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Today is the birthday of Kamaal Ibn John Fareed aka Jonathan Davis aka Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest. Along with fellow MC Phife Dawg, Tip set a standard of excellence few musicians get to. Instantly distinctive voice? Check. Unbelievable flow on the mike? Check? Brilliant musical backgrounds, samples, and accompanyments over which to deliver poetic, insightful rhymes? Check and mate. (If The Low End Theory isn't somewhere in your list of Top Hip-Hop Albums of All Time, you're doing it wrong).
Let's wish the Midnight Marauder a Happy Birthday by grabbing your MP3 player, pressing the “shuffle” button, and sharing the first ten songs you hear:
1. "Blow Your Whistle" by Traxman (Da Mind of Traxman Vol. 2) - Some deep footwork from Chicago, courtesy of Planet Mu records.
2. "I Believe" by R.E.M. (Lifes Rich Pageant) – I'm glad they went out on their own terms.
3. "Tigers" by Oshwa (Chamomile Crush) – Left- field accoustic that's hard to put into words - similar to tUnE-yArDs in feel. It's a real good listen.
4. "Lay Your Hands on Me" by Thompson Twins (Here's to Future Days) – An '80s band that wore big hats and put together a couple of strong songs, of which this was one. It was really easy to put them on the shelf with the other synth-poppers when the '90s came around, though.
5. "This Is Just the Beginning" by Gruff Rhys (Candylion) – The brief opener to the album. The epic 14 minute last track, where Gruff thwarts a plane hijacking (!!!) is really worth a listen.
6. "Failure" by Call of the Void (Dragged Down a Dead End Path) – Relapse Records does it again. And again. And again...
7. "Precious" by The Jam (Snap!) – Intense R&B- flavored Punky New Wave. A band and an album that made a huge mark on music.
8. "Time Trap" by Built to Spill (Keep It Like a Secret) – The band takes it down (just) a little bit to stretch out on some laid-back stumming, '90s Alt-style. But they do get loud at the end.
9. "In Walked Bud" by Theolnius Monk (Bebop Spoken Here) – The Bud in question is Bud Powell, another of the galaxy of Jazz stars that dominated American music during the '40s and '50s. Oh, to be club-hopping in New York (or Chicago for that matter) during that time.
10. "DBF" by Eno Hyde (High Life) – God of Music Brian Eno combines forces with Karl Hyde of Underworld to make some rather un-Eno-like electro-hyper-structures. Even amongst the trippiness, there's logic and grace.
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