For H. I. P. H. O. P. Heads Pt. 2

Top 5 Beatmakers:
1. Madlib
2. Jay Dilla
3. Premier
4. RZA
5. Pete Rock

Honorable Mentions:
6. The Ummah
7. Dr.  Dre
8. DJ Shadow
9. Kan Kick
10. Just Blaze
11. 9th Wonder

these kind of lists are hard, because I try to include everybody dope I ever liked and can’t. Also, over the years, with changing and maturing tastes comes evolving criteria by which we judge who we do and don’t like. Like back in the day when I was spinning on the regular, Premo & Pete Rock would’ve been 1&2, Bomb Squad #3, and Qtip (with Shaheed’s help) & Dilla at 4&5.

…but, for example, Marley Marl is a definite honorable mention as are DITC and Diamond D and 45 King, among others, yet they just aren’t as influential or relevant IMHO as the others I actually listed in spite of their longevity. when Madlib began his comeup and I started checking out other folks’ styles like Dilla, Dr. Dre, Shadow, Kan Kick, Just Blaze,  RZA and others, Premo and Pete Rock’s clout started coming down a little though not necessarily a whole lot, because at a certain point I just started seeing them (especially Premier, since no matter who he’s producing I’ve always been able to easily recognize his production style) as more formulaic and less diverse than say Madlib, Dilla (who posthumously rose above the status he had while still alive) and Rza.

Only reason I say this is because i actually started peeping Premo’s style, after a conversation with a friend of mind right about the time Hard To Earn featuring “Mass Appeal” came out 25 years ago, and noticing that he doesn’t deviate his style much (and never has) no matter who it is he may be producing, even when he worked with Branford Marsalis. Don’t get me wrong though, I still admire and appreciate Premier and his hooks and love the fact that he’s bringing the spirit of GangStarr back to the forefront. Let’s hope these young cats who love mumble raps learn something 🙂

I guess I must admit that I’ve become more of a critic the older I get when it comes to what and who I consider to be classic within the realms of music, especially hip hop, as opposed to the same old run of the mill heap of mediocrity still being played on the airwaves of programmed pop radio stations with no real clue of what the next big thing is going to be. I just know, as times change tastes change, usually for the better…not the worse.

Talking Drum

(ode to the poetry of our passage)

When I started to scribble
Scrupulously, it was only
Within the wisdom of my

Words & the vessel of my
Verses, where the sacred
& profane anonymously

Melded behind the masks
Of hopes, aspirations &
Dreams that I was taught

The talking drum
Speaks in tongues
Of this native son.

©2019 MDSHall