Acclaimed Music just had a major update, so the Top 250 have shifted somewhat – between my gains and loses I am just three albums further from the end. Not too bad!
There’s no rest for the wicked. There’s a bunch of things that need to be run before I sign off before a (very much needed) two weeks off work, so taking this as an opportunity to listen to a list album as most of what I need to do is run code and check it. It’s good in a twisted way because I wasn’t sure when I would fit in time to do this write up during my planned two weeks of movies, games, cooking and… whatever else I can do in these corona-times.
By now I think it is pretty obvious that I ended up leaving the bulk of the hip-hop albums until the end of the list. There are others, including Radiohead’s Kid A and Rust Never Sleeps by Neil Young, but in terms of percentages there is a pattern. In a way I think this has worked out for the better as I am now far more receptive to these albums compared to when I started my blog back in March 2014.
Going into The Blueprint, the only thoughts I really had around Jay-Z were that video of him getting his butt kicked by Solange and that I set up my iTunes to cut his rap out of ‘Umbrella’. Now that I have gotten through a few plays of his most acclaimed album, I realise that this may be one of my favourite male-led hip-hop albums of all time. Tracks like ‘All I Need’ and ‘Takeover’ sound brilliant and even my initial cringe over the beginning refrain of ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ disappeared quickly.
This is never going to be my favourite genre and these albums on the list are the jewels in the crown, but The Blueprint, like Illmatic, are replayable to me – which is a major step for me. I think part of this is helmed by the early Kanye West production and the increased use of interesting samples compared to other hip-hop albums I have heard for the list.
Still can’t take anyone seriously who uses the phrase ‘fo shizzle my nizzle’ though. There has to be a line.