Staff Picks: Essential Music Catalogs to Get Yourself Acquainted To
There’s no doubt that Lil Wayne belongs in the pantheon of rap gods. It’s hard to truly grasp how much music the New Orleans native actually has put out. His run in the 2000s is unmatched, Wayne dropped countless mixtapes and remixes. Put it like this, I’ve been listening to Wayne for the better part of 15 years now, and I’m still discovering new-old Wayne songs. Some of my personal favorites exist in “The Drought Is Over” series, which consists of mostly leaked Lil Wayne songs compiled by DJ Empire in the mid-to-late 2000s. Alongside “The Drought Is Over” series, “The Suffix,” “The Carter II,” and “The Dedication” series are all projects that will keep you busy for a while. Boomer hint: you can find a lot of his mixtapes official or not, on Datpiff, streaming before big tech. Happy searching! – Yared Gebru
Nipsey Hussle was as known (if not more so) for his entrepreneurial vision, business acumen, industry instincts and unwavering commitment to the community that raised him, as he was for his music. I would bet money that his interviews are streamed just as much as his songs, which makes sense — Nipsey was as insightful and generous with his expertise, as he was talented. And when his murder gained national attention from mainstream media outlets, so did his philosophies. Many of the playlists curated in his honor focus on his later years and tracks with celebrity features. As someone who can honestly say TMC changed the course of my life, I wholeheartedly recommend listening to Nipsey’s entire catalog from “Bullets Ain’t Got No Name” to “Victory Lap.” There are absolute gems on every project and it’s refreshing to experience an artist’s growth and development in such an authentic way. Plus, the man could rap and he had an impeccable ear for beats ;). – Maeven McGovern
My older cousin Mikey introduced me to Outkast when I was 11. He played me the “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” double album, which I listened to on repeat every day for months. Then one day he took me to Amoeba Records where I discovered their whole catalog of previously released albums and my 11-year-old life was forever changed. So it’s no wonder that while in quarantine they are one of my go-to marathon listens. You can go to Outkast radio or their artist page on Spotify and hit play, and not have to skip any songs for hours on end because they have hits for days. From their 1994 debut album “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik,” which provides timeless, hard-hitting classics like “Player’s Ball,” to their 1996 album “ATLiens” that gives you smooth vibes with tracks like “Elevators (Me and You),” to their masterful 2000s album “Stankonia” (which is my favorite album of theirs). Both Andre 3000 and Big Boi’s lyrical genius never gets old, there are so many tracks that you can’t not dance to, and they provide a soundtrack for every mood. – Maya Drexler
There is a character in the music world known as Shiloh Dynasty. Their catalog spans a very brief 17 posts on Instagram, three tracks on SoundCloud and a smattering of clips elsewhere, but their proliferation via sampling is pretty vast. Snippets of Shiloh’s Instagram performances have been sampled in music by artists including XXXTentacion, Young Thug, Juice WRLD and Rexx Life Raj.
On Instagram, Shiloh’s posts consist of raw acoustic takes of song portions and some covers of other songs. You’d recognize pieces taken from Robin Thicke, Drake, Janet Jackson and more, but Shiloh’s reinterpretation and voice make everything so surreal and dreamy that you just want to live in that 10-second clip forever. Which is why some dedicated fans have looped Shiloh breaks into 1-hour experiences. – Brigido Bautista