Friday, November 04, 2011



You are about to leave on an extended vacation and you're running late. You have five minutes to grab five of your favorite albums to take with you. (I know everything is digital now, but work with me here.) What do you choose and why?

Here's mine:

1. Illmatic- Nas
A 19 year old, 8th grade dropout from the Queensbridge projects crafted some of the most beautiful lyrics ever committed to wax. I never grow tired of listening to Illmatic, it is the genesis of lyrical genius.

2. Voodoo- D’Angelo
Ten years after its release this album still can’t be touched by any other album in the soul/R&B genre. Sonically dense, with dusty drums and packed with funky audacity this was D’Angelo’s soul music call to arms.

3. Bone Machine- Tom Waits
It’s difficult to describe Tom Waits. He is music’s vagabond poet. This album is a totally eccentric, unpredictable piece of art. Bone Machine is more than just music. It’s an abstract car crash.

4.Van Morrison- Astral Weeks
A lyrically sublime, sonically sprawling collection of mystical meditations, every time I hear these songs I can’t believe they came out of somebody’s mind. It’s a stream of consciousness musical feast. An amazing collection of songs.

5. A Love Supreme- John Coltrane
This is trane’s magnum opus. A work or art that touches every branch of emotion and feeling and resounds on all spiritual levels.


  1. This was kind of difficult, but i will go with the 5 that i listen to, to feel good.

    1. Best of Isacc Hayes - "I Stand Accused", "Walk on By', "By the Time I get to Phoenix"...just get to me and make me stand still and listen, something about that Memphis Sound, that Hot Buttered Soul!

    2. Soundtrack from "The Preachers Wife" - Whitney Houston. OMG! When i'm down this record is in heavy rotation. Whitney at her absolute BEST!

    3. Luther Vandross Christmas - I can't wait until the day after Thanksgiving to begin playing this cut. My kids will attest, it's not Christmas at my house without this album and it plays all the way through New Years.

    4.Best of Aretha Franklin - Ree-Ree just puts everything in perspective. I can dance, sing, shout to her music.

    5.Best of Phyllis Hyman - this sister here was at her BEST and you can hear her pain, and her joys in her music.

  2. 1. Love Jones Soundtrack
    2. How Stella Got Her Groove Back Soundtrack
    3. Soulstar album by Musiq Soulchild
    4. My Life by Mary J. Blige (best album ever)
    5. Love Deluxe by Sade

  3. Nas- in my opinion, is untouchable when it comes to lyrical prowess. There is no better lyricist. As a poet, I'm a sucker for words, and he blows my mind.

  4. 1. Illmactic... I choose ur reasoning...and add lyrical genious!

    2. Best Of Bone Thugs N Hamrony... just love their style and I listen to the just about everday!

    3. Hard Album Jagged Edge... I had to pick one...I have all their CDs...

    4. Girl Like Me- Rhi that Cd...I played that until every song love love it.

    5. Any Monica CD.... love her vocal talent!!!

  5. 1. Kid A- Radiohead

    2. The lost & found- Gretchen Parlato

    3. Coltrane for lovers- John Coltrane

    4. Lovely Standards- Amel Larrieux

    5. Power to the people- Joe Henderson

    --why? because these are some of my favorite artists, people that I listen to regularly.

  6. This is a tough one. Only five? Sheesh, that's hard. Well, if I was going on an extended vacation, I'd want some variety. So I'd go with (in no particular order):

    1. Elephant by The White Stripes -- They're my favorite band and Elephant is my favorite album of theirs. "Seven Nation Army" and "Ball and Biscuit" are tight to death.

    2. Best of Bob Marley -- Hopefully this extended vacation will be to some tropical island and who wants to be on a tropical island without some Bob Marley to listen to. Seems blasphemous.

    3. Purple Rain by Prince -- Not only is it one of the best soundtracks of all time but it's one of the best albums, period.

    4. Queen: Greatest Hits -- Because Queen's music is epic.

    5. Baduizm by Erykah Badu -- Super tight album. It introduced me to the musical brilliance that is Erykah Badu.

  7. 1. Diary of Alicia Keys - I love Alicia and her voice soothes me. Also The song "Diary" is my favorite song.

    2. Promise by Sade - Classic album. How can you go wrong with Sade.

    3. Prime of my Life by Phyllis Hyman - Amazing album.

    4. Chamber Music Society - Esperanza Spalding

    5. Love And Affection: Classics (1975–1983) by Joan Armatrading - I love her music! She's a singer who has never gotten her due.

    Fun post, Jason!

  8. Songs In The Key Of Life (Stevie Wonder)

    Because in it, Steveland covers damn-near every color within the human spiritual spectum, & damn-near errr emotion or mood w/in the human experience. Gotta take that one!

    Sketches of Spain (Miles Davis)

    Sonic coolness & mellow musicality personified, plus Miles' work during this period could be incredibly sooooothing.

    Rickie Leee Jones (self-titled debut)

    I just dig this highly digable beat-chick musically, poetically, vocally... & since you mentioned Tom Waits (her old ex), I'm betting you kinda dig her too.

    & IF I can't find her in my zeal & mad dash, I'd take Seal's self-titled second CD (the joint w/ Don't Cry, Kiss From a Rose, etc.)

    Anything by Coltrane, but I'd go w/ some lesser known opus so it can grow on me, since there'd be plenty of free time.

    The Big Payback (James Brown)

    Because it's just soooooooooo damn funky in a classic way that never loses its drive, its groove or its appeal.


  9. Hi J,

    A wonderful topic. So much so, that I am going to respond on my blog :). Thought provoking as usual. Props to you my brother.


  10. Posted! By the way, from your list I would take John Coltrane and Nas. You are sooo totally ruining my shortlist lol.


  11. 1) Brian McKnight - I Remember You
    It captures that magic of love personfied.

    2) SWV - New Beginning. I wore this out on cassette tape in my first car.

    3) Will Downing - Greatest Love Songs

    4) Kim Burrell single "Special Place". It's not on any of her cd's and it's so touching it makes me cry everytime I listen to it.

    5) Anything by Brandy or Mint Condition.

  12. @J
    My Life is MJB's masterpiece. Good selections.

  13. @UB
    Same here. Nas is my all time favorite rapper/poet.

  14. @Sunny
    Nice picks!

    Anybody that loves Illmatic as much as me is a friend of mine.

  15. @UB
    Kid A is my favorite Radiohead album also. Gretchen Parlo has a beautiful voice.

  16. @Nicole
    Co-sign all of these. I played Baduizm not to long ago and it was a reminder of how dope of an album it is.

  17. Nice Val!

    Esperanza is dope and Joan Armatrading is definitely underrated.

  18. It bothered me to leave Stevie off of the list. The 70's and part of the 80's belonged to Stevie on the music front. Dude at least five classic albums in a row. Who's F---ing with that?

    Sketches in Spain is an incredible record, almost as good as Kind Of Blue.

    Coltrane is a must.

  19. @Coco
    I saw your list and commented. Great choices!

  20. @Kandia
    I Remember You is sublime and magical. I played that album to death when it came out. My favorite song is the title track, it sounds like the soundtrack to a fairy tale.

    Wil Downing's voice is smooth personified.

    I loved SWV. Coko's voice used to make swoon.

    Love Mint Condition!

  21. Illmatic is a great choice. I'm not as familiar with the others.

    1. Tupac's Makaveli album: I love every song on this album and it pretty much shows the direction in which Shakur was headed, from a musical and strategy standpoint. Gone too soon.

    2. Monica's debut album Miss Thang: No matter how many times I listen to this particular CD I am completely amazed at the singing talents of Monica Arnold.

    3. Purple Rain: One of the greatest albums ever made. Very impressive songwriting and compositions.

    4. Kam's Neva Again: Underestimated hip hop album. But the level of common sense, political and social awareness, and delivery challenges even the greatest hip hop efforts.

    5. Eric B & Rakim's Paid In Full: Why I fell in love with hip hop.

    6. Anita Baker's Rapture: I love this woman, without fail.

  22. @Don

    I'm not the biggest Pac fan. I respect his contribution to the arts and he is an icon, but I just don't see him in the light that others do. Makaveli is a dope album though.

    Thumbs up for the first Monica album.

    I had that Kam album on Cassette. He was one of my favorites at the time. He led the charge of socially conscious, street rappers out the west coast along with Da Lench Mob, Paris, Pac and Nefertiti.

    Great choices D!

  23. 1. Get Lifted -John Legend
    2. 21 -Adele
    3. Legend -Bob Marley & The Wailers
    4. II -Boyz II Men
    5. Life After Death -Notorious B.I.G

    I love posts like these. Simple, but reflective.

  24. @Nikks

    Good choices! Nice plate of musical food here.

    21 is an amazing record!

    Legend is the quintessential Marley album. I gave it away as Christmas gifts one year.

  25. VooDoo -D'Angelo
    Subject -Dwele
    Things fall apart -The Roots
    The best of Anita Baker- Anita Baker
    Ain't nobody worryin - anthony Hamilton

  26. I'll take NAs. Being a newbie I'm not into the rest as much.

    Que The Lights
    QTL Images

  27. You got me with D'Angelo's Voodoo and John Coltrane's a Love Supreme.

    I'd also have to include Michael Jackson's Off The Wall, Diana Ross' Baby Its Me, and Stevie Wonder's Hotter Than July.

    Great idea for a blog entry. I wish I had thought of it.

  28. @Krissy

    Thanks for visiting. It was hard not to put Things Fall Apart on this list, but I had to keep it to five.

    You have good taste in music.

  29. @Daij

    Peace D!

    It was hard to leave Stevie off of the list. With more choices I definitey would have picked Hotter Than July, Inner visions, Fufillingness' First Finale. Stevie was a genius.

  30. O - Damien Rice:

    I love every track on this album and can play it through and through for hours on end. The album reminds me of a very good friend; as Blowers Daughter was the OST song to a film we went to see at the cinema.

    Any Love- Luther Vandross:

    Favourite artist of all time and an album that touches my soul. It was one of the vinyl albums my older brother had in his collection; one that has some of my favourite Luther tracks of all time.

    Nina Simone - The Essential Nina Simone:

    Now I know I don't have to explain to anyone why this album makes the list.

    Tracy Chapman - Let It Rain:

    A beautifully composed album that brings me peace.

    Bobby Womack - The Poet (all of them):

    Bobby, Bobby, Bobby - what a vocalist; what an artist.