An album like Yes Lawd! does not come around every year. It’s a collaboration between Anderson Paak and Knxwledge, two tirelessly creative musicians who, as Stones Throw puts it in the album’s liner notes, are no “stranger to the head-down hustle”. Both are in heavy demand right now, having worked with the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Dr Dre, and released their own solo work (Malibu, Hud Dreems) to great acclaim. So Yes Lawd! is a special bonus. Paak and Knx have put together a 19-track mix of songs, skits and snippets for you to kick back and chill.
Lex Records, 2005Danger Doom’s album is high-wire fun that’d be an offence to anyone who takes themselves too seriously. So you can bet it’d go down well with smiley Liam Gallagher and today’s hardline extremists, right?
A collaboration between enigmatic super-producer, Danger Mouse, and equally reclusive masked rapper, MF Doom, The Mouse and the Mask is a marvel of audacious jams and masterful short stories, spliced with animated skits and more humour than a Hanna-Barbera classic.
Tommy Boy / Warner Bros Records, 1991
The hip hop albums of the 90s were dense. Not just in length, but in concept and originality too. And De La Soul’s second album, De La Soul is Dead, is as about as dense a 90s hip hop record as you’ll find.
Opting to avoid record labels in favour of keeping more creative control over their music and relationship with their fans, the De La boys – Kelvin ‘Pos’ Mercer, David ‘Dave’ Jolicoeur and Vincent ‘Maseo’ Mason – recently turned to Kickstarter to crowdfund their comeback record (at long last). The funding round for their new album, And the Anonymous Nobody, ended today with a whopping $600,875 from 11,169 backers. So, for those that are less familiar with this pioneering hip hip trio, now’s the perfect time to look back at one of my favourite De La albums: De La Soul is Dead.
Stones Throw Records, 2007
People of a certain persuasion still don’t consider hip hop an art form. And it doesn’t matter how many conscious cats you bring up, because, to them, when it comes to sampling and beat-making, they don’t believe the act of reusing musical phrases in new ways constitutes ‘real music’.
They’re wrong, of course, because without being moulded, shaped and, crucially, edited, songs as we know them could never be formed. This role of editing gave rise to the music producer and, today, they are very much originators in their own right.