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Name Your Top 5 “Desert Island” Albums

Posted by Nathan S. on 12/24/12 | Filed under Top Stories, Opinion, Debates, RH Nation Answers

Name Your Top 5 “Desert Island” Albums

Ask anyone what their “favorite albums of all-time” are and you’ll never get a good answer. It’s too hard to name your personal favorite albums without considering the most important albums of all-time, which isn’t the same thing at all.

For example, on the real I don’t listen to Nas’ “Illmatic” that often, but in any “favorite albums of all-time” conversation I feel like I have to mention “Illmatic” to establish my hip-hop credentials. That’s why I developed the Desert Island Test. Here’s how it works: You’re being exiled to a desert island. Like a prisoner on death row gets a last meal, the judge who exiled you allows you to take five albums with you, but only five. Which albums do you choose?

Now that changes the equation. Not only do you have to pick five albums you can listen to literally until the day you die, but you have to consider them in relation to each other. You might love hardcore underground rap, but you probably want to throw some variety in there.

My five picks are below, hit me with yours in the comments below. There are really no wrong answers here…unless you pick “Rebirth”, then you’re a fucking idiot.

Mos Def “Black on Both Sides”

This shit dropped when I was in high school, I’ve literally memorized every word on the album, and I’m not even remotely tired of it. What really gives it Desert Island status though is the album’s range. You’ve got rappity rap shit (“Mathematics”), smooth R&B-esque shit (“Umi Says”), you’ve got experimental rock shit (“Rock N’ Roll”) and everything in between. Serious talk, if I could only have one album on a desert island, “Black on Both Sides” might just be it.

 

Ghostface Killah “FishScale”

Great example of the difference between the “best albums” and desert island albums. Considering he’s my favorite rapper of all-time I have to include Ghost, and I’d actually argue that “Supreme Clientele” is the better album, but….I find myself going back to “FishScale” more than any other album in his catalog. The storytelling on shit like “Shakey Dog” is incredible, he drops his best smooth joint with “Back Like That”, this shit is just straight up enjoyable.

 

D’Angelo “Voodoo”

Hands down the best R&B/soul album of the modern era, D’Angelo was just on some next level shit here. On the downside it might be torture to have this album without any females on the island to seduce with it, but I’m gonna need some R&B on the island to switch things up, and there’s just no way I could pass over D’Angelo.

 

Aesop Rock “Daylight”

At heart I’m a true rap nerd. Even worse, I’m the kind of rap nerd that’s happy spending hours trying to decipher lyrics, so I’ve got to go with “Daylight”. It’s been over a decade since I first heard Aesop Rock’s opus, and I’m still trying to unravel lines, so if any albums going to give me enough material to dig into until the day I die, it’s this one.

 

Kanye West “The College Dropout”

The last pick is always the hardest, this one was a killer. I really wanted to go with a rock album to really give me some genre versatility, maybe Deftones, maybe Led Zeppelin if I wanted to go classic. And then even if I stuck with hip-hop, it’s almost impossible to narrow things down to one pick. It hurts to pass up a Roots album, but ultimately I had to bite the bullet and go with Kanye. He gives me that more uptempo, hit sounds that Mos, Ghost and Aesop doesn’t, but still with enough depth to listen to over and over again. And if I’m going Kanye, “College Dropout” still connects with me more than any other project.

And there you have it, my five Desert Island albums. I could have gone a lot of other directions, but ultimately I’m pretty happy with this line-up. Who you got?

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