101 Illmatic fans can’t be wrong
Lame new trend: reading Bangin’ & Weiss’ list of hip-hop bloggers’ 25 greatest albums of all time and then throwing a bitch fit because it wasn’t exciting enough for your liking.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or on the park bench where KRS-One used to live) for the past several weeks, I’m sure you’ve heard of the collective list of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time that Passion and Bangin’ (nullus) put together. I posted my own list here a few weeks ago, but since then I haven’t mentioned it as much, just because quite frankly I’m tired of hearing about the shit.
In case you missed the final list, based on everyone’s contributions, here’s the top 10 for your reading pleasure:
1. Nas, Illmatic
2. Wu-Tang Clan, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
3. Notorious B.I.G., Ready to Die
4. Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…
5. Dr. Dre, The Chronic
6. Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
7. A Tribe Called Quest, Midnight Marauders
8. A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory
9. Eric B. & Rakim, Paid in Full
10. Mobb Deep, The Infamous
As you can see, A Tribe Called Quest, which I love like a milkshake (nullus), somehow managed to place two albums in the top 10 despite the fact that many people, myself included, made it a point to restrict their lists to one album per artist, except of course for the Wu-Tang solo albums. Speaking of which, the Wu actually managed to place two albums in the top 5 and two more albums in the top 15.
As I noted in a post on my own site, the overall list does seem to skew towards the mid ’90s, at the expense of the late ’80 – the so-called Golden Age of rap – and especially the 2000s. I think my own list included a few more older albums than the overall list, and if I had to guess, I’d say there would be a lot more of them if the hip-hop blogosphere wasn’t made up primarily of twentysomethings such as myself.
Still, there was quite a bit of overlap between my own list and the top 25 (17 of 25 total and 16 of the top 20 – that’s like 80%!), so I could only complain so much.
Sean “Hurricane” Fennessey, meanwhile, had some things to say about the list, as well as some things to say about hip-hop blogging in general. He was too busy doing whatever it is he does to come up with his own list, but according to The Hurricane, the overall list skewed “Eastern and obvious,” which he took as a sign that hip-hop blogging is pointless compared to the important work he does with Vibe magazine.
The thing is, The Hurricane has had his share of run-ins with hip-hop bloggers over the years. About two years ago, I had to call shenanigans on the fact that he gave Kanye West’s Late Registration a glowing, ridonkulous review in Pitchfork and didn’t bother to mention anywhere in it that he just so happens to be the proprietor a Kanye West fansite.
Later, a guy named Ian Cohen called him out for his similarly ridonkulous Clipse stannery, to which The Hurricane responded with the following email, which was widely circulated in lower-level music writing circles. Normally I draw the line at posting people’s personal correspondence, but I figured this would be instructive as far as understandin this guy’s thought process.
Just for the record, I read blogs, just like every other magazine editor I know. If you actually want to do this for a living, you really ought to be careful about airing people out.
No hard feelings. You just sound like a chump.
So obviously a lot of his issues with the list and the hip-hop blogosphere in general were informed by his having been a sort of community punching bag for the past several years now. I’m not saying I disagree with everything he said in his post (people really do need to get over The Blueprint); I’m just saying.
Not to be outdone, XXL’s own Noz the Cracker expanded on The Hurricane’s post with his own post in which he criticized hip-hop bloggers for following whatever’s trendy rather than having any actual taste of their own. Ooh.. Having followed music blogging for a few (ahem) five years now, this is the same complaint you see brought up time and time again by dudes upset because no one else likes whatever bullshit they’ve decided to champion in any given week. (In Noz’ case, apparently, D4L.)
The truth of the matter is that people, in the aggregate, tend to be right about these things. If most hip-hop bloggers agree that albums by Nas, Biggie, and the Wu are the best rap albums evar, maybe it’s because those really are the best rap albums evar. Complaining that such a list is lame because it’s too obvious is like complaining that Maxim’s list of the hottest women in the world is lame because there’s too many white chicks on it. Sometimes the truth really is that obvious, but what are you gonna do?