Classic Hip-Hop Albums Released in February
Are you looking for throwback classic hip-hop albums? We got you here at The Beat. Read on to find some of the best February releases of all time.
Kanye West – The College Dropout
2004 was a very different time for Kanye. The fresh-faced rapper/producer released his acclaimed debut. The album presented Mr. West as a nerdy underdog going against the prevailing stereotype of a successful rapper. Instead of big chains, baggy pants, and an intimidating grimace, Kanye opted for pink polos, tight pants, and a smile. “All Falls Down” symbolizes the album and Kanye West’s fall from grace and the entire album itself. Kanye comes across as an everyone as he raps over a soulful interpolation of Lauryn Hill’s “Mystery of Iniquity,” Kanye laments materialism and low esteem with lines like:
Man, I promise, I’m so self-conscious
That’s why you always see me with at least one of my watches
Rollies and Pashas done drove me crazy
I can’t even pronounce nothing, pass that Ver-say-see!
Then I spent four hundred bucks on this
Just to be like, “Nigga, you ain’t up on this
J Dilla – Donuts
J Dilla is the most important hip-hop figure who isn’t a household name. Also known as Jay Dee, the hugely influential producer developed his own hip-hop style. His deep grooves built with off-kilter drum patterns and unique sampling techniques created a sea change in hip hop and R&B. He produced beats for A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, Erykah Badu, Common, Ghostface Killah, De La Soul, The Pharcyde, Raekwon, MF DOOM, The Roots, Q Tip, Mos Def, and Snoop Dogg.
Questlove from The Roots put it best when he wrote, “Whenever I’ve been asked why Dilla was special, I didn’t feel like I had the right vocabulary to explain his importance―specifically the way he made work that was so perfectly imperfect that it redefined the way I thought about art.”
Donuts is ostensibly just a beat tape with no rapping involved. However, the album creates a cohesive song kaleidoscope culled from an eclectic mix of samples. Donuts undoubtedly influenced the lo-fi beat movement, bringing “drunken drumming” and its head-nodding rhythms to mainstream music. Unfortunately, the uber-talented Dilla died from complications caused by lupus three days after the album release party. “Bye” is an especially poignant and emotional beat.
Read Dilla Time by Dan Charnas to learn more about the legendary producer.
50 Cent – Get Rich or Die Trying
“Go shorty, it’s your birthday” is an iconic opening line on an iconic single on an iconic album. The release features classics like “In da Club,” “P.I.M.P.,” and “Many Men.” Even the bonus track “Wanksta” reached #3 on the Billboard Charts.