One show I always enjoyed watching when I was younger was VH1’s show Classic Albums. It was a show that would document distinctive albums that were considered great works by a popular band or musician, and they would show the recording process behind these albums. I was always fascinated by the show, because it would show me how creative these artist really were. I didn’t watch the show all the time, but the times I did I usually wasn’t too familiar with the albums that they would document, because they were usually more rock, and back then I was strictly hip hop, soul and r&b music. The few episodes I did catch that left an impression on me was Phil Collins’ Face Value, Steely Dan’s Aja, Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt, The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Electric Ladyland, Paul Simon’s Graceland, Stevie Wonders’ Songs in the Key of Life and The Doors self titled debut.
I just finished watching The Doors episode. I hadn’t seen it in years, and after watching it, I see more of the genius behind the album than I did before. I remember the first time seeing this episode I found it so interesting that The Doors a well known psychedelic rock band was influenced by musicians like Ray Charles and James Brown (borrowing riffs from them), along with Brazilian and Latino sounds to create that album. It’s really amazing how talented these musicians were back in the 60s and 70s to create such pieces of art that are still being recognized 40 years later. The Doors album is an album I need to get in my collection soon, I know I’ve come across it quite a few times while digging, but usually I didn’t want to spend the $7 or $10 on it, so I just pass on it. I’ll have to have someone buy me a copy, or I’ll just find a cheap copy while digging sometime.
I’m not sure if VH1 still shows episodes of Classic Albums, because I don’t watch much TV these days, but that would be a complete shame if they discontinued the show. The last time I saw a new episode of Classic Albums was when they did Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt, and that was some years ago. I always did wish they would document more soul, funk, jazz, hip hop, reggae, and blues albums on there, but I guess when you think about it VH1 always catered more to the rock and pop crowd… that’s why BET or TV One should step up and create a spin off of a show that documents those albums. There are so many great albums that I’d love to hear the story behind how they were made.
P.S. My favorite Doors song is "The End", it’s such a dark and eerie song, and I dig that. I first heard the song at the beginning of the film Apocalypse Now, and ever since then dug the hell out of it.
I know I’m very late with my list of top albums of the year, but it’s been a rough end of the year with my music sources (my computers keyboard stopped working, so I haven’t been able to access my itunes the last 3 weeks, and my iPod got stolen out my car last week, so I just haven’t had much access to any of my current music). So I decided to try to at least list 20 albums I enjoyed, that got steady play through out the year in no particular order. I know I’ll be missing a few albums I played through out the year, and also be missing some peoples favorite albums, but really there is so much music out there these days, it’s hard to keep up with it everything, so I usually just play whatever I can get my hands on, reasons why I wish I had more friends into music. Last year I did a top 25 list of my favorite albums of 2010, so this is my top 20 albums of 2011 in no particular order…
eLZhi ELmatic (mixtape)
Great album from one of the most slept on lyricist in hip hop, paying homage to the greatest hip hop album of all time, and creating an album that stands out on its own.
I don’t mess with too much Southern Hip Hop honestly, but K.R.I.T. is an exception, and is a perfect example of what I’d like to hear from more Southern MCs these days. This album is packed with deep introspective lyrics and rich Southern cultural influences.
This album came at me by surprise, I just happen to see something about it on UGHH.com during the summer, and checked it out, and immediately feel in love with the hard hittin production (provided by Kenny Dope) and intelligent lyrics, which reminded me of that 90s shit I loved.
Very raw and eccentric album, that blends funk, rock, electro and soul. Great lyrics and instrumentation, and I really dig the love theme around this album. I really wish I heard more black bands like TV On The Radio.
First time I heard this guy was on a diss track aimed at Kanye West and Lil Wayne a year or two ago, and thought the brother was raw. This is one MC heads need to keep there ears on, one of the most dangerous lyricist in the game right now. The album is produced entirely by Ski Beatz, and Lock never falls short on any tracks.
Whenever I listen to this album, I’m amazed at how soulful this guy is, I keep telling people, he really studied some soul music growing up. I really dig the soulful and minimilistic style he uses on this album.
This album right here, I’d say is my favorite hip hop album of the year, and maybe favorite album of the year. Butterfly and Tendai Maraire really created something eccentric and progressive with this album. Filled with intricate lyrics and experimental song structures, this is a must for any music listener to check out. It’s a very black album if you know what I mean, and I wish more black folks would open up and check it out, because this shit is just fuckin’ incredible.
This album got major play during the summer, and features the song that will forever remind me of summer 2011, “Pot Ash”. I love Co$$’ unique rappin style, that to me is very poetic and intimate. Still waiting on his music video for “Love Is” which should be dropping soon.
This band I don’t know anything about them honestly, but my music buddy put me onto them a few months ago, and I totally dug their retro psychedelic rock style they incorporated in their music. Listening to this album you wouldn’t even know it came out in 2011. This is a band I really want to see live.
My first time hearing Stalley was on the song “Address” by Curren$y, and intrigued by his rappin style. He has a smooth flow and uses introspective lyrics to get his point across. This album, though I expected more, at the end of the day I really did enjoy the overall feel of it.
His much anticipated Funk album, that went under the music radar. I admit I was expecting something much funkier, but I did dig the album a lot, some really good tracks. My only compliant was he had too many songs on it, if he would have taken out maybe 3 or 4 tracks it would have been a much better and cohesive album, but it was still very enjoyable.
Such a great comeback album for Common, and it came at the very end of the year. I was really starting to think he had fallen off after he dropped UMC, but he really showed us he’s back on this offering that was produced entirely by No ID.
The third album from my good friend Lamont. I helped him on this project, and I think it came out pretty dope. The album was produced entirely by Dom McLennon, who’s a dope young beatmaker out of CT. A hip hop blogger who reviewed the album described his style as, “The Original Man got bars for days”.
The latest offering from one of the last soul singers of our generation, and the album honestly isn’t bad. I really enjoyed it, my only complaint was I felt he held back a little on his vocals compared to his other albums, but it’s still good. I emphasize on the deluxe edition, because this one features 3 bonus songs that I really dig, that are as good or better than the original 12 tracks on the album.
Blu and Exile Give Me My Flowers While I Can Smell Them
Just like Blu to drop an album out the Blue with no forewarning. I’m not complaining at all though, I’ve been anxious to hear the album since hearing about it. This is the much talked about Memoirs album he spoke on that he did with Exile in 2009. The album is dope, and a great follow up to Below the Heavens.
Dope album from Jimmy Fallon’s house band. I really dig the concept of the album, and how it’s told in reverse order. I really wish more people would support good music, I see The Roots only sold 48,000 copies of this album in the first week, and this is one of the best hip hop albums of the year.
Raphael has really been capitalizing on the retro soul movement in music lately, and he’s been doing a great job with it. He took this album back to the late 1950s to 1960s, and did an excellent job. Great instrumentatio, lyrics and singing. I will admit, I would like him to create a more contemporary album, maybe his next one will be more modern with influences of the past like Instant Vintage.
A dope Ohio beatmaker who many might not be too familiar with, hell I admit I wasn’t too familiar with him until he dropped this album and I did my research. I really dig the smooth flow of the album, good features, and he isn’t too bad on the mic either.
Another year has passed, and it’s now 2012. Doesn’t it seem like the years just go by so quickly when you get older. When I was younger it seemed like time went by so much slower, and now it just seems like time is just going and going, and not waiting on anyone.
2011 was an ok year for me, didn’t do a lot of the things I had planned and hoped for, but I did meet some great people and had some enjoyable experiences. The year did end on a sour note though, with my iPod getting stolen out of my car while chillin watching movies at a friends house, oh well, it did need to be replaced.
I’m going to make 2012 a good year, I know that’s very cliche’, but it really is a fresh start, and how you begin it will dictate how it will probably end, and I need to get out of this slump I’ve been in. Also, the number 2012 just looks so cool, doesn’t it? I know there’s a deeper science to these numbers, other than the world ending this year. I have no resolutions, but I’m going to make some changes, get more focused, pick up some new hobbies (photography and maybe an instrument), try new things, and just enjoy life.