Nothing is controversial when your parents dig it. Maybe that explains why rap music has become less and less controversial over time. As Generation X starts dropping brats and checking report cards, it's no longer about parents hating rap music, but parents hating their kids' rap music. But when I was growing up, most parents hated rap music, period. I guess I was lucky that my father was not only a hip-hop fan, but he bought albums from the most obscure and explicit artists of the time . Shit, I used to borrow tapes from him. I can't make this shit up.
With Father's Day approaching on Sunday, I decided to make this list about pops and his rare appreciation of hip-hop. I sat down and asked him for his top five rap albums of all-time. Some will shock you, some will make you scratch your head and say, "what the fuck?" And some will make you think he's the most knowledgable hip-hop head on Earth over age 60.
CLICK THE THUMBNAILS ABOVE TO CHECK OUT POP'S TOP 5...
5. Gang Starr - Step In The Arena (Chrysalis, 1991)
Pops: The sound of Guru’s voice and how it connected with the music was seamless. This was the early beginning of me listening to hip-hop. I like all music but I love jazz, and this was a smooth transition to me getting into hip-hop from listening to jazz. It almost reminded me of listening to a jazz album but it was still edgy like hip-hop should be. It bridged the gap for me.
J-Zone: This is my favorite Gang Starr album hands down. You took me to buy this at Music Factory on Jamaica Avenue the Sunday before it came out.
Pop's Favorite Song: "Step In the Arena"
4. Son of Bazerk Featuring No Self Control and the Band – Bazerk, Bazerk, Bazerk (S.O.U.L., 1991)
Pops: The pure chaos of the sounds and beats… it was so avant-garde, it blew me away. It was a cacophony of sound. The album reminded me of the '50s and '60s, even with the [James Brown-themed] album cover and how they wore the suits. Visually, it was stunning.
J-Zone: I agree. Such an underrated group. Never was a rap act like this before them and never will be again.
Pop's Favorite Song: "The Band Gets Swivey On The Wheels"
3. J-Zone and Celph Titled are...The Boss Hog Barbarians – Every Hog Has Its Day (Mt. Kill-A-Ho/Hog Cabin Ent, 2006)
J-Zone: I swear, I had absolutely nothing to do with this. You're buggin', man, but whatever.
Pops: The best production I’ve heard in the genre. The album cover, the concept of it, was just so raw and funky but still melodic. It was so good that I used to play it in the morning to get me pumped up to go to work…in Corporate America! The sound quality was really good. I had a vision of you and Celph sitting around and talking just like you were rapping when I heard it, like it was effortless.
J-Zone: You're buggin'. Then again, everyone who knows this album either loves it or hates it to death. Are sure you didn't list this solely because I'm your kid?
Pop's Favorite Song: "Bitch, That Ain't Luv!"
2. Capital Tax – The Swoll Package (MCA, 1993)
Pops: Reminds me of craftsmanship is all about, from beginning to end. My head was bobbing the entire time. Not one bad cut on the album. It was most complete hip-hop album for me in terms of all the elements – funk, jazz, blues, hip-hop, spiritual. It’s timeless to me, I still play it today and it makes me feel good.
J-Zone: Wow. Odd choice. I liked this album, too, but this is a really high rating. A lot of people outside of Oakland weren't up on this group. They got no promotion from MCA.
Pop's Favorite Song: "Mr. Wonka"
1. Tim Dog – Penicillin on Wax (Ruffhouse, 1991)
J-Zone: I swear to God, I had nothing to do with this!!!
Pops: This album made me so nervous. It was like a horror movie gone terribly wrong. If there were visuals to this album, they would scare the shit out of me. I could put myself in those scenes and feel the emotion. They say fear of a black planet, but how about fear of Tim Dog?! To me, it was a hip-hop cinematic classic. They should’ve made a movie out of this album.
J-Zone: We must be related to Tim Dog. Everyone in the family ranks this one #1.