So it’s taken me a solid five days to realize that the issue of Entertainment Weekly that I received in my mailbox nearly two weeks ago was a double issue meant to fill the span of two weeks worth of issues. I’d seriously spent those five days trying to figure out (a) why my mail carrier nicked my copy and (b) what sort of revenge would be appropriate.
Now that I’ve calmed down and stopped anticipating my missing issue, it’s probably time to critique the batch of albums those folks at EW have deemed “new classics,” specifically when it comes to hip-hop.
(#2) The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – Oh, Lauryn! I remember her when she was the only reason to watch Fugees videos. And while I don’t have this album, I can completely understand why everyone (over)rates it so. It provided a nice counterbalance to Foxy Brown and Lil Kim, who were both at their peak. It was a fun, intelligent and heartfelt album. And it provided “more than hip-hop” (as though the genre is something artists must struggle to transcend). I still think the album is overrated by everyone, especially the folks at EW.
(#4) The College Dropout – I like Kanye, but I think they made the wrong call in terms of the album. I think Late Registration is a stronger effort.
(#7) The Blueprint – They got this one right. No complaints, no qualms. This album is indeed top-ten material. The real Jay-Z came back and brought Just Blaze and Kanye West with him. How can anyone deny the greatness of this album? (You know who I’m talking to.)
(#12) Stankonia – I’m not saying that OutKast doesn’t deserve to be on the list, but white people love OutKast. I’d have picked Aquemini or ATLiens, but Stankonia is cool too.
(#15) The Marshall Mathers LP – See, right around here I wonder if there is any distinction being made between “groundbreaking” and “classic.” I think this album is groundbreaking and has some classic songs, but as an effort, it falls a bit short of classic.
(#18) People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm – Huh?! Really? This is the Tribe album that makes the cut? This is no one’s favorite Tribe album, not even Jarobi. If you’re old enough to be a Tribe fan, your favorite is either is The Low End Theory or Midnight Mauraders, depending on which one you were exposed to first. But no one in their right mind picks People’s Instinctive Travels.
(#22) 3 Feet High and Rising – Again, this is a popular pick. I’m not saying it’s not deserved; I dig the album. But if I were picking a De La album it’d be a different one.
(#28) Illmatic – Wait, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm ranks higher than this? OutKast is higher than this? And with that, this list of “new classics” is officially suspect.
(#38) Raising Hell – It is nice of EW to remember the geriatric set. I kid, but really, putting Run-D.M.C. on a list of “classics” is redundant.
(#40) Ready to Die – I am really OK with this one right where it is.
(#42) Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) – Really? This album launched a couple of solo careers, laid the groundwork for a movement and it can’t make it into the top twenty? Too low, EW. Too low.
(#43) Paul’s Boutique – This one surprises me. I would have sworn that the Beasties would easily have been top-ten material. I think this one may be a bit too low, too.
(#51) The Score – Dope album, that I thought would have ranked higher, though putting Laruyn at #2 probably hurt its chances. I’ve got no beef with its placement.
(#55) It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back – I would have liked to see this one crack the top fifty, but it’s close enough to keep me complacent. And I think that this album just barely edges out Fear of a Black Planet as their best effort.
(#61) Paid in Full – I’m really just glad it made the list.
(#66) The Chronic – Wow. This surprises me because it was just as groundbreaking and had as many hit singles as The Marshall Mathers LP. I think Dr. Dre is the most overrated person in hip-hop and even I think The Chronic should be higher. It should clearly be in the low 60s.
(#87) All Eyez on Me – Yeah, that sounds about right.
(#95) Trap Muzik – Way, way too high.
Next time: Snubs!
Tags: 2Pac, Beastie Boys, De La Soul, Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye West, OutKast, Tupac