#KickingtheCanon

#KickingtheCanon by Paul Attard Music

Eminem | The Slim Shady LP

December 1, 2018
Eminem2

In the winter of 1996, Marshall Mathers put everything on the line. Under the moniker of Eminem, he had been making waves in Detroit’s underground battle rap scene for about half a decade, supporting his family with various odd jobs with the hope his dedication would one day pay off. After signing to independent label Web Entertainment, he was about to finally get his shot with the release of a debut record that was destined to make or break the young MC.…

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#KickingtheCanon by Paul Attard Music

Najma | Qareeb

November 22, 2018
Najma

British-born Najma Akhtar never intended to become a singer; she followed in the footsteps of her parents and graduated with a masters in Chemical Engineering from Aston University. It wasn’t until Najma visited distant relatives in Najibabad, India, and learned Urdu, that she picked up the vocal tradition of spiritual poems (or as their known in the Arab world, ghazals). As the liner notes for 1987’s Qareeb explain, “The ghazal occupies a unique place in the poetry and music of the Indian subcontinent.”…

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#KickingtheCanon by George McCann Music

Bruce Springsteen | Nebraska

September 27, 2018
Bruce-Springsteen

When asked why he murdered ten people over an eight-day period, the unnamed narrator of Bruce Springsteen’s epic “Nebraska” replies, “Well, sir, I guess there’s just a meanness in this world.” In many ways, that statement sums up the central theme of Springsteen’s sixth album: 1982’s Nebraska is a a study of people, mainly poor folks, on the…

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#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Mighty Diamonds | Right Time

July 17, 2015
mighty

The 1976 debut album from reggae trio Mighty Diamonds doesn’t usually get lumped in with other roughly contemporary works of Jamaican revolutionary agit-prop, and the reasons why aren’t difficult to comprehend. Burning Spear’s Marcus Garvey, the Abyssinians’ Satta Massagana, and Culture’s Two Sevens Clash all spelled out their apocalyptic intentions — even the album titles promised deep dives into sufferation. While Burning Spear’s dense tribute to Jamaica’s Pan-Africanist visionary featured the dignified visage of Garvey himself as artwork, the Diamonds took to Right Time’s cover as a bare-chested trio…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

Bob Dylan | John Wesley Harding

July 17, 2015
Bob_Dylan_2__Credit_Elliott_Landy

Perhaps sensing that he couldn’t push his electric mayhem any further, Bob Dylan retreated from his wild, boozy rock and roll with John Wesley Harding, returning to largely acoustic arrangements but — crucially — not to the sound of The Times They Are a-Changin’ or The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. For one thing, these are full-band recordings, albeit sparsely arranged ones, and for another, he’s traded open-hearted folk and blues for a twangier, more country-influenced sound.…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

The Roots | Things Fall Apart

July 15, 2015
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They could have called it Young, Gifted and Black, were the name not otherwise in use. Not until Robert Glasper convened his Black Radio sessions in 2012 would there be such a significant summit meeting of black American bohemians: Things Fall Apart finds The Roots’ roster swelling to include Erykah Badu, Common, J Dilla, Mos Def, Jazzy Jeff, Beanie Sigel, and, though you won’t know it unless you consult the liner notes, D’Angelo. Recorded during the same sessions that…

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#KickingtheCanon by Ryo Miyauchi Music

Outkast | ATLiens

July 14, 2015
Outkast

For an idea of where Andre 3000 and Big Boi’s heads were at after their first album, look no further than the infamous 1995 Source Awards. The massive New York crowd booed Outkast as the duo took home the Best New Rap Group award. But they didn’t go down without a fight, with Andre giving one historical address: “The South got something to say.”…

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#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Randy Newman | Good Old Boys

June 19, 2015
Randy

Few things rankle a Southerner quite like the feeling that they’re being condescended to or underestimated by an outsider, and Good Old Boys toes a very fine line between being a smug bit of regionalist condescension and a brilliant albeit witheringly cynical piece of sociology. It’s a testament to the Los Angeles raised but Louisiana born Randy Newman’s mastery of narrative voice and shifting perspectives that the album ultimately emerges as a work of extraordinary insight into…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

Prince and the Revolution | Purple Rain

June 5, 2015
prince-purple-rain

Purple Rain begins with a funeral, but not with mourning: It’s a celebration — a gateway into new life and a new world, where “you can always see the sun.” It’s a repudiation of evil and of finality, in the form of wild abandon. It ends with a baptism; leading up it it are love songs so selfless and devoted that they take on a messianic resonance. The singer makes his Christological posture clearest in a song called “I Would Die 4 U,”…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

Bob Dylan | The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

May 29, 2015
Dylan

Though the cumulative impact of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan is considerable, and its achievement is towering, it remains a strangely difficult record to discuss by way of synopsis or generalization; there’s simply no way to avoid digging into specific virtues of its songs, because the songs represent the sum total of what this album is.…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

Bob Dylan | Blonde on Blonde

May 15, 2015
Bob Dylan
Various - 1966

The boozy, bloozy, cacophonous conclusion to Bob Dylan’s mid-60s “electric” trilogy, Blonde on Blonde feels every bit the culmination of…something. A wild fever dream of an album, owing as much to Fellini and T.S. Eliot as to Woody and Leadbelly, it’s the sound of Dylan’s imagination pushed to the edge, perhaps even to a breaking point. The record…

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#KickingtheCanon by Zach Lewis Music

Miles Davis | In A Silent Way

May 8, 2015
Miles Davis

Though lauded today for lending traction in the then up-and-coming genre of jazz fusion, In a Silent Way was received as heresy on its release. Miles Davis’s most recent album, Filles de Kilimanjaro, had been recognized by jazz critics as a tour-de-force for its abstract, bluesy riffs and staunch refusal to make any rhythm danceable. But imagine…

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