Writing for FACT, Laurent Fintoni and John Twells have compiled a list of the fifty best trip-hop albums. (Before you freak out, realize that particularly big artists all only get one entry, and the list is confined to the 1990s.) The list is reproduced inside, with links to entry pages, artist info, and (when available) YouTube streams.
Trip-hop is a maligned term but I never had a problem with it. It sort of sums up the sound perfectly … psychedelic hip hop, right? It’s there on the tin. This isn’t a bad list at all, serving to send me down the memory lane of my early DJ days when this was all I would play (I even had a 100 BPM speed limit for a while). The top two are appropriate: no other albums, to me, epitomize ‘trip-hop’ more than Tricky’s Maxinquaye and Portishead’s Dummy. But is Blue Lines really a trip-hop album? Of course I understand the influence of some of its songs on the genre, but, as an album, I don’t feel Massive Attack delved head-on into the sound until afterwards. Also, this list reminds me how much trip-hop was (is?) stronger as a singles / 12″ genre. UNKLE’s Psyence Fiction is an okay album, but it comes nowhere close to touching the trip-hop perfection that is their 1994 single “The Time Has Come” (in collaboration with Major Force). Cue a music break: