On this day in music history: July 25, 1989 - “Paul’s Boutique”, the second album by the Beastie Boys is released. Produced by the Beastie Boys, The Dust Brothers, and Mario Caldato, Jr., it is recorded at Mario C’s, The Opium Den in Los Angeles, CA, and The Record Plant in New York City from Mid 1988 - Early 1989. After the huge multi-platinum success of their debut album “Licensed To Ill”, the Beasties have a falling out with their label Def Jam Records over royalty payments and creative control, leading them to the leave the label in 1988. Quickly signed by Capitol Records, the band relocate to California to begin work on their second album at the home studio of Delicious Vinyl Records co-founder Matt Dike. The Beasties collaborate with The Dust Brothers on the project, constructing the tracks from dense layers of samples from R&B, funk, rock records, and numerous other musical genres. The completed results differ greatly from the Beastie Boys first album, and initially is looked upon as a commercial disappointment (in spite of positive reviews) when it initially sells just over 700,000 copies (compared to the four million plus sales of “Licensed To Ill” at the time). However, the album grows in stature during the 90’s, with fan websites appearing on the internet discussing the album’s intricate sampling as well as identifying the samples featured within. In time, it comes to be regarded as one of the greatest Hip Hop albums of all time. The albums cover photo features a wide panoramic shot of Ludlow Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. The original vinyl LP is released with two variations of the cover art. The first being a regular gatefold LP jacket, and the second being a limited edition version with a eight panel foldout featuring the complete photographic image on the outside and inside of the jacket. “Paul’s Boutique” peaks at number fourteen on the Billboard Top 200, number twenty four on the R&B album chart, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
20 years ago today, arguably the Greatest Hip-Hop album of all-time was released. The near flawless production was handled by Nas himself, Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, L.E.S., and DJ Premier. On this record, Nas uses different lyrical patterns and rhyme schemes to paint a picture of life through his own eyes while growing up in the borough of Queensbridge, New York.
Today we acknowledge and celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Jay-Z’s sixth studio album The Blueprint. The classic album was released on September 11th, 2001 - a day marred by supreme tragedy. In an interview on September 16, Hov would acknowledge the unfortunate timing of the release, saying: “Unfortunately it came out on that day. So I’ve just put [the album] on the back-burner. I even feel guilty thinking about it with everything that is going on.” In support of those who lost their lives, and their families, Hov donated a portion of each ticket sold during his Blueprint Lounge Tour to various relief organizations.
The Blueprint is considered to be one of Jay-Z’s best albums, and has also been labeled as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. The album was reportedly cut in two weeks, with Jay-Z allegedly writing the lyrics in [a mind-blowing] three days. The album show-cased a more soulful vibe than his previous releases, with the sample-driven tracks being provided by Kanye West (5), Just Blaze (4) and Bink! (3);
alongside efforts by Timbaland, Trackmasters and Eminem - who also contributed the album’s sole guest verse.
In spite of its release coinciding with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, The Blueprint sold over 420,000 copies in its opening week, becoming Jay-Z’s fourth consecutive album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart. It was certified 2x Multi-Platinum in May 2002, with current sales standing at over 2.8 million units in the United States of America and 4 million copies worldwide. It was ranked at #252 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
The College Dropout is the debut album by American hip hop artist Kanye West, released February 10, 2004, on Roc-A-Fella Records. It was recorded over a period of four years, beginning in 1999. Prior to the album’s release, West had worked on rapper Jay-Z‘s The Blueprint (2001), which showcased his melodic and soulfulstyle of hip hop production.The production of the album was often halted by the lack of confidence that producers had in West’s rapping ability, eventually being convinced based off the success of his early musical ventures.
The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200chart, selling 441,000 copies in its first week. It was a massive commercial success, producing five singles that achieved chart success. Upon its release, The College Dropout received general acclaim from music critics and earned West several accolades, including a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the 47th Grammy Awards. It is West’s best-selling album in the United States, with domestic sales of over 3.1 million copies and worldwide sales of over four million copies. It has been named byTime and Rolling Stoneas one of the greatest albums of all time and is often listed amongst the greatest debut albums ever released by a hip hop artist.
Happy 10th anniversary today to one of the most important albums of the 21st century, and one of the greatest albums of all time.
As analytically historical as you can be, what are the 10 greatest hip hop albums (and please define what a great hip hop album is)
kanye west - the college dropout (2004) kanye yest - late registration (2005) kanye west - graduation (2007) kanye west - 808s and heartbreak (2008) kanye west - my beautiful dark twisted fantasy (2010) kanye west & jay-z - watch the throne (2011) drake - take care (2011) kendrick lamar - good kid, maad city (2012) kendrick lamar - to pimp a butterfly (2015) kanye west - the life of pablo (2016)
you probably already know this but kanye west basically invented the genre that we call hip hop today, so i figured i’d start with his first album. some people out there consider his 4th album 808s and heartbreak to be the first “real hip hop” album ever made but i decided to include the three he put out before that one anyway just because there weren’t really any other albums worth mentioning. i’m not counting all those albums from the 90s that people love to namedrop in order to make themselves seem knowledgeable about the culture, those are irrelevant. no one actually listens to that stuff nowadays. a bunch of corny motherfuckers in the park with boomboxes and funny hats spinning on their heads, get out of here with all that bullshit. as far as defining what makes a hip hop album great, the answer to that is: memes. we live in the age of the internet and social media, so whatever hip hop album spawns the most memes is the best and most important.