Staff Top 10
Top Ten Underrated Rap Albums of 1996

By: David Drake

Posted 02/10/2006 - 08:49:19 AM by theheightstx:
 while i agree that bruin from the jugga's was a fantastic, remarkable, and ultimately ignored MC, the ep wasn't very solid. Although I must admit that when bruin drops lines like "Like I got Turrettes and saying fuck it", i lose my everloving mind.
Posted 02/10/2006 - 09:38:59 AM by gnarles:
 "The Top Ten Underrated Rap Albums Of 1996"?? Who gives a shit?
Posted 02/10/2006 - 09:41:02 AM by EZSnappin:
 Nice list. One large oversight: New Kingdom's "Paradise Don't Come Cheap".
Posted 02/10/2006 - 10:01:06 AM by dipdip:
 Kootchie Kutterz! KOOTCHIE kutterz now!
Posted 02/10/2006 - 10:10:39 AM by dipdip:
 ps i'd love to see a list of yr all time underrated hip hop LPs, this one was certainly fascinating; i wonder what else i'm overlooking.
Posted 02/10/2006 - 12:01:50 PM by cuneyt81:
 I second EZSnappin's New Kingdom props.
Posted 02/10/2006 - 03:11:03 PM by raskolnikov:
 Your article title is an oxymoron of the highest order. There were no good rap albums at all in 1996. Rap stopped being interesting right after the last Leaders of the New School and Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders came out. Nearly all of it since--Biggie, Puffy, Jay-Z, the Wu-Tang Clan, DMX, 50 Cent, Mase, Lil' Kim, Fat Joe, Big Pun, or any of the artists you claim to be underrated on your list--is nothing but pure bullshit, designed to celebrate materialism and shallowness. The only exceptions to this rule are the excellent and adventurous artists behind Dalek and Beans. Hip-hop has become the most embarrassing form of modern music today, especially when you consider that its early days could do little wrong. Rakim, Chuck D., Slick Rick, Ice Cube/NWA, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, the Beasties early stuff, LL Cool J, and even second-tier dudes like MC Shan are far superior to any of the bullshit that has passed for hip-hop in the last 10 years (except for Dalek and Beans). Lay the blame on Tupac, Puffy, Death Row Records/Suge Knight, and Bad Boy records--they are the people who murdered hip-hop as an art form and reduced it to a voyeuristic thrillride for fat and stupid American racists. In the late 80s and early 90s there was a great new hip-hop album being released every month, one that satisfied the demanding requirements of a BRAND NEW FORM of music. Hip-hop (or "rap" as Mr. Drake mysteriously seems to call it) has betrayed its early promise in a way that few art forms have. Instead of rhymers who deliver thoughtful and dramatic verses, we are now treated to semiliterate assholes whose lyrics are little more than repeated inventories of their various possessions. Once there were poets who rapped--now there are only minstrels with pistols and entourages.
Posted 02/10/2006 - 04:20:13 PM by horacemorris:
 Raskolnikov, I'm not sure how serious your post was so I'll keep my reply brief and obvious. Violence and materialism have always been pervasive in hip-hop, as it has in popular music in general and (tellingly) in American culture. In light of your central complaints I'm not sure why you give the thumbs up to NWA but deny it to every hip-hop artist from the mid-90s on. I disagree with you about how hip-hop has betrayed its early promise but, if it did, it wouldn't have been in any way unique. Music genres do usually change over time. If you consider that a betrayal, that's fine, but hip-hop is not special in this regard. And why is Mr. Drake's use of the word "rap" mysterious in any way? I can't vouch for him but for most people "hip-hop" and "rap" signify the same thing and can be used interchangeably. But you know the difference, I guess that makes you a true head.
Posted 02/10/2006 - 04:23:55 PM by horacemorris:
 the second sentence has a grammar mistake, i apologize
Posted 02/10/2006 - 08:18:26 PM by roadrunner:
 So So DEF!....It's all over yr BODY!
Posted 02/11/2006 - 01:56:00 AM by dipdip:
 this is an ideal article. my faith in stylus is def restored. thee more i look at in thee more i hope that this path is returned to. man.
Posted 02/11/2006 - 12:06:30 PM by nyabinghi:
 Rask: You take this stuff far too seriously. There have been good, even great hip hop records since 96. Check out any outkast, goodie mob, roots or missy elliot recording(as far as more commercially popular stuff is concerned). Even a lot of new stuff has to be taken in context. As most is not as lyrically challenging as old school hip-hop, it's still all about beatz. Have you ever been to a black strip club(i'm in miami) and listen to the bass drops as the ass bubbles? This could possibly improve your outlook.
Posted 02/11/2006 - 07:04:25 PM by raskolnikov:
 My condemnation of hip-hop since 1993-94 is not limited to rhythmically clumsy, lyrically careless, and self-aggrandizing MC's. Production in hip-hop was the most revolutionary aspect of the genre; it was the true innovative genius of the early pioneers that led to cutting up and breaking apart already existing forms of culture product to create something new. This method of re-interpreting art (in the days before sampling technology existed) is the single most admirable element in hip-hop. Production crews like the Bomb Squad or individuals like Prince Paul and Marley Marl have not been matched by the hacks of the late 90's and early aughts. And no, I don't take music too seriously--it's the rest of you who don't take it seriously enough. Maybe if you did, you wouldn't be fooled by the likes of Foxy Brown and the eminently terrible Master P. Making cute lists every week is just so fucking tired. Isn't there a better way for Stylus writers to occupy themselves?