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Really, when I see that Kanye West win the 2010's top albums poll...I found that incredible because, for me, this kind of album is a complete piece of shit.
I really dislike this kind of sound, this kind of rhythm, all this flow.
BUT, when I listen the Janelle Monae album for exemple, I can find some interest. And I found some other songs absolutly stunning : "Hey Ya" by Outkast, "Stan" or "My name is" by Eminem are incredible.
In the other hand, "B.O.B" by the same Outkast is totally unlistenable.
And it's bizarre because the black music of the 60's or 70's is the best music of the world for me and Prince my all time favorite artist.
So I tell myself that I miss something in all these hip hop albums and I don't know where to start for discovering this music. Compared to some songs I like, can you give me some keys for starting to love this music.
P.S. : I do not understand English when it is sung.
The essential hip-hop album is Illmatic by Nas. If you can't understand the lyrics, I admit that the experience is cheapened, but at the same time the beats and jazz samples are so excellent that you should still find it an enjoyable experience.
Based on the songs you listed I think you would like rap songs that can be played on the radio. I would check out another Kanye album "The College Dropout." Jesus Walks, Slow Jamz, and Through the Wire are all good songs that were played on the radio.
Hip-hop is all about lyrics, so it might help to listen to rap in your native tongue - MC Solaar, ITM, etc. (Nassim, help me out here!)
But it also seems from the songs you mentioned that you're more into songs that are more melody than rhythm. You might want to try:
- Beastie Boys (Paul's Boutique maybe)
- De La Soul (3 Feet High and Rising)
- Any Outkast or Eminem, since you already said you liked that
- Notorious B.I.G. (start with his singles maybe)
- Early Kanye West (Much different from his last album, more soulful and not as "hard")
And I think most of us will agree with SR that Illmatic is as good as rap gets. It builds on all hip-hop that came before it and everything after it is influenced by it in some way.
Thanks ! I think you have perfectly understand what I want to discovered.
So I'm going to begin with Illmatic and continue wth your choices.
Romain, I totally see where you're coming from because I agree with a lot of what you said. I too love soul and Prince but there's a lot of hip-hop I don't enjoy, probably because to me the music is always more important than the lyrics (and moreover I usually can't relate to rap lyrics at all). But I do have some hip-hop albums I love. Paul's Boutique is my favourite and here are some ther recommendations I think would suit you:
Mos Def - Black on Both Sides
A Tribe Called Quest - People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
The Streets - Original Pirate Material
Fugees - The Score
Andre 3000 - The Love Below
For r&b/soul, have you heard any Erykah Badu?
I don't need rap to be melodious, but I have a hard time with gangster lyrics. It's the same reason I have trouble with the Grand Theft Auto games: I'm not good at turning off my emotions to fictional murders. Outkast is definitely a good bet for melodious rap, though.
For most rap though, like with Dylan, you need to understand the wordplay to get the appeal.
I noticed that you have r'n'b in the subject so I also recommend Aaliyah's self-titled album. And if you haven't already listened to neo-soul artists like Erykah Badu, D'Angelo and Jill Scott you should definitely do so. My last recommendation is Fat Freddy's Drop, a band that plays reggae and neo-soul. If they weren't from New Zealand they would be huge.
OK, one more. Public Enemy's "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" of course. It might not be your thing Romain, but if it is it will be very rewarding.
Eric B & Rakim - "Follow the leader" (the song): best flow of words that I ever heard, the violins are chillingly perfect.
Eric B & Rakim - "I know you got soul": for the rhythm
Public Enemy - "Public Enemy No.1" (off the LP Yo! Bum Rush the Show): this was PE's first single. You should listen to it together with "So What" off "Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis. This is what rap was when it started: "What goes on?"
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - "The Message": best lyrics ever.
"Change the beat" - B-Side with Fab Five Freddy: in french; mid 80s. Cool.
Eve with Gwen Stefani: "Let me blow your mind"
Tweet: "Oops, oh my" (dirty)
Jurassic 5 and the Roots still bring out good rap albums.
Woah ! thanks to all of you, I have now a big choice of rap songs to hear.
Another exemple of song I really really like is the MIA "Paper Planes" song. Actually, I need a melody.
Merci à tous, vous êtes de vrais gentlemen
More than a few kids I know started making the turn from good rock into good hip-hop with Lupe Fiasco. A lot of the cool things about his music are the same as the cool things about rock, but it gets you used to crazy rap rhythms.
Eric B & Rakim - "Follow the leader" (the song
Public Enemy - "Public Enemy No.1"
I'm sorry Antonius but it's exactly what I'm not able to listen in rap. Without the understanding of what they sing, I think all the interest of these songs are in the lyrics isn't it ?
It's good examples of what I don't search This is the kind of rhythm I flee.
"The Mesage" by Grandmaster Flash is far more better for me.
Nassim have a perfect taste of what I search. I need a melody. A melodic grip.
But, once again, thanks to take time to answer.
Funny you don't find "B.O.B." attractive. I personnally find the melody irresistible :) .
And even funnier, I get your problem with Public Enemy N°1 or Eric B. & Rakim. I had the same at the beginning. Maybe you should try "Fight the power" instead by Public Enemy. But to say the truth, I think it's pointless to try to like english-speaking hip-hop without understanding the lyrics.
In a completely different style, when you listen Bob Dylan, if you don't get all the jokes he puts here and there, I think you lose a good part of the interest of his work.
Truth be told, Romain. You don't need help loving rap. You shouldn't feel you have to like anything to seem diverse or well-rounded. Music is about enjoyment and enrichment, and if rap doesn't do it for you, that's okay.
Personally, I'm REALLY big into hip hop and electronica as of the past 3 years, mostly because I was so anal about pure songwriting for so many years, that many of Hip Hops biggest classics sound new to me.
Hey, I just found a rap song I really love : Radio Daze by The Roots.
Yeah, that song's awesome. For another great Roots song try The Seed (2.0). In fact, that whole album is great and underrated.
Hey, while we're on this subject, can anyone explain something for me. While hip hop definitely isn't my favorite genre, I love albums by Eminem, Outkast, Kanye, Jay-Z, Public Enemy and the like. But when I first listened to Ghostface Killah's acclaimed Supreme Clientele, I hated it. It was just boring and I couldn't make it through half of the album without stopping. I even like some of the Clan's stuff! Can anyone try to explain this?