No ‘best of hiphop’ anything list is complete without an entry from A Tribe Called Fucking Awesome. This group represents HipHop in its truest form. They ruled New York during the early 90’s which is considered to be the Golden Age of HipHop. I saw Q-tip (one of the three members of Tribe) perform in Amsterdam about two years ago. When the show was over I thought I had been a part of something that I can only describe as a religious experience.
PSA is from the Black Album which isn’t the most pivotal album in the progression of his career, but might be one of his outstanding albums production wise. With incredible contributions by Just Blaze, Kanye West and one of the founders of Def Jam, Rick Rubin.
PSA makes me put on my ‘hurts so good face’ whenever I hear it. The organ and bass patterns are so incredibly raw.
If you don’t own any albums by Jay then please please please listen to his Unplugged with The Roots Band. It will change the way you view HipHop. Jay’s Unplugged stands for a real innocent time in my life right after graduating Booker High Schools VPA when all my closest friends and I cared about was each other and listening to Jay Z’s Unplugged.
This song is important to me because it is the song my girlfriend and I will play for each other whenever we see a jukebox at a bar. ‘Elevators’ talks about how Outkast started and the way they handle their success. It's just composed so beautifully. They were the complete weirdos of Hiphop when they first came out. Sonically, as well as they way they looked. Yet they have been able to achieve Southern HipHop legend status by just being themselves. I think its part of the reason why they are so loved universally.
I can recognize Luchini with the first half second of its trumpet call. It is my number one all time favorite HipHop song.
Camp Lo’s style of rapping is so complex. I still don’t know what half of the lyrics mean even though I have heard this song two million times. The whole album is incredible, but Luchini, played at the right time in the right place, can bring me to tears.
Another rapper with a complex rhyme scheme is MF Doom. Completely underrated but probably one of the best rappers out of the East Coast. Just listen... The Mouse and The Mask was created by rapper MF Doom and producer Dangermouse who subsequently went on to form Gnarles Barkley with Cee-lo. Cee lo was originally from The Goodie Mobb who had a collective called the Dungeon Family that also contained Outkast and The Headliner of The Take Over: A Youth Culture Festival, Trick Daddy.