Timlaska’s Top Ten-est Albums Ever #5

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So we finally cracked the top 5, and I have had this album slated as high as number 3, but with the inevitable reshuffling that comes with shit like this I had to move it down to number 5. I also had to decide between two albums by the same artist for this slot. I knew I wanted one of the first two Ice Cube solo records it was just a matter of which one. Was it the one that I romanticized as being better than it was, or the one that I never really gave a fair shake too? Either way it is hard to argue against either of these albums making it into any top 5 anywhere. I think his stretch from Straight Outta Compton through Death Certificate is one of the most dominant in the history of hip hop. If you were to take the best 3-4 year periods for rappers since the start of the genre it is hard to find someone that had a better stretch than Ice Cube during this time. In fact I might have to explore this at a later point.
Since I was torn on these albums let’s do the side-by-side comparison.

Rapping – Ice Cube was a better technical rapper on Amerikkka’s Most. It’s hard to argue against that. He hit on all cylinders – flow, voice, cadence, storytelling, battle raps, style, etc. On Death Certificate he was still quite capable and delivered a powerful performance but the technical side suffered a bit. He became a bit one dimensional running couplet after couplet. I think on Death Certificate we start to see the very early stages of what became of him on Lethal Injection and everything that followed. The fall off was small but it is there.

Advantage – Amerikkka’s Most (any truth to the rumors that Del helped him write this?)

Production – This one was a shocker for me. For my money there has never been a greater production team than the Bomb Squad, so I expected this to be a landslide win for them. However the more I listened the more I realized that the work that Sir Jinx did on Death Certificate surpasses the work they did on Amerikkka’s Most. To the point that I now have trouble listening to Amerikkka’s Most. He took everything that was great about the first album and then made it his own, giving Ice Cube a signature sound as opposed to sounding like PE light. It is an amazingly impressive work.

Advantage – Death Certificate (by a much bigger margin than you might remember)

Content – While Ice Cube does what he did best on Amerikka’s Most, the content itself is pretty one dimensional, a few battle raps, a few stories about scandals chicks and a few gang related tales; it is really a myopic world view. On Death Certificate, while still hitting on the same topics, he opens up his scope more and turns his lens on race relations, economic hardships, the realities of gang life and bagging stank broads, as well as the expansion of gangs and crack, the problems in the black community within the black community. It is a stronger effort that ultimately made Ice Cube a more rounded MC.

Advantage – Death Certificate

Guest Appearances – Death Certificate didn’t have Yo-Yo

Advantage – Death Certificate

Overall – I expected Amerikkka’s Most Wanted to run away with this. It held a special place in my heart but once I put them side by side it became more and more obvious that Death Certificate is a much better record. The production is stronger, the content and rapping is more complete, and the album seems to move much better and doesn’t suffer from being too long and stagnant portions the way Amerikkka’s Most does. Both albums are terrific but Death Certificate is a better album.

Winner – Death Certificate

DC

Download Death Certificate Here

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