Qu'est-ce Que J D?
30 Underground Rap Albums, 1994-2001

tumblinerb:

I wrote this list down the other night while arguing on Twitter about a list of “underground” rap albums that appeared on another site. That list - like so many contemporary conversations about indie/undie/backpack rap - tended to skew in favor of the more visible, 21st century imprints like Rawkus, Def Jux and Stones Throw. As I mentioned on Twitter, I suspect a lot of that has more to do with branding and access than actual quality.  

By the turn of the century the bigger labels had secured better distribution deals and PR situations as they simultaneously shifted away from vinyl and tapes and singles and EPs towards full length CDs that squares could purchase in Best Buy. (Fondle ‘Em, hands down the most consistent label in this scene, existed almost entirely on vinyl and as a point of pride never did promos or publicity. I guess that seemed noble at the time…) Even while the music was collapsing under the weight of emo bangs and cartoon sponsorships, the legacy was just beginning to codify.  So the list that follows is my meager attempt to counterbalance that bias. It’s non-comprehensive, mostly comprised of the tapes and records that I remember listening to in high school when this loosely defined strain of underground rap still felt like a little secret and not the default hip hop choice for middlebrow white college kids and Onion AV Club readers. No repeat artists and no releases with major label distribution (initially?) All omissions are purely malicious.

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Thanks for calling The Juggaknots EP self-titled and not Clear Blue Skies like people always weirdly seem to do.

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    I wrote this list down the other night while arguing on Twitter about a list of “underground” rap albums that appeared...
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    Thanks for calling The Juggaknots EP self-titled and not Clear Blue Skies like people always weirdly seem to do.
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