There is a post that has gone viral that has people listing their ten most influential albums growing up. There are of course a lot of great albums that has influenced me so I decided to make a quick video about it in my “About A Minute” series. But I also wanted to dive into the topic a little bit more to get more into why these albums influenced me.
And instead of ten albums I made it eleven. Because this goes to eleven. The albums are listed alphabetically.
De La Soul – Three Feet High And Rising
De La Soul was part of the Native Tongue crew which brought to the hip-hop scene a much more jazzy and fun influence that sonically changed everything. De La’s freshman effort is actually not my favorite of theirs but it was one of the albums that I simply could not put down. De La also took on sampling head on, and lost. The result was proper compensation towards artists’ original works but also set in motion the closing up of inexpensive samples to work off of.
Eric B. & Rakim – Paid In Full
This dynamic MC and DJ duo is literally the best ever to hit hip hop. Rakim’s lacing of complex rhymes set the stage for future artists like Biggie, Eminem, Aesop Rock, and others who would put forth more and more complicated rhyming styles. But no one can touch the Greatest of All Time (GOAT).
Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814
There is not doubt that I had a crush on Janet (who didn’t) and Janet for me was a bridge into a more house meets New Jack sound. RN1814 is just jam packed with big hits fast and slow. There is no doubt that in the 1980s Janet and Michael ruled as King and Queen of pop.
Journey – Escape
For me this is Journey’s best effort, and I wore out the tape growing up. Some people may think cliche and a softer side of hard rock. Personally for me Journey just exemplified an awesome arena rock sound.
LL Cool J – Radio
LL Cool J is hard as HELL! The feature of Def Jam, and one of the artists to help bring hip hop to the masses, Radio is just a great mix of tracks that I still play today.
Michael Jackson – Thriller
32x platinum. Just let that sink in. US sales alone. Estimated somewhere between 65-110 million copies sold worldwide. And there is a reason for this. Beginning to end, this is one of the most complete albums ever produced. Michael’s “King of Pop” moniker is well earned with this release.
Prince – Purple Rain
I am always flip-flopping between Michael and Prince having the greatest album of all time. Michael clearly has the sales, but Prince had oozing talent beyond vocals and dance moves. Purple Rain represents complete greatness, without compromise. And hell a number of songs are recorded LIVE. LIVE. This is unheard of. I bet if you examine it all Purple Rain has to be the most popular live song of all time.
Queen – The Game
Thanks to my sister I grew up listening to Queen. But The Game for me was a great influencer. A departure from their more hard rock style prior to 1980, The Game debuted crazy funky grooves that you can’t deny. Just listen to Dragon Attack and tell me this can’t stand up to other funk greats.
A Tribe Called Quest – People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
Tribe, Tribe, Tribe. Tribe is hands down my favorite hip hop group of all time. Q-Tip and Phife trading back lyrical gold while jazzy samples are littered throughout, People’s Instinctive Travels… is an awesome freshman album. While their sophomore and junior albums are the best, this lead me into being a die hard Tribe fan and made me explore the jazz greats.
Van Halen – 1984
Eddie’s unique sound, DLR’s distinctive voice. This hard hitter was a constant replay favorite of mine growing up.
ZZ Top – Eliminator
The blues trio gets a bit more mainstream, and their foray into a bit more pop sound laced into their blues roots made Eliminator a favorite of mine.