(Image taken from: kanyetothe.com)
Released in: 2004
Label: Stones Throw
What do you get when you combine the metal-faced villain, MF DOOM with Madlib? Madvillainy, of course. You also get one of the most slickly produced, wittily rapped albums of all time. While some might claim that Mm..Food is Doom’s strongest release, we’re sticking with this one, mostly because it doesn’t have a whole line of interludes slowing it the hell down in the middle. Every track is special, but we’re particularly fond of “Bistro,” “Accordion,” and “ALL CAPS.” Because, you know, you gotta remember ALL CAPS when you spell the man’s name (the man's name, the man's name...). MF. DOOM and MADLIB deserve no less than that.
Best track: Great Day
(Image taken from: ntslive.co.uk)
2. Company Flow-Funcrusher Plus
Released in 1997
Pretty much the birth of Rawkus Records, this was the first release off of the trendsetting underground label, and it was definitely the best as well. Bigg Jus and El-P truly made an album that was “independent as fuck,” as they were to put it, as Funchrusher Plus is seriously all over the place. And if it wasn’t handled by El-P, then we’re pretty sure that this album would be a hot mess. But songs like “Blind,” “Vital Nerve,” and “Silence,” work in such a way, that it’s impossible to not bop your head, (though your neck might just be confused by the erratic beats and esoteric lyrics found on this brilliant release). It's almost a perfect album. There’s only one better in the pantheon of underground rap.
Best track: 8 Steps to Perfection
(Image taken from: potholesinmyblog.com)
1. Cannibal Ox-The Cold Vein
Released in 2001
Label: Definitive Jux
The only thing El-P ever did that was better than Funcrusher Plus was produce this masterpiece, which is the greatest underground rap album of all time. Honestly, we’d be hard pressed to say that there have ever been any lyrics better than the ones Vast Aire spits on this release, as every last one of them resonates like nothing ever before or since. We mean seriously, “When there’s crack in the basement…crackheads stand adjacent.” How brilliant is that? From its space age opening track, to its resurrection themed conclusion of, “Scream Phoenix,” this album, the only release from Vast Aire and Vordul Mega, is a total encapsulation of what the underground is and what it should be—unique, different, and inspired, which this album definitely is and then some. Whenever you’re down, pop this album in and scream phoenix. That’s the Can Ox way, of course.
Best track: The F Word