U-God – The Keynote Speaker: #370 of best 1,000 albums ever!

So why is U-God’s The Keynote Speaker on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

There are times in my life when something special happens: I’ll experience something that I’ve never quite experienced before, and I’ll feel something I’ve never quite felt before.

It’s a difficult feeling to describe, and maybe it’ll seem silly to you when it’s with relation to something like music (even though I’m suspecting that many of you will totally relate). Sometimes I’ll use phrases such as it melted my brain or it blew me off my [REDACTED] to attempt to capture it.

I had a feeling like that when I heard U-God’s “Mt. Everest,” off of The Keynote Speaker, for the first time.

U-God isn’t necessarily one of the first half dozen or so people I’d rattle off when thinking about the exceptional rap collective known as the Wu-Tang Clan, but when he’s on his game he’s as good as any of them – the RZA, the GZA, you name it.

And on “Mt. Everest,” pardon the pun but he hits very high peaks indeed. The song – which is credited to U-God, fellow Wu-Tang alum Inspectah Deck, and Elzhi – is everything I’m looking for in a hip hop song. I might have guessed that it was produced by RZA himself – the credit goes to Blastah Beatz – because of the very ornate, mysterious, and slightly Eastern-sounding production.

I’m extremely impressed too (read = blew me off my [REDACTED]) by both the lyrics and the trio’s rap delivery – particularly Inspectah Deck’s sizzling first verse.

Fame call us, money, it change all us
Get it how you live it or sing the same chorus

“Get Mine,” which is produced by RZA, is a huge and welcome departure from the “typical” music produced by the Wu-Tang Universe. It’s a slow, jammed-out soul/hip hop number that’s kind of half sung and half rapped, with a very simple bass line sitting underneath a bluesy tinkling guitar part.

“Heads Up” is much more in the Wu-Tang wheelhouse, effectively using minimal, persistent keyboard chords and hip hop beat that showcases the rap flow mastery of U-God along with GZA and Jackpot Scotty Wotty.

And likewise, “Fame,” credited to U-God and Styles P, uses a soul sample to exceptional effect.

Some stats & info about U-God – The Keynote Speaker  

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rap, Hip Hop, East Coast Rap, Alternative Rap, Underground Rap
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was The Keynote Speaker released? 2015
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #370 out of 1,000

U-God’s The Keynote Speaker on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from U-God’s The Keynote Speaker that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

I want leverage, ice cold beverage, money I can’t count, I blacked out standing on Mount Everest.

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.