Are the instagram story trends getting old? Yes. Are we as Gen Z’ers starting these trends just to distract us from the terrible pandemic happening around us? Maybe.
So I thought NOW would be a perfect time to give my two cents on what everyone wants to hear, my Bill Clinton Swag. However, instead of doing the tired, repeated version, I’m going to have Bill showcase my favorite albums from four different genres of music– rap/hip-hop, classic rock, alternative rock, and pop/RnB.
Rap was probably the hardest one to nail down only because I could’ve gone so many avenues– 90’s rap, modern rap, gangsta rap, etc. This one definitely took the longest amount of deliberation and thought. Nevertheless, “Slick Willy” can only be holding four albums at the end of the day, so these are the four I went with.
1.) Man on the Moon: The End of the Day— Kid Cudi
Released in September 2009, one of Kid Cudi’s most iconic albums debuted at fourth on the US billboard charts and many consider it a voice for mental health issues, something that hadn’t been as frequently talked about in 2009.
With hit singles like “Day n’ Nite”, “Cudi Zone”, and “Pursuit of Happiness” Man on the Moon became an instant success and achieved a type of sound that is unique to Cudi and make him one of the greatest to ever do it.
2.) Illmatic— Nas
Considered by many to be one of the greatest rap albums of all time, Nas’s debut studio album defined East Coast hip hop during the golden age of rap and brought a revival back to the NYC rap scene.
This influential collection of music introduced the world to singles like “One Love”, “Life’s a Bitch”, and “The World is Yours” that not only served as great additions to the NBA 2k playlist but also provided unique philosophical commentary by one of the greatest to ever .
3.) 2001— Dr. Dre
The follow-up to the legendary album, The Chronic, might’ve just been well… more legendary. Dr. Dre’s second studio album not only gave us music that has been parodied in Vines and Tik Toks and will be forever, but also under the radar classics like “Xxplosive” and “What’s the Difference” This packed album of over 20 songs is an all time classic that has to be included on my all-time rap albums.
4.) Graduation— Kanye West
I know every millennial that proclaims that they “an old school taste is music” probably has this album as one of their favorite albums ever, but damn its so good. Of all the albums I chose for this genre, Kanye’s third studio album screams one word “consistency”. I mean from A to Z you have hits upon hits upon hits. From “Stronger” to “Big Brother”, he/she who listens is subjected to musical prophecy. I know everyone put on “Good Morning” as they were getting ready for their high school graduation and I sure as hell know everyone heard “Stronger” blasting during elementary school gym class(clean version of course). That’s what Kanye does; create music that becomes integrated into our lives.
Remember, this is albums people. If it was just artists in general, I would have some Billy Joel, Rush, possibly some Styx, but again the albums I’ve selected have the highest concentration of, in my opinion, all-time hits on one disc.
1.) A Day at the Races— Queen
Although this album does not have my favorite song of all time, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, I would be remiss to not include a Queen album on my list, so I chose my personal favorite, A Day at the Races. This album may not have Queen’s most notable song, but it comes close with classics like “Somebody to Love” and “Good ole’ Fashioned Lover Boy”.
2.) Boston– Boston
This best-selling debut album from Boston, is a perfect embodiment of what classic rock albums should be. Short and sweet but packed with a punch. Side one of the album already puts Boston in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with all-timers in “Foreplay”,”Peace of Mind”, and “More than a Feeling”
3.) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road– Elton John
Similar to the Queen dilemma, It was hard to narrow down this album selection but I knew I had to put Elton John on here somewhere. I decided to choose Goodbye Yellow Brick Road because although it doesn’t have the Elton “classics” like “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer”, it has my favorite song of his, “Goodbye Yellowbrick Road” along with a litany of hits like “Bennie and the Jets” and “Harmony”. This album is widely considered EJ’s best
4.) Abbey Road— The Beatles
How could I not include one of the greatest and most touted albums in music history? Do I really need to explain the historically great music on this album? Enough said.
1.) Dookie— Green Day
Green Day, one of the most heralded 90’s grunge bands of all-time, has to be included on this list. When I first got my iPod nano, the first of five songs that I listened to over and over again was “Basket Case”. Every time I listen to this album, I get transported to simpler times; riding my razor scooter while rocking my OSIRIS shoes.
2.) Sublime— Sublime
Another aptly put album name is the third and final studio album for the band Sublime. Besides hit songs like “What I Got” and “Wrong Way”, no summer bonfire with your friends from high school can be complete without “Santeria” being played. To me, the mark for great music is when you can associate feelings and places to what you’re listening to and this album does that for me.
3.) Enema of the State— Blink-182
One of the most influential punk bands of all-time, Blink-182’s third studio album is perhaps their most iconic. In a time when MTV was at its peak, their three top songs “Adam’s Song”, “What’s my Age Again?”, and “All the Small Things” instantly became smash hits and propelled them to not only one of the greatest punk bands of all time, but most importantly, onto this list.
4.) Californication– Red Hot Chili Peppers
One of the greatest albums of all-time by one of the greatest bands of all-time. I don’t think the Peppers get their just due as one of the best musical groups to ever live. I mean their level of music prolificness can only be compared to that of the Beatles in my opinion. This album in particular showcases all-time greats like “Scar Tissue”, “Otherside”, and “Californication”.
1.) Freudian– Daniel Caesar
The debut album of Daniel Caesar has reached massive critical acclaim and has created a cult following of his music. Consider me part of the cult. His combination of soul and RnB with a modern take gives him a distinct voice. This album is filled to the brim with hits like “We Find Love”, “Best Part”, and “Get You”.
2.) Pony— Rex Orange County
This impactful and uniquely optimistic third studio album from Rex Orange County is an easy add to my list. His takes on life are eloquently weaved into his music and I can truly say it’s an album that makes you think, a rare feat for any artist regardless of genre.
3.) Songs in the Key of Life— Stevie Wonder
“Sir Duke” is one of my favorite songs of all time so I had to include Stevie Wonder’s astounding eighteenth studio album which one him a Grammy for best album. Other hits like “Isn’t She Lovely?” and “I Wish” are in the long lists of great songs that make Stevie Wonder one of the greatest to ever do it.
4.) American Teen— Khalid
Khalid’s debut studio album is still his best. While many consider this album filled with “radio songs” that are way too mainstream, there’s a reason the music was so popular. Khalid’s interesting take on growing up in America evokes the same feeling someone would get when watching The Breakfast Club. Hot sings like “Location”, “American Teen”, “8Teen”, and “Young Dumb and Broke” perfectly encapsulates the challenges and triumphs of growing up.
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