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Eric's Top 100 Tuesdays (46-50) Commentary By Rasul….(Peep the Jeru write up…Crazy!)

by Eric on May 1, 2007

46. Prince Paul-A Prince Among Thieves

Creative genius! Words could never divulge on the mastery Prince Paul has perfected since the late 80′s and this album is a profound and subtle testament to that. Complete concept albums have a very brief history in Hip Hop; in fact, I couldn’t come up with three compilations worth a mention and personally, I never liked the idea since the “idea” has rarely been successfully transformed beyond mediocrity. “A Prince Among Thieves” is an opera, a Rodriguez movie with a magic timeline and a plot and as far as I can remember, Tommy Boy promoted this in 1999 as such. The album tells the story of two aspiring rappers, Tariq played by Breeze from the Juggaknots and Tru played Sha, looking to gather a grand (one thousand dollars) to cut a demo since they have an upcoming meeting with the Wu! On this journey, they meet all type of characters played by some of the most renowned artists of that time: Big Daddy Kane plays a pimp (what else!?); Chubb Rock plays Mr. Large, a neighborhood drug lord claiming to be the big shot on the East Coast, Officer Bitchkowski played by Everlast (another perfect match!), Crazy Lou played by Kool Keith, and a billion others. I’m not sure if everybody is familiar with this joint so I’m not going to give the ending away- just listen to it and I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy the depth and detail invested. An excellent choice by Eric indeed…

47. Outkast-Southernplayalistic…

Outkast changed the face of music forever- period! It’s extremely easy to write about Outkast in 2007: At a time where sales and success are redefined by kings and hustlers hailing from the south, every single soul should acknowledge Big Boi and Andre as the original vanguards who’ve paved the stony ways for their offspring’s to follow. The story of Outkast began in November 1993 with “A La Face Family Christmas” and their humble contribution “Player’s Ball”, a tune describing the methods of ATLiens celebrating the holidays (I bet ya didn’t know that- just listen to Big Boi and how he starts his verse!?). Along came a video directed by Mr. Combs, where Puffy told Andre to get rid of his shirt and wear “his” chain to cement his features as a sex symbol. The album hit the stores in April ’94 and the rest should be history. Now I admit I’ve never been a huge fan of this album. For once, it was too far away from my usual New York Boom Bap and I hardly found a way to fully relate to their content and lingo. Then there was the music, courtesy of Organized Noize, which felt a bit too funky for my liking and henceforth, I didn’t give the album too many spins. I always loved their introduction to Goodie Mob on the fantastic “Git up, Git out” but overall, “Southernplayalistic…” didn’t do it for me. I believe Outkast found themselves on their ’96 follow-up “ATLiens”, an incredibly innovative body of work that should be labeled as one of its best in music’s history books (and displaying the fact that Andre is one of the best who’ve ever done it!). Then again, I think all of you guys pretty much know all of that…

48. Gangstarr-Moment Of Truth

Where can I begin? It’s extremely hard to hand-pick one of Gang Starr’s albums without discussing the group’s deep rooted legacy . “No More Mr. Nice Guy”, 1989, was revolutionary and diverse, unusual in its construction and execution. “Step In The Arena”, 1991, rewrote the art of production, specifically the science to use old and obsolete records, blending them together and forming a sound entirely new (and one of my top ten of all time!!!). “Daily Operation”, 1992, felt raw but at the same time majestic in its content- beats and rhymes alike. “Hard To Earn”, 1994, mostly experimental and some how overlooked and less appreciated. Still, words could not express the novelty and integrity off each of these records and to this day, I think you have to make / produce / write music yourself to fully grasp the methods and means of these two heroes. I have played a trillion shows with these guys (starting in 1992) and spent some memorable times where we discussed Hip Hop and its directions in general. I had hour long conversations with both of them about the development of this culture and the way money would for ever change its face and identity. “Moment Of Truth” was released in1998 when our world was slowly turning sour and very much underlined by its title, the album’s atmosphere concluded the hour of change! The music was a reflection of the many styles Premo had flipped over the recent years (and understand, this was 98 and the man was at top of his game), maybe a little more diverse, and Guru showed an unexpected growth as far as his flow is concerned. There are a whole lot of great moments on this albums: “Robbin Hood Theory”, “Work”, “Royalty” feat. KC and JoJo, “Above The Clouds” along the Rebel INS, “The Militia” with Freddie Foxxx unleashing a beast, and and and… Wonderful album, wonderful pick…

49. Jeru The Damaja-The Sun Rises In The East

I really don’t want to talk about Jeru. I hate his guts and that’s that! Here’s the story: Some time in the late 90′s (I can’t really recall the exact date) Jeru had a concert in Munich Germany. I was laying low before the show, chilling, having a little drink, and talking with a lady friend of mine as all of a sudden, this fool (he had no shirt on and had his upper body wrapped in Ghana flag!?) came standing right between us- with his back to me- and started to talk some nonsense to my friend. Now, besides the disrespectful act, I could see from the expression of my friend’s eyes that she felt disgusted and annoyed. So, I tap on this knucklehead’s shoulder once, twice, he turns around giving me a funny look, turns back and starts to grab my friend’s arm, I tap on his shoulder again, he doesn’t react, I tap again, he turns around asking me what the F$*& I want and then, well, he flew. He retreated to the backstage, on came the promoter asking me what had happened and after understanding my dilemma, he told me Jeru doesn’t want to perform no more! So, a couple of my boys and me went backstage and “asked him friendly” to get on the stage or otherwise things would turn out real ugly! He did, the show was good and that’s the end of the story… As an artist (well, let me talk about him just a little bit), and with his first two albums, he’s always left a flawless mark! Ever since his first appearance on Gang Starr’s “Daily Operation” its “I’m The Man”, this underground favorite displayed savvy wordplay. Besides,
I think “The Sun Rises In The East” could be one of DJ Premier’s best work as far as whole albums are concerned. But like I said, I hate this dude…

50. Poor Righteous Teachers-Holy Intellect

I used to go to school in Jersey. Being the smooth operating handsome man that I am, I entertained this lady friend of mine down in Trenton and let’s just say I paid her numerous visits and came to understand the city and its peoples. Trenton is very industrial and frankly speaking very poor, occupying a large number of second generation immigrants from Africa. I remember this elementary school in the heart of the city that didn’t have a roof and trust me, this sums up the whole picture. PRT (their name is a reference to the 5% nation of Islam and its teachings stating that, 85% of the people are the def dumb and blind. They are not aware of what’s going on in the world! 10% are the blood-suckers, those who capitalize off the Poor and only 5%, the poor righteous teachers, know the time and are here to pass on the secrets to elevate the masses for a social revolution, with the goal to seek freedom, justice and equality!) very much captured that essence and reflected the anger and disappointments felt, and on the strength of their Italian co-producer and mentor Tony D (released a classic by himself- maybe Eric will post it some time soon), they signed their deal to Profile Records, releasing their first single “Time To Say Peace / Butt Naked Booty Bless” in 1989. Their album “Holy Intellect”, released in the beginning of 1990, was extremely different. The production is very stripped down but simple; they rarely looped any drums and underlined most of the songs with deep bass. Now I know every word on this album by heart and I would never single out one or more lines to emphasize the beauty of Wise Intelligent and his lyrics, mostly dependant on the 5% teachings and social commentary. As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the best albums of all time by one of the best groups of all time and everybody claiming to adore Hip Hop, should own at least three copies (OK, at least one)… A divine pick by my brother Eric- ENJOY!!!

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Crooklyn May 3, 2007 at 12:28 am

LMFAO @ That Jeru Story

Critical Critic June 29, 2007 at 12:59 am

you got those extra two tracks at the end of prince amongst…? they called the new joint (dj’s delite) & a prince among thieves.

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