Listens for the Week #6
Every week, I offer three recommendations: something new, something classic, and something I love. This week, I've been going back through the amazing discography of Nas, and on top of that, I've made some time for some new hip hop and some classic electronica.
Ka - Languish Arts (2022)
Languish Arts is another masterful release from Ka, further cementing him as one of the greatest rappers in today's landscape. His signature dry, sombre delivery may lack the punch some look for in a rapper, but his main strengths are in his incredible lyrics, full of double meanings and complex wordplay. The production is serene, with heavy use of strings and rarely any drums, setting the atmosphere for the record while the focus is on Ka and his lyrical skill.
LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver (2007)
This is one of my favourite albums ever made, and one I would recommend to any music fan. The production is so layered and intricate, and with new listens I still find myself picking up on new details. The band draws inspiration from dance, rock, and punk, making for an eclectic record with hard-hitting and catchy moments followed by more relaxed and ambient ones. James Murphy is a phenomenal vocalist, evoking so much emotion on the more serious tracks and giving such a lighthearted and fun performance on others. Whether it be the dance-punk tracks or the indie pop ones, each track has its own strengths, and each brings a new layer of brilliance to this album, with every moment essential in making this the masterpiece it is.
Something I Love
Nas - Hip Hop Is Dead (2006)
This is the eighth album from Nas, and after the lackluster Street's Disciple a few years prior, it was a welcome return to form. Hip Hop Is Dead has crisp production, building on the potential of Street's Disciple, but giving each song the time to breathe and lyrical focus that the album prior lacked. There are a range of fantastic features from Jay-Z to Kanye West, but the main highlight is Nas himself, whose effortless flow and storytelling talent are on full display. After a few dips in quality in his discography, Hip Hop Is Dead marked another moment where Nas bounced back, and proved his longevity as one of hip hop's greatest legends.