10 all-time favorite albums (as if I could limit it to ten), in no particular order. Albums that really made an impact and are still on your rotation list, even if only now and then.
Fear of a Black Planet closes out an block of albums from 1989 and 1990 on this list. I remember the first time I heard it, at Stefan Boyle's apartment after work. He knew I was in to Nine Inch Nails and he couldn't wait to play the PE record for me, figuring I'd like it. I did, and would up buy myself a copy the next day.
The first word that comes to mind when trying to describe Fear of a Black Planet is "challenging." I wasn't especially in to hip-hop, primarily because I wasn't impressed with most of the backing tracks. "Welcome to the Terrordome" just blew me completely away. It was immaculately produced, in your face, with a deft use of sampling that put most industrial acts to shame. And Chuck D's lyrics and delivery on that song? I'm not exaggerating when I say I don't know that I've ever heard anything that powerful.
Fear of a Black Planet gets up in your face and dares you to call rap frivolous, defies you to say that it does anything but rock. In hindsight, I'm not even sure that it's a better record than It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back, but it's the one that introduced me to the hard rhymer. Did it have an impact? Yeah, you could say that.