Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 10/7/10

Every day our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Thursday’s album is #845:

Kool G Rap and DJ Polo – Wanted: Dead or Alive

One of the most successful lyricists to come up out of Marley Marl’s legendary Juice Crew posse, Kool G Rap’s machine-gun rhymes vividly chronicled a city gone wild, crack dealers (and pretty much everybody else) pitted against the cops, the drama played out before a backdrop of crushing poverty and the fatalism that goes with it. Kool G Rap didn’t exactly romanticize it, either, whether in the rapidfire cinematography of this 1990 album’s opening track, Streets of New York, the gangster swagger of the title cut or Money in the Bank, the bluntly confrontational Erase Racism (with cameos from Big Daddy Kane and Biz Markie) or the hilarious but cruelly cynical Talk Like Sex and Rikers Island. His slurred, blunted delivery was a big influence on both Nas and Biggie Smalls; his third and final album with DJ Polo, Live and Let Die, from 1992, is also worth owning, as is his 1996 solo debut, 4,5,6. Over the years, he’s managed to maintain commercial success without straying from his generally harsh, unsentimental vision of urban life. You can take a gangster off the street, but you can’t take the street off the gangster. Here’s a random torrent.

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October 6, 2010 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rap music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 3/15/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Sunday’s song is #500:

The Notorious BIG –You’re Nobody Til Somebody Kills You

This isn’t about fame. It’s about being forgotten. As great a storyteller as he was a poet, Biggie never would have written any kind of prosaic “get out of the game” cautionary tale. Instead, with last song he ever released, he offered the brutally ironic tale of a dead gangster, recalling what he looked like, who he hung out with, his hairstyle, his fashion sense, what he drove, his drug problem, everything but the guy’s name. RIP.

March 14, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 3/13/09

Happy Friday the 13th! Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Today’s song is #502:

The Notorious BIG – My Downfall

“Yeah, pray and pray for my downfall,” the greatest hip-hop lyricist of alltime taunts over a well-chosen, haunting sample loop, at the same time all too cognizant of how fragile his existence was. No other artist ever saw his death coming so fast, or managed to get in as much intensity before it happened. From Life After Death, 1997; mp3s are everywhere.

March 13, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , | Leave a comment