Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 1/22/11

Every day our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues, all the way to #1. Saturday’s is #738:

Raekwon – Only Built for Cuban Linx

A prime example of how good East Coast hardcore hip-hop got in the mid-90s, the first of the “solo” Wu-Tang albums, Raekwon’s 1995 release is really just a Wu album in disguise. Like George Clinton, the Wu-Tang Clan aren’t just great lyricists, they’re great businessmen, always finding a way to have something new out there that everybody wants. Along with The Chef, this featured Ghostface, U-God, GZA, Cappadonna, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa plus cameos from Nas and Method Man. Raekwon seldom gets a track to himself, but that’s ok: the energy is high and gets everybody to take their game up a notch. Together they sprint through just about every style that was popular in hip-hop at the time. The big hit with the girls was Ice Cream; the big gangsta hit was Incarcerated Scarfaces. Spot Rushers (which samples a malt liquor commercial), Wu-Gambinos and Criminology also work the gangsta tip. Nas duels it out on Verbal Intercourse; the machine-gun rhymes sputter fast and furious on Knowledge God, Guillotine (Swords) and Glaciers of Ice, with an aptly psychedelic Electric Prunes sample. RZA’s horror-movie production is at the peak of its power here: if the lyrics hit a bump, there’s always an eerie electric piano riff or sweeping wash of strings to maintain the brooding ambience. Here’s a random torrent.

January 22, 2011 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rap music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Album of the Day 12/2/10

Every day our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Thursday’s album is #789:

Redman & Method Man – Blackout

Back in 1999, two of the biggest weedheads in hip-hop teamed up for an all-night blunt session, brought along some relatively minimal backing tracks, wrote a bunch of lyrics and this is the result. Or at least that’s what it sounds like. One of the most kick-ass party albums ever made, Redman comes as close here to playing elder statesman as he ever has, pushing Meth to take his game to the highest level. It’s less a cutting contest than two of the last of the golden age hip-hop stars airing out their rhyme books. Most of the jokes, the skits and scenarios involve weed and/or women, their usual specialty, ranging from mildly amusing to off-the-scale hilarious. How High would become a movie theme. Da Rockwilder, Maaad Crew and especially Fire Ina Hole are classic examples of hook-based hip-hop that keeps going just as memorably after the chorus flies by; at the opposite extreme, Well Alrightcha and 1,2,1,2 have a freestyle feel. 4 Seasons features Ja Rule and Cool J while Ghostface joins them on Run 4 Cover. Too bad that when these two teamed up again for a sequel to this one late in the zeros, the chemistry wasn’t there: and with all the emphasis on big, cliched, commercial, “R&B” flavored choruses, they didn’t have nearly as much room to move. Sometimes a classic isn’t worth trying to repeat. Here’s a random torrent.

December 2, 2010 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rap music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment