We all like hip hop – you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t – but in the office or on the shop floor it can be hard to find many albums with no controversial language whatsoever. So here’s a selection of instrumental hip hop albums to listen to at work THAT AREN’T DILLA BEAT TAPES – they still won’t melt your Jansport though….
Urbs & Cutex – Breaks Of Dawn (BUY LINK)
I first stumbled upon this when it was heavily reduced in the local record shop so I thought I’d take a punt. This was one of the first records I bought in my DJing infancy, and has been on heavy rotation since. Borrowing a lot from Tribe Called Quest (including the artwork) and Beatminerz, this is full of rich filtered bass with boom bap drums and jazz samples.
The Stuyvesants – The Finer Things Vol. 2 (Algorythmusic)
Brooklyn duo The Stuyvesants started off as a project between a record digger and a producer, and developed a very soulful sound through their array of beat tapes, coming to my attention after they produced a track for Jaden Smith. Any of their beat tapes would have worked on this, but Finer Things Vol. 2 has the strongest soul sound for me.
RJD2 – In Rare Form (The Unreleased Instrumentals) (BUY LINK)
Seen as a natural successor to DJ Shadow based on his Deadringer album, RJD2 never quite managed to produce another project of the same critical success or popularity. However, In Rare Form contains hip hop instrumentals from the period up to the release of his second solo album, which expand on/reinforce, the sound which won him the plaudits of many.
Dug Infinite & No ID – The Sampler Vol. 1
Chicago legends Dug Infinite & No ID are probably most well known for a) teaching a young Kanye West the nuances of hip hop production, and b) producing the majority of Common (Sense)’s early work. This joint album, however, celebrates the two producers in their own right rather than as side men for others. Bringing a very MPC jazz choppy style, this is one for fans of DJ Premier, Beatnuts, and DITC.
Thes One – Lifestyle Marketing
People Under The Stairs production whizz Thes One presents a project which is remixing and flipping the commercial jingles of composer/engineer Herb Pilhofer into instrumental hip hop beats. Whilst it doesn’t have as much repeat play appeal, there are some great bits of production on this, and it wouldn’t go amiss on a sunny day in the office.
There are plenty of bits to choose from out of the collections of Dilla, Madlib, DOOM, Flylo and others, but this is just to give some alternatives from the obvious choices. Hopefully there are some bits you may have not been up on, and I know a lot of others were missed (9th Wonder, Apollo Brown, Mr Dibia$e, Ayatollah etc) – leave any suggestions in the comments!