Friday, 29 June 2007

Here's A Little Story That Must Be Told...

Stories have been an essential part of hip hop. I mean even the first commercial hip hop song, 'Rapper's Delight' was 14 minutes and 36 seconds of story telling. It seems that everybody loves a good story and they have, for me, provided some of the best hip hop songs in existence.

I've always been a sucker for stories, as I always thought they required more skill in telling than just a normal song, and they also meant more. Delivery is all important, a great story would be lost if the listener loses interest before the song has finished. And finally, a twist at the end of it finishes everything off with a bang.
I've lost count the number of times when I couldn't pick out a more abstract story, and had to get myself on to OHHLA, reading the lyrics as I heard the track. Most of the time it's because the unknown references used, and plus I'm kinda slow when it comes to picking up these things. But it's these tracks that I find have the most creativity, and I always get excited when I pick up a not-so-easy-to-get metaphor used. Hopefully, in the near future, my ear will be trained well enough not to have to use a lyrics site.
Here is a small selection of some of my favourite hip hop stories...
Nas - 'I Gave You Power'
Nas tells a song in the point of view of a gun, and the 'thoughts' felt by it.
Slick Rick - 'Children's Story'
The Ruler tells a bedtime story (a bit of a fucked up bedtime story, but hey...) of the misadventures of a youth.
Immortal Technique - 'Dance With The Devil'
I could have easily gone with 'You Never Know', but this song is just fucked up! I'll always remember the first time I heard this song, and thinking, 'Oh my God!'. My friend and I always talked about how people would react if a DJ threw this song on at a club.
J-Live - 'Wax Paper'
I have already mentioned this as my favourite story song, J tells a story of two brothers who have a lot more in common than first meets the eye.
Louis Logic - 'Ugly Truth'
The last 5 seconds make this song...
2pac - 'Brenda's Got A Baby'
Pac tells the story, from beginning to end, of a girl who becomes pregnant at the young age of 12.
Common - 'I Used To Love H.E.R.'
No story list would be complete without this song.
Now on to today's album post...
Keeping on the theme of stories, Prince Paul creates an entire album that tells the life story of Tariq, as he tries to make it in the world. I was torn between posting this album, and 'A Long Hot Summer' or even 'Disposable Arts', both by Masta Ace. I chose this album because it is pure story telling at it's finest, whereas Ace's two albums rely on the skits to tell the majority of the story.
I'm stuck whether to tell you more about this album, or not. I don't want to spoil the storyline for you, so the less I say the better. All I'll say is that the 'cast' consists of Breezly Brewin, Big Sha, Everlast, Kool Keith, Big Daddy Kane, and a host of others. The story on the album is so good, that it seems as if it were written by a Hollywood screen-writer.
A word of warning; make sure you put aside a good 1 and a half hours before you sit down to listen to this album. That means no interruptions. Turn off the TV, switch off your mobile, and don't answer the doorbell (even if it IS your momma). Treat the listening of this album as if you you were watching a movie, like when you sat down to watch 'The Godfather' for the first time. And only then will you appreciate how good this album is.
Enjoy the weekend!


sk93 said...

Great post..I get hyped too when a tough metaphor clicks in my head and I "get it". Shame u don't get more comments than this.

Here's some songs i think shoulda been added.

Geto Boys - Mind Playing Tricks On Me
Jedi Mind Tricks - Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story
Joe Budden - 3 Sides To A Story
Ice Cube- Today Was A Good Day
Jay-Z - You Must Love Me
MC Eiht - Straight Up Menace
Warren G - Regulate
Eazy E - Boyz N Da Hood
Killer Mike - Dueces Wild
Dmx - Crime Story
Onyx - Rob & Vic
Onyx - Veronica
Styles P - Nobody Believes Me
Wu Tang Clan - Impossible

I'll up the hard to find ones if you want.

Swiftus said...

Damn, how could I forget 'Mind Playin' Tricks...'?

That is one of my Top 5 all-time tracks!

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