So why is Cappadonna’s The Struggle on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?
Musical journeys are often such a pleasure. Part of the fun and excitement of them is that everyone’s path to musical discovery is both personal and unique.
For example, I was chatting with my friend Aaron McMullan (see more on Aaron below) recently, always a wonderful experience as we share so many musical tastes even having grown up and lived in different parts of the globe (he in Northern Ireland and London, myself in New York and the west coast).
Aaron recently explained his path to discovering and systematically devouring Bob Dylan’s albums as a kid. Dylan is such a unique case, of course, as he’s had such an incredibly long career and, with it, a huge diversity of creative output over the decades. I became “jealous” during our chat as I have never to this day gone through a “rigorous” education with Dylan as Aaron has.
For me, I’d literally stumble into an album like Desire from 1976, as example, and get completely shattered by epic songs like “Hurricane,” but wouldn’t (and kind of still don’t) have a full grasp on What It All Means in terms of where it fits into Dylan’s music and overarching career.
But as a fanboy yet not scholar of Dylan, I also reserve the dizzying pleasure of stumbling into yet future treasure troves that I personally have yet to have discovered.
Okay, here’s the part where I get to Cappadonna for all the people who doggedly made it through the above thinking, “So when do we get to the Cappadonna part of this Cappadonna album entry? This is The Struggle, bro, know what I mean?”
My discovery of Cappadonna, it likely won’t shock you to learn, is by way of his participation in a certain hip hop collective called the Wu-Tang Clan.
There’s some fascinating background on Wikipedia – including a prison stint and having a fall out with RZA – on why Cappadonna was in and out of Wu-Tang’s lineup over the years, which helps explain to an extent why he’s not nearly as well known as RZA, GZA, Method Man, and some of the other residents of Shaolin.
As I got deeper into Wu-Tang’s music and lore over the years, discovering Cappadonna’s solo output has become another fascinating musical journey. It began with the absolutely brilliant album, The Pillage. There’ll be time in the entries ahead (spoiler alert!) to discuss that one, and perhaps other Cappadonna material as well.
The hypnotic, pulsing production on The Struggle’s “Role of a Lifetime” is up there with anything Wu-Tang has ever produced. Cappadonna’s aggressive, staccato flow balances the music perfectly. And speaking of aggressive, the lyrics are kind of hard R-rated throughout The Struggle, so be warned* if that’s an issue for you.
* It was… challenging for me to find lyrics for my standard “a lyrical snippet” section that I felt comfortable publishing along with this piece!
“Do It Push” has a really wild classical music sample mapped against oddball sound and vocal effects that make for a quirky and effective track.
“Money, Cash, Flows” is very catchy. Maybe too catchy? It’s good though. Really good.
Personal stuff that has something to do with Cappadonna’s The Struggle
I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that Aaron McMullan is a talented musician and singer-songwriter. There’s lots of his stuff to be found on Spotify and beyond, but (also) check out this exceptional track, called “Underneath the Breaking,” off of his most recent release, Swing Hosanna, Sing The Salt.
Some stats & info about Cappadonna – The Struggle
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rap, Hip Hop, East Coast Rap, Hardcore Rap, Underground Hip Hop
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 2 out of 5 stars (!?)
- When was The Struggle released? 2002
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #489 out of 1,000
Cappadonna’s The Struggle on Spotify
A lyrical snippet from Cappadonna’s The Struggle that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe
It’s not a game – you play chess with life, end up in the flame.
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.