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Baker's Dozen

Languages Inhabited: Teju Cole's Favourite Albums
Teju Cole , August 24th, 2016 09:28

Following the publication of his first collection of essays, Known And Strange Things, the writer and photographer pens us his own Baker's Dozen, picking "as many kinds of albums that really mattered to me as possible"

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Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill
A bolt out of the blue, which went on to deservedly stomp all over the 1999 Grammys. How could something so soulful, layered and mature be a debut solo album?

Forget all about what came after, the pressures of fame, the eccentricity, the absence of any convincing follow-up. Miseducation was an indelible high point of black American music. Lauryn could sing, she could rap, and she could write the hell out of a verse. "I know all the tricks from Bricks to Kingston/ My ting done made your kingdom wan' run/ Now understand L-Boogie's non-violent/ But if a thing test me, run for my gun/ Can't take a threat to my newborn son/ L been this way since creation." The self-confidence is coruscating, the prosody leaves you shook. Long after her competitors and detractors are forgotten, maybe a century from now when we are deep in our nuclear winter, someone's going to put 'Doo Wop' or 'Everything Is Everything' on the speakers at a party and set it, as always, on fire.


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