This Week's Rapper: Le$ (pronounced "Less," though it's way more fun to call him L-E-dollar sign)
This Week's Topic: Underappreciated albums, mixtapes, songs, etc.
Last year, Le$ released a very good mixtape called The Beautiful Struggle. It was almost entirely overlooked. So, we asked L-E-dollar sign to offer up six albums, mixtapes, videos or songs that were underappreciated as well. Go figure. His answers below.
6. Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak
I believe this album is the most underrated album in the last decade of hip-hop, because it opened the doors for the new wave of artist like Drake, Cudi, Big Sean, etc. Most people wrote it off as Kanye's worst album and an emotional album due to his mother's passing, but most artist's best work comes from real emotions and that album was real.
5. T.I. Trap Muzik
Most people would say it's not underrated due to his success, but I say it was underrated because this album opened up the doors for another genre of Southern artists. In the hip-hop world, TIP invented the trap. No on before him showed such a vivid description of the dope game in the South. The word "trap" was rarely used before TIP, and this CD opened the doors for Jeezy, Rick Ross, Gucci Mane*, etc.
*Note: We're pretty upset about Gucci sneaking in through that open door.
4. Slim Thug Already Platinum
I may be considered "biased" because I'm Slim's artist/protégé, but this album was way ahead of its time. Slim and Pharrell created a sound like no other on this album; it could not be mimicked. From "Like a Boss" to the album cut "Ashy 2 Classy," this album was full of concepts and a sound never heard before, and a sound that was unexpected from Houston.
Lyrically, Slim was on another level and sonically, Pharrell, Mr. Lee and the rest of the producers made an album that may not be appreciated until years to come, but it was definitely underrated.
3. Curren$y & Wiz Khalifa, How Fly
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This mixtape is another underground mixtape that changed the climate of music and launched the careers of two of the biggest rappers right now. How Fly was the collab between Curren$y's in-depth stoner lyrics and Wiz Khalifas infectious singalong hooks and style of rap.
Both artists took their fan bases and merged them and created a movement and opened doors for hip-hop artists on the net and with a more laid-back style and do-it-yourself hustle.
2. Scarface, The Fix
This album, in my eyes, was perfect. Scarface made a short album that covered all corners and told a story of the South more in depth than it was ever told before. When was the last time you heard singles like "My Block" or "Guess Who's Back"? From front to the back, this CD coved everything from hood life to a man's personal relationship with his lord. If you're not up on this album, you're missing out.
1. UGK, Underground Kingz
I love Ridin' Dirty and the rest of the UGK classics because that's all they dropped, but this album was underappreciated. From Bun B rappiing about his slab like it was a female on "My Candy" to Pimp's introspective rhymes on "Living This Life," Pimp and Bun gave the listeners an album about street life from a grown man's perspective.
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They gave you the good side of the game and the consequences. The synergy on the album was crazy and it was great to hear after Pimp's jail time. This album is still unappreciated, and most likely will always be due to their amazing catalog.
Follow Le$ on Twitter at @settle4les.