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Qobuz’s experts gather all the essentials of each genre. These albums have marked music history and become major landmarks.

With the Ideal Discography you (re)discover legendary recordings, all whilst building on your musical knowledge.

Albums

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Rap - Released September 8, 2017 | Melee - Wild Pitch

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Masterpiece alert! When the first album from the trio Main Source came out at the height of the summer of 1991, the group formed by New York MC Large Professor and Canadian DJs Sir Scratch and K-Cut from Toronto were already very well-respected on the hip hop underground. Written and recorded throughout the previous year, with the legendary E-mu SP-1200 sampler, Breaking Atoms marked a turning point in rap, in particular with its production that held up sturdily against an avalanche of jazz, soul and funk samples. We encounter snatches of song from Donald Byrd, Bob James, Mike Bloomfield, Johnny Taylor, Lou Donaldson, Lyn Collins, MFSB, Kool & The Gang, the Three Sounds, Lou Courtney, S.O.U.L., Funk, Inc. and the Detroit Emeralds. Funky to the point of madness, Large Professor's flow and the subtlety of his punchlines set the album apart from the competition. Breaking Atoms is a major record of golden era hip hop, and also legendary for the début, on Live at the Barbeque, of a young rapper of 17 named Nas… This remaster of Breaking Atoms includes several bonus tracks, like the grandiose single Fakin' the Funk, released in 1992 on the soundtrack to White Men Can't Jump, and carried by its sample of Magic Shoes by The Main Ingredient. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rap - Released April 14, 2017 | Aftermath

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
To Pimp a Butterfly's proper and oft-biblical follow-up arrived on Good Friday, 13 months after untitled unmastered., an intermediary release that eclipsed the best work of most contemporary artists. If Kendrick Lamar felt pressure to continue living up to his previous output, there's no evidence on DAMN. He's too occupied tracing the spectrum of his mental states, from "boxin' demons" to "flex on swole," questioning and reveling in his affluence, castigating and celebrating his bloodline, humble enough to relate his vulnerabilities, assured enough to proclaim "Ain't none of y'all fuckin' with the flow." Throughout, he intensely examines most of the seven deadly sins, aware all along that his existence is threatened by anyone who objects to the color of his skin or clothes -- or, in the case of the blind stranger who shoots him during the album's opener, nothing that is apparent. Compared to the maximum-capacity, genre-twisting vastness and winding narratives of Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City and To Pimp a Butterfly, DAMN. on the surface seems like a comparatively simple rap album that demands less from the listener. There's relative concision in the track titles and material, and a greater emphasis on commercial sounds -- such as Mike WiLL's lean and piano-laced trap beat for the strong-arming "HUMBLE.," Lamar's first Top Ten pop hit, and a couple productions that are merely functional backdrops lacking distinction. In a way, however, DAMN. is just as lavish and singular as the preceding albums, its quantity and weight of thoughts and connected concepts condensed into a considerably tighter space. It contains some of Lamar's best writing and performances, revealing his evolving complexity and versatility as a soul-baring lyricist and dynamic rapper. Although it's occasionally distorted, stretched, smeared, and reversed to compelling and imagination-fueling effect, his voice is at its most affecting in its many untreated forms. Take "FEAR.," in which he switches between echoing hot-blooded parental threats to enumerating, with a 40-acre stare, various death scenarios. His storytelling hits an astonishing new high on "Duckworth," the album's finale. Over ethereal funk sewn by 9th Wonder, Lamar details a potentially tragic encounter between his father and future Top Dawg CEO Anthony Tiffith -- and the conditions leading to it -- that occurred long before Kung Fu Kenny was known as K. Dot. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Rap - Released November 13, 2015 | Jive - Legacy

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
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Rap - Released March 19, 2015 | Aftermath

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Grammy Awards
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Rap - Released November 24, 2014 | Warner (France)

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rap - Released November 24, 2014 | Def Jam Recordings

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
At the time of its release in March 1990 -- just a mere two years after It Takes a Nation of Millions -- nearly all of the attention spent on Public Enemy's third album, Fear of a Black Planet, was concentrated on the dying controversy over Professor Griff's anti-Semitic statements of 1989, and how leader Chuck D bungled the public relations regarding his dismissal. References to the controversy are scattered throughout the album -- and it fueled the incendiary lead single, "Welcome to the Terrordome" -- but years later, after the furor has died down, what remains is a remarkable piece of modern art, a record that ushered in the '90s in a hail of multiculturalism and kaleidoscopic confusion. It also easily stands as the Bomb Squad's finest musical moment. Where Millions was all about aggression -- layered aggression, but aggression nonetheless -- Fear of a Black Planet encompasses everything, touching on seductive grooves, relentless beats, hard funk, and dub reggae without blinking an eye. All the more impressive is that this is one of the records made during the golden age of sampling, before legal limits were set on sampling, so this is a wild, endlessly layered record filled with familiar sounds you can't place; it's nearly as heady as the Beastie Boys' magnum opus, Paul's Boutique, in how it pulls from anonymous and familiar sources to create something totally original and modern. While the Bomb Squad were casting a wider net, Chuck D's writing was tighter than ever, with each track tackling a specific topic (apart from the aforementioned "Welcome to the Terrordome," whose careening rhymes and paranoid confusion are all the more effective when surrounded by such detailed arguments), a sentiment that spills over to Flavor Flav, who delivers the pungent black humor of "911 Is a Joke," perhaps the best-known song here. Chuck gets himself into trouble here and there -- most notoriously on "Meet the G That Killed Me," where he skirts with homophobia -- but by and large, he's never been so eloquent, angry, or persuasive as he is here. This isn't as revolutionary or as potent as Millions, but it holds together better, and as a piece of music, this is the best hip-hop has ever had to offer. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rap - Released October 14, 2014 | Def Jam Recordings

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
For many, Public Enemy’s second album is the greatest in rap history. And when it hit music stores in 1988, It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back enshrined Chuck D’s gang as the Rolling Stones of hip hop. An uppercut that changed the course of the genre’s history, Public Enemy remains thanks to this album THE benchmark in terms of ideological AND musical engagement. Offering a black version of CNN stripped of political correctness, examining each corner of American society with (extremely) rich rhymes and layers of literate and often carnivorous samples, Public Enemy impose their words as well as their sound. An aggressive approach to musical production (the Bomb Squad led by producer Hank Schocklee) that produces literal acoustic miracles. An electric and groovy tsunami, light years away from the bling-bling rap that would eventually take control of the genre, which attained its creative Golden Age in 1988. This Deluxe Edition includes a second record featuring thirteen bonuses, including the No Noise version of Bring The Noise, instrumentals for Rebel Without a Pause, Night Of The Living Baseheads and Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos, and the soundtrack version of Fight The Power for Spike Lee’s eponymous film. © MZ/Qobuz
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Rap - Released October 13, 2014 | Jarring Effects

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rap - Released September 16, 2014 | Def Jam Recordings

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The first Wu-Tang Clan solo album to follow the seismic impact of Enter the Wu-Tang, Method Man's Tical similarly delivers an otherworldly wallop, one that instantly sets the madcap MC apart from his clansmen as the collective's shining star. Not only is Meth madcap, both in terms of mentality and delivery, he's also incredibly witty and wordy. Here he inspires hilarity as well as astonishment, and the way that he fires off his rhymes with such seemingly spontaneous ease compounds this sense of wonder. Just as Meth is quite clearly leagues above practically every other rapper in 1994 sans a small handful, if that, so is his producer, Wu-Tang abbot RZA, who produces the entirety of Tical: from the antiquated flutes and kung fu flick samples that open the album, to the pulse-accelerating beats of "Bring the Pain" and the fist-pumping ones of "All I Need" (the b-boy version rather than the radio-geared one featuring Mary J. Blige), to the rallying, warlike horns of "Release Yo' Delf." Despite a few outside contributions, most notably from Raekwon on the rowdy spar-fest "Meth vs. Chef," Tical is strictly a two-man show, Meth bringing da ruckus and RZA the swarming soundscapes, and that's precisely what further makes this album such a treasure amid the many Wu-Tang gems. Where most of Meth's clansmen delivered guest-laden albums that sounded more like group efforts than solo ones, Tical strictly spotlights the group's two stars and does so with refreshingly straightforward flair. There's none of the epic overreaching that mars so many rap albums of the era; rather, there's just over a dozen tracks here, and they're filled to the brim with rhymes and beats and little else -- no pop-crossover concessions nor any heady experimentation for the sake of experimentation, just good ol'-fashioned hip-hop, albeit with a dark, dark deranged twist. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Rap - Released September 9, 2014 | Concord Records, Inc.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
A forgotten man in the rise of West Coast rap, Tone-Loc was effectively cut off from his hometown scene in Los Angeles by his unexpected pop success. Paced by the singles "Wild Thing" and "Funky Cold Medina" -- both co-written by a pre-fame Young MC -- and some of the earliest productions by the legendary Dust Brothers, Loc's debut album, Loc-ed After Dark, became the second rap album to top the pop charts, following the Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill. Loc's distinctively rough, raspy voice and easygoing delivery made him an appealing storyteller, but he was aiming for the streets more than the pop charts. So there's the occasional profanity, the stalker-tinged title track, and "Cheeba Cheeba," which made waves at the time as one of the earliest pro-marijuana raps on record (of course, this was before Cypress Hill, and Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign was still fresh in the public's mind). The minor singles "I Got It Goin' On" and "On Fire" (the latter the first record ever released on Delicious Vinyl) are both pretty good, but some of the album's momentum is wasted on some fairly standard MC boasts (Loc has much more personality than he does lyrical technique). Even if Loc-ed After Dark is erratic, though, it still deserves more respect than it's generally accorded. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Rap - Released April 11, 2014 | Columbia - Legacy

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Rap - Released January 13, 2014 | Big Dada

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
The introductory salvo from rap superduo Run the Jewels is a fine example of a union that is so perfect one might wonder how the universe existed before it. The combination of Killer Mike's menacing Hulk power and El-P's sneering quips and lively production make Run the Jewels a thrilling experience. Everything about RTJ is hyperbolic excess -- both in attitude and sound -- stomping boot prints into the concrete and hurling innocent bystanders through brick walls. Although the pair didn't truly come into their own until the stellar 2014 sequel Run the Jewels 2, this 2013 debut hints at everything to come. Top-shelf production from El-P, Little Shalimar, and Wilder Zoby lends a fresh and exciting energy to each song, while El and Mike trade verses that are so dense with humor and bravado that new zingers are revealed with each successive listen. RTJ operate on a singular setting: imagine the silliest, most outrageous boast possible and then top it with a wink and a grin. From the opening blast of "Run the Jewels" to "36" Chain," they threaten with "Riverdance cleats on your face" and pulling guns "on your poodle or your fuckin' baby," taking typical hip-hop intimidation to ridiculous levels. Amongst the quotable gems, RTJ drop the occasional social commentary -- mostly regarding police oppression, poverty, and inner city struggles -- which balances the sophomoric overload with enough gravitas to justify the merit of the project (Mike's entire verse on "DDFH" ("Do dope, fuck hope") is a fine example of this insight). Some familiar friends also make appearances on the album: Mike's fellow ATLien Big Boi drops a standout verse on "Banana Clipper" while Prince Paul injects the filthy "Twin Hype Back" with a number of naughty nuggets as alter ego Chest Rockwell. While Run the Jewels is the appetizer to RTJ2's instant-classic main course, it stands as a no-holds-barred slap to the head for the rap game, calling out complacent contemporaries with each verbal shot fired. As Mike declares on highlight "Get It," "we are the new Avengers." With an aggressive strength that emboldens listeners with delusions of superhero grandeur, it's an apt claim from a dangerous duo that is more powerful than any comic book savior. © Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo
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Rap - Released January 7, 2014 | 45 Scientific

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rap - Released September 30, 2013 | Parlophone (France)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
This album is one of the cornerstones of French hip-hop music. Its release was a major act for IAM as they finally found a sound to match the quality of their lyrics, as well as for French hip-hop, confirming the fact that rap has a lot of followers in the Hexagon. Like their peers from the suburbs of Paris, NTM, IAM went to New York to instigate the production of this album, seeking for the essence of the sound one can only find in the Big Apple (their previous album was also cut in N.Y.). They teamed with Prince Charles Alexander, the mixer and engineer who worked a lot for Bad Boy Records. They even got close to the Wu-Tang realm through Sunz of Man members on "La Saga." The sound has definitely changed from the previous albums: at first putting themselves in the Egyptian tradition (look at their names), they now have found the musical depth they deserve as ones of the few best lyricists of France. Definitely influenced by the Wu-Tang soundscapes, the opening track is the story of the battle between their school, from the silver mic, against the wooden mic school, in a Bushido style. Too bad that non-French speaking listeners won't get the lyrics; they cannot appreciate the quintessence of IAM's style. However, most of the album sticks to the traditional approach of storytelling, as it covers the city life in its darkness: little brothers that want to grow too fast and be the new caïd ("Petit Frère"), money hungry women who have sex without giving their names, the difficulties to have a similar chance and destiny than a boy growing up in the well-off (about equality of chances) and much more. Not many subjects of relief here, we only breathe thanks to the banging instrumentals and phrasing of the MCs. IAM takes the time to raise questions we don't want to hear, and stories we don't want to remember. This album is just hip-hop as its best: quality of the production with skilled lyricists in top form. This would just be one of you first "must-have" purchase if you plan to approach French rap music. © Vincent Latz /TiVo
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Rap - Released January 1, 2013 | Aftermath

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
Hip-hop debuts don't come much more "highly anticipated" than Kendrick Lamar's. A series of killer mixtapes displayed his talent for thought-provoking street lyrics delivered with an attention-grabbing flow, and then there was his membership in the Black Hippy crew with his brethren Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q, and Jay Rock all issuing solo releases that pleased the "true hip-hop" set, setting the stage for a massive fourth and final. Top it off with a pre-release XXL Magazine cover that he shared with his label boss and all-around legend Dr. Dre, and the "biggest debut since Illmatic" stuff starts to flow, but Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City would be a milestone even without the back-story, offering cool and compelling lyrics, great guests (Drake, Dr. Dre, and MC Eiht) and attractive production (from Pharrell, Just Blaze, Tabu, and others). Here, Kendrick is living his life like status and cash were extra credit. It is what makes this kid so "good" as he navigates his "mad" city (Compton) with experience and wisdom beyond his years (25). He's shamelessly bold about the allure of the trap, contrasting the sickness of his city with the universal feeling of getting homesick, and carrying a Springsteen-sized love for the home team. Course, in his gang-ruled city, N.W.A. was the home team, but as the truly beautiful, steeped-in-soul, biographic key track "The Art of Peer Pressure" finds a reluctant young Kendrick and his friends feeding off the life-force of Young Jeezy's debut album, it's something Clash, Public Enemy, and all other rebel music fans can relate to. Still, when he realizes that hero Jeezy must have risen above the game -- because the real playas are damned and never show their faces -- it spawns a kind of elevated gangsta rap that's as pimp-connectable as the most vicious Eazy-E, and yet poignant enough to blow the dust off any cracked soul. Equally heavy is the cautionary tale of drank dubbed "Swimming Pools," yet that highlight is as hooky and hallucinatory as most Houston drank anthems, and breaks off into one of the chilling, cassette-quality interludes that connect the album, adding to the documentary or eavesdropping quality of it all. Soul children will experience déjà vu when "Poetic Justice" slides by with its Janet Jackson sample -- sounding like it came off his Aunt's VHS copy of the movie it's named after -- while the closing "Compton" is an anthem sure to make the Game jealous, featuring Dre in beast mode, acting pre-Chronic and pre-Death Row. This journey through the concrete jungle of Compton is worth taking because of the artistic richness within, plus the attraction of a whip-smart rapper flying high during his rookie season. Any hesitation about the horror of it all is quickly wiped away by Kendrick's mix of true talk, open heart, open mind, and extended hand. Add it all up and even without the hype, this one is still potent and smart enough to rise to the top of the pile. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Rap - Released January 1, 2013 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Hip-hop/jazz fusionisters Us3 have forged the most elaborate union between the styles since the early days of Gang Starr and A Tribe Called Quest. Blue Note's vast catalog gives them a huge advantage over several similar groups in terms of source material, and classic sounds by Art Blakey, Horace Silver, and Herbie Hancock provide zest and fiber to their narratives. Indeed, when things falter, it's because the raps aren't always that creative. They are serviceable and sometimes catchy, but too often delivered without the snazzy touches or distinctive skills that make Quest and Gang Starr's material top-notch. But when words and music mesh, as on "Cantaloop" or "The Darkside," Us3 show how effectively hip-hop and jazz can blend. © Ron Wynn /TiVo
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Rap - Released January 1, 2013 | Rock The World - IDJ - Kanye - LP6

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
Everyone professionally involved with the creation of Kanye West's sixth solo effort was sworn to secrecy, and with no preorders allowed, plus the news that producer Rick Rubin was still tinkering with tracks seven days prior to the drop, this instant, no-singles, anti-hype album got pre-release hyped on an Olympic scale. Think of the roll-up as a revolutionary blow against the empire or the supernova ego of West in full effect, and while it's probably a little of both, Yeezus the album is a lot of both, with good taste and bad taste both turned up to 11. This aggro-industrial earthquake with booming bass and minimal synths balances groundbreaking hip-hop lyrics ("New Slaves" is a bizarre, layered concept clash where high fashion, slavery, and "I'd rather be a dick than a swallower" all collide) with punkish, irresponsible blast-femy (during the draggy, trap track "I'm in It," West's melodious and melancholy voice shouts its dreams to the multitude, pleading "Your titties, let 'em out, free at last/Thank God almighty, they free at last" as if civil rights and booty calls were equally noble quests), and it all works in an astonishing, compelling manner. It's as if West spent the last year listening exclusively to Death Grips and Chief Keef and all the political, social, and musical contradictions became his muse, inspiring moments like the Keef and Bon Iver meet-up that fuels the mile-high hangover number "Hold My Liquor." "Blood on the Leaves" is recklessly bold as it uses Nina Simone's performance of "Strange Fruit" under its snide tale of ex-girlfriends, groupies, and date rape drugs; then there's the obviously volatile "I Am a God" ("Hurry up with my damn massage!/Hurry up with my damn ménage!"), which still outdoes its provocative title with a swelled-head manifesto plus an unexpected, Magic-Mike-meets-Aphex-Twin boom production courtesy of Daft Punk. The closing beauty called "Bound 2" finds veteran singer Charlie Wilson reuniting with that Gap Band bassline but in chilly, new wave surroundings, but the most spellbinding juxtaposition on the album comes on first as claustrophobic electro-clasher "On Sight" offers "Black dick all up in your spouse again/And I know she like chocolate men/Got mo' n*ggas off than Cochran" -- stunning because Kanye is family now with the OJ Simpson trial's "Dream Team," seeing as how he's dating Kim of the Kardashian family and the couple welcomed a child three days before the album's release. Coming from the man who jumped on-stage and grabbed Taylor Swift's VMA award, or called the American President a racist during a nationally televised charity event, this angry, cathartic, and concise album (punkishly running 40 minutes), and its unconventional road to release seems like a personal quest for the next provocative, headline-making, and unforgettable fix. That's an unfathomable thing for most and irritating for many, but it's Kanye's unbelievable reality, so complaining about Yeezus being unrelatable is like complaining the sky is untouchable. At least he has decided to indulge his giant hunger with the help of art, and if anything, this is the moment he becomes a swashbuckling Salvador Dali figure, chopping down all that's conventional with highly imaginative work and crass, attention-grabbing attitude. Unlike Dali's separate delivery of the two, Yeezus is an extravagant stunt with the high-art packed in, offering an eccentric, audacious, and gripping experience that's vital and truly unlike anything else. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Rap - Released January 1, 2013 | Cash Money Records - Young Money Ent. - Universal Rec.

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
After an EP and two albums that firmly established his moody, introspective style and made him a huge star, Drake's third album, Nothing Was the Same, isn't a huge departure but it does take some steps in new directions. Built around sped-up samples and Wu-Tang-inspired, spooky loops, the production retains the same basic style, but is a little deeper and more foreboding. Provided mostly by longtime collaborator Noah "40" Shebib, the backing is suitably melancholic and claustrophobic enough to match Drake's main lyrical themes of angry boasting, dealing with a broken heart, and being disillusioned by the lifestyle his fame has brought him. This time out, Drake adds to his list of family issues, as a couple tracks deal with re-establishing a relationship with his father and worrying about his mom. It's good to hear him reaching out a little and expanding his concerns because his usual topics are wearing thin, especially the boasting. "Started from the Bottom" is the main offender, since the idea of Drake starting from the bottom is a little ridiculous. If growing up well-off, starring in a TV series, and hooking up early with Weezy is the bottom, we should all want to start off there. It's hard to entirely write off this song, and the others that focus on his greatness, since the music is so evocative and because Drake's basic persona is still appealing. "Too Much," in particular, is a brilliant combination of brag rap and quiet storm balladry that features a simply heartbreaking vocal from Sampha. The tracks that work the best on Nothing are the slow-to-the-point-of-being-static ballads like "Own It," "Connect," and "305 to My City," which feel like the late-night emotional outpourings of a truly sad soul; the songs that bubble with raw emotion and are balanced against very dark loops, like "Wu-Tang Forever"; and the one song that has some uptempo punch, the very poppy R&B groover "Hold on, We're Going Home." That last one shows that Drake could make great left-field R&B if he wanted to, and is a nice contrast to all the angry talk and bitter introspection that fill the rest of the record. As impressive as it is that Drake has become a star while making records that are mostly joyless and twisted up by emotions, it might be nice to hear him loosening up and having some fun now and then. As far as this album goes, though, it's not much fun but it is worth exploring if you've been following Drake's progression up till now. Nothing Was the Same doesn't show large amounts of growth, but the small changes to the sound and the slightly wider net his lyrics cast make it worthwhile. Plus, there aren't many other rappers who do gloom as well as Drake and that's something worth supporting, if only because it's something different than the hip-hop norm in 2013. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Rap - Released January 1, 2013 | FRONTLINE CATALOG (P81)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Released only a month after Straight Outta Compton (1988), Eazy-Duz-It was the first N.W.A spin-off album. Years before Ice Cube went solo with Amerikkka's Most Wanted (1990), before Dr. Dre changed the rap game with The Chronic (1992), before MC Ren struggled to establish himself with Shock of the Hour (1993), and before Yella simply fell into obscurity, Eazy-E rose to immediate superstar status with this solo debut. It's no wonder why, for the album plays like a humorous, self-centered twist on Straight Outta Compton with Eazy-E, the most charismatic member of N.W.A, front and center while his associates are busy behind the scenes, producing the beats and writing the songs. In terms of production, Dr. Dre and Yella meld together P-Funk, Def Jam-style hip-hop, and the leftover electro sounds of mid-'80s Los Angeles, creating a dense, funky, and thoroughly unique style of their own. In terms of songwriting, the D.O.C., Ice Cube, and MC Ren are each credited; plus, Ren performs raps of his own on five of the 12 songs. The collaborative nature of the music -- with Dre and Yella producing; the D.O.C., Ice Cube, and MC Ren writing the songs; MC Ren featured as a guest on half of them; and Eazy-E performing -- fortunately makes Eazy-Duz-It more of an N.W.A effort than a true solo album. This is fortunate because as charismatic as he may be, Eazy-E isn't an especially gifted MC. He's at his best here when he's cracking wise and also when he's overshadowed by Dr. Dre's productions, particularly on the four-song sequence of "Eazy Duz It," "We Want Eazy," "Eazy-er Said Than Dunn," and "Radio" -- all heavily produced songs with layers upon layers of samples and beats competing with Eazy-E's rhymes for attention. Straight Outta Compton is no doubt the more revolutionary album, yet Eazy-Duz-It is a great companion, showcasing N.W.A's sense of humor and, despite the often violent subject matter, casting them in a lighter, more humorous mood. When Eazy-E would return with a second solo release, 5150 Home 4 tha Sick, his N.W.A associates would be M.I.A. and the difference would be stark. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Rap - Released January 1, 2013 | FRONTLINE CATALOG (P81)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
EPMD's blueprint for East Coast rap wasn't startlingly different from many others in rap's golden age, but the results were simply amazing, a killer blend of good groove and laid-back flow, plus a populist sense of sampling that had heads nodding from the first listen (and revealed tastes that, like Prince Paul's, tended toward AOR as much as classic soul and funk). A pair from Long Island, EPMD weren't real-life hardcore rappers -- it's hard to believe the same voice who talks of spraying a crowd on one track could be name-checking the Hardy Boys later on -- but their no-nonsense, monotoned delivery brooked no arguments. With their album debut, Strictly Business, Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith really turned rapping on its head; instead of simple lyrics delivered with a hyped, theatrical tone, they dropped the dopest rhymes as though they spoke them all the time. Their debut single, "You Gots to Chill," was a perfect example of the EPMD revolution; two obvious samples, Zapp's "More Bounce to the Ounce" and Kool & the Gang's "Jungle Boogie," doing battle over a high-rolling beat, with the fluid, collaborative raps of Sermon and Smith tying everything together with a mastery that made it all seem deceptively simple. There was really only one theme at work here -- the brilliancy of EPMD, or the worthlessness of sucker MCs -- but every note of Strictly Business proved their claims. © John Bush /TiVo