So I’m massively into the Casual record. For reasons that are totally beyond me, I’d never really given it that much attention before, even though I knew about it from when it was released. I remember trip hop DJs in particular absolutely rinsing Me-O-Mi-O at the time.
Not got masses to add to what everybody else has said, but agree it’s a straight-up classic. Works as an album too - no weak tracks and Casual’s keeps the subject matter and style varied. Easily on a par with Del and Souls Of Mischief’s albums from the same time, which is saying something. Casual can be added to the long list of ridiculously talented teenagers in 90s hip hop, too.
On to the Gift of Gab, and I’m not feeling this one quite as much. It’s still totally solid, but not on a level with some of the other records ITT.
Like others, was into the early Solesides stuff, particularly Blackalicious and Latyrx, but always felt they missed the boat a bit. Would have liked to see them take advantage of all of the hype DJ Shadow received in the late 90s/early 00s, but it never seemed to really happen for them. Like littlebirds says, the beats on this are more conventional, and I think I like Gab over the more trippy, spaced-out stuff he was rapping over when he started out. He is a really good technical MC though, and this is a pretty good showcase.