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    • The Pharcyde - "Runnin'" (from Labcabincalifornia, 1995) Let’s start with a bridge — one between the insurgent wave of early ’90s West Coast indie and all the potential dynamism, insight, and creativity that underground hip-hop would cultivate by the decade’s end.
    • J-Live - "Braggin' Writes" (12", 1995) One of the other calling cards, it should be noted, is rapping about rapping — the recentering and arms-race showoff of skills.
    • Dr. Octagon - "Blue Flowers" (from Dr. Octagonecologyst, 1996) Kool Keith’s always been a crazy bastard, if by “crazy” you mean “can sound fly even rapping complete nonsense” and “bastard” you mean “stylistically fathered by immaculate conception.”
    • The East Flatbush Project - "Tried By 12" (12", 1996) When street rap mourns, it’s the strongest case there is for hip-hop not as the detractors’ “inspiration for violence,” but as something inspired by violence — of something that has to be paid attention to, made sense of, after-the-fact justified, but not so much celebrated as chronicled in ways that at least try to find the resilience of artistic expression in the midst of a grim scenario.
  1. Mar 22, 2022 · The Torture Papers is the debut album by underground Hip Hop collective Army of the Pharaohs, released in 2006 after years of anticipation. The crew was established in 1998 by Jedi Mind Tricks frontman Vinnie Paz, and originally featured Jedi Mind Tricks, Chief Kamachi, 7L & Esoteric, Virtuoso, and Bahamadia.

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    • Busdriver – Temporary Forever
    • Quasimoto – The Unseen
    • Little Brother – The Listening
    • Brother Ali – Shadows on The Sun
    • Blackalicious – Blazing Arrow
    • Z- Ro – Let The Truth Be Told
    • Edan – Beauty & The Beat
    • J – Live – The Best Part
    • Murs & 9th Wonder – Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition
    • Ka – Grief Pedigree

    The Project Blowed member’s debut was full of the most humorous and mind numbing free-associative rhymes one will ever hear. Looking deeper into Busdriver’s mind, themes on gun violence and major labels complications among others give a feeling of something deeper.

    Madness is the pleasure of the unseen, and Madlib’s pig-nosed hippo with the brick is everyone’s unseen. The lost thoughts of a rambling stairwell dweller, or the undine styled under-thoughts of a producer living in a basement studio, Lord Quas was our one and only pleasure of pure id. A bit of jazzy ultra-violence in a squeaky ass voice never felt...

    For many, The Listeningcould 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...

    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 Suncould be considered his best.

    Blazing Arrowwasn’t appreciated when released in 2002. However, it’s only gotten better with age thanks to Gift of Gab and producer Chief Xcel. There wasn’t a topic the duo wouldn’t touch. For example, how many people did “Chemical Calisthenics” help through high school Chemistry?

    Former Gorilla Mob member Z-Ro has a storied history in Houston Hip Hop. Several albums in, he dropped a bonafide classic in Let The Truth Be Told. For the first time in his career, he made an album that felt more than something local. From the intro “Mo City Don” to “Respect My Mind,” Let The Truth Be Toldis an honest Southern tale.

    Beauty & The Beat was an unlikely critical smash in 2004, garnering the dark-dust-feather topped Edan Portnoy (not to be confused with Portnoy, the ballsy, corrupt main character of Portnoy’s Complaint by Phillip Roth) an 85% Metacritic score and cementing him as a dim forefather in the realm of middle-class rap. Think American Beauty,but no dads, ...

    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 inevita...

    Murs has been, and been quite well, an everyman with an edge. On Murs 3:16: The 9th Editionhe found his very capable footing on Def Jux by ditching the skateboard and sliding into a kind of existential angst.

    One of the hardest (that’s right, hardest) NYC Hip Hop albums ever released, Ka’s forayinto the depths of Brownsville proved a bit too much for the tastes of the Internet intelligentsia, but that doesn’t mean the sheer propensity for verse and meanness on this album should be overlooked.

    • Madvillain – Madvillainy (2004) Sprawling, ambitious, dense, funny, and consistently refreshing, MF Doom and Madlib’s 2004 collaboration Madvillainy represented the crescendo of an amorphous movement, capturing the inventive spirit of the American underground through a set of uncompromisingly weird and adventurous sounds.
    • Cannibal Ox – The Cold Vein (2001) Though released in months prior to 9/11, Cannibal Ox’s seminal Cold Vein may as well have sonically predicted the disastrous days ahead.
    • Aesop Rock – Labor Days (2001) Shouldering high expectations after his touted signing to Def Jux, Long Island wordsmith Aesop Rock delivered a career defining statement in Labor Days, an album that expanded on his trademark abstraction while dipping further into his favorite themes (modern labor, the effects of city living on the psyche, artistic creation) and a kind of lucidity nonexistent on previous releases.
    • Company Flow – Funcrusher Plus (1997) Before El-P took the reins of Def Jux and assaulted listeners as a solo artist, he and cohorts Bigg Jus and Mr. Len crafted one of independent Hip-Hop’s most aggressive and indelible statements, an anti-mainstream screed that expressed its dissatisfaction in every ounce of its being.
  3. Aug 11, 2013 · Priest Markou debut solo album out in stores now the greatest classic hip hop in the underground s...

    • Aug 11, 2013
    • 137.5K
    • Priest Markou
  4. Jan 7, 2018 · Don’t believe me, just peep “Braggin’ Writes”. 7. El-P "Fantastic Damage" (2002) One of the most landmark albums in underground Hip Hop, El-Producto constructed an explosive release that was filled with angst, conspiracy theories, and paranoia in such a beautifully riotous way.

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