Defining a classic...
It's a given that the two most notable hip-hop publications, The Sauce & XMedium, have pretty much lost all credibility during their Benzino/Eminimem/G-Unit beef/dickriding. Most other major publications are either too wishy-washy or similar to political commentators, leaning too far to the left (backpack-ism & elitist attitudes) or the right (weak pop shit, shuck-n-jivin type material).
So who determines when an album is a classic?
Well, it's as it always has been.
The fans determine it, by overwhelming support, sales, word of mouth buzz, etc.
So how should we, the fans, determine a classic?
To help you in this area, we've taken it upon ourselves to help you define a classic.
Characteristic Number One
The number one aspect of a classic long player release is that it should have no skippable tracks or fast-forward material.
Jay-z - Reasonable Doubt & Jay-z - The Black Album...no track on Reasonable Doubt is weak. None. Even the singles which had constant radio airplay still are fresh because of Jay's wordplay. The Black Album is seemingly the perfect swan song as the final(?) album...perfect bookends.
Boogie Down Productions - By Any Means Neccessary - Changed the game...and it still comes correct every listen.
Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Blackstar - Not since EPMD or MJ & Pip has a duo played off each other so well.
Characteristic Number Two
Or, the presented musical body of work has to include several standout tracks that far outshine the crap on the album. This rule is an exception to point number one. When saying several, that does not mean one hit single and another crap single that radio bashed us with. It's probably best said that it should be seven to ten tracks that make the filler songs just interesting sidenotes.
Scarface - The Fix Admittedly, there are a few weak tracks on this album. But the first five plus the last few tracks on the album, including "In Between Us" feat. Nas, & "Heaven", make this album seven out of twelve in the banger department. Toss in the intro and the odds increase to eight out of thirteen.
The Beatnuts - The Beatnuts - Never the best lyrically, the sonic production by these cats is unmatched. With a few choice guest spots by Grand Puba & Method Man, well worth the price of admission.
Nas - It Was Written - Some may argue but this was a true end to end burner. The radio single "If I Ruled The World" does get somewhat trite after a few listens but "Shootouts," "Silent Murder," and "The Message" easily make up for that.
Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo - Live & Let Die - Ever wondered why rappers always seem to mention G.Rap when they speak of pioneers & influences? Check for this disc to see one of the best to tell gangster stories over hip-hop beats. On a sidenote, the unlikely pairing of a razor sharp delivery with the lisp...no one can do it better.
2Pac as Makaveli - The 7 Day Theory and Me Against The World - The fuss over Pac? If you're not a converted believer after hearing these two, Pac's music just isn't for you (and I might mention that you're dellusional).
Characteristic Number Three
It should bring to the game some type of innovation & creativity that has been previously missing or nonexistant. Or, it should take a current overlooked element, and enhance it for the world to take notice of.
Dr. Dre - The Chronic - The sun rises in the east but Dre and team proved that it definitely shined on the west as well.
Outkast - Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik - Officially put the South on the map.
The Fugees - The Score - Two dudes & a female. And the female outshines them both from beginning to end.
Characteristic Number Four
The most important aspect of a classic is that it should have complete replay value. This is what seperates a good album from a classic album. A good album can be played straight for two weeks, maybe even two months, before it starts to get mundane or lose it's luster. A classic album is one that lasts thru those two month durations and can be popped in the playlist two years later...and still sound as crisp and new as it previously did, should remind you of a time or era.
Nas - Illmatic & It - This album can be played now, and due to the lyricism displayed by Nasty Nas & beats by Premier that make time stand still, it still can sound new & exciting.
Raekwon - Only Built For Cuban Linx - Too easy
Brand Nubian - One For All - Only Poor Righteous Teachers repped the 5% harder, but even they couldn't do it as fashionably cool as this crew did on their first album.
Characteristic Number Five
One must remember that the term classic depends on one person's personal tastes & experiences. Therefore, it's totally subjective. So here's some of my personal favs, perhaps, overlooked...maybe just unliked by others. Still, strong works regardless.
Celly Cel's Heat 4 Yo Azz is a classic to me. Hard 808 beats mixed with well-placed synth sounds. Cel bringin solid lyrics & Bay Area slanguistics similar to that of E-40, but with a harder edge. Plus, the album marks a time period for me where I met friends who had an effect on my perspective of life. When I first me them, this album is all they played. I hated it fully at first but later grew to tolerate it. Once I parted ways with those guys, I found myself appreciating this album and messages in the lyrics that attracted these cats to Cel. So when I heard Heat...I thought of them & the time spent.
Smoothe Da Hustler - Once Upon A Time In America - It's hard to put a finger on what makes this album so strong...the themes & topics aren't new, the perspective Smooth takes is somewhat different, his voice is raw, the beats are solid. "Broken Language" was the standout but there were other gems on here that never hit the radar for many. But purists from the mid 90's will surely recognize.
Soulja Slim-Give it 2 Em Raw - Pure fire. Verbal buck fifites from of the hardest the South has ever produced.
Project Pat - Mista Don't Play: Everythangs Workin - Arguably, the most lyrical out of the whole Hypnotize camp, Pat's voice is the key to putting this album on the list for me.
D.I.T.C. (Diggin' In The Crates) - DITC - Big Pun, Big L, Fat Joes, and Lord Finesse plus Diamond D & Premier on the beats. Overlooked. Solid.
Common - Resurrection - Ahh...a taste of Chicago. Lyrically, you can just tell that Com will be a future force to be reckoned with after listening to this joint.
Of course, some of the albums used as examples overlap into three or more categories. Lord knows I'll be kickin myself in the ass after writing this for leaving out some key choices but these are the ones that stick out. And, NO, we did not forget any of Rakim's work...Dally's got that covered (as well as Paris' best album w/o a doubt).
As well, these are personal picks of mine and that's the key. Truly, I say fuck searching for, labelling and lobbying for others to consider an album a classic. If you love it, you and your crew love it, or you and two hundred other loyal fans love it, love it. Everything else is irrelevant.
Alot of people don't remember that at one time, The Source was the bible. I can remember the early issue, the interviews & articles all with a fondness. Here's an interview with the og editor-in-chief Reginald Denis from SOHH.com. As an extra, here's SOHH's open letter to The Source from a while back.
Most people would still love to see all hip-hop publications come back to their roots. But with the politics and bullshit, and payrolls and payola...don't count it. I guess we'll all depend on blogs to keep hope alive lol.
Since the ipod crashed and I'm back to burnin cds because I'm reluctant(read: too cheap) to buy another $300 crackbox. It's good for you though because it's easier for me to share what I'm currently listening to...
Sheek Louch - "I Heard'em Say"
Webbie - "What Is It?"
M.O.P. - "Put The Gun Away"
Ras Kass - "Jackin The Dirty"
T.I. - "I Want You"
Joe Budden - "If I Die Tomorrow"
Lil Whyte - "Say Goodbye To The Bad Guy"
I-20 feat. Young Buck & Ludacris - "How The Hell"
Raekwon - "Baggage Handlers"
DITC - "Drop It Heavy"
T.I. & Bun-B - "Front Back & Side To Side"
The Game, Paul Wall & Trae - "Not Gonna"
Sheek Louch feat Akon - "Can You Believe It"
Juelz Santana feat. The Game & Jim Jones - "This Is That"
Jay-z - "Diamonds Is Forever"
Jay-z - "Allure"
Jay-z - "My First Song"
Teedra Moses - ""Just Wanna Be Your Girl"
Gotty's™ Current Playlist
• Support the artists & buy the album if you like the music.
• Get $50 by fuckin with me on this online betting. I got them picks knuccckkaaa.
• Respect due to the cats who laced us with a contributions over the past few days.
• Click some ads. Let us make a little paper if you want to support us spending time here on the daily.
• Know any other sites worthy of mentioning? Maintain your own site & want to do a link exchange? Email us @ email@example.com because we're always looking to grow.
• Got music you want to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include the artist, album, filesharing link & password (if applicable). Your contributions are what keeps this joint moving.
Our Requests...Some our ours, others are others. But help us share, because we're all brothers.
• Gene Harris - In a Special Way (Blue Note)
• Mob Style - Game Of Death or any other album
• Animal Pharm - Pharmaceuticals
• Emanon - The Waiting Room
• Mission: - One
• Burt Bacharach Album w/ Dre production
Keep checking in because we'll be continually updating this section with some newer mixtapes that have dropped and other contributions.
Check in The Land Of C for MrC's Update which includes Peanut Butter Wolf & Foreign Legion
Ganksta N.I.P. - The South Park Psycho
Deltron 3030 Instrumental LP
Cage - Hellz Winter Instrumental LP
IAM & Sunz Of Man - La Saga EP
Madlib, J.Rocc & MED - Live with Gilles Petersons Worldwide on BBC1 radio
Easy Star All Stars - Dub Side Of The Moon
Floetry - Floacism Live
This is Reggae Music: The Golden Era (1960-1975
Ms Thing - Miss Jamaica
DJ Clue - Backstage Mixtape
LaToya Jackson - Just Wanna Dance
Ugly Duckling - Bang for the Buck
Dirty - The Pimp & Da Gangsta
Goodie Mob - Still Standing
Akinyele - Vagina Diner
Pretty Willie - 15 Unreleased Tracks
PW is likecrazybaby.blogspot.com
DJ Muggs - Soul Assassins III: Take Aim
Capone -N- Noreaga - The Reunion
Oktober - The Art Of Raw
BWP - The Bytches pw: no-access
Prince Paul - Hip Hop Gold Dust
Stevie Wonder - Songs In The Key Of Life
Disc 1 Disc 2
One Be Lo - S.O.N.O.G.R.A.M.
Poor Righteous Teachers - New World Order
Sean Paul - Stage One
PW is bfk
The Beatnuts - The Beatnuts
Gang Society - G'z Til' We Die