While I was driving home from some errands I had to run a few days ago, I passed by a local FYE store and decided to go in. Normally, I shy away from FYE because they are typically more expensive than other, larger retailers such as Best Buy but there was a huge sign in the window that said “All CD’s $9.99 or less” and that’s a deal I just couldn’t pass on.
I walked in with the intention of buying Life After Death by late-great rapper The Notorious B.I.G. I thought I’d be able to grab the CD for the $9.99 price I saw in the window, which is an absolute steal. I was wrong. Turns out the deal doesn’t apply to multi disc albums. I was crestfallen, since the album was $25 and there was no way I was paying that much for a single album, especially since I can find it cheaper elsewhere. Instead, I picked up the following three albums.
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Pt. II – Raekwon
As one of the best examples of the Mafioso rap subgenre popularized by the likes of Nas, Jay-Z and Raekwon himself in recent memory, this album is packed with drug references but that’s to be expected. What makes this album unique is its composition, which is akin to some sort of purely musical cinema. Each track blends into the next as if they were scenes in a 70 minute long film. It’s a very interesting concept that works incredibly well in practice, as it apparently did in its predecessor Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.
The Low End Theory – A Tribe Called Quest
What needs to be said about this album that hasn’t already been said ad nauseum in just about every Hip-Hop related publication out there? The blend of jazzy beats and lighthearted and always insightful lyrics delivered by the duo of Phife Dawg and Q-Tip is among the absolute best the Hip-Hop genre has to offer. I can easily recommend this to anyone, even those who are new to or still wary of the genre.
Me Against the World – 2Pac
This is considered one of 2Pac’s best works, alongside his last album All Eyez On Me released 7 months before his death. Me Against the World is an unquestionably excellent album. Thematically, 2Pac’s obsession with death takes center stage with such tracks as If I Die 2Nite and Death Around the Corner and his lyrics are his usual sharp, poetic and consistently brilliant.
And there you have it. I was definitely in the mood for some new (well, new to me at least) Hip-hop and rap music to listen to. I know that there are those of you out there who don’t like rap and others who downright hate the genre. I’m not going to try to sway your opinion on the matter here but so far, these albums are excellent, as I expected and I’d recommend them to anyone with any interest in the genre.