In short, Essentials is a segment that allows artists to put down their instruments and divulge about a specific topic, giving fans and the like the opportunity to connect with their interests and inspirations. It’s just unlike any other listicle feature, we’re totally okay with things getting weird and/or uncensored. With the Mad Decent Block Party set to hit Toronto, we asked 20-year-old DJ/producer HRMXNY to name off five underrated albums everyone should own. Other picks include DJ Rashad & King Krule.
HRMXNY’s In Time EP is out now but stay tuned for his upcoming project Strange As It Seems
Alicia Keys’ The Diary Of Alicia Keys (2003)
This right here is angelic bliss. I was eight when I first heard it, probably when MuchMusic used to play the “Karma” video – damn, she looked good playing that pink piano. Everything about this album brings me back to a certain time in my life. “You Don’t Know My Name” is hands down the best song on the album. Ever since then I’ve always wanted to meet a girl at a diner. S/O Swizz Beatz.
City And Colour’s Little Hell (2011)
If I could be a white person for a day, I would be Dallas Green. I picked up Little Hell in high school and fell in love with it. 99% of the songs hit close to home in one way or another. Going through girl drama or just driving at night – this shit eases the soul. P.S. I can play the whole album on guitar.
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Pinata (2014)
First off, if you have never seen Freddie Gibbs perform live, do it. You will not regret it. This dude is a crazy performer. He proves that you don’t need to jump around like a idiot on stage to “wow” a crowd. I kinda slept on this album for a while but I love when rap has a jazz vibe to it. Pinata should have won a Grammy and every award ever invented. I play this almost everyday no matter where I am. I’m 100% sure I can rap “Deeper” and “Thuggin” without making any mistakes too. I’ve always been a huge fan of Madlib and seeing him add more of a gangster rap aspect to his collection is amazing.
Kendrick Lamar’s (O)verly (D)edicated (2010)
This was the first project I heard from Kendrick, before all the radio play. I was in high school when I first started listening to it. I remember being in class with my headphones on, listening to every word he said very closely. This was probably my first introduction to “conscious rap”. Every story he would tell would have some similarities to my life, regardless if it was big or small. To be completely honest, this is a lot better than To Pimp A Butterfly. It’s more raw and there’s no commercial aspects to it.
SBTRKT’s SBTRKT (2011)
BEST ALBUM EVER, MY FAVOURITE ALBUM EVER. It’s gonna be near impossible to top this. Every little thing about it is sooooooo good. Fuck Drake for ruining “Wildfire” and taking Sampha and putting him on weak ass shit. Anyway, I was sitting on my Mom’s couch when I first heard it. I clicked on “Trials Of The Past” and I’ve never to this day felt more emotion from music than in that moment.
It made me want to make music that made people feel the same way I did when I first heard it. Every song is like a different part of my life. I met SBTRKT once during a show we did on Halloween; he told me to be patient and everything will come in time. I’ve never really explained why my first EP was called In Time but now you know. I literally have the words “trials of the past” tattooed on my arm.