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25 For Life…

Joey from Straight Bangin’ and Jeff from Passion of the Weiss are both responsible for saving Hip-Hop when they started this project to cull top 25 lists from anybody and everybody who reads their websites. It spawned all kinds of debates and chatter about rap music and it made most of us blow the dust off of our cassette collections. It surprised me how much great Hip-Hop I had forgotten. It also made me laugh when I remembered the albums that were considered “underground” when they debuted. At the end of the day I realized how Hip-Hop has been the soundtrack to my life. It frames the way I receive information and how I communicate with the world around me. It clarified my value system and my desire to see equality for all peoples no matter their racial background or economic standing. Hip-Hop has the power to help me dream of a better place where I can live without destroying my neighbor in the process. No addicts, no dopefiends, no orphaned, homeless children, just love, peace and truth. Sure, that’s some pie in the sky shit because capitalism means that someone has to be exploited, but that’s my shit. In the meantime I say fight the power by educating yourself and party for your right to fight by celebrating your survival in the day to day stuggle.

Over the last couple of days there has been a little discussion between myself and another writer here at XXL Mag Dot Com. The discussion hasn’t been properly filtered so some people think that my comments allude to an exclusiveness to Hip-Hop based on someone’s background. As if being disenfranchised and Black makes you more Hip-Hop than someone who doesn’t fall into that criteria. No and no. Hip-Hop started as a multi-racial, multi-class artistic movement. Rappers and deejays from the south Bronx blended with breakdancers from Brooklyn and graff writers from Queens. What held true then remains today… It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at. If you aren’t moving the culture forward with progressive thinking and progressive action then you aren’t perpetuating the art or the culture. But you know what… Enough utopian fantasies about Hip-Hop and the culture, if it survived the sudden deaths of two of its most iconic personalities it will survive the disagreements of an old man and a doppelganger fanboy coward. When you aren’t here at XXL Mag Dot Com you should find the time to hit these sites up…

Straight Bangin’ – Nuff’ said
Passion of the Weiss – the REAL Status Ain’t Hood
OhWord – Word is bond
UnKut – The essence of Hip-Hop in blog format
Dallas Penn – You can’t handle the truth

Shouts to XXL Mag Dot Commenter Belize who showed some courage with his Jay-Z and B.I.G. selections on his top 25 list. Let’s see how you all feel about this breakdown…

1. Public Enemy – Fear Of A Black Planet (The height of socially conscious rap music with the most incredible production team evar)
2. Raekwon – Only Built For Cuban Links (True, it’s a Raekwon album but his work with Ghostface is like peanut butter hanging out with jelly)
3. Nas – Illmatic, B.I.G.- Ready To Die, Tupac – Me Against The World (Call these three albums the Holy Trinity of Hip-Hop)
6. 2Live Crew – Nasty As They Wanna Be
7. OutKast – ATLiens (My favorite ‘Kast disk although Aquemini is the shit too even though I can’t pronounce that joint)
8. De La Soul – 3 Feet High And Rising (De La and Prince Paul opened the doors for rappers from the suburbs)
9. Ice Cube – Amerikkka’s Most Wanted (A top 10 G.O.A.T. with production from the G.O.A.T.’s of sampling)
10. B.D.P. – Criminal Minded
11. D.O.C. – No One Can Do It Better, Snoop – Doggystyle, Dr. Dre – The Chronic (A testament to the production skills of Dre more than anything else, and The D.O.C. is arguably the best Midwest rapper evar)
14. Wu-Tang – Enter the 36 Chambers, O.D.B. – Return to the 36 Chambers, GZA – Liquid Swords (Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothing to fuck with)
17. Geto Boys – We Can’t Be Stopped (Best. Album. Cover. EVAR!)
18. Beastie Boys – Licensed To Ill (Second best cover in rap history)
19. Kanye West – Late Registration (Best new millennium rap record)
20. Jay-Z – The Dynasty (This is the record Jay-Z should have retired on. He was on top of his game as a lyricist even though Eminem ate him alive on that track)
21. Eminem – The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP (Definitely top 5 emcees of all time and one of the great students of rap lyricism)
23. Lil’ Kim – Hardcore (The undisputed Queen of raunchy rap)
24. Redman – Whut! Thee Album (Redman brought the mosh pit to rap music)
25. Kool G Rap – Road To The Riches (Of all the albums listed you need to copp this joint if you love Hip-Hop street stories. A masterpiece)

And most importantly, for those of you keeping score at home… Noz lost.

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