American popular music offers such an abundance of riches... I'd never claim there was a golden era or genre. For me, the jazz-inflected popular song of the 1950s—Ella, Sarah, of course Frank—ranks mighty high, as does 70s soul and funk, classic Dixieland, 60s Blue Note jazz... I could go on. But 90s hip-hop is right up there... a nearly limitless trove. I thank Aidan, a true aficionado, for helping me appreciate how to listen, especially to the beats. Spotify's I Love My 90s Hip Hop channel is a mixed bag, but that's partly what's impressive... from Black Eyed Peas to Eminem to Lauryn Hill to Pharcyde to Wu Tang Clan... stylistically, the diversity is extraordinary. And then there's the lyrics. From psychedelia to trenchant social realism.
Speaking of social realism... This one is so hard, so sad, so poetic. Profane, for sure.