Take You Back
  6. Break Down
  7. Drink Today
  8. I Won’t Make It
  9. You Can’t Run
  10. Make It Fit
  11. Pretty Baby
  12. I Like Your Titty, Eric
  13. Sick When I See
  14. Keep On Walkin’ Away

Label:

Goner

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Angry/stoned.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Pretty rad.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this one.

Final Thoughts:

It’s a delicate balance making a great garage rock album, you don’t want it to be so melodic that it’s easily accessible to the posers, but you can’t make it so distorted that it’s next to impossible to listen to. Unfortunately Not Fucked Enough missed the mark for me, it didn’t live up to the standard that i expect of Jay Reatard. The whole thing is distorted to hell, the lyrics are barely audible and overly aggressive, it’s a trip that I didn’t feel like I was invited on. Jay Reatard is an incredible artist, his group The Reatards may be a write off, we’ll see if I like any of their other work.

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Zion I-True & Livin’ (2005)

My Rating: 78% (B)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 78% (B)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. True
  2. Doing My Thing
  3. Bird’s Eye View
  4. The Bay
  5. Luv
  6. Soo Tall
  7. I Need M
  8. Rockin’
  9. Temperature (Feat. Talib Kweli)
  10. One Chance
  11. Amerika
  12. Poems 4 Post Modern Decay (Feat. Aesop Rock)
  13. Heads Up
  14. Next 2 U
  15. What U Hear (Feat. Del)
  16. Stranger In My Home (Feat. Gift Of Gab)
  17. Oh Lawd
  18. Livin’

Label:

LiveUp Records

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting some uplifting melodic hip hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s alright.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

I love when albums catch me off guard, there’s little better when I have no expectations going into an album and it turns out to be a wonderful record. True & Livin’ did exactly that for me, I’ve always liked Zion I, but this album bumped them up a notch. It’s no wonder that their song Temperature broke into the mainstream, what with Talib lending some help and the fact that True & Livin’ was a solid offering as a whole for hip hop heads to delve into. With features to make you giddy, Zion I may never have or will be better than True & Livin’.

Death Cab For Cutie-Plans (2005)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 65%

Rolling Stone Rating: 60%

Metacritic Rating: 66%

Average Rating: 73% (B-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Marching Bands Of Manhattan
  2. Soul Meets Body
  3. Summer Skin
  4. Different Names For The Same Thing
  5. I Will Follow You Into The Dark
  6. Your Heart Is An Empty Room
  7. Someday You Will Be Loved
  8. Crooked Teeth
  9. What Sarah Said
  10. Brothers On A Hotel Bed
  11. Stable Song

Label:

Atlantic, Barsuk

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Feeling nostalgic.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Meh, it’s okay.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

I need this one!

Final Thoughts:

Man, I love Death Cab For Cutie, they were such an influential band for me. One of the first bands I ever listened to that was alternative was Snow Patrol and they opened the doors for this album, an album that has hit after freaking hit. Seriously, every track on this album is as memorable to me as the last, it’s a perfect album that will always have a spot in my heart. There’s little wrong Death Cab can do in my mind, they were one of those bands that really opened my mind to other genres of music, so I’m pretty biased when it comes to their early work, but damn, Plans is just such a great album.

Blackalicious-The Craft (2005)

My Rating: 89% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: 74%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 80%

Average Rating: 81% (B+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. World Of Vibrations Feat. Ledisi
  2. Supreme People
  3. Rhythm Sticks
  4. Powers
  5. Your Move Feat. Lifesavas
  6. Lotus Flower Feat. George Clinton
  7. My Pen & Pad
  8. Side To Side Feat. Lateef & Pigeon John
  9. Automatique Feat. Floetry
  10. The Fall & Rise Of Elliot Brown
  11. Black Diamonds & Pearls Feat. Larry Saunders & Ledisi
  12. Give It To You Feat. Kween & Lyrics Born
  13. Egosonic War Drums Feat. Peace
  14. The Craft

Label:

Anti-

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for some funky hip hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Super original and artsy, I love it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So bad.

Final Thoughts:

Blackalicious blew me away with Blazing Arrow, I honestly listened to that album so many times during high school. There was something different, I guess it was the pure musicality of it mixed with Gab’s uplifting and deep lyrics. The Craft added to the allure, with songs like The Craft teaching me more about myself and the intelligence of some of the emcees that were in the game at the time, songs like Side to Side helped me party and not take life too seriously and Egosonic War Drums showed me how incredibly talent Gab is. The Craft needs to be in every hip hop heads discography.

T-Bone-Bone-A-Fide (2005)

My Rating: 67% (C+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 67% (C+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. The Rally
  2. 12 Years Ago
  3. Hard Streets
  4. Let That Thang Go
  5. Can I Live
  6. I Been Looking Around
  7. Follow T
  8. Hasta La Victoria Siempre
  9. A Few Good Men
  10. Shake Ya Body
  11. The Sanction
  12. You Can’t Win
  13. It’s Okay
  14. Bounce
  15. Victory! Victory! Victory!

Label:

Flicker, Boneyard, Provident, Sony/BMG

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting ghetto Christian hip hop, because it exists.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Well I have mixed feelings, but I loved it growing up.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah I doubt it exists though.

Final Thoughts:

This may show how young I actually am but Bone-A-Fide was one of the first albums I ever bought. I remember picking it up in Ontario at a record store and then leaving it by my bed unlistened for more than a year. One day I was cleaning my room and threw it on and was shocked how much I liked it. Obviously things change over time but T-Bone was my favourite emcee/artist growing up, his music was actually really well produced, especially on Bone-A-Fide, his flow was really fast and thoughtful, and he had amazing featuring artists (From KRS-One to Mack 10). Do I love this album as much as I did growing up? No, but it has a special spot for nostalgic purposes for me.

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.

Fatlip-The Loneliest Punk (2005)

My Rating: 56% (D+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 75%

Average Rating: 66% (C)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Fat Leezy
  2. Fatlip Intro
  3. First Heat
  4. The Bassline
  5. Freestyle
  6. Joe’s Turkey
  7. I Got Shit
  8. Writers Block
  9. M.I.A.
  10. The Story Of Us
  11. Cook
  12. Walkabout
  13. All On Fly
  14. Lyrical Styles
  15. Freaky Pumps (Feat Shock G, Humpty-Hump, Volume 10)
  16. He’s An Outsider
  17. What’s Up Fatlip
  18. Dreams

Favourite Song on Album:


Listen to This Album When You’re:

Kinda tipsy out late skating.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s pretty rad.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this one.

Final Thoughts:

This is one of those albums that I always thought I loved until I actually sat down and listened to the whole thing from start to end. Yes there are some absolutely incredible songs on The Loneliest Punk, What’s Up Fatlip, Cook, and Fat Leezy have been classic tracks for me for awhile, but there’s also a lot of dead space. It’s that classic conundrum of nostalgia vs. reality. I’ve always thought of this album in a good light, but I guess I really was just drawn to those few tracks. Fatlip is an incredible emcee, one that’s not gotten his dues for sure, but I’m starting to understand why. If the rest of his work is as inconsistent as this then maybe it’s time to stop wondering why he’s not a household name.

Ghostface Killah & Trife Da God-Put It On The Line (2005)

My Rating: 78% (B)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 78%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Cocaine Trafficking
  2. Put It On The Line
  3. Struggle
  4. Hustle Hard
  5. Assassination Day
  6. Gangsta Shit (feat. Tommy Whispers)
  7. Fire
  8. Project Soap Operas (feat. Krymelife & Tommy Whispers)
  9. War
  10. Out The Way (feat. Shawn Wigs)
  11. Daytona 500
  12. Milk’em
  13. Late Night Arrival (feat. Shawn Wigs)
  14. Man Up (feat. Sun God)
  15. Game Time
  16. The Watch (feat. Raekwon)
  17. Ghost & Giancana (feat. Kool G Rap)
  18. The Sun (feat. Raekwon & Slick Rick)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

A Wu-Tang fiend digging through all the emcees work.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Pretty simplistic, looks like a mixtape more than an album.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

If it was real cheap sure, but probably not.

Final Thoughts:

Put It On The Line did two things for me: 1. Reassured me that even the most obscure Wu-Tang projects can contain gold. 2. Inspired me to listen to more Ghostface Killah. Trife Da God is by no means a bad emcee, he simply can’t be if he’s part of the Wu-Tang Clan, but he is constantly out-shined by Ghostface on Put It On The Line. Perhaps it’s my personal bias that makes me automatically gravitate towards anything Ghostface touches, but it’s a rare day that I hear someone say that Trife is their favourite Wu Tanger. It’s classic old school grimy hip-hop, sounding like martial art masters facing off with a ghetto backdrop, it’s not the best Wu-Tang project, but it’s far from the worst.

Common-Be (2005)

My Rating: 86% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: 86%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 83%

Average Rating: 84%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Be (Intro)
  2. The Corner (Feat. Kanye West & The Last Poets)
  3. Go! (Feat. Kanye West & John Mayer)
  4. Faithful (Feat. Bilal & John Legend)
  5. Testify
  6. Love Is… (Feat. Luna E)
  7. Chi-City (Feat. Kanye West)
  8. The Food (Live) (Feat. Kanye West)
  9. Real People
  10. They Say (Feat. Kanye West & John Legend)
  11. It’s Your World (Feat. Bilal)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

A jazz fan that wants to get into hip-hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s original and now kind of iconic, I’m a big fan.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

For sure!

Final Thoughts:

Common is no stranger to mainstream hip-hop heads, mostly because Kanye and him collaborate quite often. His albums are usually pretty solid choices, if not a little too predictable, but Be is a definite stand out in his discography. From the opening track the listener is reminded that Hip-Hop is only a bastard child of Jazz, and Common reminds us that the two genres can and should be meshed together. The album is consistently political, positive, and chill. Common is on top of his game, he has something to prove on this album, his voice must be considered whenever hip-hop is being discussed. Common stands out as a solo act, it’s awesome to see him take the reins on Be, I feel like this album was in very good hands, and I’m stoked to look into the rest of his discography to see what else he does with hip-hop.

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