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Eric's "Top 100" Tuesdays (71-73) w/ Commentary By Rasul

by Eric on July 3, 2007

71. Slum Village-Fantastic Vol.2

“A Tribe Called Quest” gave me three outstanding albums (their first three that is)! I liked their “Beats, Rhymes and Life” but as a follow-up to “Midnight Marauders”, well, I guess you could only lose. It was a good album and it felt very much like my “Tribe”, it just didn’t knock me out my socks. More significantly, they introduced us to their new production team “The Ummah”, consisting of Q-Tip, Ali and a kid they had met backstage at a show in Detroit (The question at hand, why would those guys need some help anyway???). “The Love Movement” on the other hand will forever be their least appreciated piece of work. For once, they had already announced their break-up, stating that this would be their last album (Great PR- yeah right), plus the sound and feel of the album was just too different. If you’re a crate-digger and you’ve came across some the tunes ATCQ have sampled for their first three albums, you will notice very straight-forward techniques (less chopped up pieces, more or less multi-layered loops), typical light drum-sounds with abounding detail on their arrangements. Now, I challenge anybody to name me three samples of the “Love Movement”! You’ll get the idea? I very much hope so… Jay Dee, and if you listen to the “Love Movement” right now (matter of fact do it RIGHT NOW), was way ahead of his time and his testament is not the music that he has left behind, it’s inarguably the respect, the admiration and marveling his peers and colleagues showcase when they still talk about him! Never compromising his integrity as an artist, Dilla influenced the modern sound (not only Hip Hop) in many ways beyond comprehension: He single-handedly made it cool to replace the snare with a clap; he chopped up samples soooo hard, I bet the original artist wouldn’t recognize their own work. Overall, a genius who’s left us way too early. Slum Village? Anything after “Fantastic Vol.2″ flew under my radar. I didn’t like the MCs back then and the only reason “Fantastic Vol.2″ was and still is a winner are the beats and the guest-features. If Busta Rhymes provides the best verse on your album, you sure have a huge problem Homie! Great production, good guests, disillusioned MCs… R.I.P. Jay Dilla…-Rasul

72. Ras Kass-Soul On Ice

What do you cats out there know about the big Homie’s first independent release “Won’t Catch Me Runnin’/ Remain Anonymous”? I first was introduced to the L.A. underground movement (following Freestyle Fellowship’s “Innercity Griots” what is a definite classic- trust me!!!) through E-Rule and his marvelous “Listen Up” / “My Synopsis” single (by the way, if anyone’s got his album let me know- please!!!). I had read about the “Good Life Café”, the “Unity Committee” and “Rebels Of Rhythm” and how those certain artists had built up a functioning networking-system, collaborating on the regular basis. These were the fundaments of all the east-coast sounding west-coast cats that were bound to surprise us in the mid-90s. I although remember reading an article about this cat, sitting in a dark room at his mother’s crib in Carson California, reading books- including dictionaries- and writing lyrics. I specially remember this since our hero Ras claimed to look for words that were rarely used in the Hip Hop context! Now back to the program: I sincerely think that Ras Kass is one of the top ten “lyricists” of all time (I might be exaggerating a little but hey, dude is really nice). But then, I although feel an army of a migraine bumrushing my dome after I have listened to three songs of the man back to back (that’s three songs the most!); there’s something about his voice and delivery combined with his overly “big words” that make him a bit annoying to bear. “Soul On Ice”, based on the lyrics, is a very good album (there are too many great lyrical moments on this album- check the classics “Etc” and “Nature Of The Threat”). I have often read how better production would have gained the album more notable success and truth be told, I may have to agree. There are some nice beats (“Marinatin’” and “Miami Vice”) offered, it’s just that the majority of the beats are irrelevant by serving the purpose of ” just accompanying” the great lyrics… Great lyrics, bad instrumentals? Who cares! The man could have become one of the better idols of this community and he messed things up- just read my King Sun post and you get the picture. Good pick Eric!…-Rasul

73. Ol’ Dirty Bastard-Return To The 36 Chambers

Ya know by now that I’m into lyrics, right? I have had my shares of opportunities to bash some of Eric’s hot picks and sure ’nuff, I dissed the hell outta some these rappers (because I can!!!). And something else you might have read “between my lines”, is how I thoroughly hold the Wu-Tang Clan responsible for some of the growing mishaps within the music industry and the steady demise of our culture- that is of course with Diddy’s antics, Irv Gotti’s facial expression (and some of his beats), rappers who seriously think that they can sing, professional athletes that think the world needs their albums, Paul Rosenberg, Lil’ John’s pimp cup, Lil’ Kim’s plastic surgeon and… ringtones (what a great post that’d be). Still, I love me some ODB, obviously not the most gifted lyricist, and his first album. Everyone reading these very lines has probably heard this particular joint about 459 times, at least, so any detailed information is quite redundant and unnecessary. This album is from its very first moment (has there been any Intro more hilarious than this?) a joyful ride between, “damn this cat is really making me laugh” and “oh shoot, this sounds kind of nice”! The adventurous rollercoaster-trip between typical bangers courtesy of Rza (“Raw Hide”, “Damage” and “The Stomp” to name a few), classical Hip Hop moments (the beginning of “Goin’ Down”) and female favorites ( I don’t why but girls loved “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”!) is a masterpiece for the history books for his share of never-ending and everlasting entertainment. My favorite joint? “Cuttin’ Headz” and its magical back and forth routine between Old Dirt Dog and Resurrector. Overall, an extremely noble pick by Eric and a must-have for anyone remotely interested in Hip Hop. It’s funny how Eric has me writing about two fallen soldiers in the same day… ODB, Rest In Peace…-Rasul

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Hugo the Dude July 4, 2007 at 6:06 pm

i got the erule album on a burned cd.. i’m not sure about the quality but i could up it for you if no one else got it…

i used to have it on my external harddrive but that fucker broke down and 80 gigs of hip hop mp3s is now gone…

super ugly July 6, 2007 at 12:13 am

I got that “tape” of wont catch me runnin and remain anoynmous from Ras at this show, helllla years ago. i thought this guy was the second coming of jesus…to bad that his beats never lived up to his rhymes and his first album was the best..The original “wont catch me runnin” was the greatest thing since sliced bread. anyone have that digitized so I can have it???

Mystik Journeyman July 6, 2007 at 11:29 am

I love most of Soul On Ice. I can’t understand why people don’t like the production; it’s got that mid-90s west coast underground sound (early Living Legends, etc. (+ listen to The World Famous Beat Junkies Vol. 2 for more)) but maybe that’s not to everyone’s taste. I like it a lot and, in most cases, fits the mood of each song on Soul On Ice.

CD July 8, 2007 at 8:27 am

soul on ice is one of the best produced albums ever. anyone who says it isnt doesnt know what theyre talking about.

Mikee July 19, 2007 at 6:32 pm

Masta ace is super ill! Dude has dropped crazy verses for nearly 20 years. From The Symphony to Nostalgia. No one besides De La can come close to that. I am one of a few who can honestly say that Ace is my favorite mc. He made me believe in real hip hop when I had just about lost hope. Props for showing him some love.

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