Run That Back!:10 Albums That Shaped Me

February 27, 2012 ‐ By

It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while you’ll play the first chords of a record and you know immediately that this piece of art is going to become a part of you. Not just something you listen to as background music, not something you dance, absentmindedly in the club, but something you internalize. You find yourself recalling the lyrics to songs and applying them to the real life situations you face. We all have these gems. So let’s dig in with the masterpieces that I carry with me.

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – Lauryn Hill

No need to beat around the bush. Quite a few black people born after 1970 would include this national treasure on their list. Lauryn was preaching in her first solo album. The Miseducation is the perfect combination of righteous and real. It always amazes me how perspective-changing art makes it’s way into our lives. A friend of my mother’s gifted me with this album for a random occasion and for months it never left my discman. I was only a fifth grader when this album hit the streets but even as a youngster I knew it was profound. I can’t tell you how many hours I sat, in my room, in my back yard, on the school bus, absorbing the knowledge Lauryn was dropping. The album made me laugh, cry, dance and think. It was perfection.

MadameNoire Video

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  • Zva

    1. Aaliyah – One In A Million
    2. God’s Property – From Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation
    3. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
    4. Dru Hill – Enter The Dru
    5. Destiny’s Child – The Writing’s On The Wall
    6. Marvin Gaye – What’s Goin On (I know this one is a little random but I went through a black power phase when I was in middle school)
    7. Nas – Stillmatic
    8. Kanye West – College Drop Out
    9. Justin Timberlake – Future Sex Love Sounds
    10. Beyonce – B’Day

    These albums were soundtracks to my life when they dropped : )

  • sorichson

    My Life- MJB
    Aquemini- Outlast
    Any Tried Called Quest album
    It Was Written- Nas
    Totally Crossed Out- Kris Kross

  • childofjesusrose

    yes great list! its a shame most of the type of music playing now is horrible and it will never be like real classic music as in this list!

  • Elizabeth

    Love this post but I think En Vogue would have starred in mine – I think they are fabulous!:)

    • nikole

      mine to those girls are still the bomb oh and some joedeci just about anything from the 90s

  • Mimix3

    Can’t forget 2pacalypse

  • applesauce585

    “Heart & Soul” by the Winans
    “Voyage To India”     India Arie
    “Pages of Life 1&2”   Fred Hammond
    “The Voice”  by Syleena Johnson
    “Love Jones Soundtrack”
    “Mountain High Valley Low”  by Yolanda Adams

  • shai-shai!!!
    blackstreet- another level?

  • dude! we’d make great friends because i had EVERY album on the list, minus cheryl lynn (my muse was phyllis hyman –her version of betcha by golly wow!~awesome!!)

  • KLOVE7

    Tender Lover – Babyface
    My Life – Mary J. Blige
    New Jack City Soundtrack

  • KLOVE7


  • Sofiyabeena

    missing MJ

  • Earthspirit

    Oh, and how dare I forget “What’s The 411?” by my older sister (in my head) Queen of Hip-Hop & R&B Ms. Mary J. Blige!

  • Annojah

    Baduizm – Erykah Badu
    The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
    Who is Jill Scott?Words and sounds- Jill Scott
    Worldwide underground- Erykah Badu
    Princesses nubiennes- Les nubians
    Plain rap- The Pharcyde
    Spiritual war- Fertile Ground
    Ame nouvelle-Meemee Nelzy

  • Truth

    Brandy – never say never (All of the songs are perfect)

    • nikole

      okay all day that was my album to destiny’s child wrintins on the wall and aaliayah one in a million as well as monica missthang

  • Earthspirit1

    1The albums/cd’s that helped shaped me were:

    1. Baduizm – Erykah Badu
    2. Groove Theory – Groove Theory
    3. Who Is Jill Scott..Words..- Jill Scott
    4. janet/ Velvet Rope – Janet Jackson
    5. Off The Wall – Michael Jackson
    7. Love Jones Soundtrack – Various Artists

    and this list can go on..

    • Shauna Nsaije

      Yes…oh yes…Thank you of reminding me of Groove Theory…But how can MARY’S MY LIFE not be ANYWHERE on here….It must be so obvious an integral life-shaper that we forgot to mention it.

  • Ash

    Confessions – Usher
    Survivor & Destiny Fulfilled – Destiny’s Child
    B’Day – Beyonce
    Late Registration- Kanye West
    The Diary of Alicia Keys & As I Am – Alicia Keys
    Beautifully Human: Vol.2 – Jill Scott
    The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – Lauryn Hill
    Just Like You – Keyshia Cole
    The Love Below – Andre 3000
    So Far Gone/Comeback Season – Drake

  • Lovely One

    Erykah Badu – Mama’s Gun (sooooo underrated)

    Musiq Soulchild – Ijuswannasing

  • icanbutiwont

    Sizzla – The Journey – The Very Best Of Sizzla (Fave ‘Black Woman and Child and Thank You Mama)

    Prince – Signs O The Times

    Muddy Waters – Anthology

    Jimmy Cliff – The Harder They Come

    Bob Marley and The Wailers – Legend

    Stevie Wonder – Innervisions

    Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

    U2 – The Joshua Tree

    Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman

    Kanye West – The College Dropout

    I could go on forever 🙂

    • Kevin000147

      Great list. I’d also add Joan Armatrading

  • Netdandri

    You have great musical taste. A lot of these albums would be on my list, too. Nice list.