Monthly Archives: December 2009

Top Albums of the 00 Decade

Here are my pick for The Top Albums of the 2000’s.
It was a difficult task putting this list together. There have been some great albums in this decade of the double-o.
Here are my top 5. They are followed by an alphabetical list of albums that I have really enjoyed these past ten years.
5) De La Soul – The Grind Date
It’s amazing how these hip-hop pioneers always manage to hit us with gem after gem. The title track to this disc is amazing and inspirational. It lets us know that we have to work hard to get what we want and to make things happen. De La Soul leads by example by crafting a great album.

4) Common – Like Water for Chocolate

This album is sonically beautiful. It is produced by the Soulquarians, a collective of hip-hop and soul producers featuring ?uestlove of The Roots and the late great Jay Dee. Common is also at his lyrical best as he tackles a wide variety of topics.
3) Blu and Exile – Below the Heavens
Exile is an amazing producer who crafts some great beats that really compliment what Blu is able to do on the microphone. This album has been in heavy rotation for me since its release.
2) Blue Scholars – Bayani

This disc bangs from beginning to end. One of my favourite tracks is “Still Got Love” where emcee Geologic tells us about how much love he has for the things and people around him. It is the opposite of a dis-record and I hadn’t really heard anything like it before or since then.
1) Avril Lavigne – Let Go

From the first moment I saw the video to “Complicated” I was hooked on Avril Lavigne. I think this album got the most plays from me this decade. I can sing along to every single song on this disc. This debut album deserves to be at the top of the list. It is the best album of the 2000’s in my humble opinion.
The Best Albums of the 2000’s

Here is my complete list of bangers from the double-o decade in alphabetical order.

2Pac – Better Dayz
Afu-Ra – Body of the Life Force
Avril Lavigne – Let Go – Under My Skin (pop)
Bif Naked – Superbeautifulmonster (rock)
Big Pun – Yeeeah Baby
Black Eyed Peas – Bridging the Gap
Blackalicious – Nia
Blu and Exile – Below the Heavens
Blue Scholars – Bayani
Brother Ali – The Undisputed Truth – Us

Buffalo Tom – 3 Easy Pieces (rock)
Classified – Trial and Error
Common – Like Water for Chocolate – Be
De La Soul – The Grind Date
Dilated Peoples – The Platform – Expansion Team
EMC – The Show
Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP
Gangstarr – The Owners
Goldfinger – Stomping Ground (rock)
Ice Cube – Laugh Now Cry Later
Ivan Ives – Iconoclast
Jay – Z – The Black Album
Jurassic 5 – Quality Control
Kayne West – The College Dropout – Late Registration – Graduation
Kelly Clarkson – All I Ever Wanted
Kidz in the Hall – School Was My Hustle
Kyprios – Say Something
Little Brother – The Minstrel Show
Masta Ace – Disposable Arts
Median – Median’s Relief
Move.meant – Scope of Things
Murs – Murs for President – Murs 3:16 The 9th Edition
Nas – God’s Son
Q-Tip – Renaissance Man
Reflection Eternal – Train of Thought
Rihanna – Good Girl Gone Bad (pop)
The Roots – The Tipping Point – Game Theory
Tim McGraw – Live Like You’re Dying (country)
Self Scientific – The Self Science
Shad – The Old Prince
superGARAGE – Demolition (rock)
Sweatshop Union – Water Street – United we Fall
Swollen Members – Bad Dreams
Taylor Swift – Fearless (country)
Xzibit – Restless

The Torch Came Through

The 2010 Winter Olympic Games are being held in Vancouver early next year. That is on the other side of the country.

Fortunately, they decided to pay us a visit on their way. Here’s a picture of the convoy rolling through.

I had never seen the Olympic Torch before and was really excited to be a part of this great event. It brought the entire community together and you could feel the anticipation of the crowd.
Monty McGahey runs proudly with the flame.

We couldn’t have asked for a better day for it.

It was cold but we had clear blue skies and the community turned out in full force to cheer.
It was something to see.
It feels like a once in a lifetime experience. I hope that Canada can host the Olympic Games again some time. I like how it brings people together. The spirit of the games are alive and well.
I was glad to be a part of this day.

Top 9 Albums of ’09

Here are my picks for Top Albums of the year 2009.

1) Brother Ali. Us

I just love this album. The title cut is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. The entire album has a feel-good vibe to it that I just can’t seem to put into words. It has been in constant rotation since I bought it on its release date.
The art work is simply amazing as well. Go to a store and buy the physical copy of this one. It is so worth it. In fact, there are only two albums on this entire list that I own a physical copy of.

2) Kyprios. 12:12
Kyprios is one of my all-time favourite emcees. I seriously can’t understand why he didn’t blow up on the strength of his major label debut album from 2004 or from the four albums he has done with Sweatshop Union.
This latest album has been in constant rotation for me since I picked up my digital copy from iTunes.

3) Taylor Swift. Fearless

This has been Taylor Swift’s year. I had heard her songs before on the radio but other than “Our Song” I hadn’t paid much attention to her.

I was thankful for all the success she got this year because I finally took the time to listen to her. In no time at all, I was completely taken in by her open and honest music. This album deserves the number 3 spot.

4) Kelly Clarkson. All I Ever Wanted.
This album really surprised me. I never followed American Idol and wasn’t impressed at all with her early material. It was in 2004 when her album, Breakaway was released that I started to pay attention to her. I didn’t buy her next album because I wasn’t really pulled in by any of those songs. This album though, I think is her finest work.
5) Just Me. Before the Twilight

Blogs are the best. I never would have discovered this gem if it weren’t for the hip-hop blogs that I subscribe to. I wish I knew which blog I found this on so I could big it up here.
Just Me is part of The Tunnel Rats, a legendary crew who make great music. You would never know it upon first listen but this is actually Christian rap. It doesn’t hit you over the head with religious messages, Just Me doesn’t preach to you, instead he gives you solid, underground hip-hop.
There were so many good albums released this year. I stand by the ordering in this list, but really wish this album had placed higher. It really is that good.
6) D-Sisive. Jonestown
D-sisive is an amazingly gifted Canadian emcee. He used to be a funny, punch line-driven, battle rapper. I was sure that he was going to go far in the music industry.
He disappeared for a few years and came back with some material that was much darker and depressing. I did my best to give his new material a shot but it was just too dark for me to get into.
Nobody with a Notepad from his album Let the Children Die really won me over though. I started listening to his new material again and was pleasantly surprised at how strong an album Jonestown is. It was released as a free album and I strongly suggest you go download it for free.
7) Classified: Self Explanatory

Classified’s latest album Self-Explanatory plays like a who’s who of Canadian hip-hop. There are some amazing guest artists on this album but it doesn’t dilute the potency of it one bit. Sometimes its obvious that an emcee cannot stand on his own but that simply is not the case with Classified.
Classified handles a vast majority of the production on this album and his beats bang. He is also a super-cool, down-to-earth guy. I really enjoyed meeting him this year and sitting down with him for an interview for DOPEfm. You can download the podcast of the interview for free. If you like what you hear, go cop this album. It’s worth it. (I own it on CD too)
8) New Cities: Lost in City Lights

I wasn’t sure I would like a pop-electro band but I had the opportunity to interview them this summer and was completely blown away by their live show.
This album has a feel good vibe to it and you can’t help but sing along and dance to it.

9) Bekay. Hunger Pains

Sometimes the beats alone really get you into an album. This album has some amazing production from the likes of The Alchemist, Marco Polo, The Returners, and DJ Babu. The beats are really reminiscent of DJ Premiere and sound amazing.
Bekay also manages to get some great guest appearances, most notable the legend Masta Ace. Also featured are Inspectah Deck, DJ Revolution, Dilated Peoples, and Heltah Skeltah.
The album doesn’t feel like a bunch of random producers and emcees were just thrown behind it, like can so often happen when you see credits such as these. The album really works.
So, those are My Top 9 Albums of ’09.

It’s been a great year for albums, which I am so glad to see. It seems that the industry is slowly moving away from albums in favour of singles. I much prefer albums and hope they never die.
I was as surprised as you to see the pop and country music on this list. But good music is good music.
I hope you enjoy the albums that I have picked this year.

An Avid Reader Set to Go Digital

I never thought that I would actually consider reading books electronically but I must say, that I think I am sold on this device.

It’s the Sony Reader. It apparently doesn’t hurt your eyes. It’s not backlit like a computer and is as easy on the eyes as a paper bound book.

Of course, not having enough money to buy one means that I’m not really “sold” on it, but I want one.
So that’s why I’m closing off my proverbial wish list with this gorgeous little item. Maybe someone has been listening.

A New Sampler Please!

Dear Santa,

I have had my eye on this device for a few years now.
It is a Roland MV 8000 Professional Studio. I’ve been drooling over this piece of tech ever since I saw an advertisement for it in Scratch magazine.

I loved making beats when I was younger. I haven’t really done it in years. Back in the day I used an AKAI sampling keyboard and programmed my sequences using Cubase on an Atari computer.

From my research, the Roland sampler seems to have everything that the more popular AKAI MPC series comes with.

I’m not sure which is the best sampler to get but I know that I want one. I would also really like Scratch magazine to be revived. It was an amazing read each and every month that focused on the creation of the music. I have yet to see a magazine that covered music production as well as this one. It was hip-hop through an through and I was very sad to see the magazine go under.

So my proverbial wish for today is to get a good high-grade sampler and to get XXL to start publishing Scratch magazine again. (Anybody listening?)

DC Universe DVD Collection

This is the second entry in My Proverbial Wish List.

It’s a box set of the animated movies from DC comics.
DC produces some great animation. Their movies tend to be a bit darker and are meant for mature audiences, unlike the Saturday morning cartoon shows.
My regular readers will know that I don’t have cable TV. I borrow movies and televisions series from the public library often and occasionally will spring for a rental movie.
I have wanted to see these movies for a while but I have only seen Superman: Doomsday so far, which I was able to borrow from the library. I must say that the movie was very well done and I really enjoyed it.
I hope the library will get the other titles in this series, but you never really know what they will order. These titles looks just as good as the above one. That is why I would like to get this box set for Christmas and am adding it to my proverbial wish list.
Here are the other 5 movies that come in the set,
Justice League: The New Frontier
Batman: Gotham Knight
Green Lantern: First Flight
Wonder Woman
Batman / Superman : Public Enemies

I’ve heard some great things about these movies and would really like to see them some day. This box set makes them affordable since I have seen each of these DVDs new on the shelf for about $20 each.
Could make a great Christmas present for any last minute shoppers that have comic book fans on their lists.

Classic Transformers

I absolutely loved Transformers when I was a kid. It wasn’t a show about toys. It wasn’t just about robots that could change into cars, airplanes, or guns. It was so much more.

These robots were real. They had motives, they had character traits, and you couldn’t help but get completely pulled in to the story. Which, of course, is what made this cartoon series so enduring.
I was glad to see that the first season had finally been released domestically. I bought it this past summer, as soon as I saw it in the store. I didn’t even have to think about it. I knew I needed to buy it.
I was a little nervous that watching these episodes again that the magic of the series would have been lost, like it were part of my childhood that I couldn’t return to.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the stories still hold up, that the characters are as well-defined and likeable as I remembered. I really enjoyed rewatching the episodes.
I was hoping that by purchasing this first set that they would actually release all four of the seasons. So far, I don’t think there are any plans to do so.
However, I just saw this new box set in the store.
Yes, this is the complete series, all four seasons of Transformers. I absolutely love how the box is drawn like the matrix and how it pulls apart to reveal the 16 DVDs. Man, that brings back memories.
It also comes with two magnets. The season 1 set came with an Autobot magnet.
I so want this box set. I had to linger in the aisle for a few minutes and really consider whether or not I should buy it. I knew I wanted it. But ultimately, I left the store without picking it up. I really can’t afford to spend close to $200 on it.
So for now, I am going to put it on my proverbially wish-list.
See you here tomorrow for Wish # 2.

My Proverbial Wish List

You know what’s funny?

Up until yesterday, I didn’t really think about Christmas gifts for myself. I was convinced that I didn’t need anything. Perhaps that is true in a sense.
I’ve had a lot of great Christmases and I don’t need to just accumulate stuff. I have pretty much everything that I need in life, as far as material things go.
So, I did a stupid thing on Saturday.
I had already completed all of my Christmas shopping. But here it was the first day of Christmas vacation and I was bored. So I went shopping for no reason.
I really shouldn’t have gone because I saw all these cool things that I really wanted to buy.
Of course, all I bought was a spool of blank CDs and an SD card for my MP3 player (the two things that I had actually went out for. And they were on sale too. Nice!)
I was proud of myself for not submitting to temptation and buying all sorts of things for myself.
So for the next few days, I will be posting my proverbial wish list. Any generous readers out there could send me any of these things as a belated gift (since I know it’s getting too late to get things shipped now.) But like I said earlier, I really don’t need anything. I probably shouldn’t even have typed that.
Maybe these items will inspire people who haven’t finished their Christmas shopping yet.
Happy Holidays Everyone!