Eddie Huang’s Top 5 Hip-Hop Albums
Eddie Huang, celebrity chef, TV host and author of the memoir Fresh Off the Boat, is pretty sure that hip-hop saved his life when he was a bullied, racially “other” kid growing up in Florida. Even now, the influence is obvious in everything from his restaurant’s playlists to the cover of his book to his Source-esque wardrobe.
Here, he shares the top five albums that got him through his formative SPAM-launching/skateboarding/security fence-hopping years.
Camp Lo, Uptown Saturday Night
I can't even explain it — this album is just my a-alike. From the first time I heard it, I never stopped listening to it, every week. It doesn't even speak to me as literally as it does subconsciously. I've listened to this album over and over, but I think the flow on the tracks just taps into my idle mind. A lot of the lyrics are nonsensical, but Cheeba and... Geechi just sound like two kids in high school, talkin' shit, and it transports me back to childhood.more »
Notorious B.I.G., Ready to Die
Lyrically, this is my favorite album of all time (this and Illmatic). It's hard to say anything about B.I.G. that hasn't already been said. I related a lot to his story about coming up by any means, owning how he was a fat ass and still having more game than any pretty mofucker out there. "Heartthrob? Never! Black and ugly as ever! However, I stay Coogi down to the socks." I... mean, peep the rhyme scheme, the swag, and the Coogi.more »
The Diplomats, Diplomatic Immunity
"Put your two arms up/ Touchdown." The Ramones ran downtown NY in the '80s from Forest Hills; Diplomats ran it in the '00s all the way from uptown.
Wu Tang Clan, Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers)
I was never as proud to be Chinese as I was the day I heard Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). I was always a hip-hop head, but a lot of people tried to tell me I couldn't be part of the culture. When these brothers from Shaolin took over the game — with inspiration from Shaw Brothers Films — we felt like we belonged. THANK YOU, RZA.
People know OutKast post-Stankonia, for the most part, but down South we were bumpin' Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik and ATLiens. Outkast was the defining group from the Field that repped for flip-flops and socks and sweatpants. This was the perfect album to smoke to, listening to André and Daddy Fat Sax drop knowledge about Jazzy Belles and Elevators.