Favourite 5

Favourite 5 – Rad Brown selects early influences

Rad Brown is prepping the release of his album Upper Crust Confections for later this year. As well as featuring Fatlip on the track Open Your Mind (sampling one of Rad’s childhood favourites, the animated The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe), sadly missed wrestler (and brother of Macho Man Randy Savage) Lanny Poffo, Reef The Lost Cauze and B. Stille of Nappy Roots also appear, while HeiroglyphicsOpio and Minor Birds feature on current single Pace Myself.

Rad put together five of his favourite hip hop albums whose productions provided early influence for him to celebrate the release of the single.

Buy and stream Pace Yourself here. Dig further into Rad Brown here.

Rad Brown’s Favourite 5 Albums Whose Production Provided Early Influence

1. Aesop RockLabor Days

Likely my favorite hip-hop album of all time, not only because of Aesop Rock‘s expansive vocabulary, but the atmospheric and musically-rich production mostly undertaken by Blockhead feels akin to indulging in a 14 course audible tasting menu expertly and passionately crafted by a world-renowned musical chef.

I remember the first time I heard this album in 2001 when I was in high school as I was starting to make beats for fun and it’s when I realized how musical hip-hop production could be.

There is no filler on this album, but Daylight, FlashFlood, and 9-5ers Anthem are wonderful standouts from a musical standpoint.  


2. Jedi Mind TricksThe Psycho-social, Chemical, Biological, And Electro-magnetic Manipulation of Human Consciousness

Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind may be my favorite producer in hip-hop because his production reflects a wide breadth of musical exposure that spans several genres and cultures, which I relate with. There is a depth of emotion on his tracks rarely felt at a consistent level for me among other producers that transcends a love of music beyond the hip-hop genre.

While subsequent JMT releases would prove a refinement and polish on the production, their 1997 debut showed me that the core of Stoupe’s production has been resonant since the beginning.

Stand out tracks for me include The Winds of War, As it Was in the Beginning…, and I Who Have Nothing.


3. Gang StarrMoment of Truth

Guru and DJ Premier may possibly be my favorite producer/MC duo in hip-hop. The previous albums were wonderful, but Moment of Truth released in 1998 is when Premier’s beats rose to another level in terms of enhancing the melodies in his production.

Stand out tracks include Above the Clouds, Moment of Truth, and Royalty.


4. Nas – I Am…

While Illmatic 100% deserves its iconic status and may be my personal favorite Nas album, I Am… released in 1999 has some of my favorite hip-hop production to this day with several tracks featuring dark, anthemic melodies such as NY State of Mind p. II (another DJ Premier beat), Small World, and Favor For a Favor.

This would prove to be the most musically-rich and cinematic of Nas’s albums up to this point and it effectively underscores the dramatic nature of the lyrics and vocal performances. 



5. Deep Puddle DynamicsThe Taste of Rain…Why Kneel

This is perhaps one of the most underrated supergroup albums in hip-hop history as far as I’m concerned and it should definitely be considered for a re-mastering.

The combined lyrical prowess and creative deliveries from the legendary emcees should be noted, but I really connected with the production, which has a grainy, mysterious, and hauntingly atmospheric quality overall that conjures the imagery of films like Hour of the Wolf by Ingmar Bergman or The Haunted Castle by F.W. Murnau. Stand out tracks for this 1999 gem are The Candle, The Scarecrow, and Rainmen (Controller 7 Remix).

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