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Rasul's Top 10 (7-10)

by Eric on July 17, 2007

7. EPMD-Business As Usual

Ok, there is no way in the world for me to make a top ten list and not mention my favorite tag-team of all time. With Eric and Parish, it wasn’t really about deep lyrics or mind-blowing concepts (read content). All you expected were dope songs with crazy production and an easy delivery (read flow). Ever since they came out, I’ve been fascinated by their ability to trap me into a zone of unknown satisfaction, pulling me into a spell of simple “beats & rhymes”. It just felt, and still feels, good to listen to EpMD. They were heroes I desperately tried to dress, act and sound like. “Strictly Business” was overwhelming- specially for that period of time where producers still looked for the right piece of equipment to work with. “So What Cha Saying” off their second masterpiece “Unfinished Business” will remain one of my favorite songs of all time. But to me, “Business As Usual” was the perfect album! They delivered 14 songs and not a single one was mediocre. Matter of fact, I could name you at least one track from all the six above-mentioned albums I have called on so far, that I really could not feel (read Album-filler). This was the definition of perfection at that time with balance, wit and charisma- from the first to the last track. LL gave one of his most memorable performances, “playing MC’s like an old accordion” while P spit one of my favorite lines ” Cause many often wonder is M.D. paid / You’re God damn right punk, stay outta my way / Cause I clock G’s while you clock Z’s / And I don’t smoke crack – I smoke MC’s” (ask Kitsune, I’ll be quoting those lines pretty often)… And yeah, they introduced K-Solo to the world (followed by Redman and Das Efx) and that’s worth a mention for god’s sake. What ever happened to them afterwards never mattered to me. EPMD gave me three classics and I have a hard time saying that about any other group. Can you?

8. Slick Rick-The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick

I know I’m taking you back with this one but hey: This is my list! If it comes to influences, I can’t let Slick Rick out- no way Homie. And we might argue about this album finding its way into a top ten list of all times, but I know for a fact that this dude has touched “every” artist coming (releasing music) after him. Forget “The Show” and “La Di Da Di”, although they were epic milestones at the face of our culture. Slick Rick was the original architect, the grand-master, the God of story-telling! Remember what I wrote about “G.Rap”? Well, this is the guy who taught him the cornerstones of his craft. “The Adventures…” was compelling and in a way confusing- at least now that I’m thinking about it!? He spelled “Children’s Story” and “Hey Young World” (both very socially aware when you really pay attention to his words) along with x-rated tracks like “Indian Girl” and “Treat Her Like A Prostitute”. Well back then it did not seem confusing at all, at least it didn’t make me question the man’s ethics. More than anything, the album was extremely fun to listen to and the production was surely ahead of his time (courtesy of Rick Rubin). But the most prolific attribute to underline, was Slick Rick’s flow. He rode the tracks and sounded like he’s sitting next to you, whispering his words directly into your ears. His British accent did the rest and though Dana Dane (I know I’m asking too much now) claimed Rick bit his style, no one on this planet seemed to care. “A Teenage Love” is one my favorites songs of all time (not only in Hip Hop) and I know the words to that song by heart- test me when you see me… I enjoyed his later work very much, although “Behind Bars” and “The Art Of Storytelling” flew under the radar, I think this album being released at that time, is my personal favorite. Now go ahead and do your research on Dana Dane…

9. De La Soul-De La Soul Is Dead

Oh I got you with another one- you didn’t expect this one coming, right? Ok, here’s my story on De La: These hippies (that’s how they were called back then) released an album that changed my life! “Three Feet High And Rising” was sooo left field from anything- and trust me, this time I mean anything- that has been released before. I remember how I first heard “Potholes In My Lawn”, sitting in front of my stereo asking myself if it was “cool” to like these guys!? Well, you couldn’t diss them. They were original when originality actually counted, the beat was refreshing and the MCs could spit. They were just rhyming about something out of the box! And the first thing that I thought to myself was, “if these knuckleheads can rhyme, I can do it too!” And I did… So their album came out taking the world by storm with its depth and honesty and introduced us to the “concept-albums”. Skits? Nobody has had done that before and the mastermind Prince Paul had me waiting for the next intermission, asking myself what the hell they’re going to do next- it was fantastic. Every song sounded like an adventure (“Ghetto Thang“, “Say No Go”, “Buddy” and “Eye Know” just to name a few) and the journey didn’t seem to have an end. And just when everybody was understanding their lingo and approach to the “Daisy Age”, they dropped “De La Soul Is Dead” (and somehow they meant what they said!?). It was a mental exercise to even listen to that album- it was really hard ’cause it was nothing like “Three Feet…”. It had a way darker and less bouncy edge to it and it wasn’t too easy to comprehend. You think a group at the height of their success will reap the benefits- well not this cats from Long Island! They reinvented themselves with their second album!!! A bad idea for many of their peers at that time (not a bad idea for many of our peers right now) but De La pulled it off. From their extraordinary “Oodles Of O’s” to their proclamation that their “Brother’s A Basehead“, the album offered everything you did not expect and

to me, it was more than bold and courageous. I have admired every De La Soul album from “Buhloone Mindstate” (another classic if you ask me) to “Stakes Is High” and their “AOI-Series”. To me, they have managed to stay relevant and interesting and for that I salute them. It’s just that “De La Soul Is Dead” hit me in my head when I least expected it and that’s the reason it made my top ten…

10. GangStarr-Step In The Arena

Ok, I didn’t pick no west-coast album- no “Chronic” and no “Doggystyle“. This pick was a tough one but I couldn’t let that one surpass me. I opened up shows for these guys about a billion times and I always loved the way they expressed the true essence of Hip Hop, using only two turntables and a mic on any stage. I have listened to every “Gangstarr” album excessively and once again it was difficult to choose from their top notch list of ensembles. “No More Mr. Nice Guy” sounded raw and uncut- almost unfinished (since it took them two weeks to do the album). Their later albums “Daily Operation” (loved almost every single track from that album- therefore I will not pick any specific one out), “Hard To Earn” ( “I hate fake MC’s, they always act hard / But won’t walk the street without they bodyguard”) and “Moment Of Truth” were detailed, grass-roots and all so arduous to imitate. I never considered Guru as one of the best MCs but his chemistry to Premo’s beats remains untouched. “Step In The Arena” influenced me in many ways. The Growth from their first album was so immense, so huge that you understood (in this case as a musician) what you certainly had to do to deliver the right goods. This time they had time to work on the album and you could hear in every second. “Form Of Intellect” sounded like listening to your father telling you: “And hey Son, life is more than having fun / So run and get some help with the problems that you face / Take a taste of the bass put your perspective in place”. “Beyond Comprehension” was eclectic and smooth with lines like: ” I can see dimensions of sound and light around my mic / Transmitting lyrics like teletype / Reacting to a beat in a whisper…” and so on. And the production was simply superb. Those of you who’re reading this have at least 5 great Premo beats you love so I will not expound on him and his greatness. Besides, you’ll only understand the true value of his timeless music, once you start digging for the original soundbites… Once again I think this was a perfect album from A to Z…

That’s my list folks. I might wake up tomorrow and reevaluate my “numbers” but let me touch on some of those you’re missing on my list. I think B.I.G was nice but I don’t think he is the greatest of all time and no, “Life After Death” could’ve made my top 25 but it didn’t make my top 10. Jay might be by now the greatest of all time and his “The Black Album” is most likely in my top twenties but his influence on me as rapper and a human-being was not that big. Maybe because I had developed by that time as an artist. And this is probably the reason you’re seeing albums that were released prior to ’95! I was still searching back then, only to find what I was looking for and am enjoying music by now (just take a few seconds- you’ll get it)… I just love music.

And last but not least, I insist that you leave a comment! Hit me with your top ten, remind me of classics I might have forgotten to mention (B.A. is a regular here but I challenge my boy S-Boogie and that Shadyville dude to hit me with their lists of greatness). I’ll be back with another list soon- maybe the honorable mentions. ‘Till Then,


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turtle July 18, 2007 at 1:36 am

Great choices Rasul. Some of my favorite songs are on these choices. As far as Business as Usual, the production was soooo different from their previous two albums. But definitely dope. Love the LL cameo and Redman on Hardcore. I also loved Just to get a Rep and Premo cutting up LL (You can’t handle the homeboy) on Who’s gonna take the Weight. The Moment I Feared is one of my favorite Ricky D tracks. And what more can anyone say about De La? I wish they would release a box set of singles and b sides.

rasul July 18, 2007 at 7:33 am

Just some general info: this list was originally (and still is) compiled for my myspace-page and way before I tapped into this blog… That’s the reason it reads a little funny- considering the type of readers you’ll have on myspace!!! Do the math.

Krisch July 18, 2007 at 8:34 am

OK, here’s my top 10:

Nas – Illmatic
ATCQ – Midnight Marauders
Smif-N-Wessun – Dah Shinin
Mobb Deep – The Infamous
Main Source – Breaking Atoms
Dr. Dre – The Chronic
Gang Starr – Moment Of Truth
Ice Cube – Death Certificate
Eric B. & Rakim – Paid In Full
O.C. – Word… Life

Anonymous July 19, 2007 at 5:40 am

The line Premier is cutting is the LL line saying, “You can’t handle the whole weight…Skin needds lotion, teeth need colgate”, hence the title of the track…”Who’s Gonna Take the Weight”

I’d also put this in my top 15 albums of all time. Premier gave me my copy on vinyl when I met them in St. Louis at Sound Revolution just before the promo show for this tour. Favorite piece of vinyl I own.


turtle July 19, 2007 at 9:35 pm

Fifteen plus years and I had LLs lyrics wrong. Wow. Even when listening to the break of dawn, I never caught that. Of course, I always thought KRS said ‘I just produce, create, innovate on a higher level
I’ll be back, but for now just sample!’ on my philosophy. I have read some lryics on the internets and they read, ‘but for no just seckle!’. I don’t even know what that means.


Anonymous July 19, 2007 at 10:57 pm

Haha… I do that kinda thing all the time. Seckle is jamaican patois for the word settle…as in I’ll be back but for now just “settle” or “hold tight”. The only thing that really matters is that you seem to be listening to good hip-hop!


turtle July 20, 2007 at 1:38 am

I always thought ‘sample’ made sense because of the sampled sax that kicks in. But good looking out.


Anonymous July 20, 2007 at 10:19 pm

Just off the top of my dome…no order.

Ice Cube-Death certificate

Black sheep-A wolf in sheep’s

Too Short-Life is too short

Easy-E-Easy duz it

De La-De La Soul is dead

T.X./Valley of Jeep Beets-(Excellent production)

Beasties-Paul’s Boutique


all i can think of right now but there are more!!

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