No. Macklemore did not make the list.
These are the albums you should put your kids onto out of respect.
You know when you play a Playboi Carti song in front of your grandmother and her face contorts into a pretzel because 1) she can't understand anything that's being said, and 2) it's too vulgar for her despite her not comprehending the slang. It's a very different face then when you play a Kendrick Lamar song in front of your grandmother and she slightly nods and goes, "He is a very talented man." Rap isn't for everyone and every grandmother, and not all rap albums are made equal. Some albums show more merit than others and some are just really good for frat parties. Here are ten essential hip hop albums every music lover should know.
10. Nas Illmatic
Any good intro into the rap/hip hop genre should start or lead to Nas' Illmatic, a landmark album that put east coast rap on the map. (See, I'm already making those bars.) Nas crowned himself the king of New York and subsequently every rapper after him would attempt to claim the throne. Illmatic is a poetic mix of solid production and exceptional lyricism detailing the drug underworld in New York and Nas' personal struggles navigating manhood. Quality beats, lyrics, and sharp storytelling make Illmatic an essential hip hop listen.
9. Dr. Dre The Chronic
Dr. Dre The Chronic
You have to give credit to the west coast. Dr. Dre made gangsta rap palatable to a commercial audience. The Chronic propelled the career of Snoop Dogg and gave us G-funk. Featuring some of Dr. Dre's best production and bars, The Chronic is a sexy, violent look at gangster culture and the crazy stories that come with it.
8. A Tribe Called Quest The Low End Theory
Any one of their albums will do. Midnight Marauders is excellent too. Conscious, intelligent rap with jazzy, soulful beats, A Tribe Called Quest showed that rap could be enticing and still smart. Tackling race, politics, and sex, The Low End Theory (and most of their albums) provided an alternative sound and perspective in hip hop.
7. OutKast ATLiens
Andre 3000 is at his prime on this album. A true gem of southern rap and southern culture, ATLiens shows OutKast in refined form.
6. Danny Brown Atrocity Exhibition
Danny Brown is one of the most underrated lyricists in rap. Witty, vulgar, and quick he can often overwhelm the average listener. Atrocity Exhibition is the definition of a performative rap album that displays the aesthetic and intensity of its subject matter. Detailing Danny's battle with addiction, the album is a claustrophobic look into the psyche of a man enabling his worst inclinations.
5. Tyler the Creator Flower Boy
You either love him or hate him, but Tyler the Creator made something special with Flower Boy. Not too many mainstream rappers would explore their sexual identity on record or even admit to their femininity and insecurities as openly as Tyler. Intimate, sweet, and genuine, Flower Boy is a queer rap album from an artist that has grown and expanded since his debut. Wonderful, bouncy, colorful production backs up some of Tyler's most confessional and enduring work.
4. Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
A feminine critique of love, self-respect, and community, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill stands as one of the most enduring hip-hop albums ever. Lauryn Hill showcases the fearless voice of a woman in a male dominated space and sets the record straight that you can be complex and strong and still feminine.
3. Madvillian Madvilliany
Stones Throw Records
MF DOOM rhymes paired with Madlib's unconventional production make for an entertaining and refreshing rap album. Funny at times, pessimistic in others, Madvilliany is a cartoon-esque masquerade filled with hysterical samples and clever rhymes.
2. Erykah Badu New Amerykah Part One (4th World)
Poetic and performative, New Amerykah is a beautiful look at politics and Black identity. Incorporating funk, soul, and hip hop sounds, the album is a dense exploration of hip hop's impact in music and Black culture and the healing qualities of storytelling. Touching on topics of slavery and the exploitative nature of fame, New Amerykah is a sincere love letter to Black art and Black history.
1. Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly
A masterpiece and exceptional achievement in hip hop, To Pimp a Butterfly revived conscious rap at a mainstream and commercial level. Kendrick gets deep and personal with the help of jazz, soul, and funk sounds. Cinematic and visual, To Pimp a Butterfly is a sharp critique of American race relations and celebration of Black culture. Featuring spoken word, audio recordings, and an interview with Tupac, the album is a conversation about self-love, community, history, and freedom.
Shaun Harris is a poet, freelance writer, and editor published in avant-garde, feminist journals. Lover of warm-toned makeup palettes, psych-rock, and Hilton Als. Her work has allowed her to copyedit and curate content for various poetry organizations in the NYC area.
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To Donald Trump: 5 Ways You're Actually a Flawless Being Doing a Beautiful, Unbelievable Job Right Now
You could resign if you want to, but then who will keep America so GD great?
With Donald Trump making a visit to Bangor, Maine today, the editorial board of the Portland Press Herald issued an op-ed calling for President Trump to resign.
The harshly critical piece entitled "To President Trump: You Should Resign Now" was framed as an open letter to the president and got straight to the point with this opening plea, "We're sorry that you decided to come to Maine, but since you are here, could you do us a favor? Resign."
In recent days even George W. Bush has been critical of President Trump's response to protests, so this new piece quickly became a trending topic on Twitter. Obviously this is another baseless attack from the lying news media—AKA lügenpresse. Considering how delicate our president's ego is—he's our special little guy—we can only hope that Donald Trump didn't see the letter; but just in case he did, it's worth writing another one to lift his spirits. So here's our best attempt—with lots of pictures and flattery to keep him reading:
You Know How to Look Tough<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM3NTYyNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwOTE5Nzc3M30.9B4CSWzpZGjBq7APFv_KJKf-QV8n2kEIYcBIOTUt02k/img.jpg?width=980" id="0a07e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="980538d3ccf27d180ce2f7e147f1259f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="trump eagle scared" /><p>Joe Biden is always trying to challenge you to push up contests or saying he would "<a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/21/politics/joe-biden-donald-trump/index.html" target="_blank">beat the hell</a>" out of you, but you don't engage with that nonsense. You know that it's not important for a leader to actually be tough as long as you look tough. That's why you avoid protesters like the plague. In 2018 you <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/donald-trump-visit-to-london-called-off-amid-fears-of-mass-protests" target="_blank">canceled your London trip</a> amid protests there, and more recently, you authorized the use of violent force to disperse peaceful demonstrators <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-calls-tear-gas-reports-fake-news-protesters/story?id=71052769" target="_blank">so you could have a photo-op in front of a church</a>.</p><p>Whether it's because you don't want to be seen as having less than absolute control over the unruly crowds, or just because you pee a little bit whenever you're around political activism (probably that), we all owe you a debt of gratitude for avoiding any confrontation or engagement with <a href="https://www.popdust.com/jimmy-fallon-blackface-2646105674.html" target="_blank">the mass protests against police brutality</a> that are taking place throughout our country right now—why engage when you can just use more police brutality to avoid them altogether?! It's the only way for you to maintain that all-important facade of toughness that makes you undeniably the most respected current president of the United States. And now that you've <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/white-house-fence-protests-washington-1508703" target="_blank">surrounded the White House with two miles of barricade—</a>#BuildThatWall—we never have to worry about press cameras catching sight of a faint stain spreading out from the crotch of your pants.</p>
You Know Who the Real Enemy Is<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM3NTYyMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNzg3NjY1M30.J6PsxmoxCL_8jSPRBcTHkFrHNRm7bgVmYzBcXmfDNHQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="c7b59" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f8a213c28f6c8ba27cef403b76ff012c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="trump after you tweet" /><p>Earlier this year FBI director Christopher Wray announced that racist domestic violence was <a href="https://www.npr.org/2020/02/10/804616715/fbi-announces-that-racist-violence-is-now-equal-priority-to-foreign-terrorism" target="_blank">being prioritized just as much as foreign terror threats</a>. On one level that could be seen as a sign that white supremacy is a major problem in the US, and that perpetrators of deadly hate crimes should be labeled terrorists, but you know better—obviously, since you're both very stable and a genius. If we start labeling white people as terrorists, then it will just make it harder to keep stoking fears about Islam, bad hombres, and other brown people problems.</p><p>Besides, if white men can be bad guys too, then that could include you! And as we all know, an attack against you is <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7808431/Trump-channels-Uncle-Sam-tweet-saying-Democrats-just-way.html" target="_blank">actually an attack against all good, patriotic Americans</a>. Therefore the real enemy is anyone trying to aggressively call out and push back against white supremacy and white nationalism. That's why <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/antifa-group-trump-designate-terrorist-organization/story?id=71045287" target="_blank">you want to designate Antifa a terrorist organization</a>. Who cares that they <a href="https://www.factcheck.org/2020/06/trump-cant-designate-antifa-or-any-movement-domestic-terrorist-organization/" target="_blank">aren't even an organization at all—</a>it's just an ethos of publicly and aggressively confronting fascism and related ideologies. And who cares if there's no way to single out anti-fascist activism from wider, constitutionally protected protests like the Black Lives Matter movement?</p><p>Treating people who oppose you as terrorists will free you up to <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52932611" target="_blank">unleash state violence</a>, <a href="https://www.aclu.org/issues/national-security/privacy-and-surveillance/watchlists" target="_blank">surveillance, and travel restrictions</a>. Besides, we already have <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52932611" target="_blank">a hyper-militarized police force</a>, which has worked out great—apart from a few "<a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/500328-national-security-adviser-blames-a-few-bad-apples-says-theres-not" target="_blank">bad apples</a>" (who seem to operate with impunity for some reason, right up until there's a mass uprising). So put "<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-my-generals-my-military-2017-10" target="_blank">your military</a>" to work and crack down on all of them with the full force of martial law! Or, as you put it, "<a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/2020-daily-trail-markers-trump-declares-we-will-dominate-the-streets/" target="_blank">Dominate the streets.</a>" Keep <a href="https://theintercept.com/2020/06/04/fbi-nypd-political-spying-antifa-protests/" target="_blank">interrogating protesters about their political beliefs</a>, and if enough of them end up too scared or too imprisoned or too dead to keep opposing you, you won't even have to take away their voting rights (although, we should look into that) to be a shoe-in for reelection!</p>
You Know that Free Speech Is Not as Important as Guns<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="528bc162ed6e6a07fe1e0245016bffff"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-K7XJGk8lyQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>In your recent announcement that you were "mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting," you said you were doing so "to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your second amendment rights." It was the only amendment you mentioned, and you even gave it some extra emphasis <a href="https://www.indy100.com/article/trump-second-amendment-speech-george-floyd-protests-9544011" target="_blank">as though encouraging "law-abiding Americans" to exercise their gun rights</a> in the face of rioting—because gun-toting Trump supporters to mass demonstrations of institutional racism and white supremacy will...calm things down?</p><p>We don't have to fully understand you to appreciate the fact that you skipped over that pesky first amendment—with the free speech and right to assemble that could get in the way of your military dominating the streets—and got to the important one. Maybe the "innocent" man you touted in your speech—<a href="https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2020/05/31/unfounded-trump-tweet-echoes-heavy-metal-guitarist-claim-that-antifa-beat-machete-wielding-dallas-man/" target="_blank">who chased after people in Dallas while wielding a machete—</a>wouldn't have been "savagely beaten," if he'd been wielding a gun instead. Besides, everyone knows that the only real enemies of free speech are <a href="https://www.popdust.com/mark-zuckerberg-trump-2646117777.html" target="_blank">private companies who call you out for "glorifying violence."</a> As long as the American people retain the right to retweet you with impunity, they have all the free speech they need, and they should stay inside and protest in ways that don't disrupt established order or do anything to upset the status quo (because no one has the right to make you pee a little bit).</p>
You Value the Economy<iframe width="100%" height="150" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode twitter-embed-1268968348278292484" id="twitter-embed-1268968348278292484" lazy-loadable="true" src="/res/community/twitter_embed/?iframe_id=twitter-embed-1268968348278292484&created_ts=1591380605.0&screen_name=CNN&text=The+President+went+from+talking+about+jobs+to+praising+police.+Then+he+claimed+it%27s+a+%22great+day%22+for+the+man+whose%E2%80%A6+https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FP3mMAREHMc&id=1268968348278292484&name=CNN" frameborder="0" data-rm-shortcode-id="51cee049686210db564d6bbf94f563e3"></iframe><p>Every president knows that the maintaining the economy is important, but as a business man—with that eagle-eyed focus on short term growth that has <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/donald-trumps-business-failures-were-very-real" target="_blank">led several of your businesses into bankruptcy</a>—you've made it clear that you value the economy more than anything else. Whether it's <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/05/politics/donald-trump-coronavirus-economy-models/index.html" target="_blank">the thousands of lives that will be lost</a> to the COVID-19 pandemic as we "reopen the economy" or t<a href="rgy-infrastructure-environmental-review-coronavirus" target="_blank">he dismantling of environmental regulations</a> that were getting in the way of cost-saving pollution, you don't let anything get in the way of a quick economic boost. You know that what's good for major industries today will be good for the American economy...also today.</p><p><span></span>Who cares about tomorrow?! We're having a hard time right now, and people want to <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/05/politics/trump-unemployment-numbers-protests/index.html" target="_blank">hear about how you've reduced unemployment</a>, not about 110,000 dead Americans or the necessity of police reform in the wake of <a href="https://www.popdust.com/derek-chauvin-hat-2646109506.html" target="_blank">George Floyd's murder at the hands of a police officer</a>. You can commemorate <a href="https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/" target="_blank">World Environment Day</a> by <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-environment-oceans/trump-plans-to-open-atlantic-sanctuary-to-commercial-fishing-sources-idUSKBN23C26N" target="_blank">opening up ocean conservation areas to commercial fishing</a>. Have ocean fish populations been cut in half over the last 50 years? Sure, but that means we have at least another decade or two before <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/stories/report-million-extinctions-and-ecological-collapse-are-way" target="_blank">the total collapse of marine ecosystems</a>, and by then it will be some other jerk's problem!</p>
You Could Probably Cure COVID-19 if You Really Wanted<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM3NTY4MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwOTQ4Njg1OX0.UrYXJOB4Wut0GXnPkWhdOIOzYHq4pAS3JSSKg2qvSlA/img.jpg?width=980" id="cad7c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4d96bd6d9c28bdbcb31a1d0c32f23083" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="trump covid tester" /><p>Thanks to the fact that you have your priorities in order, and are purely focused on the economy, you haven't worried too much about all this pandemic nonsense—by, for example, providing adequate testing or not stealing vital PPE and ventilators from the states. You did <a href="https://www.politico.eu/article/germany-confirms-that-donald-trump-tried-to-buy-firm-working-on-coronavirus-vaccine/" target="_blank">try to get Americans exclusive access to a potential vaccine—</a>which would really stick it to all those jerks dying in other countries—but that didn't really pan out, so you'll probably just have to until the economy's sorted out so you can come up with a cure yourself.</p><p>After all, you have "<a href="https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/30/donald-trump-iq-intelligence-1347149" target="_blank">one of the highest</a>" IQs, "<a href="https://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-gop-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/03/trump-foreign-policy-adviser-220853" target="_blank">a very good brain</a>", and "<a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-healthcare-us-medicine-coronavirus-centers-for-disease-control-a9384441.html" target="_blank">natural ability</a>" for medical science. It only took you a matter of moments and the most superficial level of thought to come up with a brilliant new avenue for research—injecting disinfectant into people's bodies—so you can probably have this whole thing sorted out in a day or two once you get around to it.</p>
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REVIEW | The former subscription service now offers a store full of limited edition vinyls and artists' top ten lists
Experience Vinyl captures the specialness of vinyl with limited releases and exclusive designs.
Vinyl records, audiophiles will assert, store music with sound quality that's superior to CDs or digital streaming. They are physical artifacts of music to counter digital compression and electronic reproduction. They are special but, for many, this specialness does not justify the cost and inconvenience of vinyl. Why buy a delicate, cumbersome record for $30 when you can find it in a massive Apple Music or Spotify catalogue for ten bucks a month? Why resort to a record player and all of its speakers and wiring in a time when even CDs are relatively inconvenient?
The store achieves what is most important in selling vinyl records: making them valuable, worth the playback process and the price tag. Not merely a record-a-month club, Experience Vinyl offers exclusive, limited edition presses of classic records that often feature unique designs and bonus gifts.
Talib Qweli's top ten. (Facebook)
Its cherry on top? Each month's record is chosen by a guest curator, a recording artist who creates a list of their ten favorite albums. The artist writes a letter explaining their top three and the number one choice goes to the presses to become a limited edition vinyl.
Experience Vinyl started as a monthly subscription box but has quickly readjusted its strategy and ended the subscription aspect of the service. Each month still features a new artist who picks a new record but instead of subscribing to the service, customers simply browse the store and order the record if they want it (or wait for the next month if they don't). The company explained the change: "We've decided to forgo the subscription model so we can focus on our current and future curators and on making each box really unique and special. We're really excited to be able to include more additional content by switching to this model."
With guest curators such as Elton John, Carlos Santana, Grace Slick and Brian Wilson, the records available will be diverse and, almost certainly, exciting.
I signed up during the last month before the subscription format ended for Carlos Santana's top choice: Miles Davis's Sketches of SpainSketches of Spain. The Experience Vinyl package is what makes the record more than simply an album. The box contains a booklet with a copy of Santana's handwritten list, his notes on his top choices and, most importantly, the record. Not merely a black disc, Sketches of Spain came on a beautiful red and yellow swirled vinyl that looks fantastic when it's spinning on a turntable.
This is the way to re-popularize vinyl: it has to be an experience beyond the music. Jack White activated all of the potential of the vinyl record with his LP, Lazaretto. The "12" Ultra LP" contained bonus tracks hidden under the center labels, tracks played at different speeds, spinning holograms and backwards queuing. The record debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and broke the record for single-week vinyl sales.
Jack White created an experience beyond the music with Lazaretto. Experience Vinyl is following his lead, attempting to make the vinyl record special and valuable. The object isn't to save vinyl, as some might dramatically say. It's to popularize it all over again, in a different way—to raise it to a platform that's higher than music distribution. The success of vinyl depends on the creativity of the artists beyond the music. It depends on their ability to make it a unique artifact.