Back to the 1990s

With a pair of write-ups on Pitchfork

I’m pleased to have two pieces in a pair of 1990s roundups published this week at Pitchfork.

For “The 150 Best Albums of the 1990s,” I wrote about Gang Starr’s 1998 album, Moment of Truth. As I note in the short summary, this was the hip-hop duo’s fifth album, but perhaps more meaningfully, it was the second after Jazzmatazz, a landmark record that Guru, the Gang Starr rapper, made with jazz musicians like Dr. Lonnie Smith, Roy Ayers, Courtney Pine, Branford Marsalis, and Donald Byrd (it also had MC Solaar, Chaka Khan, and N’Dea Davenport, among others). DJ Premier, whose taste for jazz surfaces with his use of horn and, especially, piano samples, didn’t participate in Jazzmatazz.

I didn’t play much of a role in the decision-making about the included albums, though Gang Starr was on the list of artists I proposed writing about. The main album I would have liked to see on this list that isn’t there is Kiko by Los Lobos.

For “The 250 Best Songs of the 1990s,” I wrote about “Trip II the Moon (Pt. 1 and 2),” a pair of 1992 breakbeat tracks by the British producer Acen. Choosing just 250 songs to represent the 1990s is beyond my comprehension. I wouldn’t even know where to start. It was fun, though, to help support the rave contingent, also represented on the Pitchfork list by Double 99, Beltram, Goldie, and, of course, the great Underworld.

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