Monday, March 16, 2009

A Quest Called Tribe

Over the weekend, I spent an almost unhealthy amount of time trying to settle one of my longest-running internal debates: The Low End Theory or Midnight Marauders?

TNC really sparked the idea, giving the albums the ol' switcheroo on his list of essential hip-hop records. A solid argument could be made that both belong on the list. But one still must be better than the other, right?

I'm sorting it all out for a longer post to come later in the week. This might be tougher than figuring out Blackstreet or Another Level. Either way, it's all good music.

Until then, how about gettin' some jazz?

7 comments:

avery said...

you lead, i'll follow

Jack T. said...

No idea here, man. You can't lose with either. Although Midnight has Electric Relaxation, but Low End has Check the Rhyme. It's like choosing between children, if I had kids.

I have this same problem with Aquemini and Stankonia.

avery said...

JT, iono. Stankonia is a great album, but I think Aquemini sons it without too much trouble. Liberation is defeating many groups' whole catalogs.

blackink said...

You know, I'm going to co-sign in full with A.T. But it's because I see Aquemini and Stakonia at completely opposite ends of the spectrum.

Aquemini is one of my all-time favorites, Spottie... and Liberation are merc'ing the best songs in most artist's catalogues. Throw in the title track, Chonkyfire, man, ain't hardly anything in hip-hop fooling with that.

And I barely even gave Stankonia a second thought. There were definitely some highlights but I've always felt it was one of their weaker efforts. Maybe their worst, which for Kast still means it was a three-star album.

But Midnight Marauders and The Low End Theory are close, hella close. Razor-thin difference in quality. Like you say Jack, it's like choosing between kids. But as of now, I think I know which of the kids I'll put in charge when I leave the house.

Jack T. said...

I understand your (and avery's) views in regards to the Outkast records, which is why I limited the dilemma to me. If I were asked to comment, I would tell you that Aquemini is a great hip-hop record, and that Stankonia is a great pop record.

My enjoyment of Stankonia is/was built principally on the joy of watching Outkast become the most famous rap duo since Run and DMC. B.O.B. is so far ahead of its time I don't think we'll see anyone approach it for a long time.

But, perhaps unfairly, I elevate the admittedly choppy Stankonia to Aquemini's status simply because it was the Outkast record that got Andre's blonde wig wearing ass on Letterman. I never thought the wider mainstream audience would "get" Outkast. It took the greater hip-hop community a few tracks before we got it.

My apologies for the threadjack. Back to the Tribe, I've been thinking about Low End recently. I went back and listened to Verses from the Abstract last night. On vinyl. Ridiculous.

avery said...

jt, you acturally raise a good purnt, in making the differn betwixt a good record and a good pop record. but i'll even take you one better, still wit 'kast. that's the differencet tween speakerboxx and the love below. everybody love TLB, but quiet is kept, i think boxx is a better album. that is, while TLB is catchier at points, Boxx is more consistent from front to back.

that naturally leads us to question the extent to which big boi is underrated. cuz he is. but is big boi underrated cuz 3 Stacks is just that good, or is B^2 underrated becuase Dre is overrated (slightly)?

blackink said...

Meant to chip in here a few days ago but Jack, you're right about the difference in the albums. I don't think I ever thought about Stank being pop in that way.

Pretty much since Aquemini, it's taken me a minute to get into any new 'Kast effort. But I always come around. Maybe I'm just getting old and I want them to do "Elevators" again or something. Either way, they've done a great job of feeding the beast and keeping their longtime fans happy. They're so open, so ambitous, so smart, it's just a wonder to watch them develop from the "two dope boys in a Cadillac." It'll be quite awhile before we ever see a duo like those two again.

And yo, you can't ever threadjack on here. The convo can go however it goes. I haven't made it big enough - yet - to have trolls. All this talk, no matter where it ventures, feeds my brain. For real.

@A.T.: I've been thinking about that over/underrated question for quite awhile now. Especially when it comes to The Love Below and Speakerboxx. I'ma have to let that one marinate.