I spend an exciting Sunday afternoon organizing my music collection. In the past that would have meant gathering and sorting my records, tapes and CDs. Choosing a a few to go onto the regular listing schedule, and alphabetizing the rest. Maybe even choosing some for display on a one of several shelves that have decorated my various bedroom over the years. Whenever I undertake this task I find some gems that I'd forgotten about and put them back into rotation.

Nowadays, that music collection organization is really a kind of file management. A few years ago I centralized all my music onto a new terabyte portable hard-drive I got for my birthday (yeah, that's how I roll). I finally took the time to collect and sort all my music files on that drive. And just like when I'd do it with the ancient physical media, I found some forgotten gems. Specifically some outstanding 90's rap albums.

This 1990 album, BDP's fourth, aims an epic fusion of entertainment and education on economic, social, and race issues. It does this with some great straight up rap songs. KRS-ONE is a master lyricist. The music comes out of the perfect time between the rise of 90's G-Funk and and the waning of the 80's old school style.

I declare this the perfect gangsta rap album. Even that is selling it short. It's much deeper and more insightful than that. It's one of the best albums, as a whole, all the songs from track one to the end. The songs are each an insight into a the life of a man trying to live life. A simple everyday life that is derailed by social realities. Together it is a painting reflecting reality.

In 1992 the coming together of two titans of rap, on one song, was big deal. This was the days before featuring on a song became standard part of hip hop. So when Ice Cube and Ice-T came together for a move and a song on the soundtrack it was amazing. There's also great songs by Public Enemy, Sir Mix-a-Lot, Penthouse Players Clique, Black Sheep, and my favorite; WC and the Maad Circle's "Quick Way Out."

In the aftermath of Ice-T's New Jack City, O.G. Original Gangsta, Body Count period came this 1993 album. Ice is angrier and the music has a nice early 90's Cali vibe. And there are so many good songs. Ice's albums can be hit and miss, but the O.G. album and this one are great straight through.

From 1991, this was the second album from CMW. They always had a unique flavor in their songs. Nihilistic, dark visions in the lyrics, paired with often beautiful fusions of jazz and funk sounds. The also have some of the best uses of lyric samples and movie clips in songs.


 

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