“Follow The Leader” by Eric B & Rakim (1988)

It’s rarely disputed that William Griffin (AKA Rakim) is the greatest hip-hop lyricist of all time. “Follow The Leader”, the first single and title track of his sophomore effort with DJ Eric B, represents the writer and rhymer at his apex. Everything that a rap nerd jizzes off of-complex verbiage, internal rhyme schemes, effortless flow-is… Read More “Follow The Leader” by Eric B & Rakim (1988)

“Everyday I Write The Book” by Elvis Costello & The Attractions (1983)

“Everyday I Write The Book” was the first of three (count ‘em, three) Elvis Costello singles to hit the U.S. Top 40. It’s the first Costello song I remember hearing, and needless to say I still have a soft spot for it. It’s smoother and more soulful than Elvis’s first run of singles, and it’s… Read More “Everyday I Write The Book” by Elvis Costello & The Attractions (1983)

“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Nina Simone (1964)

The art of interpreting a lyric appears to have been lost in recent years. I’m all for mindless pop music, but…I feel like we’ve been down this road before. Nina Simone was a master interpreter, and she totally inhabits her reading of  “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, as she should. The song was written for… Read More “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Nina Simone (1964)

“Crossroads” by Tracy Chapman (1989)

Tracy’s defiant “NO SELLOUT” move occurred with this song; the first single and title track from her all-important sophomore album. “Crossroads” came out when I was 13, and there was an honesty and resolve in her singing that resonated with me for years despite not really understanding what she was singing about. I can’t imagine the directions… Read More “Crossroads” by Tracy Chapman (1989)