Rhymesayers staff picks the label’s most underrated albums

Musab’s “Respect the Life” (2002), picked by Kevin Beacham, marketing specialist: “Musab had undergone this big transformation, and his stuff didn’t really fit in with the sound people were looking for from Rhymesayers at the time. But if you go back and listen, you’ll see it’s a really emotional and personal album, and really some amazing writing on it.”

Grayskul’s “Deadlivers” (2005), picked by Skye Rossi, chief financial officer: “It was just a really amazingly produced record, but I don’t know if it was ever well understood by the Rhymesayers audience. Those two guys [Seattle rappers Onry Ozzborn and JFK] were pretty out-there lyrically, in a cool way. I think they might fit today’s sensibilities a little better.”

Semi-Official, "The Anti-Album" (2003), picked by Jason Cook, chief operations officer: "Lyrics by I Self Devine, cuts by DJ Abilities and even guest raps by MF Doom and Gene Poole. Put on your headphones at turn it up."

I Self Devine’s “Self-Destruction” (2005), picked by Siddiq, label president: “It was an amazing record, really bold and smart and intense. For whatever reason — maybe the timing wasn’t right — it just didn’t seem to get the attention I thought it deserved, but it holds up strong.”

The Dynospectrum, self-titled (1998), picked by Slug: “It was from four guys who were all very different rappers. Me and Musab were a lot alike then, but I Self Devine had a kind of staccato sound and was ahead of the world on slang. And then Gene Poole was just a total spitfire/ball of fire. At the time, I thought it was an incredibly exciting collaboration.”


Chris Rhymenschneider’s all-time RSE top 10

1. Eyedea & Abilities, “E&A”

2. Brother Ali, “The Undisputed Truth”

3. I Self Devine, “Self Destruction”

4. P.O.S., “We Don’t Even Live Here”

5. Atmosphere, “God Loves Ugly”

6. Aesop Rock, “Skelethon”

7. Soul Position, “8 Million Stories”

8. BK-One, “Rádio Do Canibal”

9. Psalm One, “The Death of Frequent Flyer”

10. Felt, “Vol. 2 — A Tribute to Lisa Bonet”