When I think about it, it was always this album. These 20+ songs had the biggest impact on my life. Sure I have always said Paul's Boutique was my favorite, and how could I not? It's the Dark Side of the Moon of hip-hop. But using that formula, what is Check Your Head's rock equivalent? You can say it's London Calling perhaps....bending twisting and melding genres. And the diverse range of music not only carries it, but the different cultural background in and of itself. And as a 13 year old kid, that is what helped me the most. That was my escape. Even younger than that I remember seeing the video for "So Watcha Want" on MTV and being blown away by the intensity. The depth of the artistry comes into full character when you see the group picking their instruments for the first time since they were an early hardcore punk band a decade earlier. Not only were they putting down instrumentals that appealed to a mainstream audience but they were doing it while being unexpectedly talented at their instruments. The locked bass and drums tempo flows beautifully on tracks like "Groove Holmes" & the absolutely mind blowing eye opener on the album....."Gratitude".
One of the meanest intros to a hip-hop song is found in the bass-y "Jimmy James". Meanwhile "Time For Livin" was my first exposure to what would eventually become a long love affair with hardcore punk for me long before my first Bad Brains or Negative Approach album. Its anti-establishment ideals somewhat transpired into "Pass The Mic" which touches on MC's who focus too much on fashion and materialism instead of versatility. The versatility the boys so desire in hip-hop lyricism is very well displayed here. It's the perfect introduction for the novice. It's the perfect catalyst for the music fan. It exposes to similar hard 90's acts like House of Pain, Living Colour, & Alice in Chains once you plug it into Pandora. It samples Jimi Hendrix right from the first track. It references Eddie Harris (however it was references to Les McCann & Jimmy Smith on Ill Communication that resonated with me later on).
Own this album. You'll thank me.