Friday, August 29, 2008

Memory Lane

I woke up this morning like I do every weekday morning, to the sounds of Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio. Sadly, both Mikes were out on vacation so there were subs in. Anyway, the show often delves into various topics that aren't sports related for brief periods of time. This time they happened to mention that today is Michael Jackson's 50th birthday so they were talking about his album Thriller and how they both agreed that it was definitive album of the 80's. They went on to also agree that Nirvana's Nevermind was the definitive album of the 90's. Now I completely agree in regards to Thriller and although Nevermind wouldn't be even in my top 10 albums of the 90's I can understand why they chose it. The Grunge Movement basically took over the decade and that was the album of the movement so I definitely understand the logic. But it got me to thinking, what was my definitive album of the 90's? I was torn between 2 albums, Nas' Illmatic and A Tribe Called Quest's's Midnight Marauders. Midnight Marauders is the album that not only made me fall in love with Hip-Hop, but with music in general. Before that album I wasn't a huge music listener. I basically listened to whatever was on and it didn't really have any impact on me. Their album was the first album that I had to have. On the other had Illmatic was the first album I heard that completely grabbed me. I had never had an album grab me musically as well with it's voice, both figuratively and literally. I saw Nas' voice as the voice of an observer more than a tough guy. He never came off to me as a menace or a badass. He just seemed like a cat discribing his situation the best he knew. Not to mention his words painted the perfect picture of his environment, which was mine.

Wipe the sweat off my dome
Spit the phlegm on the streets
Suede Timb's on my feet makes my cypher complete


My window faces shootouts, drug overdoses
Live amongst no roses only the drama for real
A nickel-plate is my fate, my medicine is the ganja


If you couldn't tell by the title of the blog, the winner is . . .



At the end of the day Midnight Marauders opened my eyes and ears to the world of music, but Illmatic made me really take a look at the world I was in.

Now, my song of the decade it's not from either ATCQ or Nas, but from 3 artists that kind of defined and era within an era. They definite what was 90's underground or backpack rap. The song described your average American city. When I rode the 84A to class every morning I would ride through the Burrows Projects, where my late grandmother used to live. When I started college they were just beginning to be torn down and this song described my bus daily bus ride through those projects. By the middle of my freshman year the fences were up around all of the vacant projects as they were preparing to tear them down.

Sat by the window with a clutched dome
Listenin' to shorties cuss long
Young girls with weak minds, but they butt strong
Tried to call or at least beep the lord
But didn't have a touchtone
Its a dog eat dog world, you gotta mush on
Some of this land I must own
Outta the city, they want us gone
Tearin' down the 'jects creatin' plush homes

I would listen to this song on my nightly bus rides home from work, also. At night the song became that much more powerful. It's the definitive night time song for city dwellers. I always got goosebumps whenever I would listen to this song while my bus would turn up Crawford ave on my way home. I would have a phenomenal view of the Pittsburgh Skyline while this played . . .



*Not to mention it had one of, if not, the greatest hook ever!

What would you consider YOUR definitive album & song of the 90's? What made you choose that album/song? Did it describe a time in your life? Was it just a song that never left your cd player or walkman?

p.s. This isn't about any genre. It's whatever YOUR album is. It could be rock, country, afro beat, techno, garage . . .

14 comments:

Manny said...

Midnight Marauders is my definitive album of the 90's... by FAR. I loved Tribe and that was their best album. Easy choice for me.

Jessica said...

I, like you Barry, was a late bloomer. I was really into R&B during the 90's but the album that made me fall in love with hip hop was difinitely
Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. I just LOVE OutKast. They have been and hopefully will continute to be my faves. Lupe made me fall in love with it all over again though.

Puddin's babygirl said...

I would tend to agree with Midnight Marauders as my choice for the 90s. I'm a bit wishy-washy when it comes to which one best describes me. I could easily say Lauryn Hill's "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" which came out 10 years ago this week. It was late 90's but it still applies. There wasn't one song on that cd that I didn't absolutely love or could put myself in her shoes and be Lauryn for that three minutes and forty-seven seconds.

Sheronda

SepiaSylph said...

Wow, I've been playing that song for the past month or so. Whenever I'm driving from twilight on, that's the song I play in the car.

Good choices. I'd have to think a little more about album and song of the 90s for me, but you know which blog you'd find my decision reported, lol.

Dunni said...

wow...i've listened to so many different genres of music that to try to pinpoint a definitive album....hmmm...i really didn't listen to rap until i hit college to be fully honest...and it was Outkast's ATLiens...and then i found their first one...

8thlight said...

@ Dunni This isn't about rap or Hip-Hop it's any genre of music you like. It's whatever your album or song is. lol

Joffi said...

For a FFeed comment thread on my google share of this post:
http://friendfeed.com/e/c95eeae3-b9af-fbfd-c8c8-5e81d7bdc8dd/What-would-you-consider-YOUR-definitive-album/

bohemianabstractions said...

Love Deluxe by Sade is my definitive album of the 90's. My song is Kiss of Life. Love Deluxe came out in 92 (dag I was 24..getting old here), and I fell in love with it instantly.

ThreeFourNine said...

It would have to be Common, Like water for chocolate easily the album that got from being a casual listener to a full hip-hop lover.

ShAĆ© - ShAĆ© said...

My song for the 90s was Ready or Not by the Fugees. I went through a lot of changes in the 90s and at one point I had to revamp my whole life... friends, location, way of living, etc. When this song came out that's just how I felt, like here I am, ready or not.. I'm come'n at you - like it or not.. even though the song was more about love.. (make you want me & all that -ish), I was using the hook as my anthem for anything & everything.

PS- Obama said "Ready or Not" was #1 pick in a top 10 list submitted to Blender Magazine. Too funny.

C-Nizz said...

I remember my homie that lived next door to me on WEBSTER AVE put me on 2 albums that hands down are the best of all time in my opinion. Big's "Ready to Die" and Method Man's "Tical".
Curt-NI

P.S. B-nutts whats hood ike?

Lisa Kay said...

I'm a child of the 80's...So without hesitation...Purple Rain changed my life and continues to influence me. Prince was my hero. It was alright to be brilliant, creative and a weirdo all at the same time--without any regard for popular opinion. Everytime I listen to that album, I discover something new. It's timeless.

Laya said...

Back in those days I was a *massive* Janet Jackson fan, so "Rhythm Nation: 1814" and "janet." pretty much defined the early 90's for me. "Reachin...A New Refutation of Space and Time: is pretty high on my list as well, because it was probably the first hip hop album I listened to or owned. On tape, no less.

OJ: HERO FOR HIRE said...

To be honest, I was so rampant in the 90s that it became a drunken--and sometimes weed-filled--blur for me. I listened to so much music, recorded so much music, and knew so many music people at the time, that I can't think of what was truly defining for me. I can say that I was much more the Midnight Marauders head than the Illmatic head, only proven by the fact that I didn't buy Illmatic on vinyl, although I wanted to... I was just broke at the time. I still have my MM vinyl to date. Other significant albums would likely be...

EPMD Business Never Personal
Public Enemy Fear of a Black Planet

...and others I'm sure, but just can't think of them at the moment.