Content tagged 'Rap'
Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version (Album of the Day)
Born Russell Jones on this day in 1968, Ol' Dirty Bastard helped make Wu-Tang Clan one of the most revered groups in hip-hop, and his solo debut, RETURN TO THE 36 CHAMBERS, features bandmates GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa and RZA (who handles most of the production chores) lending a hand in return. If ODB's whacked-out, very explicit (“The Dirty Version” label is well-earned) rants may have seemed a side show under the Wu-Tang tent, they take impressive command of the center ring here – especially when framed in such irresistible tracks as “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” and “Brooklyn Zoo.” Tapped by The Source magazine as one of the 100 best rap albums of all time, RETURN TO THE 36 CHAMBERS is Ol' Dirty Bastard at his most entertainingly delirious.
Under Construction (Album of the Day)
Gangsta's Paradise (US Release) (Album of the Day)
The King & I (Album of the Day)
Whitey Ford Sings The Blues (Album of the Day)
Though he had one previous solo album to his credit, it was Everlast's tenure with “Jump Around” hitmakers House Of Pain that had listeners awaiting WHITEY FORD SINGS THE BLUES with such anticipation. The 1998 Tommy Boy collection goes way beyond standard-issue hip-hop, with heavy metal and acoustic blues thrown into the mix, and production that deftly deploys samples while maintaining a raw edge. The lyrics are as impressive as the sound on this set; if tracks like “Today (Watch Me Shine),” “Ends” or the Grammy-nominated “What It's Like” seem unusually thoughtful, it may be that the major heart surgery Everlast underwent during the making of this album served as a reality check. One of the performer's very best, the Top Ten, double-Platinum WHITEY FORD SINGS THE BLUES has just been reissued.
Life After Death (Album of the Day)
Ready To Die The Remaster (Album of the Day)
Released on this day in 1994, The Notorious B.I.G.'s debut album READY TO DIE is a landmark of East Coast gangsta rap. Biggie and producer Sean "Puffy" Combs had begun work on such songs as “Gimme the Loot,” “Things Done Changed” and the title track the preceding year for another label; by the time they returned to the studio to cut these versions, the rapper's confidence and flow had improved immeasurably. A look at the allure and danger of the thug life, the album tells its frequently grim tales with the cinematic detail and emotional perspective that could only come from a veteran of the streets. READY TO DIE has been cited by the likes of The Source, Rolling Stone and Time as one of the greatest albums of the 1990s; the remastered version adds bonus tracks “Who Shot Ya” and “Just Playing (Dreams)” to the original.
My Ghetto Report Card (U.S. Explicit Version) (Album of the Day)
Born Earl Stevens on this day in 1967, E-40 is among the most prolific and inventive artists to emerge from the San Francisco Bay hip-hop scene in the 1990s. Following a string of releases for Jive and his own Sick Wid It label, the rapper signed with Warner Bros. for 2006's MY GHETTO REPORT CARD. With Lil Jon and Rick Rock handling the lion's share of production, the collection is an ideal showcase for the “hyphy” sound championed by E-40, and these 20 bass-heavy, slang-happy tracks include the hit singles “Tell Me When To Go” and “U And Dat.” With guest appearances from the likes of Too $hort, T-Pain and Keak Da Sneak, MY GHETTO REPORT CARD is one of E-40's most accessible albums and debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard chart; we'll give it another spin to wish the rapper a happy birthday.
Life After Death (Album of the Day)
The Notorious B.I.G. rose quickly to the top of East Coast hip-hop with a brilliant debut; unfortunately, Biggie's reign was brief - he was killed just weeks before the release of follow-up album LIFE AFTER DEATH. The acclaimed collection picks up right where READY TO DIE left off, and like its predecessor, is peopled with thugs and playas trying to survive some very mean streets. As befits its epic 24-track length, the set features a small army of talented producers (Sean "Puffy" Combs, RZA, Easy Mo Bee) and guest rappers (Jay-Z, Lil' Kim, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony) while remaining the product of a singular vision. Though filled with violent drama, LIFE AFTER DEATH also sets its sights on mainstream radio with the catchy beats of "Mo Money Mo Problems,” the unexpected optimism of “Sky's The Limit” and “Hypnotize,” which became a posthumous #1 hit on this day in 1997.
Extinction Level Event: The Final World Front (Album of the Day)
After debuting with Leaders of the New School, Brooklyn-born Busta Rhymes quickly emerged as one of the most inventive performers in hip-hop. Going solo in the mid-1990s, Busta signed with Elektra for a string of acclaimed albums, of which EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT: THE FINAL WORLD FRONT was his third. If its themes run toward the apocalyptic (the cover image was reportedly inspired by disaster movie Deep Impact), Rhymes rings in the end of the world with a wild party. And it's a party with a pretty broad guest list; film composer Bernard Herrmann is sampled on “Gimme Some More,” Ozzy Osbourne joins in on “This Means War!!” and Top 10 hit “What's It Gonna Be?!” features Janet Jackson. EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT was released 30 years ago this week, and Busta delivers some of his fastest, most outrageous rhymes on the platinum-certified, Grammy-nominated collection.