I stand completely behind the idea that Kendrick is the greatest hip hop artist of all time TO ME. His string of four albums is one of the greatest string of four albums of all time TO ME. I still consider GKMC to be almost perfect. I find TPAB to be a work of genius. uu, while not nearly as strong, was still in my top ten albums of 2016. And DAMN. is either my AOTY so far or at least in the top two. And since this is just my opinion, none of y'all can argue me out of it.
But I respect y'all's opinions, too. Your favorite artists and albums are all good, too.
They Might Be Giants: s/t > Lincoln > Flood > Apollo 18 > John Henry
Ween: Chocolate and Cheese > 12 Golden Country Greats > The Mollusk > White Pepper > Quebec
Drive-By Truckers: Southern Rock Opera > Decoration Day > Dirty South
Sturgill Simpson: High Top Mountain > Metamodern Sounds > Sailor's Guide
Depeche Mode: Black Celebration > Music for the Masses > Violator
Megadeth: Peace Sells > So Far So Good So What > Rust In Peace > Countdown to Extinction
Motorhead: Overkill > Bomber > Ace of Spades
Metallica: Kill 'Em All > Master of Puppets > RTL > AJFA > s/t
NIN: Pretty Hate Machine > Broken/Fixed > TDS > The Fragile
Peter Gabriel: Car > Scratch > Melt > Security > So
Genesis: Foxtrot > Selling England by the Pound > Lamb
Slayer: Reign in Blood > South of Heaven > Seasons in the Abyss
Tool: Undertow > Aenima > Lateralus
Wilco: A.M. > Being There > Summerteeth > YHF
I would even go as far and add Some Great Reward to Depeche Mode's run. That was a big transformation album for who they would become. As much as I love their real early work, I think they became the Depeche Mode we know today on Some Great Reward.
I know I have stated this before, but as much as I like Scratch by Gabriel, I think it breaks up his "great" album run starting at Car. I think his best and most creative run started at Melt. He was still fiddling with some things on his first two. I'd even add Passion soundtrack to the Gabriel run as well(if it counts).
As far as Genesis, I totally agree. However, I think they had another great run starting with Duke. Hell, I'd even consider We Can't Dance from the 90s to that run. As cheesey and as poppy as their albums became, they were still great successes.
NIN is spot on. Some would say to include With Teeth, I probably wouldn't.
Spot on with Metallica, Tool, and Slayer.
I am a fanboy on most these groups, so my opinions are probably terrible.
Gonna go ahead and say With The Beatles > Hard Day's Night > Beatles For Sale > Help! > Rubber Soul > Revolver > Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was a pretty strong run.
Why did you stop there?
Honestly... so as not to start another Inforoo debate of what constitutes a proper album. Everything from Please Please Me up to Magical Mystery Tour is a cut-and-dried album. Some people debate if MMT was a double EP or a proper album. And MMT and Yellow Submarine could be debated as proper album vs. soundtrack plus some additional songs. And then there could be debate on the recording time frame of Abbey Road vs. Let It Be.
I didn't want to derail the current convo because I think it's more interesting than Beatles pedantry. But I agree that their entire output is basically flawless.
I also much prefer DAMN to TPAB which was such a slog to get through. The continuous retelling of "I remember you was conflicted...", the Tupac convo, the race issues that I admittedly may not feel as deeply because of the color of my skin. I recognize that the album is good, but I'll never be in a hurry to put it on. I think Damn is extremely varied and more fun. Being more accessible than TPAB doesn't make it radio-pandered.
I never got super into TPAB because I felt that the concept was way too grandiose and it kept losing me. For me, GKMC was a far better album because the story was focused and cohesive. I have listened to TPAB so many times, but without having read all the breakdowns and analysis on it I still never would've pieced together what I was supposed to take from it (despite the very in-your-face songs like The Blacker the Berry, i, U, etc).
I think DAMN. is great because it's a step in a new direction (which isn't a surprise). The front -> back and back -> front concept is really cool and executed to perfection. The production is flawless. And we get some really unique Kendrick songs like LUST., LOVE., GOD. and the bangers like DNA., XXX., HUMBLE. But still none of it feels shoehorned or unnecessary. The more I listen the more I enjoy it and I think it's every bit as good as the rest of his body of work.
I think Kendrick may have put together the best 3-album run of any artist ever, or at least close to it (not counting untitled unmastered). For me it comes down to the tone and the attitude of this and GKMC inspiring me more than TPAB.
Let's not go saying things we can't take back
Not to be a fanboy, but who else has done it though? Radiohead. The Beatles. Bowie. Pink Floyd. Outkast. Prince. Talking Heads. Bjork. Modest Mouse(?)
I wouldn't say his streak is better than any of those, but it's still very illustrious company.
edit: whoops - replied without finishing the thread and seeing all the other answers.
After my first listen I love the new Gorillaz, but I don't know if it's going to beat Kendrick. I'm going to be on a couple of long bus rides this weekend, so I'm going to let both marinate. Also digging the new Actress as well.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 4/27/17 Billy Joel 4/28/17 Soundgarden 5/3/17 Shaky Knees 5/12-14/17 Mac Demarco 5/20/17 Sigur Ros 5/23/17 Beach House 5/30/17 Muse 6/6/17 Bonnaroo 6/8-11/17 Dead and Company 6/13/17 Metallica 7/9/17 Sloss Fest 7/15-16/17 Roger Waters 7/18/17 Father John Misty 9/27/17 Gorillaz 10/11/17