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


My Summer Vacation has one of the absolute best bass lines in rap history


Great revisiting this. Agree that Ice Cube was one of the best ever, but I do find myself skipping tracks on all of his albums which is probably what keeps any of them outside my top 10/20. Sometimes it’s the subject matter as discussed (and a lot of it was cringeworthy even at the time), others times it’s just that the sound sometimes didn’t age that well for me. Because of that but I think I’m still firmly of the (probably unpopular) opinion that The Predator is his best album. Revisited that this week too, and I really don’t think he’s made a harder track than ‘We Had to Tear this Mothafucka Up’

Stumbled across a video someone made with footage of the LA riots set to that track and it’s intense. Actually made me shake. Note - Contains footage of the Rodney King beating.


Sorry again… our company is being acquired so I’ve been swamped. also kind of uncertain about my job standing due to the acquisition. Might take another week or two to sort through it. Been listening to Cube and enjoying it. Will have more to say when life smooths out, hopefully soon.


Hope it all works out okay pal


hope everything’s okay shippers. let me know if you want to pass the admin on for a bit whilst you’re swamped. or if I could maybe swoop in this week with a non-canon canon pick for the thread? (you’ll see what I mean) :sunglasses:


Right, decided to take the initiative and keep the thread going whilst Shippers wades through the swamp. Happy to tag-team in to take on the admin if real life is getting in the way of organising the enjoyment of canonical rap releases on the internet.

In the meantime my pick is a bit of an offroad non-canon canon pick, and what I mean by that is…

Big L - Harlem’s Finest: A Freestyle History Vol. 1 & 2


Why is this a non-canon canon pick?

I feel like Big L is arguably one of the greatest rappers of all time. However, for those unfamiliar with his story, he was murdered in an apparent case of mistaken identity very early on in his career (folklore has it that he was on the way to sign with Jay-Z when it happened, who he’d collaborated with prior).

He doesn’t really have a classic album; he released one full LP whilst he was alive, Lifestyles ov da Poor & Dangerous, but whilst it’s stellar work, it’s quite rough around the edges, and hints at his potential rather than feeling like a fully realised, classic body of work. (still features some fucking jams though)

He was prolific enough to still establish himself as one of the best rappers of all time whilst he was alive, through this LP, his work with D.I.T.C., various collaborations and unreleased songs, and… his head-spinning, verbally gymnastic radio freestyles. This is a compilation of said freestyles.

Predominantly live, one-take radio freestyles, I feel like this collection is as good a way as any to explore Big L and his frankly staggering rapping abilities. It’s ridiculous how lethargic he makes a young, pre-success Jay-Z sound when they go back to back in the ‘95 Freestyle’ set. His delivery, wordplay, rhyme schemes and wit are all, in my book, as good as any rapper who’s ever done it. When I discovered him as a teenager I don’t think I’d ever enjoyed a rapper as much.

He does occasionally push the boundaries of good taste. If you thought young Odd Future were a bit much I would skip Devil’s Son.

Anyway I hope this doesn’t bend the rules of the canon too much… one from the bootleg canon if you will, from an artist very worthy of being mentioned in the thread.

The album is an unofficial compilation and freely available for download on Datpiff:


Nice one. Finally got round to watching that Stretch & Bobbito documentary the other week, knew the big Big L freestyles from there, should be fun to explore a few more.


Ah, I need to see that!


Oh man, its great. The Biggie freestyle they unearth is :scream:.


It’s pretty fun. Some great footage, not enough of a hook or story for it to really work as a feature length thing though IMO


Obviously rate Big L as one of the absolute best. Never listened to this compilation before, though I know a few of the freestyles on here. 95 is a total classic, he runs rings around Jay! Excited to listen.


You think so? I could have sat through another two hours.


Yeah, I’ve often felt it wasn’t quite as good as it could have been. I don’t think he ever tops the opening track. Buckwild was SO underrated.

This is another one of my Big L favourites…


yeah boy, Big L + vintage Premier, come on now. it’s just not fair. really great L verse too


It was great and I could have as well but there wasn’t much of a “hook” outside of it being a lot of cool stuff to watch.


This is another v well curated Big L bootleg, for people who want to investigate more than his freestyles and LP

you have to put up with the DJ tags but it’s not too bad (and it’s method man’s voice which makes it less grating) and a couple of remixes by ‘DJ Rukiz’ which are honestly borderline blasphemous in quality


Yeah, that’s fair. It was like sitting through an episode of the show pretty much.


his flow is incredible on these freestyles, then on the narrative one- ‘how will I make it’, he’s got a kind of constant punchline delivery. would have thought it would be the other way round- do the punchlines on the punchline-y stuff and flow on the narrative stuff. not a criticism, just find it interesting.


Do you have to have an account? I can’t seem to download it :pensive:

Had a listen to the studio album, some :fire: some :grimacing:


Thanks everyone! @furryfan is lined up for this weeks pick on wednesday. I should be out of the woods around early next week and back on track.