Originally printed in ego trip #12, 1997.
Old, wack rap albums. They’re everywhere. When you’re walking down the street, junkies try to sell them to you. When you’re at the used record store looking for that hot LaToya Jackson joint to loop up, there they are obstructing the bins. When you’re at somebody else’s housewarming party looking for valuable stuff to steal, there they are, mocking you with their worthlessness.
However, all wack albums aren’t actually wack. In fact, some of them are merely misunderstood opuses awaiting a set of open ears to discover their unorthodox treasures. A true music fan, Company Flow’s master of new styles, El-P, possesses a special place in his heart for underappreciated hip hop misfits. As he explains: “There’s a lot of shit that people got to go back and check out. You have to be willing to suffer a little with your heroes to get to the good shit.”
What kind of “good shit?” Well …
CLICK ON THE THUMBNAIL IMAGES ABOVE TO SEE AND HEAR EM!
(In no particular order…)
X-Clan - Xodus (4th & B'way, 1992)
El-P: The thing about X-Clan was that their music was always stronger than their image. They fell victim to the fact that audiences were moving on from their [pro-Black] image, but Brother J is one of the nastiest emcees out there. Paradise was a nasty producer. They played all their critics on the intro where a racist news reporter says, “There’s more to the X-Clan than the red, black and green, but I’m still rolling with the red, white and blue.”
D-Nice - To Tha Rescue (Jive, 1992)
em>El-P: This is a thorough album. People just slept completely. It came out when he was in between crews—he was disgraced from being kicked out of BDP and he wasn’t down with Flavor Unit yet. The collaborations are bizarre but dope: D-Nice and Too Short, D-Nice and Marvelous. The song with D-Nice and Treach, “Time To Flow,” was nasty. If these albums were just judged on the merits of some of their songs, they would have sold.
Audio Two - I Don’t Care, The Album (1990)
El-P: I guess that I was the only one who ran out to the store when Milk and Giz’s second album dropped. Though I had the cassette, I never owned the CD with the homoerotic pictures. What I love about Milk is that he’s one of the original ignorant emcees. In addition to “Get Your Mother Off The Crack,” a classic ignorant song, this album also has “Worse Than A Gremlin,” the only song Giz ever rhymed on.
The Afros - Kickin’ Afrolistics (JMJ, 1990)
El-P: This is the nastiest that Hurricane (a/k/a the Beastie Boys’ DJ) ever rhymed. “Kickin’ Afrolistics” was nasty. They had some classic ignorant rhymes. This was back in the day when you could do a gimmick record without being gimmicky, but that probably hurt them in the long run. Since they didn’t take themselves seriously, it was hard for others to take them seriously. Tragically, afro [wigs] came back in style and they ended up being hip instead of just being funny.
Run-D.M.C. - Back From Hell (Profile, 1990)
El-P: This is Run-D.M.C. before they found God. They were drinking crazy 40s and were fuckin’ lost in the smoke and the beer. Unfortunately, they kinda went new-jack-swing on this album, meaning that you have that pop shit beside some real hardcore Hollis, Queens shit. But the two joints that were good weren’t just good, they were classic. D.M.C. shines on “Groove To The Sound” with a crazy, hard flow. “The Ave.” was classic. “P Upon A Tree” wasn’t really classic, though.