One of the current Facebook trends is to post, over 10 days, a picture of your 10 favorite albums, with no explanation for the choice. Well, I’m about to post my 10 favorite albums and some will have explanations.
A special mention goes to the 1993 debut album by 311, called “Music”. I never owned the album but there are 2 songs on that album that I would consider in my Top 20 Favorite Songs: “Nix Hex” and “Hydroponic”, both of which I had on maybe a dozen different mix CDs.
“Ill Communication” – Beastie Boys (1994)
Cassette, recordings from the radio, CD, and mp3 recordings: I have owned this album in most of all 4 of those forms. A lot of this album has been on some kind of playlist since High School in the mid-90s. “Get It Together”, with appearance by Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, is a long-time standard. “Futterman’s Rule” was on my phone when my Mom died in 2005, so it, after a period of not being able to listen to that song, has become a special song. It is a wonderful album.
“Purple” – Ken Schaphorst (1998)
A sign that this was a favorite CD back in the day: the CD at track 1 (“Uprising”), track 7 (“Bats”), and track 9 (“Bounce”) is worn, almost to the point of unplayability. It’s a 9-track Big Band CD with a unique (to me) sound). Check it out, if you are a fan of Jazz!
“Soundsystem” – 311 (1999)
311 is on the list again. This CD’s like started with Target: I was the Entertainment Specialist from November 1999 to March 2003. At the start of that time, “Come Original” – one of the singles from this CD – was making its way on Target’s Entertainment ads. I was hooked by the song; “Soundsystem” became one of the 1st CDs that I owned.
“The Predator” – Ice Cube (1992)
I almost always had headphones on, before school and after school (occasionally, between classes). If you saw me during my freshman and sophomore years, this cassette was probably playing. At least 9 of the songs were regularly played… but “It Was A Good Day” wasn’t one of them.
“Buck Jump” – The Dirty Dozen Brass Band (1999)
This was one of my 1st 2 CDs. This is also my favorite Jazz album, by far. DDBB mixes traditional Big Band with R&B, Hip-Hop, and Blues, and mixes them very well. Many evenings were spent listening to “Unclean Waters” and “Old School”, although all 8 tracks had heavy play.
“Aquemini” – Outkast (1998)
A side note: “1998” and “1999” seemed to be a good time period for music for me
More than one music critic considered “Aquemini” ‘one of the best albums of the 1990s’. They were not wrong. I don’t know exactly why but “Mamacita” and “Chonkyfire” got stuck in my head, back then; this was not a bad thing. At least 5 other tracks saw many hours of playback. Nearly 20 years later, this remains a favorite.
“Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” – Wu-Tang Clan (1993)
My older brother is the reason that I got into Wu-Tang. I wore out his cassette… then bought one of my own and wore it out. I absolutely love this album! 25 years later, I still (via Spotify and/or YouTube) will look up a song or 2 from this album and blast it (relatively).
“Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black” – Public Enemy (1991)
Social, political, and racial commentary isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Public Enemy is my cup, Thermos, and Gallon of tea. Everything about this CD is great: the beats and samples are wonderful, Chuck D and Flava Flav are remarkable, and the messages still ring true, 27 years later (take a listen to “I Don’t Wanna Be Called Yo N**ga” and see how it fits in in 2018).
“Midnight Marauders” – A Tribe Called Quest (1993)
There are some songs and albums that take you back to a certain time or place. For “Midnight Marauders”, it’s the 1995 Governor’s Scholars Program (GSP), basically a 5-week combination of ‘college prep’, ‘academic camp’, and a hint of ‘block party’. One of the camp goers had this on cassette and our floor of the door that we stayed in played at least one song from it nightly. I eventually made a copy of it for the trip back home. Best cassette copy that I ever made.
“Fear Of A Black Planet” – Public Enemy (1990)
This is my all-time favorite album, with “Brothers Gonna Work It Out” and “Welcome to the Terrordome” both in my Top 10 all-time favorite songs. Those 2, plus “911 is a Joke” and 3-4 other songs, made up the a good chunk of my 8th and 9th grade years, with the messages within the tracks sticking with me for nearly 30 years (just take a look at one of my categories for my posts).
This wasn’t an easy list to compose: there were about 5-7 other albums that I could have put on here, including “Hello Nasty” (Beastie Boys), “Wu-Tang Forever” (Wu-Tang Clan), and “Radio Retaliation” (Thievery Corporation). Nevertheless, these are my Top 10 Albums.