The ten weirdest hip-hop releases of all time
Weird is not a bad thing. It sets you apart. So, in rap, where so often so much music sounds so much like the same thing, weird can be a part of something really, really good. It's not surprising, then, that some of the weirdest rap albums of all time have also been some of the most influential. Everyone wants to be different, so when an artist achieves something that both makes you want to scratch your head and tap your foot, you know it's something special. Here are the ten weirdest hip-hop releases.
10. Bushwick Bill - Phantom of the Rapra
An album scored with both blood-curdling screams and smooth, sexy synths, Bushwick Bill really tried to throw critics for a loop on this one. For the release, he changed his name to Dr. Wolfgang Von Bushwickin The Barbarian Mother-Funky Stay High Dollar Billstir. He then begins the album pointing out the double standard between rap and opera -- because opera "deals with sex, rape, violence, incest, and suicide," but rap gets censored when it covers such topics. The resultant album is how such childishness and seriousness are reconciled. Bushwick's self-awareness allows him to construct such a strange and disturbing world that feels at times like a viewing of Evil Dead: funny, unsettling and, most of all, weird.
9. Die Antwoord - $O$
Perhaps Die Antwoord only seems strange because the zef culture is foreign to us, but it's hard to imagine any world where Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er would be ordinary people. From their exaggerated voices to the very loose manner of speaking and the looser clothes they wear, it's actually pretty surprising that the mainstream has accepted Die Antwoord to the level it has, which is only a little bit, but still enough to capture quite a few fans in their dazzling strangeness.
8. De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising
The original concept for this album was that De La's MCs were microphone plugs picking up signals from mars. This idea was eventually scrapped for some unforgivable reason, but what remained was still the most radically adventurous album hip-hop had offered to date. By today's standards, De La's music sounds much more normal purely due to the fact that emulation by so many other acts has normalized their style. Still, the outstanding weirdness of bits like "Transmitting Live From Mars," part of which can be translated as "What time is it? It is midday. It is lunchtime. What is there to eat? There is sausage, no doubt." make this entry irreplaceable the canon of oddities.
7. Homeboy Sandman - Actual Factual Pterodactyl
This album is exactly as quirky as it's name, and better, it's compulsively fun to listen to. Using an array of highly irregular voices, in contrast to his normal flowing voice, which is mesmerizing, if not a bit robotic and monotonous. Sandman's flow revolves around the similitude of assonant words; he delivers them so quickly, you can almost see the consonants spinning in place around the vowels. On "Gggrrraa!!", Sandman unleashes his id in one of the more primally powerful songs you'll hear. Every song is so uncompromisingly idiosyncratic, it might drive you crazy at first, but you'll learn to love it.