Monday, April 16, 2007

straight bangin' challenge aka noixe shows his cards like whoa

Def Jux 3, Juice Crew 0.

Earlier today, citizen Joey Straight Bangin' put out a call to prayer, distilled in the following excerpt:
I'd like to see if we can't create an internets top-25 rap albums list. I would use a simple weighted scoring system to rank the records. Albums placed at #1 would receive 25 points; those at #25 would get 1 point. I'd take the mean average of each nominated record and divide it by total votes received. The records that received the 25 highest vote totals would get slotted onto the list in order of average points, from most to fewest.
As a veteran of the internet, where such lists are as common as empty threats, you really can't win unless you do them fast and you entirely throw out outside pressures. So instead of a list of THE GREATEST RAP ALBUMS, I made a list of rap albums that stayed in the whip/walkman/discman/ipod for a long-ass time. I'm gonna get heat for the total lack of Public Enemy, Juice Crew, Dr. Dre and Jay-Z. Fuck it. I was a disciple of the Rawkus era, which is to say I never had a choice about Nation of Millions or Criminal Minded. Every rap show I went to started three hours late, which meant three hours of golden age hip-hop by whatever poor DJ had to deal with Rap Time that night. I know "Top Billing" by heart and yet I don't think I've ever put it on by choice.

My own personal Guantanemo.

Rap--actually music in general--is sometimes a depressingly academic pursuit, downloading legally purchasing "The Next Shit" or "The Classic Shit" so that you can argue with the next man about whether it is sufficiently "Next" enough, and use the "Classics" as your points of reference. Then you move on. But certain albums just resonated with me. Some blew me away with innovation. Some were just lyrically insane. Some just grew on me out of circumstance. Had I not bought Stakes Is High the day before I got my wisdom teeth out, and thus had it on repeat while in a three-day opiate-induced haze, who knows if I'd love it like I do. For whatever reason, this is a list of 25 rap albums I kept them on repeat for weeks, months, even years. Because I'm frequently on the train asking myself "this morning, do I want to judge the Rich Boy album, try to appreciate old Biz Markie more fully, or do I want to just cool out to The Diary for the thousandth time?" Inevitably I choose The Diary, but that's at least in part because my copy is mislabled as The Dairy.

Here comes the red meat.

Sometimes the sheer volume of music (rap and otherwise) makes me question my own tastes; can I actually even tell what's good anymore? Am I too influenced by what the interweb is saying? What does Fresh see in Marco Polo that I don't? Who actually listened to Doctor's Advocate more than three times? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills, nahmean? Looking over this list and feeling confident that I could drop about 500 words to defend any one of these choices is very affirming.

Anyways we were explicitly directed to not justify our choices, but feel free to beef with me in the comment section.

1) J-Live - The Best Part
2) Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein
3) Nas - Illmatic
4) Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die
5) MF Doom - Operation: Doomsday
6) Devin the Dude - Just Tryna Live
7) Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders
8) T.I. - Trap Muzik
9) Kanye West - The College Dropout
10) RJD2 - Deadringer
11) E-40 - In A Major Way
12) Ice Cube - Amerikkka's Most Wanted
13) Aesop Rock - Apple Seed EP
14) Scarface - The Diary
15) UGK - Ridin Dirty
16) Three 6 Mafia - Da Unbreakables (Chopped and Screwed)
17) Ghostface - Fishscale
18) MF Doom - Viktor Vaughn Vaudeville Villian
19) Juggaknots - Clear Blue Skies
20) V/A - Soundbombing II
21) De La Soul - Stakes Is High
22) Outkast - Stankonia
23) The Roots - Do You Want More!??!!!??!?
24) Dr. Octagon - Dr. Octagynacologist
25) Mitchy Slick - Urban Survival Syndrome

Honorable mentions:
GZA - Liquid Swords, Ghostface - Supreme Clientelle, Gangstarr - Daily Operation, Gangstarr - Moment of Truth, Showbiz and AG - Runaway Slave, Atmosphere - Ford One/Ford Two, Nas - Hip-Hop Is Dead, The Coup - Genocide and Juice, Outkast - Southernplayalisticc, Goodie Mob - Soul Food, Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt, Redman - Dare Iz A Darkside, EPMD - Strictly Business, etc.

GW9k's list can be found here. Burnso's list can be found here.

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