Emilio Rojas Names His Top 5 Favorite Hip Hop Albums
Exclusive: Emilio Rojas has a penchant for mid-2000s Aftermath Entertainment albums, along with three gems from sample-heavy 1996-1997 New York City Hip Hop.
On the heels of releasing his first commercially-available project, No Shame...No Regrets (also available for free download), Emilio Rojas recently spoke with HipHopDX about his own favorite albums. With four quick choices, the veteran independent emcee checked his own music collection for a fifth, telling DX, "Shit, I don’t know, you can pick whatever [number] five [I said]," of the final selection.
Kicking things off, 'Lo said, “Top 5 albums of all time? I mean, I’m Venezuelan, I’m Hispanic, so I gotta say [Big Pun's] Capital Punishment. Got to." Big Pun's early 1998 Terror Squad/Loud Records debut boasted production from The Beatnuts, Showbiz and RZA, along with appearances by Black Thought, Prodigy and Busta Rhymes. Keeping things in New York, Emilio moved to a 1996 LP. "I would say [Nas'] It Was Written, ‘cause I feel like even though Illmatic is like the go-to [favorite] record for Nas, I feel like It Was Written was like one of the craziest conceptual records of all time." Rojas worked extensively with Nas' deejay, DJ Green Lantern, a fellow Rochester, New York native.
Continuing, Rojas highlighted two mid-2000s albums released on Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment. "I would say...I like The Game's The Documentary album. An album that got a lot of burn from me was Busta Rhymes' Big Bang." Released in 2005 and 2006, respectively, Game's major label debut and Busta's lone Interscope-backed album both featured work production from Dr. Dre, Timbaland and Mark Batson.
Rojas said he believes many lists like this are too similar. "I feel like the only album—I’m trying to think, what other albums? I’m looking through my apartment right now trying to find another album that got a lot of burn from me. I feel like it’s unconventional, I feel like most people are like 'Reasonable Doubt, Illmatic,'" referring to Jay-Z and Nas' respective debuts.
“What else have I really rode to lately? Fuck, that’s a really tough question. Maybe we take it even more left, and do The Fugees' The Score, that was a crazy album." One of the best-selling Hip Hop albums of all-time, the second and final studio effort from the New Jersey group compromised of Lauryn Hill, Pras and Wyclef Jean was released in early 1996. Along with D.I.T.C.'s Diamond D, the album featured breakthrough appearances by then-Outsidaz members Young Zee and Rah Digga.
Additional Reporting by Jake Paine