When my Bloggerhouse brethren approached me about doing this list (no, this one wasn’t my idea for a change) I said that’s a damn good idea! Then Eric and Travis launched into their lists while I handling business for Producers I Know. I collected myself and hit my old iTunes libraries, hard drives and crates of CD’s in order to pore through hundreds of my favorite releases of the past decade.
See, I didn’t want to pull a “BET” where a panel of experts picked Drake as being more influential and put in more work over the past decade of Hip Hop than Jadakiss (several spots ahead of him, mind you). Forget that Aubrey Drake Graham was only 13 when it turned 2000 and Jadakiss was already getting steady checks ghostwriting on the side in addition to spitting on numerous hits and classics. He & Beanie Sigel were among the two most influential & imitated emcees on the mixtape circuit throughout the past decade. When Jada & Beans (then State Property vs. D-Block) had what many consider to be the last good Rap beef on wax, Drake still had yet to get a lineup or step into a professional studio yet. BET, fuck all y’all! © O’Shea Jackson
In any event, here’s a list of 20 (fuck 10) slept on tracks of the past decade. No quotation marks necessary because motherfuckers really DID sleep on these jawns. RIP to Eyedea of E & A (Eyedea & Abilities) and Rhymesayers Entertainment. Your entire career was slept on and you passed away far too young. Also, let’s do whatever we can to make sure Squeeze Radio doesn’t get canceled. Let’s start this shit:
1. Pete Rock f/ The UN “Cake” off “Petestrumentals” (BBE, 2001)
“Cake” and “Nothin’ Lesser” blew the minds of the heads that copped it when it first dropped. It took years for folks to catch on to The UN even as they dropped a fair amount of classic material in the following years. Enough that dumbass Cam’ron came out with a crew called The U.N. himself. Apparently, Cameron Giles didn’t do the knowledge to what the Gods from Uniondale were manifesting.
2. Ta’Raach & The Lovelution “Big Bang Theory” off “The Fevers” (Sound In Color, 2007)
Folks have been sleeping on Ta’Raach for the longest. I remember back when homie was called Lacks. When this album dropped I remember having trouble finding it in stores so I copped it online. I couldn’t believe how many folks slept on it. The entire project was brilliant from beginning to end and it took an interview with Boog Brown on The Scrunchface Show to remind me of why recently. Thanks, Boog!
3. Charon Don & DJ Huggy (Hands Down) f/Reef The Lost Cauze “Just Wanna Know” off “Art Of Life” (Traffic, 2007)
Juju Mob member Charon Don teamed up with DJ Huggy to release one of the best LP’s of 2007, hands down (pun intended). Even to this day it boggles my mind how few people have heard this album. I know it was an underground release but even heads with their backpack permanently bonded to their backs and their ears to the street on some Tonto shit have slept on “Art Of Life”. The sleeper must awaken (no Dune).
4. Asamov “Bad News” off “And Now” (6 Hole, 2005)
Asamov’s “And Now” was an unadulterated modern Hip Hop classic. That’s all I can say about that album. From the opening track to the final jawn’s fade out it was sheer brilliance. I had the same feeling I had listening to “And Now” that I had when I first heard “Fantastic Vol.2″, “Ruff Draft” or “The Listening”. All it takes is hearing it to fall in love with it. I used to play it for heads and they’d say “They don’t make Hip Hop like this anymore”. BULLSHIT. Listen.
5. Mobb Deep “Cobra” (Promo, 2005)
“Cobra” surfaced right after the Jive deal materialized but before Mobb Deep got their deal with 50 Cent and G Unit Records. I miss this Mobb Deep more than you will ever know. Alchemist laced the slap and Havoc and Bandana P (not to be confused with Paul Pierce whom I refer to as Headband P) bodied it by spitting that thugged out Queensbridge shit. Just when you thought it was over the Mobb came through and put the game in a cobra clutch.
6. Tanya Morgan “Ode To Tanya” off “Moonlighting” (Interdependent Media, 2006)
Remember when I was discussing that feeling you get when you hear classic material? I got that that feeling immediately with Tanya Morgan’s debut “Moonlighting” from the opening album skit but it was solidified after I heard the track “Ode To Tanya”. I began to think the same thing I though when I heard Asamov’s “And Now”, Little Brother’s “The Listening” & “Jaylib”. This is a special album, all of the elements involved in this song brought back the feel of the Native Tongues but it was still original & fresh. I’ll never forget when I first heard “Moonlighting” on the recommendation of my fellow OKP’s back in February 2006.
7. Sean Price “Violent” off “Jesus Price Supastar” (Duck Down, 2008)
Sean Carter is nice but Sean Price is the best. You either had to have had your eyes opened by “Donkey Sean Jr” & “Monkey Bars” or you slept. Afterwards, you either realized Sean P was a monster after “Jesus Price Supastar” or you slept. Most people gravitated to tracks like “Cardiac” thus sleeping on the magnificence of “Violent”. I’m one of those people that can’t wait to hear “Random Axe” or “Mic Tyson” and this song part of the reason why.
8. The Procussions f/Talib Kweli “Miss January” off “5 Sparrows For 2 Cents” (Rawkus, 2006)
The Procussions made three albums, “As Iron Sharpens Iron”, “Up All Night” and “5 Sparrows For 2 Cents”. Their final album was on Rawkus and it was regarded as one of the best indie Hip Hop releases of that year. They had two singles and the lead jawn “The Storm” got a video but the other “Miss January” didn’t. While this song is often regarded as a favorite amongst heads that actually paid attention to their careers, it still remains as one of the most slept on jawns of the past decade Hip Hop wise.
9. Rhymefest “Dynomite (Going Postal)” off “Blue Collar” (Allido, 2006)
Rhymefest was one of Kanye West’s early associates as well as a battle circuit veteran. He signed with Mark Ronson’s Allido imprint shortly after the success of “Jesus Walks”. What resulted was the Kanye West featured and produced lead single “Brand New” which most people are familiar with. Before the album dropped on iTunes, the Just Blaze produced track “Dynomite (Going Postal)” was offered as a free download. Rhymefest’s album dropped with little promotion or fanfare as was largely slept on, this track included.
10. Black Market Militia “Gem Stars” off “Black Market Militia” (Nature Sounds, 2005)
In 2005, Nature Sounds released a self titled collaborative project called “Black Market Militia” featuring Tragedy Khadafi, Killah Priest, Hell Razah, Timbo King & William Cooper. There were only about 6,000+ people that copped the album (myself being one of them) but it was a modern Hip Hop classic. Tracks like “Audobon Ballroom” & “Righteous Talk” were largely the ones that got heads attention even though “Gem Stars” was also one of the singles. The album is now on iTunes & Amazon, rediscover it now.
11. Eternia f/ Wordsworth & Kenn Starr “Struggle” off “It’s Called Life” (Urbnet , 2005)
Eternia’s debut album “It’s Called Life” was dropped on the Canadian label/distributor Urbnet back in 2005. That fact alone made the album largely slept on in the States except for amongst heads that remembered Eternia going back to the old Demigodz days. The two songs that made it over here were “Evidence” & “Struggle” (helped by the fact that the videos for both songs made it onto YouTube). More and more people have discovered Eternia in recent years but her debut album is still heavily slept on.
12. Hezekiah “Bombs Over Here” off “I Predict A Riot” (Soulspazm, 2007)
Hezekiah’s Bush Administration inspired opus “I Predict A Riot” featured the epic composition “Bombs Over Here” amongst many others. This jawn followed up Hezekiah’s equally impressive debut “Hurry Up & Wait” (which was also largely slept on as well). The sound of vocals and actual live instrumentation on a Hip Hop album was largely welcome. I remember rewinding the hell out of that song when I first reviewed it, never gets old.
13. Reef The Lost Cauze “I Wonder” off “A Vicious Cycle” (Well Done, 2008)
The Marco Polo produced introspective jawn from Illadelphiatic rhyme monster Reef The Lost Cauze was regarded as a Song Of The Year contender by underground heads but few outside of that group heard it. Reef The Lost Cauze has dropped quite an impressive amount of material since then and “I Wonder” often gets lost in the sauze (intentional misspelling to create a play on words).
14. Count Bass D “Brasilian Landing Strip” off “Act Your Waist Size” (Fat Beats, 2006)
“Act Your Waist Size” dropped 4 years ago and it still stands as one of the best organic Hip Hop albums made by an emcee/producer/vocalist. I remember hearing it on my boy’s iPod Nano after he’d just imported it off his G3 iBook and I kept playing this track over & over again. When people mention the best emcee/producers in the game Count Bass D’s name doesn’t come up nearly enough. “Pre-Life Crisis”, “Dwight Spitz”, “Act Your Waist Size”, “L7″ up to his newest release on Domination Recordings with DJ Pocket cats have been sleepwalkin’ on him.
15. Black Milk “About Me” off “Sound Of The City” (Fat Beats, 2005)
Black Milk’s “About Me” is pretty much just a chop & a flip with no drums on it but Milk murders it lyrically and he made me a fan based off that track even though I already had him on my radar because of his work as half of BR Gunna. I played “About Me” to death and even to this day I’ll revisit “Sound Of The City” and it’ll bring me right back to that old feeling again.
16. Ohmega Watts f/Theory Hazit “Triple Double” off “Watts Happening” (Ubiquity, 2007)
“Watts Happening” was in the same boat as “I Predict A Riot” and later on Black Spade’s “To Serve With Love” with me. Brilliant albums that more people should’ve heard and copped. I could’ve picked from numerous songs on this excellent project but I decided to select the Theory Hazit featured “Triple Double” but this ENTIRE project was slept on in my biased opinion.
17. Illogic & Ill Poetic “Half Man Half Vicious” off “One Bar Left”/”Diabolical Fun” (Weightless, 2008/9)
Ohio has contributed SO much to Hip Hop that it’s insane and this album from one of Bloggerhouse’s favorite pairings, Illogic & Ill Poetic is no different. “Diabolical Fun” was a monster of an album as far as beats and bars went but “Half Man Half Vicious” was one of those tracks that made people go “DAYUM! Who’s that?” when played in public. Muhfuckas slept, man…
18. Havoc “Be There” off “The Kush” (Nature Sounds, 2007)
I’ll be honest, outside of the lead single “I’m The Boss” and “Be There” this album wasn’t that memorable. Problem is, due to the fact no one even remembers this album dropped they don’t remember “Be There” ever even happened. Too bad because this was my shit! The rest of the album? Not so much…
19. Lawless Element f/ Jay Dee “Love” off “Soundvision: In Stereo” (Babygrande, 2005)
I remember getting a promo copy of this impressive release and loving this Dilla featured jawn off it. I think this project sold just under 2000 total units but it’s definitely worth purchasing. If anyone knows where the hell Magnif is let a brother know as me & Nametag been looking for dude. Last I heard he was gonna drop a project called “Detroit Royalty” years ago that never materialized.
20. C.R.A.C. Knuckles (Ta’Raach & Blu) “Love Don’t” off “The Piece Talks” (Tres, 2008)
This project seems to have polarized underground Hip Hop fans for whatever reason. Maybe it was too schizophrenic. Maybe it didn’t take itself seriously enough. Maybe Blu didn’t just outright rap enough. Maybe it was too much of a departure from the “Lifted EP”, “Below The Heavens” and the “Johnson & Johnson” mixtape that everyone thought was the album that the time (remember that?). Either way, I loved this album and I regard this song as special (not like the Olympics).