Albums of the Year '98

2.0



It has been a very good year for music. I have mostly been spinning hip hop, soul and reggae music. Excellent albums by Gang Starr, Mystik Journeymen, Method Man, RZA as Bobby Digital, Naked Music New York, R Kelly, and finally, the glittering solo album by Sparkle have constantly been on the decks. From Jamaica there were numerous outstanding releases, Mr Vegas, Sizzla and Beenie Man to mention but a few.

The list of the year could easily be 25 albums long, but a Top 10 is more interesting, because one have to consider what it is that actually makes a good album. Is it the album that is seen as most ground breaking? Or well received by the journalists? I don´t know, but I think that it is more interesting to learn what the journalist have been spinning in their home's after they have finished working, then reading the general listing of the whole staff. With this in mind, I would like to introduce Tricky Mickey´s personal selection of the most played Albums of the Year 1998.


                                                                                     18 December 1998





1.
LAURYN HILL

The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill



Ruffhouse/Columbia

Lauryn Hill is more talented than the rest of The Fugees put together. She is singing, rapping, writing and producing and the result is more than outstanding. In songs about her children, ex-lovers and crossroads in life she brings us music which has both beauty and insight. Lauryn Hill ruled soul music this year.




2.
OZOMATLI

Ozomatli



Almo

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Word on Ozomatli's dynamic live performances in San Francisco reached Europe long before their solid and anticipated debut album was released on a major label. Ozomatli had a hard to get EP for sale at their gigs. The music on the new album is a mixture of Latin music and hip hop beats melted into a irresistible groove. Jurassic 5's Cut Chemist and Chali 2na gives a hip hop edge to the Latin grooves, the horn players and vocals in Spanish counterpoints the hip hop beats.




3.
BLACK STAR

Mos Def and Kweli are Black Star



Rawkus

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Known as Black Star on their single, Definition, they reused an old BDP loop from the P is Free but nevertheless it was still fresh, as Mos Def and Kweli traded verses, adding new dimension to the track. While Mos shined rasta style on the hook and throughout the majority of the song, Kweli stole the show lyrically with actual facts that you know are true, but would never think to say in a rhyme, such as "Brooklyn New York City, where they paint murals of Biggie...."

What you will find on the album is a series of mood pieces by Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Musically, the album presents a series of tracks that stay on a similar, mellow vibe throughout. Most of the songs deliver a deeper and sometimes spiritual meaning. Such is the case on Thieves in The Night which explores industry shiestiness, or Respiration which joins the dynamic duo with Chi-town prodigy, Common.

Mos with the voice and Kweli with the lyrics makes Black Star an excellent team.




4.
MICA PARIS

Black Angel



Cooltempo

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UK´s soul diva no 1 with an album full of sweet soul songs backed up by a hip hop influenced production. A holiday romance for the walkman.




5.
PETE ROCK

Soul Survivour



Loud

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Pete Rock is back with a consistent album of good production and collaborations. Pete Rock´s ability to produce plain good hip-hop beats for someone like Method Man, darker tracks for artists like Ghostface Killah really show his versality as an artist and producer.




6.
PULP

This Is Hardcore



Island

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It´s Ok to grow up - just as long as you don´t grow old, it says on the cover. A journey to the heart of darkness. Jarvis Cocker has made one of 1998´s most intelligent albums about love and pain.




7.
BLACK EYED PEAS

Behind The Front



Universal

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They could party like demons on Joints and Jam. Block-rock like bastards and intellectualize like The Roots. Along with Jurassic 5 they brought the joy back to hip hop.




8.
JAHMALI

El Shaddai



VP/Germain

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Acoustic reggae. A convincing and strong debut album from a great singer.




9.
LUCINDA WILLIAMS

Car Wheels On A Gravel Road



Mercury

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This is one of the most soulful albums of the year. It has nothing to do with soul music, but it has a lot to do about love and facing life.




10.
RAE & CHRISTIAN

Northern Sulphuric Soul



Grand Central

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A landmark recording with guest appearances by The Jungle Brothers, Jeru The Damaja, Texas and outstanding chanteuse Veba. Rae and Christian bridged the line between sweet soul and hip hop, and they did this without cutting cover versions of old soul standards.





                                                                             Retro: Once Again




1.
JOYCE

The Essential Joyce 1970-1996



Mr Bongo

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Aldeia de Ogum is the legendary scat song which has become an anthem in London's jazz clubs. Listen out for the bass line and guitar riffs and the amazing scat from Joyce. The original LP has been very sough after. Thanks to the people at Mr Bongos records the rare song has finally become available again on this excellent 23 track compilation. The highlights of a long career is included on this flawless introduction to the jazzy folk songs of Joyce.




2.
SMOKEY ROBINSON

The Ulitimate Collection



Motown

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Smokey, ah Smokey. The best of the best. 17 songs from Smokey's solo years 1973-1990. Cruisin' which D´Angelo did a sensual cover of on his album Brown Sugar, Quiet Storm with it´s whispering synth arrangement and the vibrant Agony and Ecstasy.




3.
SIZZLA

Reggae Max



Jet Star

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Jet Star Records have delivered a killer Sizzla album, not only for those who have a growing interest in the work of reggae's hottest roots sensation but also for many of his devoted fans. This set mainly focusses on many of Sizzla's hotly sought after 7" releases for a variety of ace producers like Bobby "Digital", Richard Bell, "Fatis" Burrell, Soljie and Barry O'Hare. Wicked, essential and unreservedly recommended




4.
PHOTEK

Form and Function



Science/Astralwerks

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Remixed versions of early singles. Photek proves once again that he is making music for the next millennium, rather than for the dance floor of today. Dark, hard and sometimes inaccessible music, but worth the effort in the long run.




5.
JOHNNY OSBORNE

Nightfall Showcase



Munich Records

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A Johnny Osbourne set from the early eighties, produced by Linval Thompson, recorded at Channel One, and mixed at King Tubby's. Most backing is done by the Roots Radics. Nightfall Showcase puts forth 10 incredible tracks plus heavy dubs and versions. Nightfall Showcase is a dancehall galore in a Roots Radics fashion. Essential.





                                                  Best Single
                                                   of the Year


1.
SPARKLE with R KELLY

Be Careful



Rock Land/Interscope

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2.
DILATED PEOPLES

Work The Angels/The Man Event/Triple Optics



ABB Records

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3.
PETE ROCK feat Inspectah Deck & Kurupt

Tru Master



Loud/RCA

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4.
BEENIE MAN

Who Am I



Jet Star

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5.
BOBBY WOMACK

Across 110th Street



Ryko Disc

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6.
T-LOVE

Return of The B-Girl/Wanna-Beez/LA to Brooklyn



Pickininny Recordings

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7.
ALL CITY

The Actual/Pricele$$



Loud/RCA

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8.
4 HERO

Star Chasers Masters At Work Main Mix/Yorican Dub



Talkin' Loud

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9.
DEFARI

Never Lose Touch



Tommy Boy Records

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10.
JURASSIC 5 EP

Jayou/Lesson 6: The Lecture/Concrete Schoolyard



Rumble

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