Saturday, April 14, 2012

Crate Digging: Blow Your Headphones

by The Herbaliser

It's been years since I've listened to Blow Your Headphones, the classic trip-hop album by UK group The Herbaliser.  This album came out in 1997, when I was deep into my electronica phase, but was beginning to get a little bored with the disembodied snatches of voice that floated through that soundscape, and began to crave something with a little more lyrical substance.

This album has four songs which featured the young American emcee What What, who later changed her name to Jean Grae.  These songs were what began to bring me back into hip-hop, after I had abandoned it in high school during the beginnings of gangsta raps ascendance.  The young and brassy Grae conveyed attitude, but also some lyrical playfulness, refusing to take herself all that seriously.

These tracks ('The Blend', 'Bring It', 'New + Improved', and the spoken word 'Hardcore') coupled with the instrumental hip-hop tracks like 'Another Mother', 'Ginger Jumps the Fence', and 'Shocker Zulu' made this album one that stayed in constant rotation for much of that year, eventually causing my co-workers at a retail store where we had a lot of freedom in our musical selection to get annoyed with me.

Listening to this today made me feel a good fifteen years younger, which was kind of nice.

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