Borderless State: Random Hip-Hop Selection 1991-2013

The past month or so I've been checking out Hip-Hop I'd previously neglected. What happened with me and Hip-Hop was this. In very broad brush strokes. OK, maybe forget "White Lines" and "The Message" - we heard them on the TV - it really started in 1987 with Public Enemy's "Yo Bum Rush The Show", LL Cool J's "Radio" and Run DMC's "Raising Hell." Then there was the daisy-age stuff - De La Soul, The Jungle Brothers, ATCQ and KMD - and at the same time harder stuff like Juice Crew and Eric B and Rakim.

Then the "Golden" era - again during which I was very tuned in - Gang Starr's "Daily Operation", Black Moon, later Tribe Called Quest, Diamond, yeah, you know. I loved Gang Starr actually especially "Step In The Arena" which I had on a cassette and caned. I think Gang Starr's reputation has been slightly tarnished recently by all the weird stuff around Guru and his demise :-(

Then there was the whole Wu-Tang explosion which was great for like six LPs. To be honest I sort of started to lose my interest a bit round that time. Around '97 I was listening to 2 step and Timbaland (who I always think of as R'n'B). Then it was all about the pre-echoes of Grime and Grime itself right the way through to 2005. I suppose Grime really was Hip-Hop to an extent. Well, it was rapping at least. I did like some Crunk and I had picked a bunch of twelve inches because they were like "urban". But ultimately I switched off in 1996. Ten years on. Twenty years off.

Here are some of the nice tracks I've heard as a result of my recent researches. Pretty much in precise chronological order. Some are old favourites. Commentary: Tribe were so bloody hot - those middle two LPs are faultless. Gravediggaz - that's an amazing LP which I dismissed without even hearing it at the time. Pete Rock and CL Smooth's "The Main Ingredient" - that might even be better than "Mecca and The Soul Brother". Goodie Mob and UGK - interesting Southern stuff with all the instruments played. Outkast "Elevators" - great to hear this again. Gang Starr's very late "Moment of Truth" - very impressive. Redman's "Muddy Waters" (see the artwork) - astonishingly good album. Three very good LPs by Redman. The Roots "Things Fall Apart" - always dismissed this crew but on the strength of this incredible CD quite wrongly. D'Angelo - everyone knows this. It is Hip-Hop, of course. Clipse's late "Hell Hath No Fury" - best record the Neptunes ever did. Lil Wayne - a bit spotty but good stuff in there. Gucci Mane's "Radric Davis" - brilliant disc. Shabazz Palace's "Black Up" - better than "Lese Majesty". Drake's "Take Care" - wish I understood this guy was riffing on "808s and Heartbreaks" - I would have tuned in sooner - sometimes the most obvious things are never mentioned - this is a really nice record. Danny Brown is OK but probably not really Hip-Hop. Marketing innit. Pusha T "Numbers" - great single - over-rated LP. A$AP Rocky - "LONG.LIVE.A$AP" - that's good.

Sorry this is a bit telegrammatic. Just the data. I know some cunts like proper sentences. And I heard lots of things that were really not at all good. Massively overrated and very crap in fact. Jay-Z "Reasonable Doubt" (horribly dated naff instrumentation - silly Al Pacino impersonations), Kendrick Lamarr's "Section 80" (arrogant and pompous), Company Flow's "Funcrusher Plus" (unlistenable rubbish), Talib Kweli and HiTek "Train of Thought" (weedy tuneless drek), Freddie Gibbs/Madlib (retro boom-bap yawn), Vince Staples (for bourgeois Pitchfork music fans),  Earl Sweatshirt (feeble), and YG (can't even remember why this was unappealing - so, unmemorable as well as substandard).


Gang Starr - Execution Of A Chump (No More Mr. Nice Guy Pt.2)
Lords Of The Underground - Chief Rocka
ATCQ - Sucka Nigga
OC - Word...Life
Pete Rock & CL Smooth - Worldwide
Gravediggaz - Blood Brothers
Three 6 Mafia - Long Nite
Smif’N’Wessun - Wontime
Goodie Mob - Dirty South
UGK - Touched
Outkast - Elevators (Me And You)
Gang Starr - New York Strait Talk
Redman - On Fire
The Roots - Act Too...The Love Of My Life
D'Angelo - One Mo' Gin
Clipse - Mr. Me Too
Lil’ Wayne - Let The Beat Build
Gucci Mane - Gingerbread Man
Shabazz Palaces - Free Press And Curl
Drake - Over My Dead Body
Danny Brown - Die Like A Rockstar
Pusha T - Numbers On The Boards
A$AP Rocky - Goldie