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Rise of the Classics Podcast
26 minutes | Aug 12, 2022
The "Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt" episode
Reasonable Doubt is the debut studio album by American rapper Jay-Z. It was released on June 25, 1996, by Priority Recordsand Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella Records. The album features production provided by DJ Premier, Ski, Knobody and Clark Kent, and also includes guest appearances from Memphis Bleek, Mary J. Blige, Jaz-O and The Notorious B.I.G., among others. The album features mafioso rap themes and gritty lyrics about the "hustler" lifestyle and material obsessions. Reasonable Doubt debuted at number 23 on the US Billboard 200, on which it charted for 18 weeks. It was promoted with four singles; including "Ain't No Nigga" and "Can't Knock the Hustle". Reasonable Doubt was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and, as of 2006, has sold 1.5 million copies in the United States. A critical success, it has been ranked on several publications' lists of the greatest rap albums ever, while many hip hop fans have viewed it as Jay-Z's best work. In August 2019, Reasonable Doubt was released to digital and streaming platforms under Roc Nation's independent label, Equity Distribution.
24 minutes | Aug 5, 2022
The "Cappadonna - The Pillage" episode
The Pillage is the debut solo studio album by American rapper Cappadonna. It was released on March 24, 1998 through Razor Sharp/Epic Street. Recording sessions took place at 36 Chambers Studio in New York, except for the song "Everything Is Everything", which was recorded at Soundtrack Studios and Sony Music Studios in New York. Production was handled by Wu-Elements (True Master, Goldfinghaz, 4th Disciple, Mathematics) and the RZA, who also served as executive producer together with Ghostface Killah, Mitchell "Divine" Diggs and Oliver "Power" Grant. It features guest appearances from fellow Wu-Tang Clanmembers and affiliates Killa Bamz, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Tekitha, Blue Raspberry, Raekwon, Rhyme Recca and U-God. In the United States, the album debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200 and topped the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart with 132,000 copies sold in its first week. In its second week, the album charted at number 16 on the Billboard 200 and sold an addition 63,000 copies. It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America on April 24, 1998. It also peaked at No. 8 in Canada, No. 28 in the Netherlands, No. 36 in Finland, No. 43 in the United Kingdom, No. 58 in France and No. 67 in Germany. The song "Run" later appeared on Bulworth – The Soundtrack.
22 minutes | Jan 27, 2022
The "Boogie Down Productions - By All Means Necessary" episode
By All Means Necessary is the second album from American hip hop group Boogie Down Productions, released on May 31, 1988 on Jive Records. After the 1987 murder of DJ-producer Scott La Rock, MC KRS-One moved away from the violent themes that dominated his debut, Criminal Minded, and began writing socially conscious songs using the moniker the Teacher.Accompanied by minimalist production and hard-hitting drum beats, KRS-One covers social issues that include government and police corruption, safe sex, government involvement in the drug trade, and violence in the hip hop community. As of September 25, 1989, the album was certified gold in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America. Both the album cover, depicting KRS-One, and the album title make reference to Malcolm X. The album's cover art is a reference to the iconic photo of Malcolm X peering through his window while holding a M1 carbine rifle. The album title is a modification of Malcolm X's famous phrase "By Any Means Necessary."
22 minutes | Jan 17, 2022
The "Beatnuts - Street Level" episode
The Beatnuts is the self-titled full-length debut album by hip hop trio The Beatnuts. It was released on June 21, 1994, by Relativity Records, a year after their debut EP, Intoxicated Demons. "Psycho Dwarf" is the only song found on both the EP and the album. The album was produced by The Beatnuts, and features guest appearances by Grand Puba, Miss Jones and DJ Sinister amongst others. The Beatnuts boasts two singles, "Props Over Here" and "Hit Me with That." The album is known for its diverse production and hedonistic lyrics. Its cover art was inspired by the cover of Hank Mobley's The Turnaround. The album's title is sometimes mistakenly referred to as Street Level, because those words appear on the album cover; however, the words "Street Level" do not appear anywhere else on the CD (in the liner notes or on the CD spine label). It is the last Beatnuts album to include Fashion, who left the group to pursue a solo career under the alias Al' Tariq.
20 minutes | Jan 10, 2022
The "Dead Prez - Let's Get Free" episode
Although the production was derided by some critics as a "dull musical backdrop", Let's Get Free was called a "return to politically conscious rap". Rolling Stone gave the album four stars and lauded its equation of "classrooms with jail cells, the projects with killing fields and everything from water to television with conduits for brainwashing by the system".
21 minutes | Oct 10, 2021
The "Ghostface Killah - Supreme Clientele" episode
Supreme Clientele is the second studio album by American rapper and Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah, released on February 8, 2000 by Epic Records. The album showcases Ghostface's signature up-tempo, stream-of-consciousness rhyme style, and features guest appearances from Cappadonna, GZA, Masta Killa, Method Man, Raekwon, Redman, RZA, U-God, and others. It features affiliates of what would become members of Theodore Unit and T.M.F. Supreme Clientele contains a large amount of production from group member RZA, who also re-worked and remixed beats from other producers involved, as a means to create a unified and cohesive sound for the album. Upon its release, Supreme Clientele debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 chart and number two on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, while selling 134,000 copies in its first week. On March 8, 2000, it was certified Gold in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album featured the singles "Apollo Kids" and "Cherchez La Ghost", which, despite receiving limited airplay, went on to achieve notable chart success. Supreme Clientele was met with mostly strong reviews from music critics, despite its contrasting sound and style to that of his previous album, Ironman (1996). It was praised and noted for Ghostface Killah's obscure and creative lyricism, and for the cohesive format of production. Supreme Clientele was the most acclaimed of all the second generation Wu-Tang projects, and featured the most contributions from RZA during this era. Along with Ironman and Fishscale (2006), it is often ranked as Ghostface Killah's best work. It has also been regarded as one of the best solo Wu-Tang albums, and has received accolades for being one of the best albums of the 2000s.
23 minutes | Jun 23, 2021
The "EPMD - Unfinished Business" episode
Unfinished Business is the second album by hip hop duo EPMD. Released August 1, 1989, the album built upon the success of the group's previous album Strictly Business, which was released the previous year. The lead single, "So Wat Cha Sayin'," was the only charting single released from the album. It was the second album from the group to hit #1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA on October 16, 1989. It was one of three albums that Priority/EMI Records acquired from Sleeping Bag Records when it ceased operations in 1991.
22 minutes | May 29, 2021
The "Mos Def - Black on Both Sides" episode
Black on Both Sides is the debut studio album by American rapper Mos Def, released on October 12, 1999, by Rawkus and Priority Records. Prior to its recording, Mos Def had collaborated with Talib Kweli for the album Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star in 1998, which raised high expectations for a solo effort by the former. Black on Both Sides features an emphasis on live instrumentation and socially conscious lyrics.
25 minutes | May 25, 2021
The "Smif n Wesson - Dah Shinin" episode
Dah Shinin' is the debut studio album by American East Coast hip hop duo Smif-N-Wessun. It was released on January 10, 1995 via Wreck/Nervous Records. Recording sessions took place at D&D Studios in New York City. Production was handled by Da Beatminerz. It features guest appearance from the Boot Camp Clik. The album peaked at number 59 on the Billboard 200.
23 minutes | May 17, 2021
The "Main Source - Breaking Atoms" episode
Breaking Atoms is the debut album of American/Canadian hip hop group Main Source, released July 23, 1991 on Wild Pitch Records. Production was handled by the group, primarily by member Large Professor, and took place during 1990 to 1991 at Homeboy Studio, Power Play Studios, and Libra Digital in New York City. Recorded during the golden age of hip hop, Breaking Atoms is distinguished stylistically by its incorporation of jazz and soul music samples. The album has been highly regarded by music writers due mostly to its production, whose heavy and original use of sampling influenced hip hop producers for a considerable portion of the 1990s. The album has been widely regarded by writers and music critics as a significantly influential album and has been noted for debuting rapper Nas, who appears on the track "Live at the Barbeque". His contribution to the song was sampled on "The Genesis", the intro track to his debut album Illmatic (1994). Breaking Atoms has been recognized as one of the most important records in hip hop history, and was out of print in the United States after the demise of Wild Pitch Records in 1997. It was reissued on April 22, 2008 through Fontana Distribution.
26 minutes | May 4, 2021
The "Mobb Deep - The Infamous" episode
The Infamous (stylized as The Infamous...) is the second studio album by the American hip hop duo Mobb Deep. It was released on April 25, 1995, by Loud Records. The album features guest appearances by Nas, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, and Q-Tip. It was largely produced by group member Havoc, with Q-Tip also contributing production while serving as the mixing engineer. Most of the leftover songs from the album became bonus tracks for Mobb Deep's The Infamous Mobb Deep album (2014). Upon its release, The Infamous achieved notable commercial success, debuting at number 15 on the US Billboard 200 and number 3 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums charts. On June 26, 1995, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album produced four singles; "Shook Ones (Part II)", "Survival of the Fittest", "Temperature's Rising", "Give Up the Goods (Just Step)"; the first three singles achieved varying degrees of chart success, with "Shook Ones (Part II)" being the most successful. The album's dark style, defined by its evocative melodies, rugged beats, and introspective lyrics concerning crime in New York's inner city neighborhoods, received special recognition and critical praise. Along with albums such as Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Illmatic and Ready to Die, The Infamous is widely credited as a major contributor to the East Coast Renaissance. Furthermore, the album is credited with helping to redefine the sound of hardcore hip hop, using its production style, which incorporated eerie piano loops, distorted synthesizers, eighth-note hi-hats, and sparse filtered basslines.
18 minutes | Apr 30, 2021
The "GangStarr - Daily Operation" episode
Daily Operation is the third studio album by American hip hop duo Gang Starr. It was released by Chrysalis Records on May 5, 1992. It peaked at number 65 on the Billboard 200 chart.
29 minutes | Apr 25, 2021
The "A Tribe Called Quest - People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm" episode
People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm is the debut studio album by American hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest, released on April 10, 1990 on Jive Records. After forming the Native Tongues collective and collaborating on several projects, A Tribe Called Quest began recording sessions for People's Instinctive Travels in late 1989 at Calliope Studios with completion reached in early 1990. The album's laid back production encompassed a diverse range of samples which functioned as a template for the group's unorthodox lyrics.
20 minutes | Mar 18, 2021
The "O.C. - Word...Life" episode
Word...Life is the debut album from underground hip hop artist O.C., who came to prominence in hip hop because of the album. It was released on October 18, 1994 by Wild Pitch Records. It also helped establish his membership in the legendary hip hop crew D.I.T.C., which includes Lord Finesse, Showbiz & A.G., Diamond D, Fat Joe, Big L and Buckwild, who produced the majority of this album. The album is most remembered because of the single "Time's Up". The instrumental to the track was used in the movie 8 Mile, starring rapper Eminem, in a rap battle scene. The song was a scathing accusation, pointed at thug-posturers who were flooding the hip hop scene at the time. Vocal clips from the song have been sampled in numerous hip hop tracks throughout the years; including Mos Def's song "Hip Hop" off of his 1999 album Black on Both Sides and Big L's song "The Enemy", which appears on his posthumous album The Big Picture
31 minutes | Mar 1, 2021
The "De La Soul - De La Soul is Dead" episode
De La Soul Is Dead is the second studio album by American hip-hop group De La Soul, released on May 14, 1991. The album was produced by Prince Paul, whose work on 3 Feet High and Rising was highly praised by music critics. The album was one of the first to receive a five-mic rating in the Hip hop magazine The Source; and the album was also selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums in 1998. The album's cover refers to the death of the "D.A.I.S.Y." (Da Inner Sound, Y'all) age, or a distancing from several cultures including hippies and mainstream hip-hop.
15 minutes | Feb 16, 2021
The "Digable Planets - Blowout Comb" episode
Blowout Comb is the second studio album by American hip hop group Digable Planets, released October 18, 1994, on Pendulum/EMI Records. The album was written and recorded in Brooklyn, New York, where the group moved, with recording sessions beginning in 1993 and finishing in 1994. On Blowout Comb, Digable Planets abandoned the radio friendly style of their debut album and worked with a more ambitious, stripped-down sound. The album features a diverse range of samples and live instruments, and contains lyrical themes of the inner city and black nationalism. It also features guest appearances from Guru of Gang Starr, Jeru the Damaja, and DJ Jazzy Joyce. Upon its release, Blowout Comb received minimal label support, and virtually no pre-release publicity. It peaked at number 32 on the Billboard 200, and number 13 on the Top R&B Albums, making it a commercial failure. It featured the singles "9th wonder" and "Dial 7", which also did not chart well, and failed to match the success of the group's previous singles. Several music writers have attributed this lack of chart and sales success to the album's afrocentric content, and un-polished tone. Shortly after the release of Blowout Comb, Digable Planets broke up due to creative differences and displeasure with the music industry. Although the album did not achieve commercial success, and received very little attention at the time of its release, Blowout Comb received generally greater acclaim amongst music critics and writers than the group's debut Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space). It has been noted for its seamless production and has been described as a "textured soundscape of a mythical world of rhymes, jazz and urban ambiance." Blowout Comb is often regarded as Digable Planets' best album, and has gained an underground following in later years. In 2013, it was reissued on vinyl LP by Light in the Attic Records.
18 minutes | Feb 10, 2021
The "Brand New Heavies - Heavy Rhyme Experience Vol. 1" episode
Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. 1 is a 1992 studio album by The Brand New Heavies. It includes collaborations with Main Source, Gang Starr, Grand Puba, Masta Ace, Jamalski, Kool G. Rap, Black Sheep, Ed O.G., Tiger, and The Pharcyde.
14 minutes | Jan 30, 2021
The "Jeru - The Sun Rises in the East" episode
The Sun Rises in the East is the debut album by American hip hop rapper Jeru the Damaja, released May 24, 1994 on Payday Records. Production on the album was handled by DJ Premier. The album features fellow Gang Starr Foundation member Afu-Ra. The album cover depicts the World Trade Center on fire only one year after the 1993 bombing of the North Tower. The Sun Rises in the East was well received by most music critics upon its release. It is considerably significant in hip hop, as it contributed to the revival of the East Coast hip hop scene, along with albums such as Wu-Tang Clan's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993), Nas's Illmatic (1994) and Black Moon's Enta da Stage (1993). The album has been considered by critics to be Jeru the Damaja's best work.
20 minutes | Jan 25, 2021
The "Pharcyde - Bizarre Ride to the Pharcyde" episode
Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde is the debut album of American hip hop group The Pharcyde, released on November 24, 1992 through Delicious Vinyl Records and EastWest Records. The album was produced by former group member J-Swift, and features only one guest appearance, provided by little known Los Angeles rapper Bucwheed (known then as "Buckwheat" from The Wascals). In the years after its release, Bizarre Ride has been hailed by music critics and alternative hip hop fans, as a classic hip hop album along with Souls of Mischief's 93 'til Infinity, and has appeared in numerous publications' "best albums" lists. Released during the dominant Gangsta rap era of West Coast hip hop, Bizarre Ride was described as "refreshing" due to its playful, light-hearted humor and lush, jazzy production. Along with albums such as To Whom It May Concern... by Freestyle Fellowship, and I Wish My Brother George Was Here by Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Bizarre Ride helped establish a new alternative scene on the West Coast, followed by artists such as Hieroglyphics, The Coup and Jurassic 5. Despite its wide critical acclaim, the album produced only moderate sales, peaking at No. 75 on the Billboard 200 album chart in 1993. However, on the strength of the second single, "Passin' Me By", the album was certified gold in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on March 28, 1996
22 minutes | Jan 20, 2021
The "Brand Nubian - One for All" episode
One for All is the debut studio album by American hip hop group Brand Nubian, released on December 4, 1990 by Elektra Records. The album was highly acclaimed for its politically charged and socially conscious content. Sales never matched the wide acclaim — the album has only sold 350,000 copies as of May 2013 — but it has remained in print since its 1990 release. The album is mainly produced by Brand Nubian, but it also features production by Skeff Anselm, Stimulated Dummies, and Dave "Jam" Hall. The album's production contains many motifs of hip hop's golden age including James Brown-sampled breakbeats and funky R&B loops.
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