Classics / Canon edition of the DiS Hip-Hop Listening Club


Got em saved. Huge fan.


Ice Cube – Death Certificate

this pick is courtesy of @FKA_Adam_Jeffson


Spotify only has the 25th anniversary re-issue which I think adds a few songs to the beginning. So check here for the original track-listing and such.


Top drawer classic, haven’t listen in full for ages. Nice one! Downloaded for commuting tomorrow


and you can new jack swiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing on my nuts.

cube really came out swinging on wrong n**a to f wit. massive beat drop and opening verse. gotta be in the running for best hype songs of all time. that beat switch up around 2/3 through is nuts.

i needed this today.


I won’t say anything too much about this now, as I’m planning to listen to it on my commute tomorrow to recollect my thoughts, but I just wanted to say that I picked this as a piece of the “canon” where there’s lots of areas to debate how great or not it is.

Amerikkka’s Most Wanted is probably in my top 10 hip hop albums of all time, but I felt that for all its flaws this one would be a better springboard for discussion.

I hope you enjoy!


AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, Death Certificate and The Predator was such a good run of albums. This seems to be the one I go back to least out of the three for some reason. In retrospect, it’s probably because the other two had more of an east coast sound with Bomb Squad and Muggs so they were the ones I really played to death as a lad.

No Black Korea or No Vaseline on the UK releases, so everyone had dubs of the import version. Good times.


im gonna have to add lethal Injection in there. i know it’s a step down but it still goes.


Yeah this is a 5* classic. also a big part of the 90s rap narrative with No Vaseline on there. Some huge songs like Wrong N to Fuck With, How to Survive in South Central, True to the Game

Think I learned all of the words to Givin Up the Naggy Dug Out when I was about 14 which probably got me in trouble. Cube really rhymed “with a cock in her” with “Czechoslovakia” huh. That and I’m Only Out for One Thang were my go to teenage giggle x-rated rap songs (and Ain’t No Fun).

Some of the beats on here are top drawer too. A Bird in the Hand stands out other than the songs already name dropped.

Lot of love for 90s Cube, he was on top of the game.


Yeah, he was excellent. When Predator dropped a few of us planned to go and see him at Brixton Academy. Lench Mob were supporting. Trip vetoed by our mates older sister - who thought it might be inappropriate for 3 15 year old boys from Essex. Might have been around the time Lench Mob were on The Word.


Listened to this on my way to work. Really enjoyed it. The long tracklist makes you forget that it’s only an hour long and actually pretty concise, which is helped by the Side A/B thing he did which works even on CD/Spotify.

A Bird in the Hand got an instant rewind. Forgot how much I loved that track. Horny Lil Devil probably best forgotten about. It’s… errr… interesting(?) hearing Black Korea again. The Latasha Harlins story wasn’t really covered in the news here from what I remember, so was unaware of the tensions that existed until I heard tracks like this or watched Menace II Society. Then of course the LA Riots were covered here in great detail which obviously drove home the extent of it.


Pleasantly surprised that this has got such a good reaction. Part of my reason for picking it was my surprise at seeing ranked higher than Amerikkka’s Most Wanted on a best of all time list recently - until I listened to it again I was certain that this was obviously more hit and miss. However, revisiting it has revealed what a stellar album it is despite a handful of missteps.

There are so many amazing tracks. The opening trio of Wrong N**** to Fuck With, My Summer Vacation, and Steady Mobbin’ is surely up there with the best from the 90s. My Summer Vacation in particular stood out to me from first listen as a phenomenal piece of storytelling - like the best of hip-hop it gave me insight into situations I’d never have imagined by myself.

And surprisingly for a double album the mid-section lull never comes. A Bird in the Hand is jaw-dropping and Alive on Arrival is a brilliantly sinister counterpoint to Public Enemy’s 911 is a Joke (which was lyrically incredible but musically still had an upbeat, party feel to it). The righteous anger towards the myth of America on tracks like I Wanna Kill Sam (not to mention the album cover) is incredible to hear in a post-9/11 world, at a time where black men are in genuine danger of losing their jobs if they protest the national anthem.

It’s not all perfect, though. Despite a good groove and one of the album’s most accessible choruses, the verses of Givin’ Up the Nappy Dug Out are reprehensible, and some of the lines in Look Who’s Burning are questionable at best. As Chairman_LMAO mentioned, today Black Korea is a difficult listen - as I understand it the idea comes from an justifiable frustration at racial profiling of black men by store owners, but the final product just comes across as worryingly anti-Asian. No Vaseline is a huge jam but its homophobia and antisemitism leave a bitter taste.

The final stretch from True to the Game to No Vaseline is another great ride, rounding out a brilliant album. A bit like the last track on the KRS-One album criticising the church’s complicity in black oppression, it’s an intriguing oddity to hear Cube take dope dealers to task in Us: “you as bad as the police, killing us” - especially when compared to My Summer Vacation on the very same album.

Sorry, this is really too long, but hopefully it raises some points to discuss about this fascinating album!


There’s a good piece on Death Certificate on The Quietus that I read a few years ago which touches on Black Korea. Might revisit it at lunch…


Thanks! I’ll read this tonight :slight_smile:


there’s no TLDRs in the HHLC! great post.


This was one of the most interesting pieces of music journalism that I’ve read in a while (though for full disclosure I don’t tend to read much music journalism). So many interesting points about the album’s creation and themes that I didn’t know before. Thanks so much for sharing.


Me neither to be honest, and usually find The Quietus pretty heavy-going, but Angus Batey does tonnes of really good anniversary pieces for classic hip hop albums that I dip into now and again.

Just having a skim through his one on The Chronic.



think early 90s cube might just be the best to ever do it, just an absolute fucking force of nature.

would’ve been 6 when this came out so obvs it was a few years before I listened to it (and like the pharcyde from week 1 of the revamped HHLC it was probably korn who led me to him!) and I would’ve been hearing it without knowing anything about the tensions in LA, the riots, any of that sort of stuff. think when I finally connected those dots it recontextualised the album in my mind a bit (from idk, petulant posturing maybe to holy shit, this is actually the sound of a city right on the edge) and put it ahead of amerikkka’s most wanted. both certified classics ofc but for me this one edges it


That reassessment of The Chronic is intense. I’ve always been a bit ambivalent about that album, and tbh I don’t disagree with at least some of his points


interested to see you pick out my summer vacation for its storytelling- the beat on that was what initially leapt out at me from the album. that and the horrible nappy dug out lyrics. frankie boyle used that “sucking up like a hummingbird” line recently about sara Pascoe on his show and I didn’t know where it came from.