[THROWBACK THURSDAY] “The Final Four”
We’ve had a remarkable time highlighting 40 Hip-Hop albums that will celebrate 20 years in the game this year. Over the course of three months we have reviewed projects from the industry’s best and brightest, with each contribution further solidifying the genre’s staple on the world as a movement unlike any other.
1997 was a stellar year for Hip-Hop. Despite the media-fuled East Coast/West Coast beef, we witnessed the emergence of subgenres within Hip-Hop as well as the influence the culture had on society. The fad that was ridiculed and written off as to be obsolete soon after its inception is without question here to stay!
This week we round out the last four albums on the list. Be sure to take a look at all 40 albums in my previous posts and let me know which ones were your favorites.
Common- One Day It’ll All Make Sense
In September of 1997, Common gave us his third studio album. The Chicago MC used his smooth delivery and conscious mindset along with production from No I.D., Spike Rebel and Lauryn Hill to produce this album that some would debate wasn’t as successful as his previous effort. Despite solid reviews and stellar features from Cee-Lo Green, De La Soul and Black Thought many fans felt the album had a contemporary touch due to production from No I.D., which made the project only sell 250,000 units.
Gravediggaz- The Pick The Sickle and the Shovel
Subgenres in Hip-Hop were rampant in 1997 and the horrorcore supergroup consisting of RZA, Frukwan, Prince Paul and the late Poetic would release their sophomore effort in October of 1997. It was with this project that we would get to witness Bobby Digital’s work behind the mic along with his unique production skills. The top singles from the album include “Dangerous Mindz” and “The Night the Earth Cried.” Fans would debate that the album had a calmer feeling than the first album, which led to mixed receptions of the project.
The Firm- The Album
Adhering to the notion of strength in numbers, another supergroup would also emerge on the scene in October of ’97. The Firm, consisting of Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ and Nature would release their only project together under Aftermath/Interscope Records. With production from the legendary Dr. Dre and TrackMasters, this album is considered a jewel in most Hip-Hop circles. The single “Firm Biz” would peak at #12 on top Rap/R&B charts however, fans of the individual members would critique this album stating that the artists settled for a more contemporary sound that was unlike their solo efforts.
Jedi Mind Tricks- The Psycho-Social, Chemical, Biological & Electro-Magnetic Manipulation of Human Consciousness
In November of 1997, the debut of the underground Hip-Hop group Jedi Minds Tricks was released under the Babygrande record label. The group consists of Vinnie Paz, and producer Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind. While some critics would label the album as a good but not solid effort, the content of the project was vast with not only lyrical content but also astrology, history and physics. The album artwork is dope and further implements the staple that is East Coast underground Hip-Hop.
The author Jerry Miller
Aspiring entertainment writer from Indianapolis, Indiana. I served as the Entertainment Editor for the largest African-American magazine in the city of Indianapolis.