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JON9000
11-26-2007, 02:05 PM
Well, I didn't want to crash the party over in the other thread which discusses the "Best Albums" of all time, but I couldn't help noticing that every album mentioned was by a white rock band. Maybe the thread should be titled "best rock albums by white artists".

Regardless, I wouldn't mind hearing about favorites that are a little more diversified. I think we've all heard "Dark Side of the Moon" about a bazillion times, and it's just played out. There. I said it.

So, here it is, my 10 favorite albums by artists that are not the same ethnicity as me, or are not rock albums, and I guarantee you'll have a good time with any of them. Keep in mind I don't own much recorded before the mid-60's, so Ray Charles, James Brown, and all of Phil Spector's girl groups are out. Here it goes:

KIND OF BLUE- MILES DAVIS I got this in 1997 and when it is time to relax and chill out, nothing comes even close. Imagine the coolest cool and then cool it off more. And women love it.

THE GREAT ADVENTURES OF SLICK RICK- SLICK RICK back in the good old days when hip-hop was known as rap, giving deference to the status of wordsmithery in the genre, MC Ricky D. gave us cautionary tales, tag-team rapping with oneself, and the swan song of the Golden Age of Rap before Eazy-E, Jerry Heller and NWA indulged in fan service in the form of hyper vulgarity and misogyny. Some people want to sweat "Indian girl: An Adult Story" or "Treat her Like a Prostitue" as being a little misogynistic, but the former is a farce in the tradition of "The Miller's Tale," and the latter a simple warning about being too trusting too early. Lighten up.

PAUL'S BOUTIQUE- BEASTIE BOYS- between the novelty act of "Licensed to Ill" and the taking up of instruments in "Check Your Head," "PB" was the "Pet Sounds" of the rap genre, with mind-twisting layers of sampling of everything from Ringo Starr to JAWS.

THREE FEET HIGH AND RISING- DE LA SOUL- If "Paul's" is "Pet Sounds," "3 Feet" can be thought of as "Sgt. Pepper's," which dropped right before the lawyers crashed the sampling party, but not in time to prevent Steely Dan's "Peg" and Zeppelin's "The Crunge" being reworked in such as way as to show how funky those bands truly were.

PURPLE RAIN- PRINCE- If u don't own this album, something is wrong with u. Go forth and buy it. As for the movie, the rival band is no less than Morris Day and the Mutha******* Time! Sign o' the Times is great also.

THRILLER- MICHAEL JACKSON- everybody my age remembers watching Thriller every night for a couple of months back in 83. Thriller is not only MJ's best, made right before he weirded out, but also may be Quincy Jones' apex as well. It also has what Bill & Ted lacked- Eddie Van Halen on guitar.

LEGEND- BOB MARLEY- having a greatest hits compilation is cheating a bit, and I resisted the urge with Kool and the Gang, but this album is the one everybody knows and its influence has only grown. If Jimmy Buffet merely markets a lifestyle of getting blitzed on an island, Marley's music embodies peace, love, resistance, and freeing one's mind a bit on the side.

THE CHRONIC- DR. DRE- Maybe this should be filed under most influential, because almost every hip-hop album released over the next 4 years sounded like a pale imitation, even when produced by Dre himself. The withering bards ended the careers of several other rappers, and introduced the world to funk laced beats and a laid-back Calvin Broadus.

MOTHERSHIP CONNECTION- PARLIAMENT- It's got the Bootsy. The Bootsy rules. RULES! I almost gave this spot to the Commodores, because Brick House makes everybody between 17 and 60 want to rock out, but Mothership is consistently better.

IT TAKES A NATION OF MILLIONS TO HOLD US BACK- P.E.- beats out Ice Cube, Jay-Z and Eminem. They've got some great stuff, but hip-hop got socially relevant here, and sparked a lot of my school-mates in the 7th grade, even if some of the lyrics were beyond us. It also got a lot harder for the haters to claim rap wasn't "real" music afterwards. Chuck D. sounds as authoritative as Johnny Cash or a black minister thundering the real deal down from a pulpit on high, all the while with Flavor Flave popping up in songs like a zany jack-in-the-box.

El Chuxter
11-26-2007, 02:41 PM
I thought I'd mentioned Muddy Waters Live at Newport '60 over there, but maybe it was in the Best Live Albums thread.

I did bring up Electric Ladyland. True, the Experience is 2/3 white, but when you really get down to it, it's only the 1/3 that's mixed Cherokee and African-American that anyone cares about. :)

I agree with you on The Chronic, Purple Rain, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Legend, and Kind of Blue.

I've never heard Three Feet High and Rising, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, or Mothership Connection. Yeah, I get the astonished looks quite often.

Thriller, I think, has not held up as well as most other great albums from the same time. Aside from the singles (which, admittedly, it has a huge number of), it's all filler.

I tend to think of the Beasties as not entirely rock or rap, and yet both at once. I actually find Paul's Boutique to be tremendously overrated, though, and prefer their own least favorite, License to Ill. (It's more fun, and that's what these guys are really all about.)

I'll have to add:

RAP:
Snoop Dogg: Doggystyle -- More than any other rap album from the early 90s, this one still sounds as fresh as the day it was made. It's far more due to Dre and the heavy Mayfield samples than to Snoop himself, though.

Cypress Hill: Black Sunday -- This wasn't the first rap album to bend the rules, but it was the first I noticed. This one is still a wicked ride from start to end, even though the Hill's predictable formula of "smoke a joint, shoot a cop, smoke another joint" has made all their other albums totally laughable.

Boogiemonsters: Riders on the Storm (The Underwater Album) -- I recently found out this is OOP and a huge collectors' item, which is sad, because it is an amazing album in the vein of guys like De La Soul. "Recognized Thresholds of Negative Stress" is one of the catchiest rap songs ever recorded, and I never could figure out why it wasn't a smash hit.

Outkast: The Love Below -- Yeah, Speakerboxx is good, but these are kinda two albums in one package, and The Love Below is so much better. Andre 3000 is a god among men, and the only rapper still performing who doesn't suck and is still at the top of his game. jjreason summed this one up best by saying it's the best 1980s Prince album that Prince didn't record in the 80s.

JAZZ:
John Coltrane: Giant Steps -- Most folks would pick A Love Supreme, but I think Giant Steps is a stronger effort overall. It's probably the only instrumental jazz album I'd put in a category with Kind of Blue.

Nina Simone: Nina Simone Sings the Blues -- An erudite, over-enunciating pianist with a voice that you either love or hate, tackling the classics of the genre and adding a few new ones (like the amazing "Backlash Blues"). Besides, I can't fit Billie in here, since she's more a lot of great songs floating around than a single great album, so the other woman with a kinda weird voice shows up in her stead.

R&B:
Marvin Gaye: What's Going On -- I honestly don't know why this didn't pop into my mind in the other thread. The Motown sex symbol says "screw you" to Gordy and records an anguished album of social protest. This is a truly, truly amazing album.

Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life -- Almost as good as What's Going On, but more an example of a great all-around musician stretching his wings than protesting the wrongs of the world (though he does fit some of that in, too). "Sir Duke" is his best song, and that's saying a hell of a lot.

Aretha Franklin: I've Never Loved a Man the Way that I Love You -- Aretha at her best. There's really not much more to say.

I'll come back to the blues. That one is a bit tougher to pick out the best of the best, since it's (technically speaking) the best genre around. It's been proven. Look it up. :) (If you're wondering why Etta's not on the list yet, I consider her to be blues, even if she does kinda float between blues, jazz, and R&B.)

Kidhuman
11-26-2007, 04:40 PM
I have to agree, Paul's Boutique is a rock/rap album. I personally prefer Check your Head by the Beasties.

Wu-Tang Clan - 36 Chambers of Death
NWA - Straight outta Compton
Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet

2-1B
11-26-2007, 07:49 PM
Vanilla Ice - To The Extreme
Eminem - The Eminem Show

I know the Beastie Boys are Jewish but come on, if that ain't White Bread music then neither are the two hoopleheads at the top of my list. ;)

El Chuxter
11-26-2007, 07:56 PM
To the extreme, Caesar rocks a mike like a vandal.

JON9000
11-26-2007, 10:02 PM
Vanilla Ice - To The Extreme
Eminem - The Eminem Show

I know the Beastie Boys are Jewish but come on, if that ain't White Bread music then neither are the two hoopleheads at the top of my list. ;)

It can be white as my behind, but it cannot be rock (Paul's Boutique isn't rock, IMHO). Or it can be rock, as long as it is not quite so white (Hendrix). Because there are a few albums out there that get left out of the conversation simply because we listen to what's marketed to us, as Dave Chappelle so aptly pointed out.

I feel like pointing out, also, that it is harder these days to make a really great album when the running time is in excess of 60 minutes. That's usually 20 minutes of filler!

JimJamBonds
11-27-2007, 12:07 AM
THRILLER- MICHAEL JACKSON

I question this one since nobody knows what race Michael Jackson is.

El Chuxter
11-27-2007, 12:35 AM
At the end of a classic In Living Color skit, he determines he's black.

"Can you tell me, officer, am I black or white?"
"You're under arrest."
"I guess that settles it! I'm black!"

Tonysmo
11-27-2007, 02:04 AM
If you havent heard anything from Delinquent Habits, give'm a listen.

In fact - return of the tres is a fantasic jam. a youtube search will bring that right up for ya.

anytme I have the ol Mexican fiesta at home - I have to play that in the background :)

Mad Slanted Powers
11-27-2007, 02:27 AM
PAUL'S BOUTIQUE- BEASTIE BOYS- between the novelty act of "Licensed to Ill" and the taking up of instruments in "Check Your Head," "PB" was the "Pet Sounds" of the rap genre, with mind-twisting layers of sampling of everything from Ringo Starr to JAWS.I probably wouldn't have known much about this album if a roommate my sophomore year of college didn't have it. It was a huge departure from the sound of Licensed to Ill. I probably prefer that one or the rock sound of Ill Communication with songs like "Sabotage" and "Sure Shot". However, this was incredible with all the samples and the way they were used. Something like that can't be made today.


PURPLE RAIN- PRINCE- If u don't own this album, something is wrong with u. Go forth and buy it. As for the movie, the rival band is no less than Morris Day and the Mutha******* Time! Sign o' the Times is great also.This was a good album, but I got sick of hearing the songs on the radio all the time. I would probably prefer 1999 better, but I've not really listened to the entire album but maybe once. My brother had both of these. I think I'd be more inclined to get a greatest hits or just a few of my favorites off iTunes. No denying the guy is talented. I recall seeing him playing guitar opening some awards show a couple years ago and it was impressive. His Super Bowl performance last year was one of the best half-time shows they've had.



THRILLER- MICHAEL JACKSON- everybody my age remembers watching Thriller every night for a couple of months back in 83. Thriller is not only MJ's best, made right before he weirded out, but also may be Quincy Jones' apex as well. It also has what Bill & Ted lacked- Eddie Van Halen on guitar.Must have been a good time for hired ax-slingers. Stevie Ray Vaughan played on David Bowie's Let's Dance album.


Thriller, I think, has not held up as well as most other great albums from the same time. Aside from the singles (which, admittedly, it has a huge number of), it's all filler.I'll disagree partially with what Chux said about this album not holding up. I think it holds up better than what he did after it. Seven of the nine songs on the album were singles that all placed in the top 10 on the pop charts. So, that doesn't leave much filler. However, some of those singles I didn't really care for, like "P.Y.T." and "Human Nature." I think Off The Wall is all right as well.


LEGEND- BOB MARLEY- having a greatest hits compilation is cheating a bit, and I resisted the urge with Kool and the Gang, but this album is the one everybody knows and its influence has only grown. If Jimmy Buffet merely markets a lifestyle of getting blitzed on an island, Marley's music embodies peace, love, resistance, and freeing one's mind a bit on the side.I never really knew his music when he was alive, but I got this album near the end of my college days. Not a big reggae fan, but there are some tracks on here that I really like such as "Could You Be Loved", "Exodus" and "Jammin'." Since I grew up with Clapton's version of "I Shot the Sheriff", I prefer that one.


THE CHRONIC- DR. DRE- Maybe this should be filed under most influential, because almost every hip-hop album released over the next 4 years sounded like a pale imitation, even when produced by Dre himself. The withering bards ended the careers of several other rappers, and introduced the world to funk laced beats and a laid-back Calvin Broadus.I never got into this stuff, and it seems to have led to so much of this empty rap today that doesn't say much. You seem to be right in the ending the careers of other rappers. Dre and his style and emulators overshadowed stuff like The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.


MOTHERSHIP CONNECTION- PARLIAMENT- It's got the Bootsy. The Bootsy rules. RULES! I almost gave this spot to the Commodores, because Brick House makes everybody between 17 and 60 want to rock out, but Mothership is consistently better.Another thing I missed out being a white kid from the sticks. Maybe they would have been more successful had they decided on what to actually call the group. Is it Parliament, or is it Funkadelic, or some combination of the two? Reading up on it, looks like they switched to Funkadelic for legal reasons, and then switched back later or alternated or whatever.


IT TAKES A NATION OF MILLIONS TO HOLD US BACK- P.E.- beats out Ice Cube, Jay-Z and Eminem. They've got some great stuff, but hip-hop got socially relevant here, and sparked a lot of my school-mates in the 7th grade, even if some of the lyrics were beyond us. It also got a lot harder for the haters to claim rap wasn't "real" music afterwards. Chuck D. sounds as authoritative as Johnny Cash or a black minister thundering the real deal down from a pulpit on high, all the while with Flavor Flave popping up in songs like a zany jack-in-the-box.I don't listen to a lot of rap, but I don't really need to when I have this album. I don't agree with a lot of the politics, but at least he is saying something more meaningful than much of rap today. He could just as easily be singing about that when he says "You singers are spineless as you sing your senseless songs to the mindless. Your general subject love is minimal, it's sex for profit." Flavor Flav provides some great comic relief. Also, you can understand what they are saying pretty well. Not this mush mouth "uh huh yeah" stuff. No shout-outs and no songs by such and such featuring so and so. Also, I like the names they called themselves: Chuck D - Messenger of Prophecy; Flavor Flav - The Cold Lamper; Terminator X - Assault Technician; Professor Griff - Minister of Information. They had different names on other albums. Chuck D was also "The Hard Rhymer."

JON9000
11-27-2007, 10:31 AM
I probably wouldn't have known much about this album if a roommate my sophomore year of college didn't have it. It was a huge departure from the sound of Licensed to Ill. I probably prefer that one or the rock sound of Ill Communication with songs like "Sabotage" and "Sure Shot". However, this was incredible with all the samples and the way they were used. Something like that can't be made today.

I didn't really listen to it until my college roomate played it as well. The great irony is that in it's day, on the heels of "Licensed to Ill" which was a number one album, it was and to some degree still is underground. Perhaps it was because Capitol didn't promote it enough, or because its predecessor's appeal was the novelty of white guys imitating (or mocking?) black culture and people had no desire to revisit that.

Regardless, "Check Your Head" was released at the absolute perfect time, brought a lot of people back into the fold, and caused them to check out that middle album nobody bothered to listen to. I couldn't believe it when I heard it.

jjreason
11-27-2007, 07:21 PM
Hmmm. I'll throw in support of a few previously mentioned albums:

Prince - Sign O' The Times & Purple Rain (honorable mention to Around the World in a Day, likely his most underrated work)
Outkast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (though it's impossible to go wrong with Stankonia, the Idlewild soundtrack or Aquemini)
Public Enemy - Nation of Millions

For some different choices: Run DMC - Raising Hell & King of Rock (honorable to LL's Radio).

De La's 3 Feet High is close for me, but I'll choose A Tribe Called Qwest's Low End Theory every time. Amazing.

Snoop's Doggy Style & Dre's Chronic are very close to being here - like Chux said, everything in hip hop sounded like those two for YEARS.... but I'm still more fond of the old school sounds.