9 Felt – Vol. 2: A Tribute to Lisa Bonet
Murs and Slug launched their Felt project in 2002 with A Tribute to Christina Ricci and proved to the world that two of underground rap’s most serious MCs could have some fun, too. And across the three projects, they teamed with different producers to wax poetic on their lady of the moment (Ricci, Lisa Bonet, and Rosie Perez). While Ricci is the O.G. and Perez had some post-apocalyptic party vibes, Bonet was the best executed of the bunch. Perhaps it was the fact that they were working with Slug’s right-hand man (Ant). Or maybe it was just that it housed undeniable cuts like Beastie Boys-reminiscent “Early Mornin’ Tony”, feel-good anthem “Employees of the Year”, and aptly titled funk jam “Morris Day”.—AM
8 Soul Position – 8,000,000 Stories
Imagine, if you can, that it’s 2003 again and you’re about to press play on the debut album from Soul Position, aka RJD2 and Blueprint. To put it into proper context, 8 Million Stories arrived right in the middle of RJ’s finest efforts—Deadringer and Since We Last Spoke—while Print was making a name for himself as a rapper, producer, and label head in his native Columbus, Ohio. But when the album dropped, it’s safe to say most heads were more familiar with the sample-manipulating and record-scratching ways of its producer. That all changed when Print’s confident, chest-beating vocals burst through the speakers, be it on standout track “Fuckajob” or introductory cut “Printmatic”.—AM
7 The Dynospectrum – The Dynospectrum
One of Rhymesayers’ earliest releases was the self-titled debut of the Dynospectrum, a local super-group of sorts made up of Slug, Musab, I Self Divine, and Swift of Phull Surkle. The album was a raw-as-hell encapsulation of the backpacker vibe of the late ’90s with its supremely blunted rhymes and dusty instrumental loops. You can probably still catch a contact high if you play it now, though it also might inspire you and your friends to start an impromptu freestyle cipher if you’re not careful. That vibe is best captured by the words of Slug, who told Impose Magazine‘s Blake Gillespie the following: “When we made The Dynospectrum, I was so high, I really thought we were like a legion of superheroes.” Note: Gillespie also now writes for PIMB.