Blueprint

For Blueprint, “1988” is more than the name of one of his songs. It’s also when his favorite rap music was released. As the Columbus, Ohio rapper gears up for the April 5 release of his second album “Adventures In Counter-Culture” he reveals his Top 5 Rap Albums of 1988.

5. Ultramagnetic MC’s - Critical Beatdown

That makes me think of avant garde MCing in patterns and abstract rap. I don’t know if it’s the birth of it, but it’s definitely an exercise in dudes who were all about patterns and style and not necessarily out there.

In the middle of it, you have all this content like N.W.A, BDP and Slick Rick telling stories and you’ve got Ultramagnetic who’s on some technical shit.

4. Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back

When I think of that album, I think of the Bomb Squad first. It’s the craziest production ever. There’s a lot of layering. I think they were just developing those techniques, putting things together that were not naturally together in a production sense and making them work.

This was before you had all these software tools that can do the work for you. Those dudes were like experts of records because they knew their shit well enough to put things together, never lose the key, maintain the pitch and it was just dope.

Then, what Chuck D was talking about, obviously. It was super revolutionary, challenging shit.

3. N.W.A - Straight Outta Compton

That was the first rap record that you couldn’t even listen to in your house because your moms would come in and throw it out the window -- at least my mom would.

The shit that they were saying was the first peek into the West Coast lifestyle, slang and culture that we had never really seen prior to that. Some people thought it was novelty for a second and then it ended up being a real thing that kind of exploded.

2. Boogie Down Productions - By All Means Necessary

“My Philosophy” was the single off that. That album had just some of the illest loops on it ever.

That was one of those records that was great because it was conscious; it was kind of gangster with him on the cover with the uzi and the production just banged. It wasn’t like it was super intricate, Bomb Squad-sound stuff.

It was just really well-chosen loops and it had mad singles off of it, like “Stop The Violence,” “I’m Still #1” and “My Philosophy.”

1. Big Daddy Kane - Long Live The Kane

“Raw” came out back when you could rap fast and be technical, and it was still a joint that people would try to dance to. “Raw” summarized that vibe and it was only something Kane and Rakim could do.

Kool G. Rap could do it too but it didn’t seem like people were dancing to G. Rap songs -- like you could throw on Eric B. & Rakim’s “Follow The Leader,” or something fast and people would just be like, “Oh shit.”

For more from Soren Baker follow him on Twitter: @SorenBaker

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