Ever since day one hip hop has had an obsession with lists. Back in the day it was who was the best in the Bronx, then the best in New York, best on the East Coast, best on the West Coast until we get to today where no hip hop discussion between fans can end before the ‘Top 5 dead or alive’ topic has been debated to death. This need to rank every artist, every track and every album doesn’t exist in any other genre of music. Rock fans debate whether current bands could their own with the greats but that’s where it ends. They agree to disagree and that’s it life on goes on. But in hip hop the artist is determined to prove they are the ‘best rapper alive’ and the fan is determined to prove them right.
And yes I am aware of the irony of the last paragraph and the fact that this blog is about to name what I believe to be the greatest hip hop album to come out of the UK. But the reason I’m doing this is because I think that this particular album is so underrated that it’s practically criminal, and as a nation we don’t take enough pride in our rap scene. So my aim here is to partly show that we have some talent over here and that it can go up against the best of New York or California and more than hold its own.
The album was realised back in June of 2005, and despite its quality it was hardly a summer smash, charting at number 36. 6 singles emerged from the album again none of them really taking radio by storm. (This says a lot more about radio than it does the album) I will now explain why I believe this to a truly classic record and why it’s so underrated.
So to the record in question; ‘Home Sweet Home.’ Let’s try and break it down. I don’t hear any ‘skipable’ tracks on this album. What I mean by that is that when listening to an album most of the time even on good records there will be at least a couple of tracks that you will skip. But on a classic like this every track is necessary, every track adds the finished album. Each track flows into the next, adding to the story and adds to the project.
And finally we come to production. Now this is an area where a lot of UK rap albums fall down. As a nation we have a knack of being able to produce great song writers and lyricists but hip hop producers seem to be a struggle. But that isn’t a problem here, the beats are totally spot on. They don’t sound like they are trying to be grime and they don’t sound like they are from New York. They are what they are, original. ‘I Don’t Know’ samples Back Sabbath for crying out loud! The beats for ‘Nite Nite’ and ‘Ps and Qs’ are also personal favourites.
So there we have it, my number 1 UK rap album of all time. An album that was praised by the likes of Chuck D upon release and an album that slipped totally under the radar. But under the radar it will be no more. The best hip hop album to ever come out of this fine nation, ‘Home Sweet Home.’