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CD’s So Nice This Man Needed Them Twice (and sometimes even more)
By Clayton Ruley

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Roots – Do You Want More

There weren’t many groups out of Philly when I was in high school. The Roots were coming off the success of Organix and touring over seas. Do You Want More was Hip-Hop with live instruments and showed me some of the music’s promise. Malik B and Black Thought had that chemistry that just wasn’t found everywhere. This added to the drums, bass and keyboards created an eclectic mix we haven’t seen since. Songs that incorporated the horn like my favorite “Silent Treatment” also lend familiar names and places I could recognize (“I rode the L to fifty duce”). “Distortion to Static” with it chuckles in the chorus sounded like a bad embarrassing dream. The album put Philly further on the map that had lost main points such as The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff and Cool C. The Roots gave Philly its voice back.

The Count: The album was so fresh I had to buy three copies.


Ice Cube – Death Certificate

It wasn’t mine but my brother’s and he left it one day while home from school and it mysteriously disappeared. It was one of the first CD’s I listened to intently and Ice Cube coming fresh off Amerikkka’s Most Wanted and Kill At Will was at his peek when it came to hard lyrics and beats. Cube formerly of NWA took shots at his former group members in “No Vaseline”, talked about a day in the hood in “Steady Mobbin’”, and had skits about protection, and getting an education. Although highly volatile the album had good intentions like breaking down the police brutality in Compton, California and what you can do with your life instead of carjacking, chasing after women and doing coke.

The Count: My brother took his album back – three years later!


A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders

I remember picking this album up freshman year in high school at Tower Records on South street. I had learned about Tribe from the classic The Low End Theory, the vibe was Hip-Hop, with Jazz and Funk. It was my favorite album and looked to get the feeling back. I saw the cover with all of the music celebrities and grabbed it and walked right out and put it in my new CD player (You know the ones that skipped after every bump!). I never till that point heard something that I knew was the shiznit from top to bottom in a single instant. I mean I can recognize greatness but most times I have last album impression first before I give the next LP a chance. Not this one, it hit me from the computerized intro that welcomed you to the album. Then “Steve Biko” came on with horns playing. Busta Rhymes came through for “Oh My God”, Trugoy, the dove of De La Soul blessed “Award Tour”, the first single and two of my favorite song of all-time “Electric Relaxation” and “Lyrics To Go” used a Minnie Riperton loop and I was gone. I don’t know which Tribe album is better Low End or Midnight but I knew then as I took the 40-bus home I loved this group. They have been my favorite ever since.

The Count: It sits scratched up in my room, but still playable. I never used to let it out the crib!


Ghostface Killah – Supreme Clientele

This and the forthcoming Lox selection held it down in my college residence for a good six months being played at least once a day. Ghostface already established himself with Raekwon’s Only Built For Cuban Linx, and his own Ironman. This album is his best with songs like “Cherchez La Ghost” for the clubs and Malcolm showed his versatility, but “We Made It” was my favorite with its triumphant hook. This album was also a banger cause he got sentimental with songs like “Malcolm”, which deals with puppy love and the things you use to do to show your love. Always underrated I thought Ghost will shine on his upcoming Def Jam release but before you find yourself saying how come I didn’t know listen to Supreme Clientele and the rest of his work.

The Count: Two copies later…



Outkast – Atliens

I heard of Outkast before but didn’t see them as groundbreaking till I heard the single “Elevators” and became an instant fan. The base and creepy beat had me hooked and Dre’s verse in particular showed the storytelling ability that is one of their trademarks. Copping Atliens was the cake to go with the icing. The beats were different, songs like “Wheels of Steel” and “Jazzy Belle” were contrast in sound but told me the same thing: these two were creative, individual and different. They were Outkast! They have been my second favorite group since.

The Count: I finally got the original back after two years!


The L.O.X. – We Are The Streets

Another college banger! This album came out my junior year and after waiting to see them released from their Bad Boy contract I hoped this album would show “the real L.O.X.” that I heard of from all the mix tapes and before Money, Power, Respect! It was like a microwave when I first heard “F*** You” the first song on the album. You could tell they were hungry and waiting to let people know they weren’t in their shiny suits no more! Complete with songs like “Represent” and “Wild Out” this album was straight streets. It gave you stories of hustling and gunplay in a way that made you actually like it. The skits (Rape N U Records, especially) were hilarious and let you know some of their struggles with P-Diddy. The beats done by Swizz Beatz were bumpin and not what I expected coming from DMX ‘s first album “It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot”. This would be The L.O.X. I came to expect!

The Count: I also expected to see it walk so I brought another copy just in case till the coast was clear.

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