As the fader slides toward silence and Black Music Month nears its end, The Atlanta Post has decided to turn up the volume. Instead of celebrating typical artists and albums we’ve reached out to several music experts to compile a list of seven of the most misunderstood, underrated and unsung albums of all time. Whether it was bold sexuality, fearless experimentation or the scandal of troubled personal lives, each of the following compilations faced challenges in securing respect and acclaim. Some of the entries are now considered underground or mainstream classics, while a few of them are still waiting to be understood and appreciated by the masses.
Common may enjoy his status today, as one of black music’s most acclaimed and visible talents, but in 2002 no one knew quite what to make of his hip-hop fusion album, “Electric Circus”. “It was a complete musical departure from not only anything Common had ever recorded, but from anything mainstream rappers were doing. It’s arguably one of the most musically eclectic hip-hop albums ever. There’s electronic, R&B, boom bap, jazz, big band and African beats all mixed in without any clear order,” said Yahoo! Music’s senior editor, Billy Johnson.
In addition to stepping outside of musical limits, Common lyrically pushed the envelope by tackling weighty subject matter such as homophobia, sexual abuse and mortality. While such experimentation failed to deliver commercial success, Johnson believes that there is still value to this overlooked entry in the rapper’s catalogue. “It is still relevant today because it’s no longer uncommon to hear raps over such diverse beats. Many hip-hop fans might still shy away from this album, but fans of electronic, rock, and underground rap music would absolutely embrace it.”
Listen to: “Star 69 (PS With Love)”