12 Albums That Affected Me

I originally posted a version of this on Facebook several months ago. The No. 1 shouldn’t come as a shock. It was originally 15 albums. But here are 12 albums that had such a profound effect on me that they changed my life or the way I looked at it. They sucked me in and took me over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that I can use to identify time, places, people, emotions.

Alex VanderPool was cool. But I will, however, never wear a bowtie.

Alex VanderPool was cool. But I will, however, never wear a bowtie.

1. Michael Jackson’s Bad: It was the first time I ever got comfortable saying the word “butt.” (Lyric: “Your butt is mine.”) I was 8 and refused to say “butt” the first six months I had the vinyl. … and I used to sing “Man In The Mirror” in the mirror incessantly not knowing how powerful the song really was. I get it now. It’s not his best album, but it’s the one the drug me into the magnetic field of Michael. We still miss you.

2. Boyz II Men’s Cooleyhighharmony: “Motownphilly’s back again” … I looked at the album art recently and realized that my sense of style comes from an AlexVanderpool catalog. I’m apparently a biter. Great album, though.

3. R. Kelly’s 12 Play: Yeah. I’m not embarrassed to admit it. I used to sing “12 Play” the song in the mirror with my brush when no one was in the house. One day my dad came home early. I hadn’t done the dishes and was spinning his 12 Play album. I turned and saw him laughing at me with a belt in tow. It was the only whooping I ever got where I laughed and cried at the same time. Suffice it to say, it “affected” me.

4. Brian McKnight’s I Remember You: My favorite R&B artist. This is his best effort. “You” is a good wedding song that no one ever uses.

5. The Love Jones Soundtrack: Got me through a 1997 summer journalism camp in Evanston, Ill. with about 90 non-black students, who were cool people, and what seemed like three other black faces within five miles. I can quote “A Blues for Nina” word for word. But still don’t know exactly how to interpret “Nina’s Poem.”

6. Eric Benet’s A Day in the Life: Arguably the best R&B lyricist there is in the game, IMHO. Just listen to That’s Just My Way,” “Love of My Own” and “Come As You Are,” from that album. Or listen to any of his albums. Still can’t understand why he cheated on Halle, though. SMH.

7. The What Women Want Soundtrack: Good movie. Great soundtrack. I’m just naming names: Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra (thrice), Nancy Wilson, Tony Bennett, Lou Rawls, The Temptations and Bobby Darin (“Mack The Knife,” a brilliant, but crazy tune). Enough said.

8. Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill: If you haven’t listened to final track “Tell Him,” and understood it … smh … it’s amazing. I heard it when I was 18. Understood it at 21. And I’m still trying to live it.

9. Musiq Soulchild’s Aijuswannaseng(sp): I procured a burned copy of this album from my boy Dash’s car before it came out. Never gave it back. Didn’t tell him for a year or two. Lol. Great album. Best track not about God: “Mary-Go-Round.”

10. Jay-Z’s The Black Album: The second verse from “Moment of Clarity” about Kweli and ComSense is murderous wordplay, and the most brilliant excuse for dumbing down music I’ve ever heard. The chorus forced me to go back and listen to Reasonable Doubt, which is now one of my favs of all time.

11. Gavin DeGraw’s Chariot: Great album that’s forcing me to open my mind to some music that I previously haven’t given the time of day. Strong voice with stronger lyrics and stories. Favorite song is “Follow Through.”

12. Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite: I left this off the original list by accident. It is undeniable. “The Proposal Jam” is my fav song that’s wasn’t a hit. But you must have some “Ascension,” “Til The Cops” and “Sumthin, Sumthin” in your life or else you’re not living. Also cop that new album.

What album has most affected you and why?

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118 responses to “12 Albums That Affected Me

  1. Great List. Love Jones Soundtrack kinda changed my life. I still watch the movie at least twice a month. And, I have a hard time admitting to the R. Kelly thing but I’ll agree…

    • @anicole: Robert’s pre-Happy People music is sorta undeniable, as are his alleged urinary exploits. *side-eyes the word “alleged”*

      I can’t watch Love Jones twice a month, though. I find myself wanting to choke yet caress Josie simultaneously every time I watch. She’s the worst best friend a female can have. But she’s damn fine.

  2. Man, I can’t just pick one! I’m a music head so I’ll just steal from yours and add a few of my own…

    Michael Jackson – Thriller
    Billie Jean was so dope to me after hearing in on VINYL for the first time and then when I saw the video for it, it was a wrap.

    Love Jones Soundtrack
    Introduced me to the sweet smell of passion… [censored thoughts] LOL

    R. Kelly – 12 Play
    Being from the city of Chicago, this got major airplay on all the urban stations and featured one of the best lemme get some songs of all time, Seems Like You’re Ready.

    Snoop Dogg – Doggystyle
    Made me thirsty for a drink I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole now (Gin & Juice), made me wanna purchase some all-blue Chucks and splash on some Cool Water cologne (Lodi Dodi) and helped me appreciate the golden rule of friendship/sharing (Ain’t No Fun If The Homies Can’t Have None).

    Boyz II Men – Cooleyhighharmony
    Sang It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye/End of the Road at damn near every graduation ceremony I was in. In 8th grade, I went to a predominantly Hispanic school so those versions were in Spanish.

    Aaliyah – One In A Million
    Ol’ Lazy Eye as I affectionately called her crooned to me over Timbaland’s production and provided the soundtrack to many rides to the lakefront….

    Outkast – Aquemini
    Unh huh, hush that fuss…
    The soundtrack to my freshman year of college… this album dropped and they performed at our homecoming right before they skyrocketed into the mainstream. Dope it was needless to say…

    OK, I could go all night on this one but I’ll stop here…

    • @Mr. Smart Guy

      Funny, ‘Doggystyle’ was the first album my mom let me get that had cursing in it. Even when she got it for me she said I could only play it in my room with no company over. Once I tried to sneak and play the cassette tape while my cousins were over and she caught me and made me stop it and give it to her. lol, I guess she didn’t want other kids parents questioning what she allowed to go on in her house…lol

  3. Bad is my favorite MJ album between Dirty Diana, Bad, Man in the Mirror and Leave Me Alone. I was just listening to this album on the way to work.

    Your list was great. Here are some albums that I love.

    Tupac – All Eyez On Me (Particularly Disc 2): I really like all of his pre-death albums but Wonder Why They Call You B**** is one of my favorite of his songs.

    Monica – The Boy Is Mine: I never understood why she has fallen off for the most part but this album was wonderful. I still listen to it all the way through. I used to play the song “Inside” over and over after a particularly painful ending of a relationship.

    Mariah Carey – I could name a number of her albums that I love. I’ll just stick with her #1’s album because that captures the highlights. I know people were talking bad about her singing yesterday and maybe she doesn’t have it as much as she used to but no one can deny that she is one of the great female R&B singers.

    EnVogue – Funky Divas: “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” I knew the entire video and used to act it out in my room. I was entirely too young to be giving anyone something but I would perform the heck out of this song. (When I was alone because I can’t sing worth a damn).

    I’m going to stop there but I love music and I’m big on lyrics. If I can’t get with the lyrics then it usually doesn’t matter how dope the beat is, I’m not going to listen to it.

    • @Tam: Aww…Monica. I loved Miss Thang. “Before You Walk Out of My Life” and “Don’t Take It Personal”. I loved Brandy too and hated when the media tried to hype things between them. Love Tupac & Mariah too. Great list.

    • Dirty Diana is such a sexy/raw song to me! I love it.

      • @Tam & @VRenee: They’ve been playing the Lil Wayne remix of Dirty Diana on the radio more…haven’t heard it from beginning to end though. Have y’all?

        • @Shawnta’: I haven’t heard it but I’ll make it a point to find it on the internet today. I’m not sure how I feel about Lil’ Wayne touching any of Mike’s songs….

  4. 1. Jay-Z- Reasonable Doubt: I felt like I was listening to a story. It brought forth a lot of emotions.

    2. Sunshine Anderson- Your Woman: I could put myself in just about every song that was on there, especially “Letting Down My Guard.”

    3. Aaliyah- More Than A Woman: I was saddened by her death, notsomuch bc of her celebrity, but bc she was a young woman around my age, whose life was cut short. I played thee heck out of this cd.

    • @Nicki: Loved “Heard It All Before”. This reminds me of a friend who would play the heck out of this & Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ’em up style”…I think both songs came out the same year. She was a bit crazy that year.

      LOVE Jay-Z. Nice.

    • @nicki:

      Reasonable Doubt is one of my favs at this point. Like I said, after hearing Moment of Clarity, I had to go back and listen to RD for the first time. I still spin it at least once every two weeks now ..

  5. I’m sitting here with about a dozen albums that changed my life greatly but only one album stands out the most:

    OutKast – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

    More specifically ‘The Love Below’ had to be one of the most artistic pieces of work I’ve heard from a well established hip-hop artist. I mean honestly Andre 3000 had began to evolve since ATLiens (we all know him dating Erykah likely had something to do with this). Aquemini was cold-blooded as well, and Stankonia was in heavy rotation my sophomore year in college. But ‘The Love Below’ was a masterpiece. It honestly brings back good and bad memories. That cd stayed in rotation in my car for the greater part of my tumultous relationship with The Devil (my ex) and so many emotions were pouring through my heart. I still play ‘She Lives in my Lap’ and remember my rollercoaster lifestyle circa ’03-’04. ‘Dracula’s Wedding’ was also really deep. I can still pop that cd in today and let it play and want to hear it again when it’s done…

    • @jlbd: OutKast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is a great album. My husband used to sing “Prototype” until it drove me bananas but I must admit, it’s a great album. You remind me of one of my good friends from undergrad…she LOVES OutKast and 9 times out of 10 would pick one of their albums as being her absolute favorite. 🙂

      • Yes girl, I’ve been an avid Outkast fan since ‘Southernplayalisticadillacmusic’…lol, they aren’t called ‘outkast’ for nothing, they truly stand out and there is no other group like them. ‘Prototype’ was the cut, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’, ‘Behold, A Lady’, ‘Spread’, I could go on and on about all the songs on there that are just creative masterpieces…ok, I’ll stop!…lol

      • I am with your husband.. I played the heck out of that song, Shawnie.

        • @Nicki: I loved the song but he drove me bananas singing it ALL the time. I agree with @jlbd; “She Lives in My Lap” was also a good one.

  6. Morning, y’all.

    @damon: Great post. Great topic…music. I love all genres of music & I’ve had so many artists, albums & songs shape my life. My life definitely has a soundtrack & it’s probably as all over the place as I am…just depends on my mood. Since I have so many I’ll have to choose based on nostalgia. I’ll be back…

  7. thecomebackgirl

    I prolly would say Donny Hathaway/Donny Hathaway. I was in highschool when i “discovered him” and his daughter. It was the first time some of my musical tastes overlapped with people who i thought were “old”.

    I took a film editing class at Columbia in NYC…and used “Giving up”..I’m still not really sure HOW I was affected. But it was the first time i got an idea about art being more than just an extension of you. It IS you.

    • @cbg: Love it. Donny Hathaway is great. “Giving Up” is a great song and I love “Someday We’ll All Be Free”, his version of “A Song For You” & “This Christmas”.

  8. Okay, here goes…based on overall good memories & feelings.

    1. Middle & High School Nostalgia: I LOVED Tevin Campbell’s music growing up (& still listen to it today). Favorite albums from him are T.E.V.I.N. & I’m Ready. Songs from these albums make me think of crushes & first love. His songs along w/songs from Shai, Guy, Blackstreet, Tony, Toni Tone were usually on mixtapes (remember those?) that my friends & I rec’d & would swoon over…all very nostalgic.

    2. High School & College Nostalgia: (Old School) Bad Boy – artists from 1994-2000 (Craig Mack, 112, Faith, Biggie, Total, Lil Kim, The L.O.X.) I loved it all. I think this music had such an impact because it was fun & feel good…not necessarily coming of age but definitely an independence statement (since it drove my mother bananas – at first). This was during the last couple of years of high school all the way through college & in college this (along w/Jay-Z & Tupac, music I also love) is all EVERYONE listened to. Everytime I hear it, it takes me back to campus in our dorms, at a party or during a tailgating event…good times. I love my life right now but ahh, to be younger, carefree & in high school or college again. 🙂

    • I too LOVED Tevin Campbell…specificially the I’m Ready album. And you mentioned Shai! Loved some of their stuff…90’s R&B was the best…*sigh*

    • @shawnta:

      I want to laugh because of you saying Tevin, but those two albums … the one before I’m Ready and I’m Ready are classics … I’ma have to find those songs now….

      • @damon: Laugh on…lol. I LOVED Tevin. Still do.

      • I was just listening to ‘Round and Round’ off the T.E.V.I.N. album. His voice was still high but that was the jam. We have to remember Prince discovered and produced him…

  9. What album has most affected you and why?

    Reading this list is like someone stole my favorite albums list. Several are in my top 20, but if I have to narrow it down to 12, I’ll keep…

    1. R. Kelly – 12 Play: album that made him the king of R&B in the mid-90s. Released my senior year in high school
    2. The Love Jones Soundtrack: Baby-making music
    3. Maxwell – Urban Hang Suite: one of my top-five male R&B albums

    And add:
    4. The DOC – No One Can Do It Better: one of the top-five MCs at the time (that car accident was a shame)
    5. NWA – Straight Outta Compton: changed the course of hip-hop music (for better or worse)
    6. New Edition – Heartbreak: best R&B group of their time
    7. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel: one of the best R&B albums of all time (Don’t Be Cruel, My Prerogative, Roni, Rock Wit’Cha, Every Little Step, who can mess with that?)
    8. Jay-Z – In My Lifetime, Volume 1: I liked Jay, this made me love his music
    9. The Notorious BIG – Ready To Die: instant classic.
    10. Nas – It Was Written: made me go back and listen to Illmatic
    11. DJ Quik – Safe and Sound: Just as good of a producer as Dr. Dre
    12. EPMD – Strictly Business: best hip-hop duo of the late 80’s
    13. Tupac – Me Against The World: Pac’s lyricism at it’s best – I’ll put him lyrically on the first four songs on this album against anybody

    Bonus (It’s impossible to narrow this down to 12 – or 13):
    Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full
    Slick Rick – The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
    Big Daddy Kane – It’s A Big Daddy Thing
    Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
    Mary J Blige – My Life
    Faith Evans – Faith
    Donell Jones – Where I Wanna Be
    Jodeci – Forever My Lady
    BlackStreet – BlackStreet

    And I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Michael Jackson doesn’t count because he is in a league of his own.

  10. Music is definitely my favorite topic…well aside from a couple others. Ok…this is difficult (how far back in time do I go? There are SO many) but I’m gonna try. Albums that have affected my life…

    1. Anointed – The Call: This is the first Christian/Gospel CD I purchased. Definitely an uplifting album that really schooled me regarding the love of God in a season I was discovering Him for myself…my anthem “Not the I but the You in Me.”

    2. India Arie “Vol 2: Love & Politics”: While I realize this is newest album, it’s been in my car replaying over and over since it came out. I never tire of it. Favorite song: She remade Sade’s “Pearls” … very good.

    3. Mariah Carey’s “Music Box”: By far my favorite album that she released. Though I still heart MC, her songs on this album possesses depth in comparison to her latest stuff. Favorites on this album include “Anytime You Need a Friend” and “Music Box”.

    4. Michael Jackson “Off the Wall,” “Thriller” & “Bad”: I can’t leave off MJ. By far has been my favorite artist and life inspiration. Needless to say that I know ever lyric, adlib and background vocal to every one of his songs. His music and his example have affected me in more ways than one…and I’m realizing that more and more now that he is gone…thank you Michael.

    • @Coco: Love India.Arie. MJ is a definite as well…I love MJ’s version of Butterflies…one of my favorite songs but that album didn’t get a lot of attention.

    • @Coco

      I agree with you on MC’s Music Box. Her earlier work spoke volumes with her vocal ability but it seemed like after ‘Daydream’ she started whispering more than singing. I still love the song ‘Dreamlover’ off Music Box. I know that was one of the first singles and it was more pop, but I truly loved that song. I don’t know why…

  11. Man… I love music; lists like these are so hard…

    Top of the list for me, though is “CrazySexyCool” I was 8 or 9 when I first heard it at my cousin’s house. I sat down with the insert and listened to each song while following along with the lyrics and when I got to the last song “Sumthin’ Wicked This Way Comes” I fell in love with music. It was right around the time Left-Eye said “Did you know/that first you catch and then I throw/It’s my own sense of time…” that I knew I loved music and I loved this album and I loved TLC The the song itself has ALWAYS spoken to me on some level. What level has changed every year since I was 9…

    • I got caught up in TLC and forgot to mention some others…

      Brandy – Never S-A-Y Never
      I loved Brandy from the first time I saw the video to “I Wanna Be Down” and I think to this day, her second album is her best one.

      Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
      …and then I loved hip-hop. Lauryn Hill got that album right in a way that no one has gotten an album right.

      Amerie – All I Have
      I bought this the summer before my junior year in high school and listened to it almost every night as I fell asleep. This is a slept on album…

      Mariah Carey – Butterfly
      My favorite song was “My All” until MTV’s TRL got a hold of it and played it ad nauseum. I lie not when I say it’s just been in the last 2 years that I don’t skip that song when I come to it. Mariah has made the comeback album an art…

      Maroon 5 – Songs About Jane
      I’d always listened to different types of music, but this was the first full non-urban (read: non-black) album I bought.

      • Yes! I love Maroon 5…especially Songs About Jane…

      • I knew I forgot something. CrazySexyCool definitely makes the list. Left Eye’s verse on Waterfalls is pretty deep, but most people can’t get past her voice.

        • And those people suck, man.

          Left-Eye is Top 3 on my favorite entertainers. People really didn’t pay as much attention to what she said in her music as they did to what she did. Even in her death all the focus shifted to what T-Boz and Chilli were doing, never to all the music Left-Eye had made. She had a lot to say, she said a lot and she did it mostly through her music and nobody paid attention.

          I don’t know if ya’ll can tell, but I’m a Left-Eye stan… 🙂

      • I love that Maroon 5 album. Lately I’ve been rocking their remix album it’s wonderful.

    • @ASmith: CrazySexyCool is a great album. Love it. 🙂

    • @ASmith…also, that you were only 8 or 9 when you first heard CrazySexyCool makes me feel old…and I NEVER feel old. Thanks…lol.

      • LOL! Glad I could help you with that, cause truth be told I feel old pretty regularly. 🙂 It’s all relative I suppose.

      • @Shawnta’

        Lol, I was thinking the same thing about her being 8 or 9 when ‘CrazySexyCool’ came out. I really feel old too… 😦

  12. And I’m back with part 2:

    3. Albums I can listen to from start to finish (on repeat): The MisEducation of Lauryn Hill, Chrisette Michele’s I Am, Erykah Badu Baduizm (& Live version), The Love & Basketball Soundtrack , Sparkle soundtrack (love Aretha & Curtis Mayfield) & Ne-Yo’s Because of You (Ne-Yo & Mario are my modern day Tevins…lol)

    4. Other artists I love: Old school Motown artist, Stevie Wonder, Prince, MJ & Meshell Ndegeocello, Anthony Hamilton & Musiq Soulchild, Raphael Saadiq, Joss Stone, Norah Jones…too many to list.

  13. OK, I forgot one. Jodeci – every album they put out especially ‘The Show, The Afterparty, The Hotel’. Honestly, this group got me through puberty and made me boy crazy. Their raunchy s3x lyrics over DeVante’s undisputed productions was unspeakably affective on a pre-teenaged girl who was just starting to sprout and smell herself (sorry for the graphics)… This was when I fell in love with pretty boys with light eyes…lol, DeVante and his little brother Dalvin had me on the path to experiencing the beginning stages of my s3xuality…lol I used to listen to ‘Time and Place’ and daydream….*sigh*

  14. Now:

    “Weird Al” Yankovic – Straight Outta Lynwood.

    Daft Punk’s Homework, Discovery and Human After All. *semi-permanent George Carlin (RIP) side-eye @ Kanye for butchering “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”*

    Then:

    Keith Sweat – Make It Last Forever. Classic.

    AMG – [Witch] Betta Have My Money. My form of teenage rebellion. (I actually own the tape now–hold your side-eye fire!lol)

    BDP – Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip-Hop. Still own this tape.

    I’ll come up with more later.

    • @rainebeaux

      Ok, you wanna break out the ‘hood anthems. Let’s go back to Spice 1 (with his studio gangasta steez) who creatively made two whole songs creatively telling stories about people by giving them either names of alcohol or names of drugs. ‘187 proof’ and ‘187 pure’; DJ Quik’s ‘Jus Like Compton’ cd which notoriously put my city of St. Louis on the map and also had hot cuts like ‘Way too Fonky’ and ‘Rip Your Girl’; How could I forget Dr. Dre’s ‘The Chronic’ which is another album that can be played straight through without skipping a track; and you can’t forget Eazy-E’s understudies’ Bone T.H.U.G.S. in Harmony with ‘Creepin on a Come Up’ that made every other rapper out at the time want to rap fast and likely influenced Nelly’s idea to sing rap on tracks. I could go on, but I’ll take a break for now…

    • I feel you with AMG. Quik was on my list. My brother had AMG’s tape, I had Quik and 2nd II None.

    • @rainebeaux: That Keith Sweat is a good album … but I can’t do his whining 24/7 … lol.

  15. 1. My Life — Mary J. Blige: This CD is undeniable. My favorite slept on track is Mary’s Joint. It’s a great “I’m depressed and can’t find my Sade” CD.

    2. Daydream — Mariah Carey: Little known fact — I was a HUGE Mariah fan before I got into Mary. My obsession with Mariah then was on par with my obsession with Mary now. And Daydream is her best work. (Sorry, but I never got into the Emancipation of Mimi.)

    3. Miseducation of Lauryn Hill: All the reasons stated in the above comments

    4. Love Jones soundtrack: All the reasons stated in the above comments

    5. Jill Scott — Who is Jill Scott?: I’m generally a cynic and jaded by all things in life, but this CD brought out the romantic in me. As an artist, Jill is right behind Mary and Mariah.

    6. Coldplay — Parachutes: Don’t ever sleep on Coldplay. This was the first CD of theirs I got and I listen to it all the time. Fantastic band. Ask Jay-Z.

    8. Bobby Brown — Don’t Be Cruel: The first CD that was actually mine. My dad became a member of Columbia House when we got our first CD player and he asked us all what we wanted. This was my request.

    9. Michael Jackson — Bad: While Thriller was on heavy rotation at my house for a really long time, my memories are clearer with Bad. I remember taking long road trips and listening to this tape on repeat the whole way.

    10. Jay-Z — Unplugged: I’m a fan of greatest hits CDs and this is truly a greatest hits. I like the tone of it and I have a really cool memory of watching this at my apartment with my girls at Mizzou.

    • @aye: Love Jill Scott…good call.

    • @aye

      Jill Scott’s song ‘He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)’ from ‘Who Is Jill Scott’ is still one of my all time favorite love songs. It’s so beautifully written and completely signifies how someone feels when they are completely and totally in love with someone. I also loved ‘It’s Love’, that song made me think of older soul artists the way she belted it out…

      • @shawnta and jlbd: Thanks, ladies. Jill is a beast, whether she’s happy (He Loves Me) or sad (Whenever You’re Around–which is a killer if ever I heard one).

        • ‘Whenever Your Around’ is a smooth cut…for real! That woman is talented beyond words and I actually like seeing her act unlike other R&B artists like Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige or Mariah Carey. Jill is a triple threat. Singer, songwriter, and actress…

    • Holy Crap!! I forgot Jodeci. Thanks, JLBD.

      Jodeci — Forever My Lady and Diary of a Mad Band: I’ll be honest and say I don’t like all the songs on either CD; but the ones that I do like are played constantly. What About Us is one of the best songs eva!!!

    • I have no idea how I forgot Jill Scott. She is incredible in concert.

    • How did I know that Mary J. would make this list? lol.

  16. 1. Blueprint – Jay
    2. Illmatic – Nas
    3. Diary – Alicia Keys
    4. Life After Death – Big
    5. Ryde or Die Vol. 2 – I think people really forget how hard this album went.
    6. Flesh of My Flesh, – This album was my pre-game mixtape for years
    7. Unplugged – Jay – I love live music even when it’s not live.
    8. Thug Motivation 101 – Jeezy – I think it was the ad libs that got me
    9. Mary – Mary J. – I think my mom played it on repeat b/c she was going through some rocky times and I started to like it alot.

    that’s all I have for now
    8.

    • @peyso

      Flesh of My Flesh was my favorite DMX album ever. After that I didn’t want to hear him anymore…with his ‘grrrrr’… and ‘arh arh!!!’

    • @Peyso: Good list & good call on Alicia. I love her music.

    • I think MJB’s Mary CD is one that gets slept on too often. If you’re a Lauryn fan, there’s no reason not to love this CD. Lauryn produced it. It’s got all the introspection of My Life without all the gritty anger. I thought it was a nice change.

      • The ‘Mary’ CD is actually my fav MJB cd. I still play that in the whip to this day. My favorite is her remake of ‘The Love I Never Had’…

      • Ok, ‘Mary’ is my second favorite, my all-time favorite MJB CD is the debut ‘What’s the 411?’… honestly every song on that was a classic and sad to say that was the sad, depressed, angry, and painful Mary so the grit in it was untouchable…

        • @jlbd: I was living in Japan with barely any American music to listen to when I got the “What’s the 411?” album. I loved that album, too bad my aunt confiscated it when she realized that I had memorized all the words to the “What’s the 411?” track.

  17. Here are some.
    1. Anything by A Tribe Called Quest
    2. Nas-illmatic
    3. Maxwell (period!)
    4. Prince(anything)
    5. Christion
    6. Wu-Tang- enter the 36 Chambers.
    7. Little Brother- lovin it.
    8. Outkast-ATLiens
    9.Mos Def(anything)
    10. Talib Kweli(anything)
    11. Lauryn Hill(ex-factor)
    12. KRS-One-My Philosophy
    13. Rakim(anything)

  18. Ledisi and Jill’s newest CDs really speak to many of the things I went thru last summer. I was amazed how they mirrored things to a tee.

  19. Each artist I picked, reflected a phase in my life. The good, the bad and the crazy. Protect Ya Neck!

    • “Protect Ya Neck!”

      @Ernesto: Funny but cool; I feel you on each artist reflecting a phase in your life.

  20. I can’t even list mine b/c “Follow Through” by Gavin DeGraw is one of my favorite songs. The words…his voice. AHHH!! I must go listen and I shall return with my list

  21. My list:

    -The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill: Lauryn Hill
    -Songs about Jane: Maroon 5
    -Chariot: Gavin DeGraw
    -Mountain High, Valley Low: Yolanda Adams
    -Kirk Franklin & The Family
    -The Black Album – JayZ
    -#1’s – Mariah Carey
    -Dangerously in Love-Beyonce
    -Lady Sings the Blues – Billie Holiday
    – Aijuswannaseng – Musiq Soulchild
    -The Real Thing: Words and Sounds, Vol. 3: Jill Scott
    -I Am: Chrisette Michelle
    -Rapture: Anita Baker
    -Whitney Houston

    I had 14 so what sue me!

  22. My extras from the actual FB note:

    John Legend’s Live at The Knitting Factory
    Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool
    Imogen Heap’s Speak for Yourself
    Dwele’s Some Kinda
    Jason Mraz’s We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things
    Dr. Dre’s The Chronic
    Raphael Saadiq’s Ray Ray
    John Mayer’s Inside Wants Out
    Colbie Caillat’s Coco
    Mos Def’s Black on Both Sides
    Maroon 5’s Songs About Jane
    Kanye West’s The College Dropout
    Common’s Be
    Jack Johnson’s In Between Dreams
    Bobby Brown’s Don’t Be Cruel (No, he ain’t the king of R&B, unless you’re talking about “Ribs & BBQ or rocks and blunts” ~Jamie Foxx).

    • @ damon,

      U put some classics on that I forgot about
      Common
      Mos
      Legend
      Lupe
      I always like Graduation better than College Drop Out

      • @peyso:

        Man, we could have a real debate about Graduation vs. The College Dropout. I love both albums, but I’m a firm believer that a rapper’s first work is likely to be his best because of how raw it is …

        Kanye is a great artist because he’s coming close to his first work. But College Dropout is undeniably his best, IMHO …

        • I cant agree, Graduation was so well engineered and produce and he was spittin straight fiyah. Tracks that didnt make this album were poppin up on his other albums as singles

          • Dylan, Dylan, Dylan …

            No, I love the album … but you can’t find the truth in it, like you do The College Dropout. That raw/real/earnest Kanye is something you’ll never get again.

            No matter how real he is because that’s when he was closest to us, the people who listen to and buy his music … that’s my opinion, though.

      • I agree..I loved Graduation!

    • I completely forgot Jason Mraz…pretty much anything except his sophomore album…but i would say my favorite album would be “Waiting for My Rocket to Come.”

    • @damon: These are great extras! I’m excited reading everyone’s favorite artists, albums and songs & why they like them so much. Again, great post.

  23. I forgot John Mayer’s “Heavier Things”

  24. I am going out on a limb when I say this, but I am feeling Metallica’s unforgiven 1& 2.

  25. My sister-in-law walked down the aisle to a version of “You” that outshined Brain McKnight’s. My brother specifically chose that song and all the music for their wedding. It sounds like you two would get along really well.

  26. X-Clan – To the East Blackwards
    Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

    Non-music albums:

    Sinbad: Brain Damaged

    Robin Harris: BeBe’s Kids. Anyone who can’t/doesn’t laugh at this is bereft of a funny bone and a soul.

    Denis Leary: No Cure for Cancer

    >back to the music…

    DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince: He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper. I know I’m not the only one who can blast ‘Brand New Funk’ ad infinitum/nauseam.

  27. I’m coming from a bit different angle, but I’ve always been all over the place musically.

    1. Abbey Road (The Beatles) – Took me musically by storm. It took a while, but I can’t even explain how it changed my look on music as a whole. Before this I couldn’t imagine listening to guitar based singing (white) music. I grew into liking this one, but I don’t enjoy an able more than this one.

    2. Thriller (Michael Jackson) – Without a doubt the greatest album ever. 9 tracks. 9 hits. The defining album of a few generations. First album I remember and still dig it the same.

    3. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (The Beatles) – The original album that blew me away in new musical outlook. I went from skeptical to believer by halfway thru the first song. Would be as good as Thriller, but 2 songs aren’t my bag, but the others are better than it can get. I urge everybody to check this an Abbey Road out. Same group, two totally different sounds. Just 2 years apart. They’re The Beatles for a reason.

    4. The Blueprint (Jay-Z) – The rap game and the world was hurting (9/11) and the best dropped his best, which isn’t easy to beat.

    5. Purple Rain (Prince) – Same era as Thriller, from the most unique artist ever. Once again, 9 tracks and 9 hits. Along with movie tells a helluva a story.

    6. Ghetto D (Master P) – Where I’m from it don’t get any better than No Limit’s best album, we played this CD and TAPE (that’s right) to death. Can’t get no better from the south for my money.

    7. 12 Play (R. Kelly) – Come on, it’s 12 Play. It still gets action with the lights low in my crib!

    8. All Eyez On Me (2Pac) – Double disc with the most emotional, hungry Pac of all time. It sounded just like his Greatest Hits album. Good show for studio album.

    9. The Chronic (Dr. Dre) – Defining west coast album of the early 90’s. So good it let Dre wait 10 years in between albums…cause folks was still rockin the first one.

    10. Country Grammar (Nelly) – I’m a homer, I’m ride for the Lou. Better yet U. City. And Nelly is from both. Put the city on the musical map and everybody from the Crib still know every word of it.

    11. Songs About Jane (Maroon 5) – I dug “This Love” and then I found out it may be the 5th best song on the album. Open up my ears to be able to listen for The Beatles later on.

    12. Rubber Soul (The Beatles) – If you love easy, smooth albums, this is a keeper for you. Only one “rock” song on the album, the rest is maybe the smoothest album ever. “In My Life” is amazing.

    • “10. Country Grammar (Nelly) – I’m a homer, I’m ride for the Lou. Better yet U. City. And Nelly is from both. Put the city on the musical map and everybody from the Crib still know every word of it.”

      Hear, hear!! Rep yo city!!

  28. If we talking comedy, the Paul Mooney’s Race is hilarious.

  29. I talked about some of my favorite Hip Hop albums a few months back on facebook, but when I consider ALL genres, here’s a list

    1. “Enter the Wu-Tang 36 Chambers” – Wu-Tang Clan (Pure chaos on wax!)
    2. “No One Can Do it Better” – The D.O.C. (I was only 4 when this came out but, hearing my older brother play “Let the Bass Go” in the other room stuck with me. As I got older I realized how complete of an album it was)
    3. “Brown Sugar” – D’Angelo (This was my JOINT in 4th/5th grade)
    4. “My Life” – Mary (The scratches of “There is no competition” on “No One Else” make that song one of the sickest Hip-Hop/Soul joints to me to this day)
    5. “Only Built For Cuban Linx” – Raekwon / “Liquid Swords” – GZA (Production wise these albums are like night and day, but they both gave each emcee a platform to really come into their own in a way that hasn’t been matched for either one since)
    6. “Comin’ From Where I’m From” – Anthony Hamilton (I don’t even really know why. LOL! This album was just so undeniable to me)
    7. “Rapture” – Anita Baker (My Mom played this album so much that it’s kind of ingrained in my head. As I get older I appreciate the musicality and songwriting of Anita)
    8. “Safe & Sound” – DJ Quik (I can dig pretty much anything from Quik, but this album is when he started to dabble a little more into live instrumentation)
    9. “The Score” – Fugees (Man…when you ask me how to make an album with influences from many genres that will do well commerically, and STILL be so Hip Hop, I’ll point you to an isolation booth with a pair of good headphones and this CD.)
    10. “Fantastic Vol. 2” – Slum Village (Dilla…and that’s all I have to say about that)

  30. Can’t forget Camp Lo

    • @Ernesto: That definitely reminds me of college when “Luchini/This Is It” was BIG. I heard “Summer Love” on the radio again recently and it made me think of “Luchini”.

    • Ooooooohhhhh!!!! ‘This is it What?! Luchini pourin’ from the sky, let’s get rich What?! The cheeky vines the sugar dimes can’t quit What?! Now pop the cork and steam the vega and get lit What?!’

      Camp Lo was thee most slept on duo in hip hop during the 90s. ‘Cooley High’ was also a dope track.

  31. In my first post I only included Rap/R&B but I have lots of other albums I love that are from other genres.

    Matchbox 20 – Mad Season: “If You’re Gone” and “Bed of Lies” speak so much truth.

    Lady Antebellum – Lady Antebellum: My roommate my freshman year turned me on to some great country music. This is one of my favorite albums because I love all of the songs. Not to mention I’m a sucker for a sad song.

    Adele – 19: “Chasing Pavements” touched my heart because I had definitely been there before.

    Lykke Li – Youth Novels: I stumbled upon this album reading some random blog. It is a bit strange and definitely different than most of things I listen to which was refreshing. My favorite song is “Complaint Department”.

    I could spend the rest of the day naming albums that have affected me in some way because I LOVE music. How could someone not?

    • @Tam

      ‘I could spend the rest of the day naming albums that have affected me in some way because I LOVE music. How could someone not?’

      ~~~

      Same here, that’s why I haven’t listed all mine because the list would be way too much for you guys to bother reading over. Most of the repeat albums listed today fall into my favs but I really wanted to stick to the albums that greatly impacted my life in a memorable way. Alot of albums will be great albums and you’ll listen to them but it doesn’t make you think of a time in your life where spinning it affected your mental state. Like Madonna’s album ‘Bedtime Stories’ was a major impact on loving myself just the way I was. Don’t ask why, it just did… I also love the way Madge just keeps reinventing herself, sometime it’s just the way she sings a certain tune that makes you look at things a little bit differently. People talk alot of crap about her but that is one talented (rhymes with itch)…lol

  32. i did this on facebook, too. mine is way more than 12 cuz my lists are never definitive. or numbered. or in any kinda order.
    –The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill: i seriously don’t know what my life would be without this album, no joke.

    –The Carnival: i’d be remiss if i left this album off the list. ‘Clef was a beast on this album. and a 16 hour roadtrip from chicago to montreal with this tape being the only thing that was played? one of the best memories of my natural-born life. props to the haitian brethren.

    –The Big Chill Soundtrack: this is the first CD i knew every word to. who doesn’t love good oldies music? smokey robinson? check. marvin gaye? check. aretha franklin? damn straight.

    –Aijuswanaseing: 8th grade. that was a minute ago. lawd. it still has a TON of replay value. keep it real: who wasn’t singing [or at least TRYING to sing] that high note in ‘love’? my fave tracks include ‘speechless,’ love,’ ‘poparatzi,’ and of course ‘marygoround.’

    –Songs in A Minor: this album came out RIGHT AFTER i decided to quit playing the piano, and my parents still give me grief about it.

    –Black on Both Sides: when my cousin first bought this during his ‘im’-gonna-buy-CDs-instead-of-pay-for-my-lunch’ phase during high school, he bought this. i listened to it then with the mindset of a 13-year-old…i can fully say that i appreciate it more now as a 22 year old.

    –The Final Tic: i had to! one of my first tastes of chicago rap, back when the BOX was on TV and ‘Hay’ [along with ‘Crossroads’] got major airplay. chicago whatup! *throws C’s in the air*

    –Forever My Lady: my daddy knew he had no business letting me bump this CD when i was 8 years old!

    –The Mamas and the Papas: 16 Of Their Greatest Hits: i don’t think there’s really an explanation needed here…mostly because i don’t have one.

    –Mizzundazstood: the first CD i ever burned. the angry white girl in me came out with this album, lol. i think she displays more vocal talent on this joint, and even though it’s mostly rock or whatever, it still seems very soulful to me.

    –Kaleidescope: this was a new kinda R&B for me, really. she was screaming in ‘caught out there’, yo. and her hair was like 12 different colors. kelis was always left of center, man, and kaleidescope was THE CD of my moment. ‘get along with you,’ a great song about the end of a relationship, etc., and the last song, ‘wouldn’t you agree, ‘ are just…man. and ‘suspended,’ man…the neptunes laced here with some ILL production on this.

    –College Dropout: no explanation needed, really. it…just…is.

    –CrazySexyCool: they taught me what it was to ‘creep,’ people. and ‘waterfalls?’ man, don’t get me started. not to mention all the HIP HOP on the interludes: phife, diddy, busta, and the last track with andre 3 stacks. wow.

    –Hot Fuss: i don’t know what drove me to buy this album, but a big part of it would have to be the good memories from hearing it in my close friend’s car senior year of high school. slowly it grew on me. so i bought the album and loved it. ‘believe me natalie,’ ‘andy, you’re a star,’ and ‘glamorous indie rock & roll’ are my faves.

    –Get Lifted: first time i listened to it, i was in the car with my pops going to the airport to pick up my cousin. my pops loves john legend, i love john legend, we bonded, lol. ‘she don’t have to know’ is seriously one of the best, sexiest songs about cheating on your significant other. and i will play ‘stay with you’ at my wedding.

    –Room for Squares/Heavier Things/Continuum: [i couldn’t pick one, actually, so i’m pretending that it’s a triple album] anyways, the first time i heard ‘room for squares,’ my brother was driving to the apple store and i was waiting in the car for him, and ‘st. patrick’s day’ came on. i replayed that song [which happens to be the last one] like 5 times. then ‘heavier things’ came out, and i was a full-blown fan. ‘come back to bed,’ ‘split screen sadness,’ and ‘wheel,’ [man, john mayer has this thing where his last song is probably the best song on the album…] are just…man. ‘clarity’ makes me happy [especially with ?uest on the drums]. then ‘continuum’ comes out, and i die. ‘stop this train’ is a great song about being afraid of the future and growing up; ‘slow dancing in a burning room’ is a great song about a relationship that’s about to end, on it’s last legs; SEE HIM LIVE! he’s great.

    –Mama’s Gun: i listened to it every morning, in between classes, in my daddy’s car, wherever i happened to have headphones and the CD at that moment. from the first song [penitentiary philosophy] to the last [green eyes. oh god, GREEN EYES!], i just love this album. dilla did his thang on ‘didn’t cha know,’ and the hook on ‘kiss me on my neck’ is so lovely and cute, and the duet with stephen marley always makes me feel good inside. ah, and the album version of ‘bag lady’ is billion times better than the one released on the radio with the ‘xxxplosive’ beat. and ‘green eyes’ is probably the ONLY 10 minute song that i’ll love as much as i do.

    –Connected (my favorite hip hop album): because i’ve never fallen in love with an album as quickly and securely as i have with this album. [did i just personify an album? yes?] this album is the ONLY album that i will never, ever, ever put on shuffle because it’s blasphemy. it just flows so smoothly, so perfectly. such nice songs on here, so chill, so great. it’s truly changed my life. if anything, the hook on ‘be all right’ is enough to just make all cares go away. nicolay’s beats are so…ah! and ‘come around’ makes me fall in love with darien brockington forever. and ever. and ever. dope beats, dope lyrics.

    –The Low End Theory: man, the first tribe album i bought. i remember listening to Excursions on FULL BLAST cuz i couldn’t hear a d!mn thing. i like this album better than MM, but not by a huge margin. “What?” is one of their most underrated songs. there’s this chill out vibe i get from it; it’s definitely a summer album for me.

    honorable mentions to:
    –Shine Through (Aloe Blacc): his rendition of ‘ordinary people’ in spanish is something to behold.
    -Uptown Saturday Night: because as many times as i’ve played this album, i still don’t know what they’re talking about ever.
    -Songs About Jane: amazing from the first to the last song. “Sweetest Goodbye” is soo bittersweet.
    –Donuts: RIP to one of the best to ever do it. one of my friends said that this album (along with Ruff Draft) cements his place in Heaven, and i couldn’t agree more.
    –any R. Kelly pre-Happy People. because those albums are amazing. keep it real.
    –Aquemini: ‘Kast is top 5 best hip hop duos. big boi is TOOOO underrated. i prefer him to 3stacks most (if not all) of the time.
    –Below the Heavens: so what if it came out 2 years ago — in 5 years’ time it’ll be classic.

    there’s so many more, but then i’d just never stop typing!

    • @dojo: Great list. The Big Chill does have a great soundtrack. Another soundtrack I really like is Mo Better Blues.

  33. 1. Revolution Of The Mind( Live At The Apollo, Vol. III)-James Brown…parents hooked me! Live funk from the G-father.
    2. Greatest Hits-Sly & the Family Stone…parents hooked me pt2. Good compilation!
    3. Thriller-Micheal Jackson…’nuff said!
    4. Private Dancer-Tina Turner…the album front/back cover alone got my attention!
    5. Run-DMC-Run DMC…1st official rap album I listened to. Rap sounds interesting as a kid…
    6. Follow the Leader-Eric B & Rakim…1st album purchased. No regrets!
    7. Straight Outta Compton-NWA…1st album to push limits for me.
    8. The Devil Made Me Do It-Paris…required listening/wake-up call.
    9. Short Dog’s in the House-Too $hort…P-I-M-P!
    10. Guerillas In Tha Mist-Da Lench Mob…Ice Cube-produced. West coast-styled militancy!
    11. Enter the 36 Chambers-Wu-Tang Clan…purchased on a whim when released (The Source mag tipped me). Interesting…
    12. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx-Raekwan feat. Ghostface Killa…roommate during college bought it, grabbed some blunts, the end!

  34. My exams study periods were spent listening to Portishead and Linkin Park. I love the songs “Numb” from both groups.

    Lenny Kravitz’s greatest hits introduced me to the genius talent of Lenny. I have all his albums and have seen him live twice. “Run Away” is my ultimate song to escape to.

    Grace Jones’ “My Jamaican Guy”.. she’s fierce. I saw her in concert in Feb. It was amazing! She hula hooped to an entire song and I was able to record it on my camera.

    “Don’t cry” from Guns n’ Roses made me cry and I love it!

    “Jammin” by Bob Marley.

    Ultimate Caribbean Soca tunes for me is “Big Truck” by Machal Montano and “Hot n Groovy” by Militant. Once I hear these in a club, I have to dance.

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