This isn't music I grew up with, so most of my exposure consisted of people playing me songs with brilliant lyrics on the theory that I'd appreciate them because I'm a writer. But here's the problem: for me, music is primarily about sound, not lyrics. I can appreciate great lyrics when I don't like the sound, but I won't ever listen to the song more than once. So because my early rap recs were all based on lyrics, I got the impression that there were tons of fantastic writers in the genre, but I didn't like the sound, so as a musical genre, it just wasn't for me.

Then I heard Kanye West's "Jesus Walks" and experienced the exact same moment my Dad did when he first heard the Beatles "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" play on the radio. Three beats in, across forty years, both of us sat up straight and said to ourselves, "My God! What's that sound?!"

So when I ask for song and artist recs, please consider the musical qualities over the lyrics. I'm not worried about finding good lyrics; from my very limited experience, the genre seems to have a very high proportion of good lyrics. That's the easy part.

Unfortunately, I have a poor musical vocabulary, so rather than try to list musical qualities, I will list songs that I like musically, and maybe people who know more about music than me will be able to extrapolate from there.

I have checked out other works by the same artists, but if you want to rec specific albums by them, that would be great.

Songs with a sound that I like:

"Jesus Walks," Kanye West (Generally liked College Dropout, but that was far and away my favorite)

"None Shall Pass," Aesop Rock

"Without Me," "Mockingbird," "Like Toy Soldiers," Eminem

"Entrez Vous," Sniper

"Ode to O-Ren Ishii" RZA (Kill Bill soundtrack)

"Baby Got Back," Sir Mix-A-Lot (It's catchy! I can play it over and over!)

Others seem to have vanished into the mists of memory and my car's CD stash. [ profile] yhlee, what was that first song on the mix you made for me recently?

Recs for female artists would be nice.
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