Friday, March 12, 2010

Album of the Week: Explainin'

This is going to hopefully be the first in a series of weekly music posts. I spend about 15 to 20 minutes a day driving to and from BART, which is just about enough time to listen to an album two or three times in a given week. Every Sunday I'm planning on posting a little review of the album I listened to during my daily commute in the preceding week. These won't necessarily be new albums, as evidenced by this week's selection; they'll just be whatever I'm listening to for whatever reason. What inspired this, you might ask. Well, I finally made the transition into the late 1990s in terms of car stereos with the death of my 1991 Volvo sedan and the subsequent acquisition of a "new" 1998 Volvo wagon - with a single-disc CD player, no less!

This particular post actually reflects what I was listening to two weeks ago because I didn't have time to post anything until now. About two weeks ago, known associated and I were chatting about how Bored Stiff pretty peaked with their debut EP, Explainin', which got me wanting to revisit the album. Needless to say, it's really stood up well and, unfortunately, kind of makes their more recent releases that much more disappointing. 

I think Explainin' was released in 1994, but I could be wrong about that. It wasn't until about '95 or '96 that I became aware of it and then I proceeded to jock Bored Stiff pretty hard for a bit. Prior to hearing Explainin', most of the "Frisco rap" I had heard trended toward gangsta' or mob-style music (RBL, JT, San Quinn, etc), whereas Bored Stiff, while not necessarily being "un-street", had a less typical sound and range of topics, without ever failing to rep the 'Sco. To sum it all up, Explainin' was a groundbreaking EP to me that foresaw the emergence of the non-gangsta' Bay Area underground that flourished in the late 90s, and still sounds fresh, in every sense of the word.  For anyone looking to cop the album these days, it's been re-released with a handful of bonus tracks, including "Therapy", which is easily my favorite track from the first Bomb Hip Hop Compilation.

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