HipHopDx recently did their 30 best underground hip-hop albums since 2000, of which i can agree with some. Here are the ones i do agree with and that i wore out playing them on the regular…
Little Brother – The Listening
For many, The Listening could be considered one of the most groundbreaking underground Hip Hop records of the modern era. Before their more commercially successful sophomore follow-up The Minstrel Show, the North Carolina trio felt like a polished major label act with a level of creativity that could only come from within the underground. Phonte and Big Pooh’s chemistry was undeniable while 9th Wonder held everything together effortlessly production wise.
Brother Ali – Shadows On The Sun
Mr. Ali Newman really hit his stride on his sophomore album Shadows On The Sun. Besides Brother Ali’s way better than average beat selection, the album proved how lyrically far the Rhymesayers Entertainment emcee. Though he’s improved with every release, Shadows Of The Sun could be considered his best.
J – Live – The Best Part
Like forward, free-thinking Gods-among-men, DX gave this album the 4.5 it deserved in 2001 just months before the towers fell and everything changed forever. Looking at it through a lens of xenophobia, groupthink and recklessness, J-Live’s The Best Part reads like a tome from another world lamenting the lack of intellectual rigor that would inevitably follow.
Murs & 9th Wonder – Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition
Murs has been, and been quite well, an everyman with an edge. On Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition he found his very capable footing on Def Jux by ditching the skateboard and sliding into a kind of existential angst.
Blu & Exile – Below The Heavens
Blu & Exile’s classic LP barely found an audience in 2007 when it was released. What a shame. This deeply visceral, almost perfectly executed album featured two amazing artists surpassing themselves to create this piece lightening in a bottle. Just the first 16 bars on “Greater Love” make it one of the best rap love songs of all-time, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Blu rollicked through a lush field of production, and it stands a testament to how good Hip Hop can be.
dead prez – Let’s Get Free
Let’s Get Free became the wake up call Hip Hop needed at the turn of the millennium. Especially with tracks ranging from the now standard revolutionary cut “Hip Hop” and black nationalist themed “I’m a African.” It’s not all fist pumps and activists sonics thanks to sinsual cuts like “Mind Sex.”
Reflection Eternal – Train Of Thought
Considered by some as one of the best album Rawkus Records produced during their heyday, Reflection Eternal: Train of Thought featured everything that Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek such a fierce Hip Hop duo. Kweli’s smart aggression matched Tek moody production. While the follow-up Revolutions Per Minute didn’t match their debut, their introduction as aged pretty well.
P.S.: Remember this is only albums that i picked out of the DX list. I would’ve had, for example, Immortal Technique’s ‘Revolutionary Vol 2 as one of my top post-2000 albums up in there.
Dead Prez ‘Let’s Get Free’ is probably my favorite post-2000 album. Also, looking back i might have over-rated the Little Brother ‘Listening’ album a bit so i’ll have to revisit that.