Writer’s Roundtable: One Island, One Album

Brought up in discussions this past week, we phased ourselves with the question: If you were stuck on a deserted island, what would be the one album you would take with you?

Easier asked than answered was the revelation found by AWM, but after much thought, four brave writers have voiced their opinions on the one album they would want to have with them if they were deserted on an island.

Will Mayer: Slim Shady LP, Eminem

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Choosing one album to bring with me onto a deserted island would be an extremely difficult choice, however, I would have to go with Slim Shady LP. This is an album that I’ve been listening to for years and it has never gotten old. Eminem’s sick, twisted, and complex lyricism tells these elaborate distorted stories that take you in to a completely different world. The LP actually takes you in to the mindset of the artist and brings you on an exaggerated adventure of Eminem’s early life. At the same time this album has some of the most eccentric beats and hard hitting bass that I’ve ever heard. With Dr. Dre behind the production, there reason for that is quite clear. With so many amazing albums out now, this one still takes the top of my list, and while I probably wouldn’t want to be on a deserted island, if I had to have one album with me, it would be this.

Jonny Sheves: Watch The Throne, Kanye West & Jay-Z

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Before you roast the living soul out of me in the comments below, please hear me out. Kanye West has been the most successful hip-hop artist in the 21st century. Fact. Jay-Z has been one of the more influential rappers in the last twenty years or so, whether it has been raising the bar for fellow musicians, or refining the term “power couple” alongside his wedded Beyoncé. When the two collaborated to create what I believe is some of their strongest work, the music world lost it. Concerts were sold out in seconds, records were broken – the two really refined what the world thought of them not just as artists, but also as role models. Ni**as in Paris, No Church in the Wild, Who Gon Stop Me and H.A.M are all staples in the rap world, as well as their collaboration with Frank Ocean being a major hit. The album was a huge hit worldwide, selling a record of 436,000 times in its first week, including 290,000 on iTunes – a record at the time. West and Carter were also enriched in success following its release, winning the 2011 BET Hip Hop award for best CD. An album that revolutionized hip hop as we know it.

Daniel Offner: Midnight Marauders, A Tribe Called Quest

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When AWM first proposed this writer’s roundtable, I knew right away that if I was ever stuck on a deserted island the one album I would bring is Midnight Marauders by A Tribe Called Quest. This insanely easy decision became much more difficult to write, when just a few days later Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor passed away at the age of 42. Midnight Maurauders, the hip-hop trio’s third full-length studio album, was released on Nov. 9, 1993 and debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Hip-Hop/R&B charts. Now, some of you may be wondering, why did he pick Maurauders? Why not Low End Theory or People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm? For me, it has always been one of those albums you can listen to a thousand times, know every word to every song, and still never get tired of hearing Laurel Dann say, “Keep bouncing.”

Ankit Mehra: Illmatic, Nas

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Being a New Yorker myself, this selection might have some bias, but there is no denying the impact that both Nas and his 1994 debut album, Illmatic had on hip-hop and the hip-hop community. The platinum album that ranked second at its peak on the American hip-hop charts re-created a signature New York flow that had been lost with the alternative form of rap arising in groups such as A Tribe Called Quest. With artists such as Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac contributing to the rise of west coast rap, Illmatic brought the attention back to the east coast and created a distinctive flow for New York after it had been lost for a portion of time. Encompassing the creation of a New York flow, brilliant storytelling through lyricism and the fantastic production makes this my favorite album 22 years after it’s release, with singles such as N.Y. State of Mind and The World is Yours being continuous benchmarks in hip-hop today.

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