One Year, One Album

Posted: January 3, 2014 in Music
Tags: , , , ,

A friend and musical inspiration of mine, a gentleman by the name of Rob “BC Music First”, asked one of the best questions ever the other day. He posted a status that simply said, “if you had ONE album to listen to for the one year, what would it be and why”. Anyone can name classic albums and artists (B.I.G. “Ready to Die”, Jay-Z “Reasonable Doubt”, Outkast “Stankonia” were some of the albums mentioned). The best part of the question was that he asked why. So many people overlooked that part, but he wouldn’t let them. Anyone who dared to comment, he made sure to always get the “why” out of them. I personally had no problem with this question. One album for one year, for me, took no more than a minute of thought.

Linkin Park’s Reanimation is easily my choice. For the many non LP fans, the ones who believe a black kid from the hood shouldn’t listen to rock music, or that someone who makes hip-hop music should blindly vote some classic hip-hop album for my OYOA choice, 2/3 of you (cause I won’t hold it against you for not liking LP) can kiss the fattest part of my ass. No album gives me the range of genres, vocals and instrumentation that Reanimation does and, fortunately or unfortunately, no album consistently matches my mood.  To me, it represents a perfect blend of rock and hip-hop with, get this, MEANINGFUL lyrics. It is literally everything that I want from not only the music of other artists, but what I expect from myself.

My fear is, my genre of choice, hip hop, seems to strongly lack anything meaningful these days. I grew up listening to DMX who would bare his story and his soul for the world in the studio and on the stage, often shedding tears because of the deep personal nature of some of his songs. Eminem who is not only an amazing lyricist, but a vivid storyteller, so much so, i feel as though I have met his mother and wife…ex-wife…whichever she is and I hate them both. Yet, for some reason, when new artists try to tell stories, express personal views or provide some type of social commentary, they are looked down upon and called soft. Now, I can’t say I’m a huge Wale fan, but dude can do his thing on the mic. Yes, a fair amount of his songs have to do with women in some way, shape or form, but as a dude, that’s a HUGE part of life, isn’t it? At least he’s not always talking about throwing money at strippers and fucking bitches. It’s in there, yeah, but that’s just a part of who he is. For the most part, he gets berated for showing any other side of himself. J Cole is another example. He’s obviously a spitter and if you don’t agree, there’s a little [X] button in the top right corner that you can click on now. He too has fallen victim to the “he’s too soft” stigma for expressing anything other than stereotypical misogyny in some of his songs. “Dreams”, “Lights Please” and “Power Trip” are all examples of not only thinking outside of the box as far as how relationships between men and women are typically portrayed in hip hop, but it’s a return to the storytelling that the art was originally based on.

I digressed a bit, yeah, but the point is think about the music you listen to now. Of all the singles, all the remixes, all the radio ready tracks you hear, is there any one album you could listen to for a year? If so, one, congratulations because not everyone can say that and two, what is it and why? If not, do you now realize that music may be letting you down, or better yet, you may be letting music down by supporting garbage? *steps off soap box and hands it back to Huey Freeman*

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