So last week, my Editor sorta told me that GlamTings are doing an erm… ’25 fav things’ type special editorial… I dunno… 2 commiserate us being 25? I dunno lol! Anyway so she asks me to do a top-25 songs list or something like that & in my head, I go ‘Pardon Me’, the exact same way Rob Gordon replied when the reporter asked him what his all-time top 5 records were, in the movie ‘High Fidelity’… & so in this movie High Fidelity, the reporter asks again ‘Your desert-island top 5?’, to which Rob replies ‘Oh Boy… in the club OR at home?’ and the reporter ignorantly asks if there’s a difference… Ofcourse there’s a difference & you guys can back me up on this BUT ‘Top 25 Songs?’… What? Love Songs? Gospel songs? Songs to make love to (as Distinctly different from love songs! Understand!), Easy Breazy Sunday Morning Songs? Angry Songs? Songs for the car? Songs for the bus? LIKE what are you tryna do to me out here???
Anyway so Rob eventually mentions 5 of his all-time desert-island favorite records & the reporter ventures to continue interviewing him BUT she CANNOT & you wanna know why? Because he keeps interrupting her to chop & change his all-time top 5 records… It’s near enough an impossible task for the likes of Rob & I… He ends up offering to make the reporter a tape… And… And… He calls the reporter the next week to change, yet again, his all-time top 5 records list!!! ‘WHERE AM I GOING WITH THIS?’ do I hear you ask? Oh figure it OUT, will ya? And oh top 5? top 25? Equally as impossible ok!
BUT this is what I say to my Editor… ‘Ok Cool x’! OK COOL? Somebody shoot me now! Please!
Alright so expect this to be a long & painful process, it might actually take US a long while to arrive at any comprehensive top 25 list on any level so you have duly been warned lol! & that’s why we’ll be dividing this mammoth exercise into PARTS… Jheez!
PART ONE… Because this is my favorite genre of Music at the moment… Top 25 Hip-Hop Records!?!?????? Ah ahn.. Ah Ahn! Nah I can’t! Let’s start off with something easier, we’ll ease in to the tougher lists (in a couple months maybe lol).
OK let’s do that again…
PART ONE… Top 25 Albums of the 21st Century!!! **I Keep digging a GRAVE for myself, don’t I?**
One thing I will say about this list is… The first draft had 70 records on it & I was thinking of changing this ‘top 25’ list to a ‘top 50’ list because it’d be so much easier & OMG I have had to cut out some of my all time favorite albums from the final list BUT alas, the show must GO ON… SO Without further adieu!!!
Slightly MISSING OUT however ARE…
Georgia Anne Muldrow – Olesi: Fragments of an Earth (2006)
Now most of you will probably NOT have heard this album… It’s your LOSS to be honest BUT what I will say though is, THIS is one of the very few R&B albums this decade that made this list because let’s be honest R&B in the 2000s lost its way… Fragments of an Earth is progressive music 4 your soul and I like it so there!
Blur – Think Tank (2003)
F**K what you heard alright, Damon Albarn is a MUSICAL GENIUS & this album proves it… This was Blur’s forray away from BritPop into more experimental sounds such as Dub, Jazz, Hip-Hop & World Music BUT still laced with gorgeous melodic sounds of their epic ‘ParkLife’ album… I find it interesting how most of the musical backdrop of this album is led by the BASS sounds as against the strings of a lead-guitar (YES Coxon the lead guitarist left the band around the time of recording BUT I think it’s more than that)… On a different week, this would be in my top 25 easily… That’s how much I love this album & how fickle this top 25 list can be!!!
Other Notable mentions from my original top 70 list include BUT are not exhausted to Ledisi’s ‘Lost & Found’, Little Brother’s ‘The Listening’, Common’s ‘Like Water for Chocolate’, The Clipse’s ‘Hell Hath No Fury’, Amel Larriex’s ‘Brave Bird’, Scarface’s ‘The Fix’, El-P’s ‘Fantastic Damage’, Blu & Exile’s ‘Below the Heavens’, Outkast’s ‘Stankonia’, Queens of the Stone Age’s ‘Songs for the Deaf’, Ryan Adam’s ‘Heartbreaker’, Johnny Cash’s ‘American IV: The Man Comes Around’, Portishead’s ‘Third’… OK! I should stop! We will have another conversation about these albums on a later date!!!
OK NOW to the Nitty Gritty…
25. Femi Kuti – Fight to Win (2001)
It took me a long minute to decide which Femi Kuti LP to include in this list… ‘Shoki Shoki’ or Fight to Win because let’s face it, the man made two CLASSIC albums this century (He seats comfortably in the same box as Radiohead? Jay-Z? M.I.A? Kanye West? in that respect)… Some will argue that without a ‘Shoki Shoki’, there would never have been a ‘Fight to Win’ so ‘Shoki Shoki’ should make the list BUT ‘Fight to Win’ is a near-perfect record! John Armstrong (BBC) calls it an excellent showcase of 21st Century Afrobeat & we cannot argue with that.
24. The White Stripes – White Blood Cells (2001)
I will come out and say it NOW! I’ve cheated by putting this album so far down this list… It’s Rock & Roll music at its very purest form & at its best! Even if you’re NOT into that kinda garage rock music, this album gets you. its 40 odd minutes and I dare you to want to skip any of the 16 songs on this… I just DARE you!
23. Jamie Lidell – Multiply (2005)
And now for some controversy…
Otis Redding? Stevie Wonder? Sam Cooke? Al Green? Willie Mitchell? Prince? You hear them ALL on this album & you have to ask, how does an Electronica producer all of a sudden turn into this rarity of a Soul Singer creating these amazing soul records. Never mind that he’s White, that just makes it more unreal… This album is Amazing & that is putting it very lightly.
22. Dizzee Rascal – Boy in Da Corner (2003)
GRIME never & possibly will never sound this GOOD & you can quote me on that one! Dizzee’s 2003 debut is still the only grime LP that I can play from start to finish without wanting to skip a track… Say what you will about the Londoner BUT at 18, he made one of the best records to come out of the UK period! It Certainly isn’t NO ‘Sgt. Pepper’ but it is Iconic in its own right! & for the last time, it’s NOT hip-hop, its GRIME & its GRIME at its very BEST, heights of which the genre will not reach again.
21. Flying Lotus – Los Angeles (2008)
Experimental Hip-Hop? Electronica? Indie Hip-Hop? Psychedelic? Whatever you wanna call it, FlyLo has got it mastered to a tee on ‘Los Angeles’! Now many people will question this inclusion to the list BUT if you’ve heard this LP, if you’ve actually listened to it, you’d understand that the (somewhat premature) comparisons to such greats as Cannibal Ox & El-P stem from this one album & you’d understand why… Just listen to ‘Golden Diva’ & come back to talk to me!!!
20. Erykah Badu – Mama’s Gun (2000)
On this one, I really couldn’t decide between this album & last year’s ‘New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War’, I’m sorry! I’m more leaning towards Mama’s Gun to be honest, it’s been with me for longer & it hasn’t LOST it’s GOODNESS… Who know what ‘New Amerykah’ will sound like in 2017 so based off of that longevity and impact continuously over 9 years, ‘Mama’s Gun’ takes the cake. Its beautiful music that’s effortless & what else would you expect from Ms. Badu working with such minds as Questlove, D’Angelo, Jay Dilla & Common… certainly nothing less!
19. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
One of the all-time BEST Emcees at his all-time BEST is what ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’ is. It’s nothing short of an epic work of art. Mr. Mather’s lyrical genuis & explicit narratives on this album match up with the best that Hip-Hop has ever had to offer & Dr. Dre is on hand to offer the musical back-drop for the lyrical onslaught… It’s a match made in heaven and the ‘Marshall Mathers LP’ is the miracle baby! SNM!!!
18. The Avalanches – Since I left You (2000)
I kinda have a feeling… let’s call it a theory… that any conversation about the best albums of this decade will be grossly incomplete without mentioning this Album & please quote me on that! It is what DJ Shadow’s ‘Endtroducing’ was to the 90’s and a STRAIGHT MASTERCLASS in the art of sampling. If you’re a producer & you sample (which is everybody lol) & you don’t own this record (actually if you don’t own this record & DJ Shadow’s ‘ENDtroducing’)… & you haven’t studied this record THEN you’re for all intents & purposes, well & truly LOST! It’s a travesty in itself that I’ve placed it so low as Number 18!!!
17. The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come for Free (2004)
Would it be so BOLD for me to say that this album is the best urban UK album… YES it’s NOT technically Hip-Hop or Grime & it’s NOT Garage-infused like Mike Skinner’s debut LP ‘Original Pirate Material’, it’s JUST an amazingly put-together body of work… Where ‘O.P.M’ was daring & groundbreaking & revolutionary (dare I say), ‘A Grand Don’t Come for Free’ is just simply better… It was a concept album before concept albums became ‘cool’ again in Hip-Hop & it’s 11 tracks of pure genius, witty vivid lyrics, near perfect narratives & an amazing musical backdrop that takes you right into the scene of this ‘movie’… #NuffSaid
16. The Roots – Game Theory (2006)
We always knew that The Roots were somewhat of a phenomena (well to the back-packers they are near enough gods!)… I mean, what else would you get by mixing Questlove, who in my opinion, is one of the greatest musical minds there are & Black Thought, the most slept-on & underrated emcee in the game & arguably one of the greatest all-time emcees… But The Roots had never quite delivered on any of their previous LPs (except for ‘Illadelph Halflife’ & marginally on 1999’s ‘Things Fall Apart’) in my humble opinion… ‘Game Theory’ was the album for me when The Roots became all they could be… It was dark, it was gritty, but it oozed life… it swayed from angry to depressing quite effortlessly & it was The Roots at their most cohesive. Simply put… Amazing music.
Alright Ladies & Gentlemen, that’s all you get from me for this week… Join me next week and we’ll go through the top 15 albums of this decade!!! OH P.S LET the RIOTING begin…
Until the Next Time