Kanye West produced 9 of the 11 tracks on Common's 2005 album, Be, which is probably the reason why I enjoyed it so much. Here, witness how Kanye produces the perfect intro track to a Hip Hop album, creating a beat with a great build up and a strong finish that gets the listener excited about hearing the rest of the album.
"Be" starts off with some random plucking of guitar strings, but slowly turns into a nice rhythm. A second instrument is layered over the guitar and suddenly comes the realisation that the beat is building up to something. Then the piano kicks in, and it adds a whole new dimension to the beat. Finally, the whole orchestra begins to play, the track is now in full swing, and Common begins his rhymes, completing one the greatest Hip Hop album intros I've ever heard. This songs leads right into another great Kanye-produced track, "The Corner", but that's another blog entry. For now, here's "Be":
Speaking of great Hip Hop album intros, here's another one I came across just the other day, off Black Milk's 2008 album, Tronic. The song is called "Long Story Short", and it's produced by Black Milk himself. The track begins with an alien-type sound but soon turns into a soothing piano. The piano sounds great, even though it doesn't quite represent a typical Hip Hop beat. Suddenly, the alien sound picks up where the piano left off, the drums kick in at the same time, and another great Hip Hop album intro is born. The fact that Black Milk rhymes about his journey through the Hip Hop game thus far is just the icing on the cake. Enjoy!