Everyone has their list of artists and albums they love.
Below are a list of albums that had a significant impact on me and that I would consider to be some of my favourite albums (in no particular order):
Salt-N-Pepa - Black's Magic
I remember buying this tape in the Grand Bizaare when I was in Turkey in 1991, along with Public Enemy's Fear of a Black Planet and a mix-tape called Soul Club II. I can recall listening to Black's Magic my whole flight back to Toronto and feeling empowered by the lyrics.
The album itself came out in 1990 and featured tracks like Expression, Independent, Doper Than Dope, Do You Really Want Me, You Showed Me, and the song Let's Talk About Sex; which I remember being used in the media for the discussion on safe sex.
After hearing this album, I thought I wanted to become a rapper. I enlisted two of my middle-school friends to sing and began writing raps. Obviously, nothing became of that. Still, Salt-N-Pepa (and Spinderella) were the reminder the women can do anything that men can do.
A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders AND Low End Theory
Do you remember Columbia House? Columbia House was a mail-order music club. They boasted that if you ordered 10 cd's, you would get them for "free", but were locked in to purchase a certain number of cd's thereafter.
I was 13 and didn't have consent from my folks, but sent my little list in to Columbia House any way. On that list, I put two A Tribe Called Quest records: A Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders as well as Nas' Illmatic. I ordered 'em not knowing that they were to become one of my favourite groups of all-time; a group who would later introduce me to one of my favourite producers of all-time, J-Dilla.
Both of these albums had such an influence as to how I would listen to and enjoy music later on.
Funky, jazzy, smooth, fun, lyrically clever and BUMPIN' -- these albums were the ultimate ear candy for me. I wrote down all of the lyrics and would repeat tracks ad-nauseam while I was determined to learn EVERY word. And I did. It took me all summer long, but I did.
I was in love with Tribe.
Electric Relaxation became one of my top 3 favourite tracks. And if I am ever somewhere when it comes on, I will animatedly recite EVERY word and embarrassingly Elaine dance to it.
I don't care.
Jaylib - Champion Sounds
Anyone who knows me, knows how much I adore Dilla & Madlib. Two of the greatest producers of all-time, this album is flawless. Every BEAT is perfection, along with the rhymes. I often times wonder what a second Jaylib album would have sounded like had Dilla never passed. Him and Madlib seemed to really just feed off of one another; like beat-making soul-mates. If there is an album that is "for the culture", this is one of them.
Below is are a couple of my favourite tracks by them:
De La Soul - 3 Feet High & Rising
De La Soul is from the soul...
I was introduced to this album through my brother back in 1989. Me, Myself & I was the jam! The album itself featured super-positive, feel-good music that had me doing the running man in my basement, while playing it at super-high volume; pissing my parents off.
I think this might have been the first time I had even heard skits on an album, as they had a game-show theme running through the entire album.
I loved this album so much, I stole my brother's tape and I think he thought he misplaced it. Nope. I had it. Haha. (If my brother ever reads my blog -- I am SO sorry for always stealing your music... but thank you for introducing me to so much great music and essentially helping me to develop me taste for music.)