"Dedicated To The Winners & The Losers..." - Raekwon

Friday, August 28, 2009

Not A Blogger Vs. The Britney Spears Concert: Live At Madison Square Garden (8/26/09)

"It's Britney, bitch."

In the past ten years of my life, I have approximately thought for about 9.58 seconds(or approximately the amount of time that it takes Usain Bolt to run the 100 meter dash) about Britney Spears’ music in any context other than “what is this terrible noise and why is it screeching from my car radio?” (Fuck It! I’m a hater.) Let’s put it this way: my iPod currently has 12,541 unique songs on its hard drive. I have at least, one song, by virtually every major act of the last 50 years in my ever expanding collection of (“illegal”) music that is clogging up space on my hard drive. I have two Jim Jones albums, three Young Jeezy albums, an assortment of songs from some lame ass indie rock bands my friends keep pushing on me, and a Kenny G Christmas album on this joint. I’m nothing but eclectic, motherfuckers. With all of that choice, I still don’t have one single solitary Britney Jean Spears song on this piece of technology. (Not even “Toxic.” I know! Blasephemy...) That’s how little I’ve thought about her music over the last decade.

You see, I’m old school. I operate on the guiding principle that any respectable teenage male must not only refuse to listen to music produced primarily for the enjoyment of teenage girls (and consequently, kitsch-loving gay men) but fiercely deny that I would ever be worth listening to lest my fledgling sexuality be subject to the mocking of my peers. (That it how it was and that it how always shall be.) I partially attribute this steadfast dogma to forcing myself to listen to rap-rock (I know. Fail.) in the late ‘90s as a way to counteract the goofy, chaste preppiness that I was being assaulted with when I watched TRL when I came home from a hard day of underachieving at high school. However, I was also a horny teenage boy during this period which meant I was very interested in Britney Spears from a deeper “philosophical” standpoint. Britney Spears was the hottest hottie since hot came to Hot Town. Of course, I’m a Britney Spears “fan.” I spent a good portion of my teenage years “philosophizing” on how Britney would look naked over the internets. (I know. Win.) Britney Spears represented the first sex symbol of my youth that was roughly my age. To my young teenage mind, it wasn’t inconceivable that had luck plucked me from my drear suburban existence and placed me in contact with Ms. Spears that I could make her my girlfriend. I could care less about her music but her music videos... I could watch those all day as long as I was alone in a dark basement with nobody home. Pardon my euphemism. Granted, these days, Britney is better recognized as walking human catastrophe than anything remotely passable as a sex symbol but nevertheless I have fond, fond memories of when Ms. Spears was gyrating on stage in various states of undress at the VMAs when she had her fastball. I’m sure I have pictures of it buried deep within my hard drive. So when my friend who works for Madison Square Garden offered to buy a group of my friends cheap tickets for the Britney Spears Circus Tour at MSG, my instant response was “Yes. A thousand times, yes. Cop me a damn ticket. Hell the fuck yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.”

Now, of course, I won’t pay to go see Britney Spears in concert. No way. I won’t even go to a Britney Spears concert by myself even it was free. But with a bunch of my idiot, drunken, drug-addled friends? And with the promise of beer and the glorious potential of a massive trainwreck? You can’t possible contain my enthusiasm for this. I live by a guiding set of rules in my life and if offered the chance to see a potential cataclysm in person, I do not pass up on the offer. Britney Spears. Concert. 2009. Madison Square Garden. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. What I didn’t see was a trainwreck. What I saw was far more awesome.

Now because none of us gave a fuck about the opener, the thoroughly mediocre American Idol sycophant Jordin Sparks, we met up at a spectacular seedy dive bar, The Distinguished Wakamba Cocktail Lounge, on 37th and 8th at 7 p.m. before the show to start out night of debauchery. Most “dive” bars in Manhattan are these consciously crafted pseudo-hipster places with impossibly attractive bartenders and period paraphernalia picked by interior decorators in the hopes of invoking some “authentic” form of New York atmosphere circa Neveruary 1940 Question Mark. Basically, the look is so you can pretend you aren’t at one of these douchebaggy Upper East side joints but so they can still charge you Upper East side prices. This place isn’t like that. It’s a damn dive in the purest sense of the word. Upon entering the front door, you can instantly see this place has not been remotely changed roughly since its opened. The interior looks like the Copacabana circa that scene in Goodfellas in ‘62 and the few people that are actually in the bar look like they roughly have been patronizing the place since the Copa opened. Tiki torches, bamboo piping, and fake palm trees are the modus operandi for this place. Basically, if there was ever a place for a bunch of twenty-something hipsters to ironically attend a Britney Spears concert in 2009, this place was most assuredly it. We arrived ordered our drinks, passed out the tickets and talked Britney before (I shit you not, people.) being kicked out of the bar because the health inspector had shut down the bar... while we were in it. I’ve been in lot of dirty establishments in the hopes of feeding my insatiable craving for alcohol since I moved to New York. I have never been in one that required to immediately be shut down out of health concerns. Clearly, this would be a night to remember.

Upon being removed from the Wakamba Lounge out of fear that we might be infected by government-created nano-robots or something (and copping myself a delicious piece of street meat at the cart in front of the arena. Cuz lord knows, I ain’t paying 20 bucks for a hot dog in the damn Garden.), we made our to the Garden to catch the beginning of the show. The first thing you should know if you are a straight male attending a Britney Spears concert is there will be a sea of young women in various states of revealing clothes and the only other creatures with a penis in the vicinity will be far more concerned with other penii than providing anything remotely passing as competition. The demographics skew like this. 90% female, 9% gay men, .9% straight dudes being dragged to the show by their girlfriends, .1% Me. I might have been the only single, straight male in the entire concert which depending on how you look at it is either creepy, extremely uncomfortable, an opportunity or hilarious. Personally, I thought it was all the above. Luckily, any creepiness and discomfort was alleviated by, the fact, that I was drunk so it evolved strictly into being an opportunistically hilarious.

We arrived at our seats just as the giant clock counting down on the huge circular video screen in the center of the arena reached one. This being the “Circus Tour” and all (I guess because her last album was called “Circus” or whatever. I didn’t listen to it.), the gigantic stage in the center of the arena is set up like a three-ring circus (obviously, dumb-asses) complete with a ringmaster, creepy Gacy-like clowns and surprisingly brolic contortionists. As the lights dimmed, a few acrobatic set-pieces (including a legless woman on a trampoline) primed the audiences for Spears entrance. Britney descended from the rafters on glittering swing in some sort of diamond corset. We were off.

The first thing you’ll notice at the show is that Britney is not the dancer she used to be. Britney never sung with anything remotely considered skill so dancing used to be what set her apart from the rest of her teeny bop clones. Instead of elaborately choreographed dance routines that she used to execute flawlessly when she was in her prime, Britney sort of vamps and struts around the stage while her backup dancers work their asses off to make her look good. It’s sort of the equivalent of watching a veteran NBA shooting guard who has lost his ability to blow by defenders and get to the rim. Britney is settling for jump shots and while she certainly understands how to work a crowd, she is not the performer she once was. I suppose it’s understandable considering she’s had two kids, snorted up a pharmacy worth of drugs, and had a complete mental collapse over the last couple. I suppose if I married Kevin Federline then I’d probably lose my ability to crossover Shane Battier, too.

To make up for, the show pulls all stops on a visual overload of orgiastic, optic delights. There is literally not a portion of the stage that is flooded with dancers, clowns, and pyrotechnics to keep you visually in awe. Basically, there is enough flashing lights to leave a Japanese anime fan in a permanent epileptic coma. (Eat your fucking heart out, Pokemon.) To me, Britney’s music has always been irrelevant to the visuals she’s placing forth for the viewer. Britney’s primarily a visual artist working within a musical context. She’s always been selling some type of image rather than her actual music. She’s always known this and her handlers have always known this. Think about her music videos over the years, you can better remember her outfits than you can do the actual songs. The red catsuit from “Oops! I Did It, Again” and the futuristic stewardess outfit from “Toxic” are more memorable than the songs, themselves. It’s reason that she consciously chose to sex up her catholic schoolgirl look in the “…Baby, One More Time” video. You are supposed to remember the visual before you even begin to engage with the song. It’s how she sells her stuff and the “Circus Tour” is selling the visual in plenty. It’s mind effin’ blowing with all the stuff that is going on around you.

Britney does most of her hits over the course of the show and because they are so damn ubiquitous you sing-along. You just enjoy herself. Its all fantastically well executed. Its really an odd feeling to sing along to “Hit Me Baby” with 20,000 aging, twenty-something former teeny boppers but its undeniable. Britney, after all these years, is a damn professional and she knows her audience. You are in the presence of master of live performance and she will have you singing and dancing along even if you are a jaded hip hop head like myself.

We forget because she’s been with us for a decade and has moved into the Michael Jackson zone of bizarre pop iconography but Britney has managed to execute a pop career that rivals any pop star of the last century. She’s sold 6 platinum albums, made hundred of millions of dollars, had countless hits and continues to be a giant in pop culture. She’s going be with us until the day she dies a botoxed Elizabeth Taylor figure or collapses in inevitable heartbreaking fashion at a young age. There really isn’t a third option for this girl. I caught her performance when she was starting to lose what made her great in the first place but could still recognize the sexpot of my youth. It was like watching the last blazing glory of a dying phoenix. I wonder what she’s got in the next act of her life but perhaps… it’ll be stronger than yesterday.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pen & Pixel + Ghostface = Awesome.

I'm of the minority position that "The Wizard Poetry" is going to be pure, Barney Stinson-class awesome. Of course, "Baby" was meh but so have all Ghost's singles over the last couple of years and that hasn't stopped him from dropping classic after classic. Besides when Ghost tries to make a "for-the-ladies" song they end up sounding completely oddball like "Big Girls" or "Child's Play" and to tell you the truth, I think I can kind of dig an album that sounds like "Child's Play."

This is Dennis Coles that we are talking about, people. The man is allergic to wackness.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Not A Blogger Live!: Bajah + Dry Eye Crew At Lincoln Center (8/7/09)

"Break out the Zubaz pants, yo!"

There is a powerful moment during Bajah + Dry Eye Crew’s electrifying live set where the band’s three rappers, Bajah, A-Klazz and Dovy Dovy, re-enact one of the most terrifying moments of their lives. Staring at the barrel of a commanding officer’s pistol, the band members are sadistically forced to freestyle rap to save their lives. Its a harrowing moment and reminder that most of will never have to face anything as remotely horrifying as war...civil war. A moment where the band forces us to take notice of the fickle cruel nature of fate and how it all can be ripped away from us at the whim of a sadist. Perhaps, this is why Bajah + Dry Eye Crew want nothing to do with the cartoonish violence that characterizes the post-50 American gangster rap scene because they lived the real thing. You don’t need street cred when you have life cred.

Bajah + Dry Eye Crew, hailing from war-torn (and Kanye West made-famous) Sierra Leone, are currently the biggest hip hop act in Africa and they are currently in the process of trying to translate their wordly, eclectic sound for American audiences. Their mixtape, “Kings Of Salone: The DJ Gravy Mixtape”, recently released at okayplayer.com for free download, is one of the most surprising and freshests releases I’ve heard all year. “Kings Of Salone” is a mish-mash of varying influences. It combines dusty, futuro hip hop-meets-african percussion, shuffling reggae-influenced melodies and twisting, dexterous dancehall vocals. It borrows from everybody from Timbaland to the Roots to El-P to Elephant Man. It’s the type of release that the Fugees would have made had Wyclef and Lauryn never started fucking. On tracks like “Rapumpum”, “Love Of My Life”, and “My Own Life”, they belie a deep understanding of the human condition and the suffering that war causes upon the people of their own land. Not to mention, a couple of the tracks the tape teases seems like it’s primed to assault the clubs (“Honda” really stands out.) This is very exciting stuff.

I caught Bajah et. al perform at the Lincoln Center Outdoor Ampitheater at Hip Hop Generation Next’s annual Global Hip Hop festival. It was a truly bizarre group with lots of aging, 60ish hippies and children swaying awkwardly to the music. I arrived late and thought I had the wrong place at first. Its not often you see people who look like my parents at hip hop show. I can only chock that up to the show being free. Bajah rocked the crowd, anyway. Perhaps due to being used to performing in front of crowds in the hundreds of thousands in their native land, the crew had a tight, polished show. Backed by a full 12-piece band, Bajah is a natural entertainer and frontman and his show includes set pieces that feature dancers, singers and live instrumentation. The band is damn good.

I feel these guys have a real shot at finding an audience in the United states. They are awesome live, they write good songs and judging by the way, they could appeal to 60ish white people they seem primed to have their debut album break out. You know if some smarmy ass bloggers (Word to myself) don’t deem these guys boring because of all that positive stuff they are preaching. Negativity is the new populism, after all. Don’t front on these cats.

Download: Bajah + Dry Eye Crew - Kings Of Salone: The DJ Gravy Mixtape

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Importance Of Not Bitching Over Twitter About A Rap List On Somebody Else’s Fucking Blog: 6 Albums That Should Have Made Passion's Top 50 Rap List

"Here I am in my smug, elitist contrarian troll glory! Witness the face of the enemy! Know thee and despair!"

“Zeus is a contrarian troll who debates not with facts and ideas but presumptions and sweeping character generalizations. He deserves nothing but my dismissal and condescension.” - Andrew Noz

A wise man once said (or a wise man I invented for the purpose of rhetorical device but I’m sure someone said something in vein. If not I said it and I’m definitely a “wise man.” No humble.) “there’s no sense in getting your panties bunched up about music lists. You look like a petulant child and the list is probably wrong, anyway.” Luckily, petulant man-childhood is the reigning philosophy of my life and due to my constant state of arrested development and immaturity, I have no qualms bitching about lists. It’s fun. After polling the crème de le crème of hip hop bloggers (including yours truly, bitches), Jeff Weiss and Jonathan Bradley have compiled a list of the Top 50 rap albums of the decade for Weiss’ blog, The Passion Of The Weiss.

While the list is most assuredly better and far more accurate than the brain trust at Pitchfork (or hell, even XXL) will inevitably trot at the end of the year, I couldn’t help but notice that my fellow bloggers inexplicably left off some of the better releases of the decade from the list, in favor, the works of Mike Skinner, extraneous MF Doom albums and mediocre Blu & Exile records. Clearly, this is unforgivably egregious and demands immediate remedy (over Twitter, of course). Luckily, my loyal readers, I am a man that has been gifted with “The Curse of Flawless And Impeccable Taste” so I will offer six records that warrant performance of the Cruciatus Curse upon my fellow bloggers for leaving them off. Consensus can be a motherfucker.

1. The Game – The Doctor’s Advocate (2006)

Jayceon Taylor is… let’s just say… a “complicated” man. To be more delicate, the Game is bat-shit fucking crazy. Of course, you wouldn’t know that had your only listening experience with the man been “The Documentary”, a record best described as “the Transformers 2 of rap music.” His record was an expensive, glossy over-produced rap record saved by the sheer amount of production talent, name-brand guests, and two monster 50 Cent-assisted singles. Game, however, was content to name-drop his way to mediocrity on his own album. You barely would have realized if he was there if he wasn’t staring at you, shirtless, on his own album cover.

The Doctor’s Advocate” coming in the wake of Game’s ejection out of G-Unit and divorce from Dr. Dre (and the cringe-inducing psychosis these events wrought on our hero) is nothing short of revelatory, however. Its an artistic birth for a rapper who remained a creative cipher on his debut album. Not only is Game’s rapping dramatically improved but the album plays like a twisted gangster rap version of “Rumors” or a violently uncomfortable love letter from a scorned stalker to the apple of his eye. Game spends the album raging savagely against those he feels did him wrong (real or imagined) and those who would dare to keep him down. Sure, the annoying name-dropping remains but so does the razor-sharp production and his rapping and song-writing improve upon his earlier work. The name-dropping seems even creepily in place considering songs like “Doctor’s Advocate” place Game firmly in the creepy stalker vein.

This record might be the most emo gangster rap record ever recorded but still it undeniably bangs. “Lookin’ At You”, “It’s Okay (One Blood)”, “Wouldn’t Get Far”, and “Remedy” are as well-executed as anything on “The Documentary” and the deeper cuts like “One Night” and “Why You Hate The Game” are deeply engaging. Game is flawed rapper and this is a flawed record but a vivid and entertaining one. Even if Game is thin shred of sanity away from boiling Dr. Dre’s rabbit in a pot.

2. Devin The Dude – Just Tryin’ Ta Live (2002)

No rapper catches the bittersweet pangs of everyman sad-sackitude quite like Devin Copeland. His melodic, melancholy voice and off-beat, weirdo cadence captures woe better than any instrument this side of Robert Johnson’s devil-infused guitar strings. The Dude is a simple man obsessed with simple things like cheap wine, cheaper women and weed that is way to fine to be cheap and “Just Tryin’ Ta Live” is his lonely magnum opus tribute to those three things. He’s been the lonely stoner freein’ his mind way back before Kid CuDi was getting high at the triangle cutting gym class in high school. (Word to my Shaker High heads! Trust me, they get the reference…)

Make no mistake, Devin the Dude is just as emo as anything that has passed the lips of Sean Daley but he has the uncanny ability to make you laugh hysterically at his problems and not want to punch him in the face (like anytime, somebody tries to convince me to re-evaluate an Atmosphere record) when you hear him gleefully croon rap on his record. Devin injects his music with the type of southern fried funk that rattles trunks in adjoining states that keeps his albums from falling into the traps of whine rap. Devin subverts expectations of what you expect from both a Houston rapper and an emo one by gleefully bragging about his problems like his busted, broken down car (“Lacville ‘79”), neighborhood bullies (“I-Hi”), and even somebody stealing your last bag of weed (“Doobie Ashtray.”) The latter song is one of the most oddly heartbreaking songs of quiet reflection, rap music has ever produced. It’s become something of a personal anthem as I stumble home drunk and lonely at 3 a.m. by myself. (Which happens way more than I’d care to admit).

Personally, I don’t feel you can go wrong with a record where the hero is more than willing to play the fool…repeatedly… at his own expense…repeatedly. If I were a drunken fuck-up from Houston this undoubtedly would be the record that I’d make.

3. Cage – Hell’s Winter (2005)

If you are a person that believes in the inherent truth in tropes than you might ascribe to the notion that devastating personal trauma is often the genesis for great music. In fact, you might ascribe to the notion that personal trauma is the only recipe for great music. So one must wonder why it took Cage nearly a decade into his fledgling rap career to make “Hell’s Winter,” a darkly confessional album that journeys into the heart of Cage’s horrifically troubled life?

On his debut album, “Movies For The Blind”, Cage crafts violent, horrorcore fantasy and on “Hell’s Winter”, we learn where the violent fantasies come from. Backed by the Def Jux all-stars dystopic production (Total Aside: Is there another way to describe El-P’s production style? I’m tired of writing dystopic when describing him.), Cage delves into his abusive childhood, his own rampant drug addiction and the deep-seated psychological problems that accompany it. “Too Heavy For Cherubs” describes the horrors of the indescribable abuse (and I really do mean indescribable…) he faced at the hands of his junkie drug-dealing father while “Stripes” describes the pain of being ripped away from the same father by the police. By the time we hear the defiant, mournful horns on the title track, we have been painted a vivid picture of an artist’s life and pain. Its breathtaking in its candid honesty. For an artist, best known prior to this album, as the rapper who claimed Eminem stole his style from him, its remarkably ironic that Cage made the best Eminem album since “The Marshall Mathers LP.”

4. Ludacris – Word Of Mouf (2001)

It’s a fallacy to claim that Ludacris’ does not have any classic albums because, in a lot of ways, “Word Of Mouf” is the Dirth South’s answer to Jay-Z’s “Vol. 2.” It is a record jam-packed with a litany of Dirty South rap singles that ruled the radio way back in the year of our lord, 2001. What album this decade do you know that features a better collection of trunk-rattling, club assaulting, jeep bass crushing bangers than “Word Of Mouf?” “Rollout (My Business)”, “Saturday (Oooh Oooh!)”, “Area Codes”, “Move Bitch”, “Growing Pains.” That’s a murderer’s row of motherfucking club singles if I ever saw one.

The knock on Ludacris has always been that he can’t make a cohesive album to save his life. Perhaps, that’s true. However, I counter that sometimes you don’t need to make “the definitive artistic statement” to make a classic records. Sometimes the sum of the parts manage to make the whole look irrelevant. And sometimes, “Move Bitch” is such an undeniable jam slamming in the CD deck of your car that it don’t matter what you think.

5. Little Brother – The Minstrel Show (2005)

I’m always a bit baffled (but yet again, I guess I live in an ivory tower. You know because I like Edan records and write a middlebrow reactionary blog…) when a certain subset of people like to front like the “Minstrel Show” is some “boring ass, hating ass backpacker faggit shit” because when I listen to the record I hear the most incisively, hilarious record of the decade. “The Minstrel Show” is a no-holds, barred assault on the state of modern African-American entertainment and a record that’s simultaneously prophetic as fuck and an indictment of the sign o’ the times. It’s this decade’s “Stakes Is High.”

Record and released at the height of the mid-00s radio slip into uncomfortable, pseudo-minstrelsy Laffy Taffyism, Phonte, Big Pooh and 9th Wonder take aim at the elements of black culture they felt have failed them. On “Cheatin”, they hilariously send-up R. Kelly-style story tracks (if anything considering the direction of post-urine Kells this track might not go far enough) as Tigallo puts on his Percy Miracle wig and his croons his way to ignorant victory. While other tracks like the heartbreaking “All For You” take absentee fathers to task for abandoning their children. All the while, Phonte and Pooh trade witty clever couplets and craft fall-on –the floor funny type skts.

Oh, and 9th kills it with his production. Fuck what you heard!

6. J-Zone – Pimps Don’t Pay Taxes (2001)

When discussing hip hop music, I often refer to a concept about records I call “gloriously misogynistic.” A record which goes beyond the casual, ugly misogyny of the Cam’ron’s of the world, verves right pass the bounds of traditional feminist criticism and squarely into the realm of Howard Sternian “I-Can’t-Believe-He’s-It-Taking-There” hilarity. J-Zone’s hilarious “Pimps Don’t Pay Taxes” is a record that defines the concept.

J-Zone is a gifted story-teller and “Pimps Don’t Pay Taxes” spends the record giving a giant unapologetic “fuck you” to “the fake-ass activist headwrap chicks on the low kidnapping dicks”, backpacker fans demanding he “stay underground forever” and any other human being that crosses his ire. On songs like “Zone For President” and “Live From Pimp Palace East”, he describes his misanthropic ways in full assholic glory. J-Zone is a glorious bastard and he weaves his tales of Marxian anarchy to production that sounds like its channeling French New Wave cinema soundtracks and D.J. Premier. There’s no hooks on this record. Nothing resembling a hit record. And nothing that could remotely played in front of member of the opposite sex. An unapologetically, hilarious mean-spirited soundtrack to play in your Cadillac as you wave to backpackers bumping Trick Daddy.

One Final Note:

I’m often accused of being a violently contrarian prick and by own admission, I actively cultivate that impression. “Not A Blogger” was started with the distinct impression of being aggressively acerbic in my defense of my own particular worldview. A worldview I don’t expect anybody to have but myself. That’s all its EVER been. Its masturbatory, its schizophrenic and I think its also wildly fun. There is nothing I enjoy more than to hate on shit. I'm a narcissist. Sue me.

I’m completely willingly to debate the merits of an idea, as evidenced by the length page-long debates I have on the comment section but not when the opposing party isn’t necessarily being honest with their intentions. And I have distinct trouble reconciling the notion that a few select critics of Jeff Weiss’ list are being honest with their critiques of it ESPECIALLY when the vast majority of the criticism is being done in the 140 characters of asininity that are Twitter tweets. I can’t possibly take you very seriously if you can’t even bother to craft a well-rounded thought.

I mean honestly, people, Passion Of The Weiss is a privately-run blog. It’s not run by a major corporation. It does not claim major cultural cache. It’s not even fuckin’ Pitchfork. It’s the work of about a half dozen writers of various different backgrounds spread across North America who happen to all like hip hop (and happen to be white.. except Douglas. Wait… Oops.). People who do damn good work, I might add, as well. If we are to derive a lesson from a list, its that democratic process leaves absolutely nobody happy in the end… and apparently, George Washington wants MF Doom to have four albums on the top 50 (This is why I’m firmly believe in royalty.) For those who seem to think this is some sort of a vast indie rock conspiracy to ruin rap through El-P records, you need to ease up on the dramatic opening machine a little.

And yeah… Edan > Young Jeezy. Yesterday. Today. Always.

Here's my list for those that are interested:

1. Ghostface Killah - Supreme Clientele
2. Jay-Z - The Blueprint
3. Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP
4. Masta Ace - Disposable Arts (This is probably my favorite record of the decade. I love it. I could not it good conscious have it higher than the top 3, though.)
5. Nas - Stillmatic
6. Jay-Z - The Black Album
7. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
8. Kanye West - Graduation
9. Little Brother - The Listening
10. Scarface - The Fix
11. Madvillian - Madvilliany
12. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
13. J Dilla - Donuts
14. Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein
15. Cage - Hellz Winter
16. Masta Ace - A Long Hot Summer
17. Kanye West - The College Dropout
18. 50 Cent - Get Rich Or Die Tryin'
19. Devin The Dude - Just Tryin' Ta Live
20. Common - Be
21. J-Zone - Pimps Don't Pay Taxes
22. El-P - I'll Sleep When You're Dead
23. Clipse - Lord Willin'
24. Ghostface Killah - The Pretty Toney Album
25. DJ Muggs vs. GZA - Grandmasters
26. MF Doom - Operation Doomsday (This actually came out in '99. So...)
27. Edan - Beauty & The Beat
28. Lupe Fiasco - The Cool
29. The Game - The Doctor's Advocate
30. Eminem - The Eminem Show
31. T.I. - King
32. Little Brother - The Minstrel Show
33. Deltron 3030 - Deltron 3030
34. Reflection Eternal - Train Of Thought
35. Nas - The Lost Tapes
36. Lil Wayne - The Carter 2
37. Ludacris - Word Of Mouf
38. The Roots - Game Theory
39. M.O.P. - Warriorz
40. Outkast - Stankonia
41. RJD2 - Since We Last Spoke
42. Mr. Lif - I, Phantom
43. Wale - The Mixtape About Nothing (I actually didn't want to put this on here because of my strict mixtapes aren't albums rule but I felt weird leaving off my favorite release from last year.)
44. UGK - Underground Kingz
45. Dead Prez - Let's Get Free
46. Slum Village - Fantastic, Vol. 2
47. The Game - The Documentary
48. Common - Like Water For Chocolate
49. The Knux - Remind Me In 3 Days... (I like this record, a lot but I might be tripping on putting this even as low as 49.)
50. Brother Ali - Shadows On The Sun (I'm not sure I even like this record.)