Friday, June 03, 2011

90's Hit Parade #59

When I started doing this, I said that I wasn't making any commitment to do it on any particular schedule, but I settled pretty quickly into Tuesday and Friday posts, and now I get stressed when I'm missing that deadline. So today, I'm caught up! Although I can't help but plan out what I'm going to say in the days ahead of each entry, I am trying my best to write these as quickly as possible without editing much, so please try to tolerate the typos.



Digable Planets - Pacifics

Heresy: I actually enjoy Digable Planets records even more than A Tribe Called Quest. Well, I should say, I'm talking about the beats--as rappers, these guys are not as interesting to listen to as Q-Tip or Phife. But the beats, yeah, I think they beat Tribe. See, Tribe was making music that didn't sound like anything else when they came out, and when you go back to listen to it, you can sort of hear the seams where hip hop, jazz and laid back RnB are stitched together. Tribe provided the blueprint, so when DP recorded their first LP in '92, they already knew how to do it, and their beats sound more like a unified whole. At least, that's how my ears hear it.

Probably not heresy, exactly, to say that I prefer their second LP, Blowout Comb, to their more high-profile debut Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space), but it sure seemed like an unpopular opinion at the time. Absolutely one of my top 5 hip hop records ever. But Blowout Comb isn't really a singles record. Each song melts together into one continuous head bob. I would pick "Black Ego," but at 7 minutes, the repetitive hi-hat beat gets on my nerves. So instead, we'll go to the first album for a cut.

"Pacifics" sticks out a bit from most of the rest of the album. Less jazz, mo funk. The lyrics describe a lazy Sunday afternoon in NYC, and the funky rhythm feels like a relaxing walk through the farmer's market and used book store. Absolutely one of the best stoner hip hop tracks ever recorded.

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