Recently I wrote an article about Talib Kweli’s latest album, The Seven and when I came across the record I was astounded that I had never heard of the rapper, who has been pretty dominant since the 1990s. Now, for a bit of a preface, I have a coworker that I have bonded with because of hip-hop. We discuss albums, artists coming to Austin (which is rare if it’s not SXSW season), and the lack of open mic nights in the city. But when I went to my colleague to discuss Talib’s album… I walked away feeling almost ashamed that I had never heard of Black Star (Talib’s original group with Mos Def) or that he’s been a predominant player in the rap game for over 20 years.
Story | Sara Loretta
Image | todayinhiphophistory
But the more I thought about our conversation, the more I realized that not knowing an artist (at any level of their career) is by no means something to be ashamed of. Instead, not only does it give you the opportunity to have some new beats in your headphones, discovering an older album helps you to better understand a current artist’s influences; to better understand where the world was when the record was released (if you are interested in that type of knowledge), or simply just to better define your taste in music – regardless of genre.
You’re probably asking, “Well how do I find these so-called ‘classic albums?’ Spotify doesn’t just recommend a record released in 1994 that was made in response to the first bombing of the Twin Towers.”
That album I just pretended you mentioned is called The Sun Rises in the East by Jeru Damaja and I found that by Googling “Forgotten Hip Hop albums.” Seriously. Read the full article here.
I’m not saying you have to sit and Google for hours to find good music that was released the same decade you were born, but start with Youtube and an older song you know like ‘Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It’ or “1994 hip hop songs”, and just let the music play. That’s how I honestly find all of the music I have come to love and pray over, because remember, Spotify doesn’t have music uploaded unless the artist has given permission. On Youtube, anyone can upload anything. And I mean anything.