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“30 Albums To Get You Thru November” (an album a day) aka “Eric’s Most Overlooked LP’s” #'s 10-6

by Eric on November 29, 2008

“Gravity”-Da Bush Babees (1996, Warner Brothers)

Purchase “Gravity” via Amazon

Whether “Gravity” was the only thing that “put the letters together” in their rhymes or the force that constructed their beats, it was clear after one good listen to their sophomore album that “Da” Bush Babees made it a goal to deliver a solid record. “Gravity” extended itself to a mood that appealed to a mass audience of listeners, it seemed to be radio-friendly yet hard. Equipped with mostly introspective lyrics and addictive, inviting beats the album aimed to rescue people that may have been caught in rap’s monotony providing beautiful, harmonizing, ragga flows of compassion with references to the Nubian nation. More or less, they found a great way to reach out to everyone. For instance, on the song “Gravity” you found the Flatbush natives communicating a sort of agony, letting us know that there ain’t “no deceivin’/Illuminati got that ass thinkin’/Yo, should I even rap…? The posing of the question “should I even rap?” is usually no question, although today, as pointed out by the Babees “you can’t even smile in your video” the song may have been an unintentional forecast for the future of Hip Hop. Also, “God Complex” was a song that I rewound several times attempting to decipher the lyrics-in what? Arabic. I also found it interesting to hear the Bush Babees incorporating references to Elohim and the Holy Tabernacle Ministries. The album’s first single “The Love Song” (produced by De La’s Posdonous) had a simple plan: Give love, get love, and everybody “groove to the music”, a message of unity making it refreshing even during it’s “pop-esque” moments. With the exception of……maybe…..”Wax”, the rest of the songs don’t detract from the album’s wholeness and body. With a helping hand from Q-Tip and Ali on the dope “3 MC’s” and energetic interludes, there was little room for disappointment on “Gravitiy”. While, the album showed a maturity in the Bush Babees, far surpassing their debut “Ambushed” in terms of lyrical growth and production, the album was lacking that one true “knockout” punch that would allow it to crack into my “Top 100″. Still, a dope listen from an animated trio whose rap careers all ended way too abruptly….

“The Love Song” f. Mos Def

“School Of Hard Knocks”-Hard Knocks (1992, Wild Pitch)

Purchase “Hard Knocks” via Amazon

Another pick from Wild Pitch Records! All through the years, I’ve come across a chosen few of true music-lovers who knew about “School Of Hard Knocks” and surprisingly, we shared the same appreciation for this masterpiece. Those who haven’t heard about them were bound to hear my praise forever and ever. I’ve been passionate about every single aspect of this joint: The full twelve songs (touching street narratives with socially conscious rhymes), the lyrical artillery (my man was somewhere between Rakim and Kane, but he was way more “street”), the beats (perfect balance) and the appropriate artwork that showcased a certain honesty, humility and maybe even integrity. The only problem was that nobody besides me at that time seemed to really care about that album and I LOVED IT! I somehow created a romantic bond to this chef-d’oeuvre and now that I think about it, this should have made my list of all-time classics.

In a more than confused time (1991 ’till 1992 when the album dropped) where everybody was openly dooming the usage of the “N-Word” (who am I to judge anyway?), Hard Knock’s first single “Nigga For Hire” seemed bold and challenging, criticizing the social system designed in the United States to keep minorities in check. The song “Thoughts Of A Negro” gave a more detailed explanation of my man’s state of mind as it opens with the soundbite: “problem with ‘negro’ was not the word itself/ It was that a stereotype had been attached to that word ‘negro’ and that people were forced to live in accords to that stereotype”. My favorite cut on the album “Ghetto Love” was a benign gesture of affection for your friends. Now I know how we’ve been force-fed with mediocre attempts to romanticize the rapper’s willingness to “always ride” for his homies, but I have never heard a “real” love-song to underline that besides “Ghetto Love”. I will not quote anything from this song (you really have to listen to the whole song) or I will kindly ask everyone to hit up and read the lyrics to this joint to understand what I’m trying to say. Regardless, this is my ish people because it was and still is a perfect album…-Rasul

“Opposite Side”

“Greatest Hits”-The Wascals (Delicious Vinyl) PW: (Thank You)

Purchase “Greatest Hits” via Amazon

The Wascals chose the wrong name. The funky four-Buc Whead,, A.L.Phie, St. Imey and Spit-anky-plus one, producer J Swift could have just as easily beat the Lost Boyz to the punch, sharing a moniker that seems more applicable to the shelved release of The Wascals “Greatest Hits” LP. In a career that was held back more than once, these L.A. youngsters, at one time, appeared to be destined for greatness. Buckwhead shined twice on The Pharcyde’s “Bizzare Ride 2 The Pharcyde” debut, kickin’ memorable verses on “On The DL”, and after their “delay of game”, the fellas even dropped their own single, “Dips”, a few years thereafter. But then, unfortunately, The Wascals also dropped… the face of Hip Hop. However, this year, like loose change in the cushions of your couch came the aptly titled “The Wascals Greatest Hits”. Rather than an introspection about coming up in the rap game, this tardy album is simply the joint that should have come out years ago but didn’t. This all seems painfully ironic when considering that The Pharcyde’s other buddy, TV actor Brian Austin Green (Beverly Hills 90210) released his own full-length in 1996. The majority of the material found on “..Greatest Hits” sounds outdated judging by references to “Liquid TV” and “Jeffry Dahmer”. Notables such as “Big Booty Rap” sampled Fat Lip’s “I dig dips who got hips that are gigantic” line from “Soul Power” and deals with the subject of nice round derrieres. “Doggy Style” utilizes the Isley’s “Between The Sheets” and features J Swift on the mic and also deals with the aforementioned subject of…..what else…..phat assess. Musically and content-wise there’s not much variety either. Risky winning moves such as Swift’s integration of big band sounds on “Hard Rhymes” are few and far between. And minus the intro, a remix and a reprise, the album really isn’t that long. Ultimately, “…Greatest Hits” plays like an album that may have had a chance to shine had it been released on it’s actual “release” date. Still, a great collector’s item to possess for the avid underground Hip Hop listener.

“The Dips”

“Fadanuf Fa Erybody”-Odd Squad (1994, Rap-A-Lot)

Purchase “Fadanuf…” via Amazon

From Ego Trip’s “Book Of Rap Lists”: “The only hip hop group to showcase a blind emcee (Rob Quest), Houston’s Odd Squad also featured foul-mouthed emcee/crooner, Devin. Scarface has called “Fadanuf…” the best album ever released on Rap-A-L0. A-ight, then.”

From Eric: Scarface said the best album ever released on Rap-A-Lot….Damn!! You don’t know how relieved I am to finally put in my two cents regarding an album that I actually like today. I initially posted this album when I first started up W.T.R., but you lucky suckas‘ get the remastered version which I picked up last week! I can remember purchasing this album along with Kurious‘ “A Constipated Monkey” (which also, oddly enough is being re-released) during the winter of my Senior Year in High School and let me tell ya’ it was hard to put those two albums down for about a month. Rap-A-Lot’s reign in Hip Hop was similar to the firm hold that Death Row had on the industry (minus all the violence) shortly thereafter. To hear an album like “Fadanuf…” coming from the South’s most notorious record label actually caught me a bit off guard at first. On the Odd Squad’s debut, it’s puzzling to hear East Coast, sample laden rhythms, basslines and “shout outs” to DJ Premier and Showbiz on “Jazz Rendition”. It’s also a “welcome” surprise to hear the echoing horns that back the album’s highlight “Can’t See It”, which finds blind emcee Rob Quest
offering his take on what it’s like bein‘ “the blind emcee”. Plus, you can’t go wrong with Devin…..plain and simple, you just can’t! With sing songy hooks such as “smokin‘ that weed, feelin‘ fine, got me a forty and a phat ass dime” this album is just one big party. Quite frankly, the album’s title couldn’t be more appropriate….for the Odd Squad’s debut is truly “Fadanuf Fa Erybody” (and you cats or lucky enough to get the re-mastered version..must be nice!)

“Can’t See It”

“Ism & Blues”-Hard 2 Obtain (1994, Atlantic)

Purchase “Ism & Blues” via Amazon

By now, I’m sure that the majority of you devout Hip-Hop fanatics have either heard the first single released from “Ism and Blues”, “L.I. Groove” or can at least remember the video from back in the nine-quad. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t extremely impressed with the debut track from the album, especially when you considered that the trio of Taste, DL and Six Seven all hailed from Strong Island, which at the time was home to the likes of De La Soul, Leaders Of The New School and Public Enemy,to name a few. So any crew that emerged from Long Island had to be on some ol’ next iddish. Sadly, Hard 2 Obtain were well above average lyricists, but not exactly “ground-breakers” by any means.

However, at least they had good taste in production-the Stimulated Dummies or “SD50’s) were eminently on “some ol’ next sh*t” for sure! Unfortunately, the majority of the album’s cuts all sounded distinctly similar, due to the repetitive choruses, production and gravel-voiced flows. Yet, throughout the LP, there are a few tracks that are sure to reach out and pull you in, namely “Heels Without Souls” which was an eloquent diss aimed at the proverbial “bad seed”, the dude who always acted out of place until he was locked up or killed. Be sure to peep the Monk Higgin’s “Black Fox” loop on the track as well. The DJ Nastee produced banger, “Ghetto Diamond” was another sure-fire standout cut about all the dips who inhabited the “12 Block” (H20’s dwelling). Bouncing lyrics back and forth, the emcees even stole a page from the Minnie Ripperton classic, “Lovin You”. Plus, the strictly freestyle joint, “Babble On”, added a much needed sugary dessert to your ears. But, in the end, the album just contained a bit much “filler”.

It seemed historically unusual that talented lyricists, who sold their souls to a major label, would deliver an LP with mediocre tracks that outweighed the “good stuff”, even when representing the Strong Isle. I guess it’s like Rakim stated best, “It ain’t where you’re from/it’s where you’re at”.

“L.I. Groove”

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{ 1 comment }

Pooch November 29, 2008 at 6:48 pm

It was nice to see the inclusion of the Bush Babees. I believe that it should be in your top 100. To this day, I believe that it was a travesty that “The Source” rated this and Jeru da Damaja’s Wrath of the Math at 3 mics. This truly deserved 4 mics. The production was extremely tight and consistent through it all. This was a great extention of the native tounge movement. Shawn J. Period even appeared for the production. This was a great sophamore effort, as a follow up to Ambushed, a much more focus and polished album. Ambushed had production that was all over the place, including two or three tracks from Jermaine Dupree at So So Def.


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