Thanksgiving is the best holiday and it's not even close.
Suck it Arbor Day!
I mean football, booze, incredible food, more booze, naps, more food, flatulence and more food. That is literally the perfect day...and then you have leftovers! Oh I guess seeing family and friends is good too, but mostly the food and booze.
I'm so ready. Ready for football. Ready to go H.A.M on some turkey, ready to get drunk before the sun sets. In my mind it's already Thanksgiving; I'd be eating turkey right now but I have no idea how to cook one. But while my culinary skills may be lacking, what I do know is hip-hop. So instead of putting together a meal filled with actual food, I decided to make a meal out of 2014's album releases.
What is this guy talking about? Did he start drinking already?
Perhaps, but that's neither here nor there. What really matters is that in honor of our unhealthy ingenious obsession with comparing rappers to things, I decided to compare a traditional Thanksgiving delicacy to a project released this year. Let's go.
Turkey: Logic's Under Pressure
The main event. The show stoppa. The most important part of the meal. It doesn't have to be your favorite dish, but you have to respect the turkey because it's what puts people in their seats. Popularity is an important part of the equation, but so is taste. Maybe turkey isn't your favorite, but there's a reason why it's so popular.
The album that represents turkey has to be a blockbuster - one we talked a lot about and made a big splash - but it also has to be good. That balance of sales and sound isn't always easy to find in hip-hop, but this year we had a few noteworthy albums. For me though, Logic's Under Pressure stands out as the most turkey-worthy. I was debating between Cadillactica and Under Pressure, but Under Pressure was not only meaty and juicy like a turkey, but it was the more popular album. Cadillactica might have been the turkey for hip-hop heads, but your average music listener is much more likely to know the name Logic than K.R.I.T. Logic is popular, but he's also really damn good. Flavorful, succulent, buzzworhty, and covered in gravy, Logic is 2014's turkey (in the good way only).
Stuffing: Isaiah Rashad's Cilvia EP
Stuffing is my favorite part of the meal. It's the thing I look forward to the most. Yeah, I love turkey, but to me, the stuffing makes or breaks a Thanksgiving meal. People gawk all over the turkey, but if the stuffing is wack, the whole meal is off. Still, there's no way stuffing is going to be the most talked about dish. It may not be as popular, but I'll end up eating way more stuffing than turkey. Plus, there is always some unexpected ingredient; maybe it's oyster or, lord willing, it's bacon, but it always comes out of nowhere and slaps you in the face.
It's not going to be the most popular album of the year, but for me Isaiah Rashad's debut is the most stuffing-like. I can't get enough of it and I've listened to it far more than any project this year; even the big ones. Like stuffing, Rashad matters more to me than any other album and the Thanksgiving dinner that is 2014 would suck if I didn't have it. What's even more amazing is it was so surprising. Isaiah came from out of nowhere and, to me, dropped the project of the year, truly an unexpected treat not unlike those bacon bits. Stuffing is the best and so is Cilvia.
Cranberry Sauce: Ab-Soul's These Days…
Every year I try cranberries, hoping I'll like them, but I never do. The only cranberries I really like are the ones who sing "Zombie." I think, when it comes to cranberry, you either love it or hate it. At times it can be alright - when it's homemade - but for the most part it's just "meh." There's probably a few people out there who swear by cranberries, but the majority of us can definitely do without it. Who wants cranberry when there is more stuffing?
Well, for me Ab-Soul's These Days is 2014's cranberries. I gave it a listen, or a spoonful of cranberry, but it still doesn't do enough to make me want more. Cranberries are a let down and with all the buzz surround Ab, I think this album was too... a let down. It's just so average and my meal, my year in music, is not impacted significantly by its presence. Still, I bet a lot of you out there really liked it, more power to you, but give me more stuffing instead.
Mashed Potatoes:ScHoolboy Q's Oxymoron
Mashed potatoes are great and play a crucial role in the success of the Thanksgiving dinner, but nobody, even the people who love mashed potatoes, are going to leave the meal raving about them. They are really good when you are eating them, and you will always have a little more, but they aren't the go-to. They aren't the gamebreaker. When it's all said and done and all the turkey, stuffing, and taters are slowly expanding your stomach, you aren't going to be thinking of the mashed potatoes.
Remember that album that dropped in February? The one that was delayed a million times and was one of the most anticipated of the year? Remember Oxymoron? I bet it took you a minute to remember didn't it? Look, I dig the album, I still bump a song here and there, but for the most part, with all the other stuff on my plate I don't see the point in filling up on mashed ScHoolboy. It was good at the time, and still has its moments, but it's just not the game changer. Plus, I don't want my lean in my mashed potatoes; turkey makes me sleepy enough as it is.
Gravy: Jay Z
I know this is supposed to be about albums, but I'm breaking the rules. If you are bothered by this, remember you're reading an article about how ScHoolboy Q is mashed potatoes and re-asses your expectations. Anyway, I'm calling Jay Z gravy, because, let's be real, after Magna Carta Holy Grail, ain't nobody fucking with solo Jay anymore. Although I have no interest in a solo album, I love seeing him resurface for the occasional guest spot. "Drunk In Love," "Seen It All," "Devil Is A Lie"; Jay had some great guest spots this year. I'm always interested when he's with someone else, but I'm not really looking forward to an album. I want the next Jay album in the same way I want to eat just gravy, in that I don't want it at all. Still, pour some gravy on those taters, and we are in business. Put Jay alongside someone else, whoever is behind the mashed potatoes, and I'm game.
Green Beans: GQ's Rated Oakland
Green beans aren't sexy, they don't have the lore of turkey, but man, I fucking love green beans. Sometimes you need a little bit of nutrients to go with the all the the butter, carbs and good stuff. You really can't knock the green bean hustle. They aren't the star, but I'd be pretty mad if I couldn't have some green beans, because, not only are they good for you (especially if you add salt and butter,) but they fucking taste great. It's the balance you need to keep you centered and keep you from eating your way into oblivion.
One of my low-key favorite projects of the year is GQ's Rated Oakland because it's that pure, healthy hip-hop that my soul needs. I can't put it in the same category as Isaiah, but I'm really thankful this album exists, because it's what I need to survive; hip-hop that is good and good for you. I can't say I listen to it as much as Under Pressure, but I also don't have a single bad thing to say about this album. Shoutout to GQ, Jamla Records and green beans for providing the balance your palate needs.
Pumpkin Pie: Kendrick Lamar
The Thanksgiving meal is the best meal of the year. All of the food is so perfect. The turkey you have been smelling all day is so succulent, nana's mashed potato game is on fleek and you are loving life. Still, you have an eye on dessert. No matter how great that meal was, you always save room for one last thing; the pie. We've had so much good music this year, it's hard to ask for more and yet, I'd be lying if I didn't have an eye on Kendrick's forthcoming, sophomore major label album. I know it's greedy, because I'm still enjoying the stuff that is on my plate, but man, thinking about diving into that album the same way I do some pie makes me feel some type of way. I'm saving room for Kendrick and I'm saving room for pie. Always save room for pie.
You know what my favorite part of Thanksgiving is? The thing that I look forward to more than stuffing, booze and kicking my brothers ass in Madden? Making turkey sandwiches. Of course, the day after sandwich is always the move, but for me, it's all about the mini-Thanksgiving sandwich; it's what I look forward to the most. There is nothing better than taking a roll and packing a little bit of everything into it. It is the single best thing I eat each and every year. Come to think of it, that's kind of how I want my music. We think about these albums as separate entities but really it's best served smushed all together under and covered in gravy Jay Z verses. I don't want one of these albums; I want them all at once. Gluttonous? Yes. But isn't that what music and Thanksgiving are all about?
Have a good Turkey Day, DJBooth Nation!
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.]