I have been a bit self-indulgent with my picks of albums since I shifted to the wider 1000 list. Either I have taken an inordinate amount of time to transfer my review backlog over or have mostly picked albums that I either knew beforehand (Person Pitch) or albums I was sure to like (Power, Corruption & Lies). Well, I did that with the 250 and that left me in a position where I had to blitz through a number of albums very much outside my comfort zone. So let’s be a bit more proactive and pick something that is not a sure thing, like Criminally Minded.
Looking at the cover, I admit I did roll my eyes a bit at the classic cliche of a hardcore rap duo brandishing weapons. Like, this is so overdone nowadays that the impact of this cover is lost – given that this was one of the first times a rap album actually went for this kind of overtly violent approach. Listening to the lyrics, most of the references made to weapons are from a point of defense rather than attack – something quite poignant given that Scott La Rock from this group would be dead from gunshot wounds several months after releasing this album.
Criminally Minded is a very early entry in the world of widely-released hardcore rap – meaning that pretty much everything I have listened to in this section of hip-hop can trace itself to this production. Like a lot of hip-hop this just is not for me. Tracks like ‘Dope Beat’, ‘Poetry’ and ‘9mm Goes Bang’ all have points of interest – including a very prominent AC/DC sample – but won’t be enough for me to return for another listen.