Ryan Holiday is my favorite author.
I used to be a bit of a beer snob, but even at my height I was never the snobbiest nor the most knowledgeable person around. I don’t brew my own beer. I don’t spend all of my money searching for that one special beer. And I don’t study the intricacies of it. It was mo re enjoyment than obsession.
But I do love a good beer and I know a decent amount about it, to the point that I know what I like and can have reasonably intelligent conversations about it, back when we used to gather around a table and have conversations.
Another whirlwind year.
Jay-Z is the most successful emcee in history. With 14 number one albums on the Billboard chart (11 in a row as a solo artist), 21 Grammys, over 100 million records sold, and countless other side deals, he has repeatedly gone beyond the normal bounds of what a rapper could do.
For three decades, ever since he first stole the show on Main Source’s “Live at the BBQ” all the way back in 1991, Nas has been crafting incredible rhymes and blessing microphones. He has a stack of classic verses, to the point that some of them don’t even appear on his own LPs.
Though undoubtedly one of the all-time greats, his career has had its highs and lows, his artistic ambition sometimes taking him to new heights, while other times leading him to stray from what made a living legend.
When he’s at his best, no one is better.
So which projects are his best?
Below is a list I created in November, 2013, in honor of the 20th anniversary of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). It was published on Medium and then republished by Hip Hop Golden Age. In honor of today – November 9, 2018 – being the 25th anniversary of the release of that album, I chose to post it here. Please keep in mind that this list hasn’t been changed, amended or updated in five years. Any projects that came out since then were obviously not considered. Reading back through the list, there are minor changes I might like to make – I think Cuban Linx…Pt. II is a bit too low – but it’s been out there for a half-decade so I’ll leave the list as it is. Please tell me how wrong I got it in the comments below.
“[Eminem] seems to revel in the ways that he can break and reshape the laws of the language.”
– Adam Bradley, Book of Rhymes
Eminem is one of the all-time greats, a surefire future hall of famer. He’s one of the most commercially successful musicians ever, the second highest-selling singles artist of all time with over 220 million records sold worldwide and nine consecutive number one albums (including his greatest hits collection). Six of his major label releases have won the Grammy for Best Rap Album (he has fifteen in total).
What is the best Batman film of all time?
I’ve been a huge fan of Bill Burr since the mid-’90s.
Much like the NBA, the Grammys have a complicated relationship with hip-hop. Decisions like Young MC’s “Bust a Move” winning over Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” have led many to believe that those who vote on the Grammys have no clue about real hip-hop.