Power Rankings – Top 10 Scribbling Idiots Albums
About Power Rankings
When following your favorite pro sports team, it’s always fresh to see where they stand among their peers. Sphere of Hip-Hop’s Power Ranking series is just that – an intricate examination of how various parts of hip-hop culture stack up. Our team of contributors will take on various topics and offer up their Power Ranking list. Agree or disagree, our team will keep you in the know. And we want to hear YOUR thoughts. Sound off in the comments.
All of these albums are great projects. Any and all criticisms I have for them must be viewed through that lens first.
These albums were ranked by three things. Below is the list of those things and their order of importance.
1. How good they are objectively
2. Legacy points (What their impact was/what that album meant to the culture at the time)
3. How I feel about them personally.
Elias – Thanks For Waiting EP (Stream: Spotify)
Scribbling Idiots – Idiomatic Volume 2 (Stream: Bandcamp)
Scribbling Idiots – Good Morning Mourning (Stream: Spotify)
Cas Metah – Guest Room (Stream: Spotify)
Wonder Brown – J.A.W.S (Stream: Bandcamp)
10. Kaboose – Innersection (2007, Indie)
I think this is one of the more underrated albums in the SI discography. From the production to the lyricism by Kaboose, Innersection was on rotation for a long time for yours truly. Kaboose’s combination of battle raps, personal stories and soulful singing, had myself and others craving another album from the SI talent. Innersection boasted a highly touted guest list, with verses from JustMe, Cas Metah and Elias and Braille. On the production side Stro, Muneshine, Playdough and others gave the Kaboose the perfect canvas to wax poetic on.
Notable Tracks: I’ll Try, Voices, If Only
9. Theory Hazit – Fall of the Lightbearer (2015, Indie)
After his Humble Beast release Thr3e Theory Hazit came out with Fall of the Lightbearer and it seemed like once again Theory Hazit had raised the bar. First this was the first release where Theory handled the majority of the production. Theory Hazit has always let us into his personal life with stories of his past, but things were different this time around. Nothing was held back, Theory lets the listener in and is a bit more experimental on this record. Boosting guest features from Wonder Brown, LMNO, Playdough and more, Theory handles the brunt of the vocal work on this and it fleshes out the stories told and commentary on this record.
Notable Tracks: Peanut Butter Wolf Etiquette, Lucifer Lungs, Benjamin Banneker
8. MotionPlus – The Sound Protest (2007, End of Earth)
Now I got into hip-hop a little late in the game so by the time I was introduced to the Scribbling Idiots there were already a decent amount of solo records out by the crew. Motion Plus’ The Sound Protest was an energetic debut put out on End of Earth Records in 2007. At the time Motion Plus was considered “extended family” but The Sound Protest showed the potential of Motion and he had the support of many behind him. With features from heavyweights Freddie Bruno, JustMe, Theory Hazit, The Sound Protest was just the beginning for the talented emcee/producer. Also side note: I played Joyful Days during the period of time I graduated high school, cried numerous times to it.
Notable Tracks: Joyful Days, We The Victory, Dirt Roads
7. Ruffian – Urge For Conscious Words (2011, Indie)
I personally first heard Ruffian on Idiomatic Volume 1. He’s had tons and tons of guest appearances on fellow SI solo releases and obviously popped up on the main group projects. However other than that, we didn’t get a solo effort from Ruffian til 2010. But once Urge For Conscious Words dropped we got the release we were hoping for. The wait was truly worth it, executive produced by fellow SI member Cas Metah, we really got everything we loved from Ruffian on one album. He took us deeper into his life and into his past. Unfortunately we lost Ruffian in June of 2012, but Urge For Conscious Words was the masterpiece we were looking for from such a talented artist. Rest In Peace, Ruffian.
6. Wonder Brown – The Gallows (2011, Indie)
Wonder Brown is yet another SI member who doesn’t drop a lot of solo releases. In fact despite Wonder Brown having been in Scribbling Idiots from the jump he didn’t release his debut solo full-length album J.A.W.S. til 2013. That being said The Gallows his first solo release (I think?) despite being EP was powerful, full of energy and continued to showcase Wonder Brown’s versatility in singing, engineering and emceeing. Also Wonder Brown didn’t stick to your usual boom-bap production that a lot were expecting around this time, but rather went with upstart PumpkinFoot to combine a range genres, allowing Wonder Brown to flex.
Notable Tracks: What You Goin Do, What Could I Do, Keep It Movin
5. The Scribbling Idiots – The Have Nots (2008, Illect Recordings)
If I’m being completely honest, I truly believe The Have Nots is one of the best hip-hop albums from its time. After really looking at the record in the grand scheme of hip-hop there’s a lot going on here. In 2008 we didn’t really have too many active hip-hop groups that invoked that Wu-Tang Clan feel. You had all the members present vocally on the album, they had unbelievable guest features for and indie group (Masta Ace, Kno, LMNO, Deacon the Villain and others) and most apparently these dudes could rap. Personal stories, battle raps, skits, what more could you ask for from such a powerhouse collective?
Notable Tracks: Told Ya So, Publicity Stunt Doubles, Moonlighting
4. Cas Metah & Wonder Brown – The Darke. Bros. (2012, Illect Recordings)
I remember hearing about this album from Cas Metah before its release and I was so excited for it. Cas told me it was going to be a personal record and a dark one at that. The record drops and it was everything I wanted and more. Wonder Brown and Cas Metah teamed up to become The Darke Bros. The production had that boom bap vibe to it, but there was something extra that stopped it from being an “emo” record if you will. The chemistry between Cas and Wonder was unmatched as both are pretty much chameleons on the microphone. Features from Holmskillet, Copywrite and Ruffian again made this an easy favorite.
Notable Tracks: Drowning Man, The Way I Cry
3. JustMe & Deacon the Villain – Tragedy & Dope (2012, Illect Recordings)
JustMe was already one of my favorites upon hearing him in the crew but my word when I heard “The Prodigal” for the first time I think my head exploded. JustMe teaming up with one of the best in Deacon the Villain to produce the entire project, was a match made in heaven. JustMe upped the ante lyrically on this project and took his music to a level out of the atmosphere. Harsher language, more emotion, this would eventually pave the way for Full Disclosure (I mean have you heard “Holster”?”) and Hajime.
Notable Tracks: The Prodigal, I Know, A Truth & A Lie
2. Cas Metah – Providence Road (2007, Indie)
I’m not going to front, this album along with a couple others on this list are albums I consider to be classics. Yes, flawless from front to back. There’s no real hiding, this is a dark record. Even the guests were able to fit into the dark narrative Cas was displaying. Production from Vintage, Theory Hazit and even a banger from Dust (DeepSpace5 & Mars ILL) really gave Cas the space to paint the picture he did on Providence Road.
Notable Tracks: Seasons Change, Journey Journal, Rainy Day Perfection
1. Theory Hazit and Vintage – Lord Fire (2008, Indie)
For me this album cemented Theory Hazit as my favorite emcee of all time. In my humble opinion the ONLY thing wrong with this album is the engineering. Vintage’s production fit well with Theory Hazit’s braggadocio and story driven narratives. Extra Credit was a great album, but it felt like Lord Fire was Theory Hazit’s welcome party. Guest features from Shames Worthy, Elias, Wonder Brown, Sivion and many others rounded out this album and showed that he had the support of recents and OGs alike.
Notable Tracks: All Love, Jive Turkey, Together
What are your choices for Power Rankings – Top 10 Scribbling Idiots Albums?