These days, the word “classic” is thrown around as loosely as a Nerf ball at a picnic. However, we at TRU consider classics to be something which stand the test of time and have a resounding influence on their respective fields. But how do albums considered classics sound to the ears of TRU’s young blood? Aaron J. McKrell was born in 1990 and we’ve convinced him to turn his scope on a classic from the rich history of hip-hop to view it through a contemporary lens in a weekly series we call…
I don’t often give hatchet jobs to albums. Much of the time, I can see what the artist was trying to do and point out where it went wrong without going overboard regarding how bad the album is. Sometimes though, it’s not called going overboard. It’s calling it what it is. Ladies and gents, I plan on doing just that with DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing…..
I’m a lyrics guy. I need both strong production and strong spoken word to stimulate my mind when jamming or chilling out to tunes. However, I can respect dope instrumentals when I hear them. What I heard on Endtroducing….. though, was not dope instrumentals. Some of the beats are minimalistic and painfully repetitious, such as “Napalm Brain Scatter Brain.” The track’s hyperactive drums are an ear-sore, and the random spare instruments that pop up don’t do enough to relieve the feeling that there should be something more to the beat.
Alas, I found this to be the case for most of the tracks. “Building Steam with a Grain of Salt” isn’t a good beat to start with, and when it is the sole focus for nearly seven minutes, I makes me feel like I need to put the track after its misery. Other tracks, such as “Organ Donor” and “Why Hip-Hop Sucks in ’96,” weren’t long enough for me to get into them.
The mood of the tunes doesn’t help matters. Most of the tracks give off either an ominous feel or present a chaotic mood. I get the feeling DJ Shadow was feeling extremely hyper when he made this album. “What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 1- Blue Sky Revisit)/Transmission 3” is a smooth, chilled out joint, but it’s too little too late.
I don’t want to be too hard on DJ Shadow. I suspect there are few producers in the history of hip-hop who could make a great instrumental album. Regardless, this is a boring album that doesn’t merit repeat spins.
Classics Revisited: Outkast – ATLiens
Classics Revisited: Fugees – The Score
Classics Revisited: 2Pac – All Eyez On Me
Classics Revisited: Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt
Classics Revisited: Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…
Classics Revisited: 2Pac – Me Against The World
Classics Revisited: Genius/Gza – Liquid Swords
Classics Revisited: Nas – Illmatic
Classics Revisited: The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready To Die
Classics Revisited: Common – Resurrection
Classics Revisited: Outkast – Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
Classics Revisited: Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang (’36 Chambers’)
Classics Revisited: A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders
Classics Revisited: Gang Starr – Daily Operation
Classics Revisited: Main Source – Breaking Atoms
Classics Revisited: A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory
Classics Revisited: Geto Boys – We Can’t Be Stopped
Classics Revisited: Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth – Funky Technician
Classics Revisited: Ice Cube – Amerikkka’s Most Wanted
Classics Revisited: De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising
Classics Revisited: Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique
Classics Revisited: Slick Rick – The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick
Classics Revisited: Big Daddy Kane – Long Live The Kane
Classics Revisited: Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Classics Revisited: NWA – Straight Outta Compton
Classics Revisited: Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full