There’s this thing going around on Facebook where people are sharing ten albums from their youth. I’ve seen a few variations on the exact text, but you are to seek albums that really touched you, stuck with you, or shaped your teenage years in some sort of meaningful way. The idea is that you’re not supposed to think about it too much and simply post what comes to mind.
As you’ll soon see in the list below, my musical tastes as a teenager definitely skewed more towards rap and hip hop with a little R&B sprinkled in for good measure. Maybe I was in a darker place. Maybe it was the preferred music of my immediate peer group.
In any case, here is my list of ten albums from my teenage years, presented in no particular order.
All Eyez on Me – 2Pac
By far, the most influential figure in music during my teenage years was the late, great Tupac Shakur. This album was especially important to me, because I think it was the first CD I ever purchased. And it was a 2-CD set at that.
The Marshall Mathers LP – Eminem
I thought Eminem’s first album was on the annoying side. His sophomore outing was far darker, far angrier, and this really resonated with my teenage angst.
Can-i-bus – Canibus
It’s not entirely fair to say that this whole album was important to me. Instead, it’s really just about the single “Second Round K.O.” Maybe it has something to do with the Mike Tyson intro.
II – Boyz II Men
See, it’s not all angry rap. Maybe I was still a little too young when Cooleyhighharmony was released, but II was stellar and spoke to the hopeless romantic in my teenage angst-ridden self.
E. 1999 Eternal – Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
Some people say that songs like “First of the Month” glorify poverty and “hood” life. I say this is when Bone was at its prime.
Love Always – K-Ci & JoJo
I’d considered other R&B groups like 112, Shai, and Bell Biv DeVoe, but “All My Life” got so much radio play, it’s permanently ingrained in my head.
Enter the Dru – Dru Hill
It’s not a conscious decision to select mostly sophomore efforts. It’s just the way things are working out for this list. And who can forget Sisqo and, um, the other guys?
Saturday People – Prozzak
Maybe I identify with the “Simon” persona, an angst-ridden young man who is often depressed with a broken heart. It’s not me, it’s you. Na na na na…
And Then There Was X – DMX
While I got into It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood later on, And Then There Was X probably had more hit singles, including “Party Up (Up in Here)” and “What’s My Name?”
My Way: The Best of – Frank Sinatra
The album that’s most unlike all the others on the list also happens to be the only “greatest hits” selection too. It doesn’t get much better than Ol’ Blue Eyes.
My friend Darren Barefoot suggested an alternative where you are to name an album in the last two years that has had a particularly profound impact. I called out To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar. What about you? Are there any specific albums from your youth that really shaped you into the person you are today? Is there anything from the last couple years that you’ve especially enjoyed?