On the topic of music, I often get asked the popular question: “Who’s your favorite artist?”
To which I reply, “Lupe Fiasco.”
“Oh yeah, I love Lupe!” the person I’m speaking with says. "I really like his album 'Lasers!' 'The Show Goes On' is so good.”
At that moment, I internally let out a sigh of disappointment. Lupe Fiasco is one of the greatest lyricists in the history of hip-hop. His ability to paint pictures with words is unparalleled, with songs like “Mural,” “Dumb It Down,” “Adoration of the Magi” and countless others that make you a frequent visitor of Genius' website.
But with all that, the best concept you have of him is a catchy radio hit from 2011?
Truthfully, many popular artists have “hidden” gems in their discography that the casual fan likely knows, but only their most dedicated listeners can tell you what they are.
My favorite music group, The Roots, have been active for more than 30 years with a music catalog dating back to the early 1990s, but they're most known for appearing on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" every night. “You Got Me” is their most popular hit, and while it’s a great song, they have even more records that should stay on repeat.
I’ve listened to Lecrae and Andy Mineo since I was in middle school, but seeing their song “Coming In Hot” blow up a few summers ago was bittersweet. It was cool seeing artists I enjoy get so much recognition, but of all their songs, why that one?
Michael Jackson was arguably the most famous living person in the world during his career, so everyone knew the classic hits like “Billie Jean,” "Thriller,'' “Man In The Mirror” and “Remember The Time.” But even he had songs that flew under the radar over the years.
“Hey Ya!” by OutKast is too mainstream for me, especially after hearing the albums "Aquemini" and "Stankonia".
Kendrick Lamar's “Alright” and “DNA” are great, but everybody knows those songs.
There’s nothing wrong with the hit songs I’ve mentioned necessarily, as commercial success is a valid factor in an artist’s legacy. Even I listen to a song from "Lasers" from time to time. But listening to the same two or three hits from these musicians not only wears out those songs, but it doesn’t give you the fullness of their creative abilities.
With that, I’ve compiled a few dark horse songs from some popular artists that I think deserve some shine. You might see a Kendrick or MJ song and think, “Come on now, Jeremiah, who doesn’t know that one?”
The goal here is to shed light on the songs that don’t always get radio play, but are brilliant in their own right. Maybe you didn’t like these artists before listening, or maybe you failed to realize how much you’ve been missing out on. Either way, I hope this allows you to gain a newfound appreciation for their talent.
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