Why is Kool G Rap & DJ Polo’s Live and Let Die on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
A hardcore underground gem from hip hop’s golden age.
What does Kool G Rap & DJ Polo’s Live and Let Die mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
I’m pretty sure I first heard the term “Ill Street Blues” on Wyclef Jean’s outstanding solo debut album, The Carnival (it’s a playful riff off the popular ‘80s cop show, Hill Street Blues, for all you kids out there). Therefore, I was happily surprised to see “Ill Street Blues” dating back even further as a song title on Live and Let Die. Even more importantly, this is surely a song that the likes of The Notorious B.I.G. consumed and took close notes on.
And indeed, you can hear traces of many east coast legends pulling from this album, ranging from Das EFX to the aforementioned B.I.G. And the looping piano and horn sample on “Ill Street Blues” gives the hardcore rap stylings an amazing swing and groove that is so sorely lacking on the vast majority of imitators of this ilk.
And then the jumping funk jam behind “Letters” is the kind of thing that reads to me, “I need to spam my friends on g-chat about this track at 2 a.m.” Which is to say, it’s good.
“On the Run” has a more “traditional” old school gangster rap feel, though that’s not entirely accurate because there’s so little that’s traditional or expected about this record.
Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to Kool G Rap & DJ Polo’s Live and Let Die
“Live and Let Die” the song comes by way of Paul McCartney and the Wings, of course, and it’s one of their all-time greats. Here it is live, from 1976.
And if that doesn’t ring a bell and you’re slightly younger, you might recall “Live and Let Die” a little more clearly from Guns n’ Roses cover version, which got a ton of air play in the early 1990s. Here’s the Guns version, live, from 1991.
Both versions are pretty great in their own unique ways.
One a final note: you might notice that I’m the featuring the back of Live and Let Die album cover instead of the front. The cover art on the front is provocative, to say the least, but the reason I’m not featuring it has much more to do with caution about getting on the wrong side of search engine algorithms than anything else.
Some stats & info about Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – Live and Let Die
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rap, Hip Hop, East Coast Rap, Hardcore Rap, Hip Hop Golden Age
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
- When was Live and Let Die released? 1992
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #770 out of 1,000
Kool G Rap & DJ Polo’s Live and Let Die on YouTube
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.