Tuesday, November 08, 2005

"I get mad when it comes to playin' Hip-Hop"

There are advantages and disadvantages of being a "newjack". A clear advantage for me is that you can afford to (or have an excuse to be...) a lot more selective with what you check for from the years before you were listening, or before you were even born. Most 'experienced' heads are happy to point you in the right direction as far as Hip-Hop that predates you is concerned, and the internet is especially helpful with the likes of review websites, mp3s on artists' sites, etc. What's more, a sufficient 'classic' collection can be bought for next-to-nothing thanks to eBay, with enough music to keep you 'studying' for months to come. The downside, however, is that no matter how cheap you got your digitally remastered copy of 'Nation of Millions', you just weren't there to nod your head to Chuck D thinking "Hell fuckin' yeah". It's nothing to be bitter about; everyone has to start somewhere and every fan of every type of music has "homework" to do in order to make that transition from liking something and being passionate about it.

But what has caused me to make this post - which probably does sound bitter and whiny, but fuck all y'all ;) - is a realisation that I was pursuing 1980s and early 1990s Hip-Hop in a fucked up way. So obsessed was I at grabbing albums confirmed as dope by others, that I forgot that I was supposed to be looking for shit that would improve my own experience with Hip-Hop. Don't get me wrong, the majority of albums recommended to me are off-the-meter dope, with most notable examples beig 'Critical Beatdown', 'Criminal Minded', 'The Low End Theory' (the list goes on...), but as a British female born in 1985 getting into Hip-Hop circa 1997/8, I was bound not to feel everything that had been certified by mostly American males in their teens and 20s, back when I was still blissfully shitting in my diapers. I am fortunate enough to have enjoyed 99% of the shit that I have backtracked on, and it just so happens that a cluster of albums I now consider to be the best ever released were dropped when I was aged around 6-10 years.

But I have also criminally overlooked a number of releases thanks to my said former method of investigating "old skool" Hip-Hop, and because of the sheer volume of stuff I wanted to catch up on. This comment is brought on by my recent acquisition of Queen Latifah's third album, the 1993 'Black Reign'. After owning it only for one month (and buying it by complete chance...£1 on eBay, whut!!), it is steady earning its place in my 'favourites' category, and the album is let down only by the fact that 'Black Hand Side' is SO FUCKING DOPE that I keep putting it on repeat. To hear a female emcee rip shit about everyday life - sex, love, death, violence and, ahem, 'U.N.I.T.Y.' is refreshing as hell (she says...12 years later!).

It's a shame we don't have enough mainstream female emcees like her right now - unashamed of their bodies, uncompromising in their lyrical content, and truly able to kick it alongside even the best of their male counterparts. Feel free to hit up the comments and recomend some more shit to me (and not the other QL joints, they're on my when-i-get-some-fucking-money list)

So without further adeiu, here's mp3s of just 3 of my standout tracks on this pretty-much flawless album:

Black Hand Side
I Can't Understand
U.N.I.T.Y

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